Food Outlook No.4 - October 2002 p.4

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Current Production and Crop Prospects

Position by Region


Far East: Contrary to early expectations in June, the 2002 southwest monsoon developed irregularly, causing drought in some areas and excessive rainfall with severe floods in others. Locally, food crop production was affected by thousands of hectares being flooded or washed away, but in most countries the effect on national food production has not been significant.

Harvesting of the 2002 wheat crop is complete in the main producing countries. In China, the winter wheat crop, which was harvested in May-June is estimated at 81.7 million tonnes, 7 percent below the 2001 output mainly due to a reduction in the planted area. By contrast, the spring wheat harvested in July-August is estimated at 6.3 million tonnes, marginally higher than in 2001, reflecting improved late season weather in the main growing areas of the northeast and northwest. The aggregate national outcome of 88 million tonnes marks the third consecutive decline in wheat production and is some 20 million tonnes below the average of the past five years. The estimate of India’s winter wheat harvest in March-May has been revised to 71.5 million tonnes, down from 73.5 million tonnes reported earlier, but above average. Wheat production in Pakistan is also above average at 19.2 million tonnes.

In China, the 2002 coarse grain crops have been harvested in southern provinces, while harvesting is about to finish in the north. Following an increase in the area planted and favourable late season precipitation, notably over the North China Plain and in northeastern key producing areas, the output of maize is forecast at 125.7 million tonnes, 10 percent up on production in the previous year and above average. Production of other coarse grains is forecast at 11.3 million tonnes against 11.8 million tonnes in 2001. The failure of the monsoon to progress towards India’s main coarse grain producing areas and the subsequent development of drought, seriously affected crops. Tentatively, India’s output of coarse grains from the kharif season to be harvested from November is expected to be some 24 percent below last year. Elsewhere in the region, production of coarse grains is estimated to be average to above average.

The outlook for paddy production in India has deteriorated since the last report, following weak and irregular monsoon precipitation throughout the critical months of July and August. As rains shifted towards the south and east, drought predominated in the north western districts, which account for approximately 25 percent of the country’s paddy output and serious floods occurred in the north eastern region. Improved weather conditions in the latter part of August and the month of September may have, however, encouraged farmers to replant. Pending a new crop assessment, FAO’s forecast for paddy output in the country stands at 127.5 million tonnes (85 million tonnes on a milled basis), a decline of almost 10 million tonnes from the previous year.

In China (mainland), estimates of the early rice crop already completed point to an 8 percent decline from last year, owing to disruptive weather and the absence of government “protective prices” for this crop. Harvesting of the intermediate rice crop (the largest among the country’s three rice crops), is now underway and its output is forecast to be 6 percent larger than last year. Early forecasts for the late rice crop, on the other hand, foresee a 9 percent contraction. Overall, the official forecast for 2002 paddy production stands at 177.2 million tonnes, slightly less than last season, and the lowest since 1994. The country’s shift away from low quality rice production is evidenced by reports that over 50 percent of total rice area has been sown with higher quality indica and japonica. As for the Chinese Province of Taiwan, paddy output in 2002 is forecast to fall by 100 000 tonnes from the previous year. Recent weather problems are responsible for the downturn, but the decline is also consistent with the expectation of higher imports under WTO market access commitments. Furthermore, the Provincial Government is considering a new development strategy for its paddy sector, which envisages limiting production to cover only 70 percent of consumption, with the remainder met through imports.

In Bangladesh, although flooding was reported in August, prospects for the country’s rice production this year continue to be positive, with the paddy crop officially put at 39 million tonnes, 1.2 million tonnes higher than in 2001. This season’s output has been underpinned by several factors, including the lifting of procurement prices by 5 percent to 8 400 taka (US$146) per tonne, increased use of inputs and generally favourable growing conditions.

In Pakistan, fears of a recurrence of the drought conditions that hindered production last season are easing. Recent widespread rains have reportedly improved the condition of the new crop, the bulk of which should reach the market in November. Accordingly, FAO’s forecast for paddy output in the country is 5.9 million tonnes, 5 percent above the outcome of the previous year, but still 1.3 million tonnes less than the 2000 ‘normal’ weather level. At the same time, the Government is promoting an expansion of cultivation of Basmati rice varieties in an attempt to raise the value of the country’s rice exports, which account for some 40 percent of output. In Myanmar, a foreseen expansion of rice area in accordance with the Government’s drive to increase rice exports is expected to lead to an increase in paddy output in 2002 by 0.7 million tonnes, to a record 22.5 million tonnes.

Contrasting weather extremes in Cambodia have disrupted cultivation of the country’s wet season rice crop: a serious drought affecting new rice plantings was later followed by severe flooding problems. Losses of the wet crop have been estimated by officials to be in the order of 100 000 hectares. In an attempt to prevent shortages, the Government has proposed to increase by 200 000 hectares the area sown to the irrigated dry season crop, which will be planted in November once the wet crop is harvested. Thus, on balance, total paddy output in 2002 is officially forecast to reach 4.1 million tonnes, similar to the level of 2001.

Also in Viet Nam, erratic weather has cast some doubt on overall prospects for the 2002 paddy output. For instance, in the Mekong Delta, where the harvest of the summer-autumn rice crop is drawing to an end, flood related losses have been registered. On the other hand, in central districts, subnormal precipitation is reported to have hindered the sowing and early development of the 10th-month crop. However, given the record performance of the recently gathered winter-spring crop, the Government’s 2002 paddy forecast of 32.3 million tonnes (which is 300 000 tonnes higher than in the past season), could still materialize.

In Indonesia, the harvest of the main paddy crop has been completed and the second paddy season is underway. The Central Bureau of Statistics is now forecasting a paddy output of 50.8 million tonnes, 300 000 tonnes above the revised 2001 total. According to the Bureau, paddy production last season was higher than originally estimated and the forecast for the current year was raised accordingly. However, this figure might be subject to a downward revision, especially as precipitation in Java and Sumatra, where a significant share of the country’s secondary rice crop is cultivated, is reported to be below normal, resulting in possible shortages of water for irrigation.

Sri Lanka’s second paddy crop (Yala) is currently being harvested. A serious drought that persisted during the crop’s maturation stage is expected to have an impact on yields. Therefore, the production forecast has been lowered by 100 000 tonnes to 2.6 million tonnes, matching the 2001 level. The drought might also have implications for the country’s 2003 main crop (Maha), the planting of which will shortly commence.

Favourable growing conditions were reported in Japan as of August, with the status of the crop rated above normal in most of the rice districts. Output, however, is still forecast at 11 million tonnes, down 300 000 tonnes from last year, mainly on account of a policy induced decline in plantings.

In the Philippines, unfavourable weather conditions earlier in the year are reported to have disrupted rice cultivation. Furthermore, delays to planting of the country’s third rice crop could render it vulnerable should any El Niño-induced adverse weather strike in the coming months, as is predicted. Based on official estimates, 2002 paddy production is expected to reach 12.6 million tonnes, around 500 000 tonnes less than the record crop of the previous season.

A recent FAO/World Food Programme mission to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea reports that in spite of delays in receiving inputs and unevenly distributed irrigation water, the country’s main paddy crop is progressing satisfactorily. Authorities have targeted a rice area of 583 000 hectares in 2002, slightly above last year, and adopted measures to expand rice cultivation accordingly. The FAO forecast for the country’s 2002 paddy crop remains at 2.1 million tonnes, unchanged from the previous year. Pending further information, this forecast does not account for possible losses arising from a typhoon that hit the Korean Peninsula at the end of August.

In the Republic of Korea, the forecast for 2002 paddy production currently stands at 7.2 million tonnes, down 250 000 tonnes from the previous year. The decline reflects lower yields expected after adverse weather, but also a likely reduction in area as policy measures have been implemented this season to reduce the country’s large rice surpluses, in anticipation of the liberalization of the country’s rice sector in 2005.

The forecast for Thailand’s output in the current paddy season has been revised up by 2.4 million tonnes to 27 million tonnes. The adjustment stems from an upward revision of the official production estimate for 2001 and a promising outlook for this season’s main crop, which is to be harvested between November and December. Widespread flooding in the country in early September is unlikely to have a major impact on the country’s paddy output, since losses may be recouped by expanding plantings under the second paddy crop.

Near East: Favourable weather conditions in most countries have boosted the 2002 cereal production in the subregion. In Afghanistan, wheat production has recovered strongly to an estimated 2.7 million tonnes, which is 68 percent above last year’s crop. In Iraq, the 2002 cereal crop, estimated at about 1.4 million tonnes, is about 16 percent above last year’s crop. Similarly, production was well above average in Jordan and Syria due to favourable weather conditions. In Turkey, cereal production, estimated at about 27.6 million tonnes is 10 percent above the previous year. In Saudi Arabia, cereal production is estimated at 2.1 million tonnes, similar to last year. Reflecting improved rainfall earlier in the year, the Islamic Republic of Iran has increased its estimate of wheat production to 10.5 million tonnes, some 12 percent above the average of the past five years, while the output of coarse grains is also expected to recover from the drought-affected harvests of the previous two years.

The 2002 paddy crop in the Islamic Republic of Iran, is set to increase to 2 million tonnes in 2002, reflecting a return to a more normal rainfall pattern. This would constitute a recovery of 15 percent from last year’s drought-afflicted crop. Recent FAO/WFP missions to Afghanistan and Tajikistan report that a return to normal precipitation levels, also in these countries could boost yields of rice. Rice production is forecast to double in the former country and to reach a record level in the latter.

CIS in Asia: The 2002 wheat harvest in the Asian CIS countries is, by and large, complete and estimated at 20.8 million tonnes this year compared with 21.78 million tonnes in 2001. The wheat output in Kazakhstan is estimated at 9.7 million tonnes, which is 3 million tonnes lower than the harvest last year. Improved precipitation and increased area sown to wheat in the Kyrghyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan has resulted in higher outputs this year, while wheat supply in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan continues to remain tight. In aggregate, the Asian CIS countries are forecast to harvest some 4.5 million tonnes of coarse grains in 2002, compared to 4.9 million tonnes in 2001. Of the total, barley is expected to account for about 2.8 million tonnes and maize 1.3 million tonnes.


Northern Africa: Aggregate wheat output in the subregion in 2002 is provisionally estimated at 12.2 million tonnes, 700 000 tonnes down from 2001 but above the average of the past 5 years. In Algeria, production of wheat is tentatively estimated at about 1.6 million tonnes, some 20 percent below 2001 but still slightly above average. The decline is largely the result of dry weather at planting and during the development period. In Egypt, the irrigated wheat crop increased by 6 percent over the previous year‘s average level, mainly the result of increased plantings. In Morocco, wheat output was an above-average 3.4 million tonnes, slightly above last year’s level, while in Tunisia a sharp decrease in production from 2001 of more than 50 percent is estimated. This is principally due to prolonged dry weather at planting in the main wheat growing areas. The subregion’s coarse grain production is tentatively estimated at 9.6 million tonnes, some 5 percent below 2001 but still about average. The decline is largely due to reduced barley output in Algeria and Tunisia. The 2002 paddy crop in Egypt is forecast at a record level of 6.1 million tonnes, reflecting an officially estimated 17 percent expansion in rice area largely in response to high paddy prices last season.

Western Africa: In the western part of the Sahel, the dry spell in July, which severely affected growing coarse grain crops, ended in the first dekad of August in most parts of The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal. The arrival of rains was beneficial for drought-stressed crops and some replanting of the worst affected areas has probably occurred. An FAO mission which visited Senegal and The Gambia in late August/early September forecast declines in this year’s cereal production due to reduced yield potential and localized crop failures. In Mauritania, most "dieri" (rainfed) crops failed. In Cape Verde recently planted maize also failed in parts, following irregular rains in August. In the eastern and central parts of the Sahel, weather conditions have been much more favourable with widespread and regular rains over most of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger. Crops are generally growing satisfactorily and overall crop prospects are favourable. In the countries along the Gulf of Guinea the first 2002 maize crop has been harvested in southern parts and the second has recently been planted.

The bulk of West Africa’s paddy crops are expected to be harvested in October. The latest outlook is less favourable than earlier, following below-normal rainfall in several countries. Nevertheless, the subregion’s aggregate output is still forecast at a relatively good level of 7.6 million tonnes, just short of the record achieved last season. In Nigeria, the largest producer in the subregion, output is forecast to increase to 3.5 million tonnes this year, partially offsetting the lower crops elsewhere. Production prospects in Liberia remain very uncertain, owing to a resurgence of civil strife.

Central Africa: Growing conditions for the coarse grain crops are favourable so far in Cameroon, while in the Central African Republic, erratic and below average rainfall has affected crop development in some regions.

Eastern Africa: Harvesting of the 2002 wheat crop has been completed in Sudan. Latest estimates indicate an output of about 300 000 tonnes, 21 percent above last year’s crop but just below the five-year average. In Kenya and Ethiopia, prospects for the crop are uncertain reflecting inadequate rains in main growing areas.

Prospects for the 2002 coarse grains are generally unfavourable in several countries of the subregion, mainly because of inadequate rains. In Eritrea, an almost total failure of the secondary “azmera” rains (March-June) and the late onset of the main “kremti” rains (June-September) has seriously affected crops. Similarly in Ethiopia, a poor secondary “belg” season followed by late onset of the main “meher” season have seriously affected crop and livestock production. In Kenya, erratic and below-normal rains in the main growing areas have affected the crops. Preliminary estimates point to a maize output of about 1.89 million tonnes compared to 2.32 million tonnes in 2001. In Uganda, where the harvest of the 2002 first season coarse grains is almost complete, the outlook is poor. The maize in eastern and central Uganda and the millet and sorghum crops in northern and north-eastern parts were affected by dry conditions. In Sudan, early crop prospects are unfavourable due to the delayed onset of rains and population displacement following recent escalation of conflict. By contrast, in Somalia, the main “gu” season maize and sorghum harvest in August is estimated at about 260 000 tonnes, more than double the relatively poor “gu” crop in 2001. In Tanzania, the latest forecast for coarse grains production stands at 3.7 million tonnes, about 12 percent up from last year and 18 percent up from the five-year average.

World Cereal Production

  Wheat Coarse grains Rice (paddy) Total
2001 2002
2001 2002
2001 2002
2001 2002
  ( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . million tonnes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . )
Asia 241.0 241.8 203.8 217.5 543.4 535.4 988.2 994.8
Africa 17.8 16.8 82.6 78.8 17.2 17.9 117.7 113.4
Central America 3.3 3.2 30.0 29.8 2.3 2.2 35.6 35.2
South America 21.0 21.2 72.3 65.4 19.8 19.5 113.1 106.1
North America 73.8 61.3 284.8 262.4 9.7 9.4 368.3 333.1
Europe 200.7 204.6 221.0 211.0 3.2 3.2 424.9 418.8
Oceania 24.2 13.7 12.4 9.0 1.8 1.3 38.4 24.0
WORLD 581.9 562.7 906.8 873.8 597.3 588.8 2 086.0 2 025.4
          (399)1/ (394)1/ (1 888)2/ (1 830)2/
Developing countries 257.9 259.1 375.6 377.3 571.0 563.5 1 204.6 1 199.8
Developed countries 323.9 303.7 531.2 496.6 26.3 25.4 881.4 825.6

Source: FAO 1/ Milled rice. 2/ Including milled rice. Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.

The 2002 paddy season is virtually over in the subregion. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has estimated Tanzania’s rice harvest to be in the order of 482 000 tonnes (milled), which suggests a decline of over 30 000 tonnes from the previous year. FAO’s preliminary estimates of the subregion’s aggregate paddy output point to a slight contraction compared to the previous year.

Southern Africa: The 2002 wheat crop is about to be harvested. In South Africa, the largest producer in the subregion, the latest official forecast puts output at about 2.3 million tonnes, 4 percent less than the good harvest of last year but still above the average level. In Zimbabwe, the latest production forecast has been revised upward to 213 000 tonnes, but nevertheless remains 15 percent below last year’s already poor output. The decline in production reflects lower plantings and yields as a result of disruption in the commercial agricultural sector.

Harvesting of the 2002 main season coarse grains was completed in July. The output is estimated at 14.8 million tonnes, only slightly higher than last year’s reduced level. Crops were adversely affected by a mid-season dry spell, excessive rains in parts and planting reductions in some countries. Production of maize, the subregion’s main staple, is estimated at 13.7 million tonnes, some 3 percent above the below average crop of 2001. Although the maize output decreased for the second consecutive year in most countries, it increased by 22 percent to 9.1 million tonnes in the largest producer South Africa, which was not affected by the dry weather this year. In Zimbabwe the effects of widespread drought, coupled with a decline in plantings in the commercial sector due to land reform activities, resulted in a maize output of only one-third of last year’s already below average crop. In Zambia, a prolonged dry spell from January to March, sharply reduced yields of the maize crop which is estimated at 606 000 tonnes, 25 percent lower than the average of the past five years. In Malawi, maize output is officially estimated at 1.6 million tonnes, 6 percent below the poor level of last year, following dry weather in the middle of the season and early cessation of rains in April. Dry weather also sharply reduced coarse grain production in Swaziland and Namibia. In Lesotho, excessive rains at planting and cold weather resulted in a maize crop one-third below the reduced level of the previous year. By contrast, production of coarse grains increased this year in Mozambique, Angola, and Bostwana, where weather conditions were overall favourable.

In southern Africa, the 2002 paddy season has ended and preparations for the 2003 main season are underway. The Government of Mozambique has predicted a harvest of 168 000 tonnes in 2002, but inother major rice producing countries of the subregion, official information regarding the size of their harvests has not yet been released. However, 2002 paddy output for Southern Africa is estimated at 2.7 million tonnes, a 6 percent decline from the record level of the previous year.

Central America and the Caribbean

Planting of the 2002/03 irrigated wheat crop in the main producing areas in the north-west of Mexico is about to start. Satisfactory conditions are reported as recent storm rains across the northern parts of the country have helped replenish water reservoirs. Harvesting of the 2002/03 first season coarse grain crops (mostly maize), the main crop, in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua has been completed, while sowing of the second season maize and sorghum crops has started. Most maize crops in the area have been about average, although some areas have reported reduced production as a result of irregular and ill-distributed rains. Aggregate Maize production for the whole year is nevertheless tentatively forecast at an average level. In Costa Rica and Panama, heavy rains since mid-August have adversely affected the crops and low outputs have been gathered in many of the affected areas. In the Caribbean, the western parts of Cuba and the Isle of Youth, off the country’s southern coast, were seriously affected by Hurricane “Isidore” torrential rains and strong winds in late September. Damage to cereal and other foodcrops, as well as to important cash crops, is reported. By contrast, in the Dominican Republic, normal weather conditions benefited harvesting of the first season cereal and other food crops. In Haiti, a below-average first season crop maize output has been collected, the result of dry weather at planting and during the development period.

Harvesting of the 2002 paddy crop in the subregion has begun. Despite a timely arrival of rains, some countries, notably Costa Rica and El Salvador, endured persistently dry weather during planting and early crop development. Consequently, 2002 production is expected to fall by a combined 24 000 tonnes. Industry sources in Cuba are anticipating a marginal increase in private paddy output in 2002 to 281 000 tonnes, with the output from state-owned farms stagnating since again only one-third of allotted rice area has reportedly been seeded.

South America

Planting of the 2002/03 wheat crop has been virtually completed in the southern areas of the subregion. In Argentina, the area planted is provisionally estimated at 6.3 million hectares, some 500 000 hectares below the 2001/02 level. The reduction is mainly due to financial constraints faced by producers as a result of the severe economic crisis, which has been affecting the country since November 2001. In Brazil, the harvest is about to start and early production forecasts point to a near-record crop of about 3.9 million tonnes, although a recent sharp frost in the principal producing state of Paraná may have inflicted considerable losses. The increase in production is largely the result of new policy measures to increase domestic production. In Chile, above-average wheat plantings are estimated, while in Uruguay the area planted is close to the below-average levels of the past two years. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, harvest of the winter wheat crop (planted in April/May) is about to start. Prospects are good and a slightly above-average output is anticipated. In Peru, the bulk of the 2002 wheat harvesting operations has been completed and an above-average output is also expected, while in Ecuador production has been about average.

Harvesting of the 2002 coarse grain crops, principally maize, in the southern areas of the subregion was completed in August. In Argentina, maize production is officially estimated at a considerably below-average 14.7 million tonnes, the result of intensive rains at sowing and lower than normal yields due to dry weather during the growing period. In Brazil, a bumper crop has been obtained from the second season maize crop (“zafrihna”) and the aggregate output for the year is estimated at 35.7 million tonnes, more than 1 million tonnes above the average of the past five years. In Chile and Uruguay, above-average maize outputs have been harvested. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, the total maize output collected in 2002 has been an above-average 724 000 tonnes. In Peru, harvesting of the white maize crop is virtually complete while that of the yellow crop is still underway. Harvest results are satisfactory so far and total maize production in 2002 should be well above the average of the past 5 years. In Ecuador, harvesting of the 2002 winter maize crop (planted December/April) was recently completed and a good outturn collected, while harvesting of the summer crop (planted June/August) is about to start. The outlook is good for the second crop and aggregate maize output for the year should be above average. In Colombia, harvesting of the 2002 first season crop is virtually complete while planting of the second season crop has started in some parts. Good outputs from the first season crop have been collected and early production forecasts for the whole year point to an above-average outturn. In Venezuela, harvesting of the coarse grain crops is well advanced and an above-average maize output is anticipated while that of sorghum should be slightly below average.

Harvesting of the 2002 main paddy crops has been completed in most countries of the subregion. Aggregate output is now estimated at 19.5 million tonnes 2 percent down from last year, reflecting a smaller harvest in Brazil and area losses in Guyana, following abnormally high precipitation during the planting stage. Preparations for the 2003 season will begin soon in the major producing countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. While planting intentions are not yet known, economic instability in some parts of the region may affect rice cultivation in the coming season.

North America

The USDA September Crop Production report put total wheat production in the United States in 2002 at just below 46 million tonnes, 14 percent down from the previous year’s below average output and the smallest harvest since 1972. Although the total area sown declined further for this year’s crop, the bulk of the decrease reflects a sharp drop in yield as a result of drought conditions in the main growing areas. In Canada, prospects for the 2002 wheat crop deteriorated sharply during July and August due to one of the worst droughts on record in the west of the country, where the bulk of the small grain crops are grown. As of late August, the official forecast for total wheat production had been reduced to 15.4 million tonnes, 5 million tonnes down from last year and almost 40 percent below the five-year average, while the quality of the grain is also expected to be well below average. This figure may yet be revised before the end of the harvest. In late September the pace of the harvest was still well behind normal as crops have matured very slowly under this year’s adverse weather conditions, and the arrival of rain in September hampered fieldwork. The longer crops remain in the field the poorer the quality is likely to be and some crops may be too late to be harvested as grain and will be turned over to animal forage.

Regarding coarse grains, the maize harvest in the United States got underway in mid-September in the Corn Belt. Prospects for this year’s output have deteriorated since the previous report due to exceptionally dry conditions throughout the summer. Maize output is now forecast at 225 million tonnes, about 6 percent below last year’s about average crop. Aggregate coarse grains output for the year is put at 243 million tonnes, about 19 million tonnes down from 2001. In Canada, similar to the situation for wheat, the spring small coarse grain crops have been affected by adverse weather. Barley production is forecast to fall sharply also, to 7.9 million tonnes, the lowest level since 1968. In eastern Canada, however, where most of the maize is produced, crop conditions are better than last year and maize yields are expected to improve from last year’s low levels. Maize output is forecast to increase marginally this year to almost 8.5 million tonnes.

By mid-September, just under half of the paddy crop had been harvested in the United States. Latest Government estimates still put the crop at around 9.4 million tonnes, down 300 000 tonnes from the bumper crop of the previous year.


FAO estimates aggregate wheat output in the EU at just under 104 million tonnes, slightly less than the forecast in the previous report but still about 13 percent up from last year’s small crop and above the five-year average. However, the quality of this year’s crops has been reduced by heavy rains during the harvest period in some parts, particularly in Germany and the United Kingdom. Regarding coarse grains, barley output is also estimated to be up this year, but only slightly, by about 1 percent, to just over 49 million tonnes, while output of the other small coarse grains (mostly rye and oats) is estimated to be down. The latest forecast for the maize crop, which still has to be gathered in some parts, now stands at just over 39 million tonnes, about 4 percent down on 2001.

Harvesting of the 2002 paddy crops is underway in the EU. There were some disruptions at the beginning of the rice seasons in Italy, France and Spain, where adverse weather conditions during sowing and early stage crop development resulted in the need for replanting. However, because plantings in Italy appear to have exceeded earlier expectations, estimates of EU production remain at 2.6 million tonnes, unchanged from last year.

In central and eastern Europe, the 2002 cereal harvests turned out poorer than earlier anticipated in some countries because of adversely wet summer conditions. In the Czech Republic, heavy rains in late July and early August, coinciding with the peak harvest period, caused serious damage to many cereal crops before they could be gathered. Pending further information, the total 2002 cereal crop is forecast at 7 million tonnes, about 4 percent down from the previous year. Of the total, wheat would account for just over 4 million tonnes, compared to almost 4.5 million tonnes last year. In Hungary, preliminary estimates put the 2002 wheat output at 3.9 million tonnes, down from over 5 million tonnes last year. A long summer drought had a significant impact on crop yields but the percentage of good quality grain is reported to be much higher than normal. The summer maize crop is now forecast at 6 million tonnes, down from 7.8 million tonnes last year, as yields are also expected to be affected by the summer drought. In Poland, latest information puts the total cereal production in 2002 at 25.7 million tonnes, compared to 25.9 million tonnes last year. A sharp drop in wheat area was partially offset by above-average yields. The wheat crop is estimated at some 9 million tonnes, about 2 percent down from 2001. In the Slovak Republic, the 2002 wheat output is estimated at just over 1.6 million tonnes, about 12 percent down from the previous year as a result of reduced plantings and lower yields.

In the Balkan countries, in Bulgaria, heavy summer rains hampered this year’s cereal harvest with some implications yield and quality. The 2002 wheat output is estimated at about 3.5 million tonnes, unchanged from 2001. This year’s barley crop fared somewhat better, increasing to about 1 million tonnes (2001: 850 000), following increased plantings and better yields than in the past few years. Regarding the summer maize crop, there is still uncertainty over the effect of the heavy summer rains on crops but the outcome could be favourable for yields. Maize output is currently forecast at about 950 000 tonnes, slightly above last year’s level despite a smaller area.

In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), latest information indicates wheat production slipped back this year to about 2.1 million tonnes, while the maize crop is put close to last year’s level at 6 million tonnes. In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, tentative estimates put wheat production at about 250 000 tonnes compared to the recent average of about 300 000 tonnes. In Romania, a sharp drop in cereal production is reported this year. The official estimate of wheat production now stands at 4.3 million tonnes, about 45 percent down from the bumper crop in 2001 and well below the average of the past few years. Yields were severely reduced by drought throughout most of the growing season. Regarding the summer maize, the outcome is still somewhat uncertain, especially in the wake of exceptionally heavy rainfall in August, which caused severe flooding and crop damage in many parts. However, the significant improvement in water availability may have an overall favourable result by improving crop yields in general.

In the Baltics, wheat harvest at 1.3 million tonnes in 2002 is similar to last year, while coarse grains harvest at about 2.6 million tonnes is slightly below last year’s harvest. Area under cereals continues to decline in the face of diminishing profitability from cereal production.

CIS Europe: In the CIS countries west of the Urals, the wheat harvest in 2002 is estimated at 64.8 million tonnes, more than 5.5 million tonnes down from last year’s sharply improved harvest. The main wheat producers in the region, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, are set to produce 46 and 20.2 million tonnes respectively in 2002, compared with 46.9 and 21.3 million tonnes last year. Unfavourable weather conditions and relatively low wheat prices are the main

factors affecting production. The coarse grains harvest is now forecast at 51.5 million tonnes compared with 57.4 million tonnes in 2001. This total includes 27.4 million tonnes of barley and 5 million tonnes of maize. The Russian Federation is to produce some 16.5 million tonnes of barley and about 1.3 million tonnes of maize, while Ukraine is set to produce some 2.5 million tonnes of maize and Moldova 1.2 million tonnes of maize. The estimate of this season’s rice production in the Russian Federation has been reduced marginally following the release of lower official estimates for plantings. As a result, the output s now put at 480 000 tonnes, 35 000 tonnes less than anticipated earlier and some 20 000 tonnes below last year’s crop.


Prospects for Australia’s 2002 grain crops have deteriorated sharply because of severe drought. It is reported by the official meteorology office that in the first five months of the 2002/03 winter cropping season (April-August) serious to severe rainfall deficiencies were recorded over most of the Australian grain belt. Total wheat production is now officially forecast to decline to 13.5 million tonnes, 10.5 million tonnes down from last season and the smallest crop since 1994/95. Barley production is forecast to decrease by 39 percent from last year’s record crop to 4.6 million tonnes. The updated assessment of the rice crop in Australia, which was gathered in May, confirms an output of 1.3 million tonnes, 500 000 tonnes below last season’s harvest. Preparation for the country’s 2003 paddy crop will begin shortly: there is growing probability that water shortages will result in a significant reduction in plantings.

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