Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture Foodcrops and shortages
Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture
February 2002


AFRICA: In eastern Africa, the overall food supply situation has improved considerably compared to the previous year. However, nearly 11 million people affected by drought and/or conflict in the sub-region still depend on food assistance. In Southern Africa, the outlook for the 2002 cereal crops is uncertain due to a dry spell in parts. Serious food shortages have emerged in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe where food assistance is urgently needed. In western Africa, the food outlook is generally satisfactory except in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone where internally displaced people and refugees continue to need food assistance.

ASIA: In DPR Korea, despite a marked recovery in 2001 cereal production, food assistance will still be needed in 2002 to meet the country's minimum food requirements. In Mongolia, the harshness of the current winter poses a serious threat to the already fragile food situation of thousands of herder families who lost animals in previous two winters. The food situation in Afghanistan remains grave, notwithstanding the relative calm and improved delivery of food assistance. The serious food situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is also of particular concern.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: In Central America, despite the good harvests of second season crops, the food supply situation continues to be difficult in El Salvador and parts of Guatemala. The sub-region was severely affected by drought in 2001 which damaged the first season crops. Food assistance continues to be provided by the international community. In South America, excessive rains and flooding in Argentina, the worst in living memory, inflicted serious damage to the wheat and maize crops.

EUROPE: Early indications for the 2002 winter cereals in the EC point to a significant recovery in the wheat area after last year's reduced plantings. In central and eastern European countries winter weather conditions have been generally satisfactory. In the Russian Federation total grain production increased by 20 million tonnes in 2001 compared with the preceding year. However, civil strife and military operations in Chechnya continue to disrupt agricultural activities. Food assistance continues to be provided by the international community to internally displaced and other vulnerable people.

NORTH AMERICA: Prospects are generally fair for winter wheat crops in the United States. Dry weather impaired crop establishment in parts, and continues to be of concern for spring development of some crops. The area sown last autumn remained low again but sowing this spring will also have an important influence on the final outcome of the 2002 crop. In Canada, many areas are still dry after last year's drought and good rains are need in the coming weeks to improve prospects for the major cereal crop to be planted this spring.

OCEANIA: Aggregate output of the recently completed winter grain harvest in Australia was just slightly below that of the previous year. Wheat output is estimated at 23 million tonnes. In Cook Islands, the food supply situation has been adversely affected by tropical storm "Trina". Some of the islands are threatened by an infestation of the destructive fruit fly. The island of Tonga was hit by tropical storm "Waka", causing enormous damage to housing, infrastructure and crops. The Government has appealed for assistance from the international community.

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