FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.2, April 2002


EC (2 April)

Wheat output in 2002 is forecast to increase after a significant expansion (+10 percent) in the area sown last autumn, mostly at the expense of other winter grains for which areas are expected to be down. The largest wheat area expansions have been in France and the United Kingdom, but significant increases are also reported for Germany, Italy and Spain among the major producers. Furthermore, generally mild winter conditions have favoured crop development throughout most of the Community and yield prospects are good in most parts. The bulk of spring grain planting has still to take place in the coming weeks. Generally dry weather in late March favoured fieldwork throughout the area and was especially welcome in Germany where earlier conditions had been too wet.

ALBANIA (4 April)

Generally normal weather conditions have prevailed in the major winter grain areas. Wheat is the main crop grown and output is expected to remain about the average of the recent years at between 300 000 to 350 000 tonnes.

BELARUS (2 April)

Latest information indicate that winter cereals, mainly wheat and rye, have not been significantly affected by prolonged frost and snow. Spring sowing campaign has been progressing well ahead of schedule and the prospects are for an improved harvest, similar to the previous year. FAO tentatively estimates 5.2 million tonnes of grain harvest in 2002, including 0.8 million tonnes of wheat, 1.7 million tonnes of barley and 1.6 million tonnes of rye. Cereal import requirements in 2001/02 marketing year was estimated at 717 000 tonnes, which is above the previous year’s import estimates of 681 000 tonnes.


Recent reports indicate that cereal harvest this year may total 1.1 million tonnes, nearly 100 000 tonnes higher than the flood and hail affected harvest in 2001. The harvest this year will depend on weather conditions, in particular seasonal floods and hail, which normally occur during late spring and early summer. Total domestic consumption needs are estimated at 1.3 million tonnes of cereals, hence import requirement in the ensuing marketing year is estimated at 230 000 tonnes, including 80 000 tonnes of food aid.

BULGARIA (3 April)

Predominantly dry conditions persist for the second year in succession. Despite adequate snow cover in December and early January, and heavy rains in mid-March, subsoil moisture in late March was reported to be below the previous year’s already low level. Combined with the dry conditions, unusually warm temperatures have been recorded since the second half of January, reducing the hardiness of the winter crops and thus rendering them vulnerable should there be a late cold spell. The area sown to winter grains (mostly wheat and barley) last autumn is officially reported to have increased by about 5 percent but planting was late in many parts and carried out under predominantly dry conditions, as in the preceding year. Although the condition of these crops is reported as satisfactory in late March more rain is needed for vegetative growth in the coming weeks. Wheat output is expected to remain similar to last year’s level. Early indications for spring planting point to a reduction in the maize area in response to the ongoing drought and the poor performance of the crop in the past two years. Land will likely be shifted to producing drought-hardier non-cereals such as sunflower.

CROATIA (3 April)

Early reports indicate that cereal harvest in 2002 will match the 2001 harvest at 3.1 million tonnes. Cereal harvest in 2002 is seen to include 912 000 tonnes of wheat, 2 million tonnes of maize and 165 000 tonnes of barley. Cereal exports during the ensuing marketing year is estimated at about 250 000 tonnes, including 150 000 tonnes of maize and 100 000 tonnes of wheat.


The winter wheat area is estimated at 840 000 hectares, about 4 percent below the previous year and below the recent average. However, the prospects for the overall wheat output still depend on the level of spring wheat plantings in the coming weeks. Spring wheat accounted for about 6 percent of the total wheat area last year. Barley is the main coarse grain crop in the Czech Republic; as for wheat, the winter barley area is reported to have decreased but the bulk of the barley is spring sown so the prospects for the total crop are still very unsure.

ESTONIA (3 April)

Latest reports indicate that cereal harvest this year would be at least as high as last year’s at 579 000 tonnes. Ample soil moisture and favourable weather conditions have contributed to maintaining the improved harvest of the past two years. Total cereal consumption requirement in the country is estimated at 0.8 million tonnes per year. Import requirement for the current marketing year is estimated at 283 000 tonnes, including 147 000 tonnes of wheat, 68 000 tonnes of maize and 30 000 tonnes of barley.


Generally satisfactory weather conditions since the autumn grain planting period point to some recovery in cereal yields in 2002 after predominantly dry conditions in the past two years. Output of wheat should return to around the normal 300 000 tonnes level after falling by about one-third last year. However, in many localized parts, particularly in the north-west of the country, agricultural production is still compromised as a result of drought and conflict.

HUNGARY (3 April)

Latest estimates point to a lower winter grain area despite generally favourable weather conditions for planting last autumn and lower output is expected. The decrease is largely in response to low prices as a result of abundant stocks following last year’s good harvests. The winter wheat area is estimated at 1.1 million hectares (2001: 1.2 million hectares), and that of winter barley at 220 000 hectares (2001: 370 000 hectares). Weather conditions remain generally favourable as of late March although more rainfall would be beneficial in southern parts of the country.

LATVIA (3 April)

Winter cereals covered similar areas this year compared to 2001 and winterkill has been minimal with a high proportion of cereal crops in good condition, while spring planting is progressing with a satisfactory pace. Therefore, FAO tentatively forecasts cereal harvest in 2002 at 894 000 tonnes from an area of 420 000 hectares, which is, respectively, similar to 2001. Grain output in 2002 is seen to include 390 000 tonnes of wheat, 260 000 tonnes of barley and 120 000 tonnes of rye.


Prospects for winter cereals are good and spring planting campaign has began ahead of time owing to favourable weather conditions, below average winterkill and adequate soil moisture. FAO, therefore, forecasts cereal harvest in 2002 at about 2.6 million tonnes compared with 2.5 million tonnes in 2001. Cereal exports in 2001/02 marketing year are estimated at 191 000 tonnes, mainly wheat (100 000 tonnes) and rye (80 000 tonnes), while cereal import requirement is estimated at 113 000 tonnes.

MOLDOVA (2 April)

Despite harsh winter and long periods of frost, winterkill has not been significant and winter crops are seen to match the improved harvest of the preceding year. Given favourable weather conditions prevail in the ensuing season, Moldova is set to harvest 2.7 million tonnes of grains in 2002, which is similar to 2001 but nearly 750 000 tonnes higher than the average harvest of the previous six years. Moldova, despite being a predominantly agrarian economy, will remain a net importer of grains in 2002/03, mainly food grade wheat (20 000 tonnes) and some rice (6 000 tonnes).

POLAND (3 April)

Latest information puts the winter grain area unchanged from the previous year. Wheat plantings are estimated at about 2.6 million hectares, rye at 2 million hectares, and barley at 1.1 million hectares. Weather conditions have been generally favourable so far and output should be similar to the previous year’s.

ROMANIA (3 April)

Beneficial rainfall in eastern parts in March improved conditions for winter crops development and improved spring crop planting prospects but more rainfall is needed, especially in the west of the country. Latest information indicates a significant reduction in winter wheat plantings last autumn due partly to adverse weather and partly to a shift of land out of cereal crops encouraged by the Government. The winter wheat area is estimated at 2.16 million tonnes, 14 percent down from 2001 and production is expected to fall accordingly.


Spring planting began earlier than usual and the area under spring crops is anticipated to exceed the 2001 area by one million hectares. Winter cereals covered 16.5 million hectares of land in 2002, 3 million hectares more than in 2001. Winter-kill and replanting of winter crops has been minimal and below average. Harvest is tentatively forecast at 87 million tonnes in 2002, nearly 2 million tonnes higher than the 2001 harvest, which was the highest since the Soviet era. Cereal exports in 2001/02 marketing year are estimated at about 4.5 million tonnes while cereal imports are estimated at about 2.3 million tonnes. In 2000/01 marketing year Russia imported about 2.6 million tonnes and exported about 1.3 million tonnes of cereals.

Civil strife and military operation in Chechnya continue to disrupt life and agricultural activities. WFP and some international NGOs continue to provide supplementary food and non-food assistance to internally displaced and refugee population. WFP intends to provide supplementary food assistance to some 310 000 people in Ingushetia and Chechnya. The current emergency programme, which began last January, is expected to continue until the end of June this year. By then some 65 000 tonnes of food would have been distributed to 270 000 internally displaced and vulnerable people.


The wheat area is estimated to have decreased slightly this year to about 400 000 hectares. Weather conditions have been generally satisfactory during the season so far.


Winter grains this year have suffered from overwintering and extensive frost at critical crop development stages this year. Therefore, winter cereal harvest (wheat, barley and rye) in 2002 is estimated at 20.6 million tonnes, nearly 3 million tonnes less than the previous year. FAO tentatively estimates total grain harvest of 33.8 million tonnes in 2002 compared with 36.7 million tonnes the previous year. Grain harvest this year includes 18.5 million tonnes of wheat, 8 million tonnes of barley and 3.2 million tonnes of maize.

Cereal exports in 2001/02 marketing year is estimated over 8 million tonnes and imports are estimated at only 220 000 tonnes. Ukraine exported some 1.7 million tonnes of cereals and imported some 858 million tonnes in 2000/01 marketing year. This year’s exports have been boosted by lower tariffs on Ukrainian cereals in the EU.


Prospects for cereal harvest this year is favourable and seen to match the sharply recovered harvest of 2001 at 8.8 million tonnes. Bad weather conditions last winter hampered the planned increase in area sown to cereals, in particular wheat, which if realised would have significantly increased cereal output in 2002. Provided that sufficient seeds and fertilisers are available and favourable weather conditions prevail, cereal harvest this year may be at least as high as the 2001 harvest. Cereal harvest last year included 2.9 million tonnes of wheat, 5.5 million tonnes of maize and 303 000 tonnes of barley. Current domestic cereal utilisation is estimated at 8.2 million tonnes. Therefore, cereal exports for 2001/02 marketing year is estimated at 700 000 tonnes, including 400 000 tonnes of wheat and 300 000 tonnes of maize.

WFP has extended its emergency food assistance programme, which will be continuously phased out by December 2002. WFP currently assists some 575 000 beneficiaries, of which 215 000 are refugees and 360 000 social cases, the latter will be phased out from the combined programme by mid 2002.