Food Outlook No.5 - December 2002 p.4

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Current Production and Crop Prospects

Position by Region


Far East : Harvesting of the 2002 summer crops is completed or drawing to a close. The outcome of the harvests was affected by an erratic 2002 monsoon and other irregular weather developments, which resulted in below average cereal outputs and consequent food shortages in a number of countries, while in others bumper crops were gathered. The early outlook is generally favourable for the 2002/03 winter cereals, planting of which has been completed in northern countries of the region, while it is still on-going in southern parts.

China's 2002 wheat output is now estimated at 89.3 million tonnes, 5 percent below that of 2001 and 17 percent below the average of the past 5 years. The 2002/03 winter wheat was planted in September-October under favourable conditions except in the important grain-growing region of Shandong. This province, which in 2002 accounted for 17 percent of national wheat output, was hit by abnormally dry weather in August and September 2002, leaving a low level of soil moisture at planting time. The latest estimate of the national area sown to winter wheat is 20.4 million hectares, 5.1 percent below that of the previous year. Furthermore, earlier than usual dormancy is also likely to negatively affect yields. Thus a fall in wheat output is anticipated in 2003 for the fourth year in succession. In both India and Pakistan, the 2002 wheat production was above the average of the past five years at 71.5 million tonnes and 19.2 million tonnes, respectively. In India, planting of the 2002/03 Rabi winter wheat, which started in October and continues through December, has been favoured by good soil moisture following above-average rains in October. Planting is also underway in Pakistan, where the target for the wheat harvest in April-May 2003 has been set at 19.2 million tonnes, reflecting adequate availability of irrigation water.

In aggregate, the outcome of the regional 2002 coarse grain harvest is estimated to be higher than both that of last year and the average of the past five years. The provisional estimate of China's 2002 maize harvest is 125.2 million tonnes, some 10 percent above the previous year. The effect of a dry spell during August-September in the important producing region of Shandong was offset by favourable weather elsewhere. With likely bumper harvests in Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces, the final output could be even higher. The production of other coarse grains is now estimated at 11.8 million tonnes, slightly higher than earlier anticipated and close to that of 2001. In India, reflecting the failure of the monsoon in key coarse grain producing states, the national output of maize and other coarse grains is estimated at 28.4 million tonnes, 18 percent below that of the previous year. The remaining countries of the region gathered coarse grain harvests similar to or higher than those of 2001.

In India, the harvest of the main Kharif paddy crop is about to peak, allowing a better assessment of the effects of the erratic monsoon rains on the 2002 season. In November, official reports predicted a 16 percent contraction to Kharif production. However, given the pace of paddy procurement to date in the monsoon affected states of Punjab and Haryana, and, especially, the potential to expand plantings of the Rabi secondary crop, the contraction to overall 2002 rice production in the country might be much less pronounced. Thus, the FAO forecast of total output for the season in the country stands at 125 million tonnes, 2.5 million tonnes lower than last reported and 12 million tonnes down from the previous year.

In China (Mainland), harvesting of the country's third and final rice crop, “the late crop”, is underway. The official forecast for the overall paddy output in 2002 has been lowered to 175.7 million tonnes, almost 2 million tonnes less than last year. At this level, rice production in the country would be at its lowest since 1988. The recent downward revision results from lower than expected yields from the recently gathered intermediate rice crop due to adverse weather. The rice sector has experienced a steady contraction in the past five years, reflecting adverse weather conditions as well as reduced government support since 2000, when the protective price scheme for early indica rice was abolished. More recently, protective prices for the intermediate rice crop were reduced while for the late rice crop, all but the Jiangxi province failed to set a support level this year. As for the Chinese Province of Taiwan, the forecast for paddy output in 2002 has been revised up to 1.8 million tonnes, slightly above the level of the previous year. Favourable weather for the second rice crop is largely responsible for the improved outlook.

The official forecast for the 2002 paddy crop in Bangladesh has been lowered to 38.5 million tonnes, but at this level would still be a record. The recent revision reflects a downward adjustment to both the area and the yield forecasts for the country's largest crop, the irrigated ‘Boro' crop, which will be planted from December.

The forecast for paddy production in Pakistan stands unchanged from the last report at 5.9 million tonnes, 300 000 tonnes higher than in 2001. A second successive year of water shortages for irrigation continues to affect production prospects, which remain well below the country's potential under normal weather conditions. The Government's response to water scarcity of promoting low-yielding but high-value basmati plantings, at the expense of high-yielding, low-value indica production, has also contributed to this year's expected low output.

The prospects for the overall paddy crop in Myanmar have deteriorated somewhat since the last report reflecting flood related losses to the main crop in August, the gathering of which is expected to be completed by December. Output is now forecast at 21.8 million tonnes, similar to the record level produced in 2001.

The 2002 paddy outlook in Cambodia continues to deteriorate on account of weather problems experienced earlier in the season. At the end of October, when planting of the secondary crop normally gets underway after the harvest of the main wet crop, officials estimated that total cultivated rice area in the country had fallen by 7 percent compared with 2001. Accordingly, the FAO forecast for 2002 production has been lowered to 3.8 million tonnes. In Viet Nam, the 2002 paddy season is drawing to an end with the bulk of the harvest of the country's third and final crop (10th month crop) already complete. Despite disruptive weather conditions earlier during the year, the Government now anticipates a record paddy crop of 33.6 million tonnes, around 1.6 million tonnes larger than in 2001. A forecast 4 percent expansion in the rice area, triggered by relatively high domestic prices, is largely responsible for the upturn in the country's paddy prospects.

In Japan, the paddy harvest is underway and official estimates of rice area point to a larger than expected crop in 2002, despite a typhoon that hit northern parts in early October.

In Indonesia, the harvest of the third and final 2002 paddy crop is in progress and preparations for the 2003 paddy season have already started in some parts of the archipelago. The Central Bureau of Statistics forecasts this year's paddy output at 50.8 million tonnes, up 300 000 tonnes from the previous year, but still 1 million tonnes short of the bumper crop harvested in 2000. Since then, low prices are reported to have induced farmers to shift to other crops and discouraged proper input applications. Paddy prospects in the Philippines have brightened since the last report. The official forecast for 2002 production has been raised to 13.1 million tonnes, which, if materialized, would match the record achieved in 2001. Despite a prolonged dry spell in the third quarter, better than expected weather conditions since October and the launch of a “quick turn-around” scheme for rice plantings have upgraded the country's outlook.

In Thailand, the harvest of the main paddy crop is underway in central and northern regions. Recent flooding problems have led the Government to lower its forecast for the main paddy crop to 20 million tonnes, which would be 4 percent smaller than in 2001. The anticipated losses could still be partly offset by an expansion of area devoted to the minor crop, yet to be planted. Overall, the FAO forecast for aggregate output this season has been lowered to 25.8 million tonnes, around 3 percent below the 2001 level.

World Cereal Production

  Wheat Coarse grains Rice (paddy) Total
2001 2002
2001 2002
2001 2002
2001 2002
  ( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . million tonnes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . )
Asia 241.8 246.5 207.7 214.3 543.2 530.8 992.8 991.6
Africa 17.9 16.1 82.7 79.4 17.2 17.6 117.8 113.1
Central America 3.3 3.2 30.0 29.8 2.3 2.1 35.6 35.1
South America 21.0 19.8 72.0 64.7 20.0 19.5 113.1 104.0
North America 73.8 59.5 285.1 265.4 9.7 9.6 368.5 334.5
Europe 200.3 207.0 222.0 218.3 3.2 3.3 425.5 428.6
Oceania 24.2 10.4 12.4 7.7 1.8 1.3 38.4 19.4
WORLD 582.4 562.4 911.9 879.7 597.3 584.2 2 091.6 2 026.3
          (399)1/ (390)1/ (1 894)2/ (1 833)2/
Developing countries 258.8 259.4 379.4 373.9 571.0 558.4 1209.2 1191.7
Developed countries 323.6 303.0 532.5 505.8 26.3 25.8 882.4 834.6

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

In the Republic of Korea, the harvest of the 2002 rice crop is virtually complete. The forecast for paddy production has been lowered by 400 000 tonnes from the October estimate to 6.8 million tonnes, implying a 9 percent fall from last year's level. The revision partly reflects lower yields caused by unfavourable weather (in particular the typhoon “Rusa” that struck the Korean peninsula in August) and a lack of sunshine during crop maturation. The year-to-year contraction is also on account of policy-induced area cuts aimed at reducing the country's very large rice inventories. A recent FAO/WFP mission to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea reported that the total area cultivated with paddy in 2002 underwent an expansion of 2 percent, part of which is explained by the shift away from other cereal crops. Accordingly, the FAO forecast for paddy output has been revised up to 2.2 million tonnes, around 100 000 tonnes higher than the previous year.

Near East : Favourable weather conditions in most countries have boosted the 2002 domestic food production. Wheat production has recovered strongly in Afghanistan and estimated at about 2.7 million tonnes is 68 percent above last year's crop. In Iraq, the 2002 cereal crop, estimated at about 1.4 million tonnes, is 16 percent up from last year. The latest estimate of the Islamic Republic of Iran's 2002 wheat production is 11.8 million tonnes, 24 percent above the previous year and close to the excellent output of 12 million tonnes in 1998. Planting of winter wheat for harvest in June-July 2003 is completed. Following recent precipitation and adequate irrigation reservoir levels, the area planted is expected to be above that of the previous year. Similarly, production was well above average in Jordan and Syria due to favourable weather conditions. In Turkey, cereal production, estimated at about 27.7 million tonnes is 10 percent up from the previous year. In Saudi Arabia, cereal production is estimated at 2.1 million tonnes, similar to last year.

Harvesting of the 2002 rice crops in the Near East is now over. Preliminary indications reflect a region-wide recovery in water availabilities, with rice production in several countries expected to rebound from the drought-afflicted levels of the past two years. For instance, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, paddy production could reach 2.2 million tonnes, up 200 000 tonnes from the revised 2001 figure.

CIS in Asia : The aggregate wheat harvest of the CIS countries in Asia in 2002 is estimated at some 23 million tonnes, which is about 1.2 million tonnes higher than last year. Wheat output is estimated at 11.6 million tonnes in Kazakhstan (the largest producer in the region), 4.9 million tonnes in Uzbekistan, 1.9 million tonnes in Azerbaijan, 2.2 million tonnes in Turkmenistan and 1.3 million tonnes in the Kyrghyz Republic. Larger areas planted to wheat and improved precipitation in the region have contributed to the recovery in production. The aggregate coarse grains output is estimated at 4.6 million tonnes in 2002, compared with 4.9 million tonnes last year. This total includes some 2.7 million tonnes of barley, and 1.4 million tonnes of maize.

In Kazakhstan, based on official estimates for its aggregate cereal harvest, the estimate of paddy output has been raised by 10 percent from the last report to 220 000 tonnes, slightly higher than the 2001 outcome. However, in Uzbekistan, an expected area expansion on account of increased water supplies did not materialize. The paddy harvest is now officially estimated at almost 120 000 tonnes, still 50 000 tonnes higher than the past year level, but almost 80 000 tonnes below the earlier forecast.


Northern Africa : Planting of the 2003 winter crops has started in most areas of the subregion for harvesting next spring. Production of wheat in 2002 for the subregion as a whole is estimated at 11.7 million tonnes, some 9 percent below production in 2001, but similar to the average of the past 5 years. The decline was principally due to significant reductions in outputs in Algeria and Tunisia, the result of the late arrival of the seasonal rains and prevailing dry weather during the growing period. Increased wheat production in Egypt and Morocco, principally in the former country, did not offset the decline.

Production of coarse grains in the subregion in 2002 is estimated at 10.1 million tonnes, close to the 2001 level and some 5 percent above the 5-year average. The increase is mainly the result of a well-above average barley crop in Morocco, which more than offset reduced outputs in Algeria and Tunisia. In Egypt, where maize is the principal coarse grain, production of this cereal declined by some 240 000 tonnes from 2001 but nevertheless remained slightly above-average.

Harvesting of the paddy crop in Egypt, the largest producer in the region, is almost complete. The official forecast for the country's current harvest has been reduced by around 100 000 tonnes to 6.0 million tonnes, following a downward revision in rice area. Notwithstanding the revision, production would still be 15 percent higher than in the past year and a record for the country.

Western Africa : Harvesting of coarse grains is now underway. In the Sahel, a series of joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions were fielded in October to the nine CILSS member countries to review the outcome of the 2002 cropping season. The aggregate cereal production of the nine CILSS member countries has been estimated by these missions at 11.3 million tonnes, 3 percent below 2001 but 11 percent above the average of the last five years. Below-average crops are anticipated in Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania. Near-average production is expected in Chad, the Gambia, Mali and Senegal, while above-average outputs are foreseen in Burkina-Faso and Niger. In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, harvest prospects are generally good in Benin, Nigeria and Togo but are less favourable in Ghana, following below-normal rains in September and October.

Most countries in the subregion are harvesting or about to harvest their main paddy crops. Prospects are mixed, following unfavourable climatic conditions, notably in the west of the Sahel, in addition to civil strife which continues to disrupt agricultural activities in some countries. Rice production should increase in Sierra Leone while it will decrease in Liberia following renewed civil strife. In Côte d'Ivoire, rice output is now forecast at 800 000 tonnes. This would be 200 000 tonnes less than earlier anticipated and the previous year, as a result of unfavourable weather and the conflicts that forced many farmers to leave their land and disrupted marketing activities. However, the outcome of the harvest in Nigeria, the largest producer in the subregion, is thought to be good reflecting generally favourable growing conditions. Pending further information FAO's estimate for the country's paddy output in 2002 stands at 3.5 million tonnes, slightly higher than last year.

Central Africa : Harvesting of coarse grains is underway in Cameroon and prospects are favourable. In the Central African Republic, harvest prospects are uncertain following erratic and below average rains that affected crop development in some regions.

Eastern Africa : A recently concluded FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Ethiopia found that the 2002 cereal crop season was poor due to late and erratic rains and a significant reduction in the use of fertilizer. Preliminary results of the Mission indicate that wheat output is expected to be lower than in 2001. In Kenya, where the harvest is almost complete, output is expected to be well below average due to erratic rainfall. In Sudan, an output of 247 000 tonnes was harvested earlier in the year, about 20 percent below the average for the past five years, due to lower planted area and excessively high temperatures.

Preliminary forecasts point to a below average output in the subregion's aggregate coarse grains crop in 2002 mainly due to drought and displacement. In Eritrea, the 2002 harvest was extremely poor due to severe drought. Displacement of farmers from the agriculturally important regions following the border war with neighbouring Ethiopia in 1998-2002 has also left large tracts of fertile land uncultivated. In Ethiopia, the outlook for the main coarse grain season is very poor, also reflecting the late and erratic rains. The Mission's preliminary results indicate that aggregate output of coarse grains will be significantly down compared to 2001. In Kenya, official estimates put the 2002 “long rains” maize crop at 1.89 million tonnes compared to 2.32 million tonnes in 2001. In Somalia, good rains during the latter half of October have encouraged land preparation and early sowing of the 2002/03 secondary “deyr” season crops. The recently harvested main “gu” season cereal crop in southern Somalia is estimated at about 260 000 tonnes (100 000 tonnes of sorghum and 160 000 tonnes of maize), more than double the relatively poor gu crop in 2001. In Sudan, erratic rains and population displacement due to escalation of conflict negatively impacted on coarse grain production. Preliminary results of the recently concluded FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Sudan indicate a significant decline in coarse grains production compared to last year's crop of about 5 million tonnes. In Tanzania, following relatively better distributed rainfall during both the short and long rains seasons, the 2002 aggregate coarse grains output is estimated to be about 12 percent higher than last year at 3.7 million tonnes.

In Burundi and Rwanda, the prospects for the 2003 first season crops, to be harvested towards the end of the year, are unfavourable reflecting a delay in the start of the rainy season. In Uganda, the recently harvested main season coarse grain crops were affected by erratic rains and displacement and the aggregate output is forecast to be below that of last year. The outlook for the secondary season crops being harvested from November is uncertain.

Southern Africa : Harvesting of the 2002 wheat crop is well advanced. FAO's latest forecast puts the subregion's aggregate output at 2.6 million tonnes, 9 percent lower than the good crop of last year but about the average of the past five years. This reflects a production decline of 9 percent in South Africa, the largest producer, where production is expected to be down to 2.3 million tonnes mainly as a result of lower yields following adversely high temperatures in northern growing areas in October. In Zimbabwe, official forecasts point to a crop of 213 000 tonnes, one of the lowest in the past decade as a result of lower yields following land reform activities.

Planting of the 2003 coarse grains , mainly maize, is underway. Generally abundant precipitation in the second half of October and early November, that allowed land preparation and planting operations, has been followed by below-normal rains in several areas in the second dekad of November. More rains are urgently needed to avoid reductions in the area planted, particularly in the main growing areas of South Africa, where mostly dry weather has prevailed for two consecutive dekads. Major monitoring systems confirm earlier forecasts of an El Niño event taking place towards the end of this year. The predictions agree that the event will be weaker than in 1997 and that the associated climate impacts should therefore be comparatively weaker as well. However, unpredictable regional differences may occur, with severe but local extremes, and the development of the rainy season needs to be monitored closely.

The estimate of the 2002 coarse grains output stands at 14.8 million tonnes, somewhat higher than the reduced output in 2001. Despite sharp declines for the second consecutive year in most countries of the subregion, these were more than offset by an increase of 22 percent to 9.1 million tonnes in the main producer South Africa, which was not affected by dry weather during the season. Apart from the minor producer Botswana, production was reduced in all other countries of the subregion. Maize output fell by 67 percent to 481 000 tonnes in Zimbabwe, by 24 percent in Zambia, and by 10 percent in Malawi, mostly due to prolonged dry spells that reduced yields.

Planting of the 2003 main season paddy crop is almost complete in Madagascar and Mozambique. As for the 2002 season, official information has not been released in the former country, but the harvest is still forecast by FAO at 2.4 million tonnes, while in Mozambique, production is officially confirmed to have reached around 170 000 tonnes. The Government of Mozambique has recently set a paddy output target of 200 000 tonnes for 2003.

Central America and the Caribbean

Storm rains in the past few weeks have helped restore soil moisture and replenish water reservoirs in the irrigated areas of the north-west of Mexico, where planting of the 2003 wheat crop has recently started. Planting intentions indicate that the area should be close to the average plantings in the past 5 years.

Harvesting of the 2002 second season coarse grain and bean crops is underway in Central American countries. Average outputs of maize, the main cereal, are anticipated in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras while an above-average crop is expected in Nicaragua, largely as a result of increased plantings and improved yields. In Costa Rica, by contrast, a below-average output is forecast, while in Panama, production of maize for the year as a whole should be about average. In the Caribbean, in Haiti, adverse weather in the southern departments has affected the first and second season crops. Food assistance is being delivered to the affected rural families as a consequence of the losses incurred. In Cuba, maize output in 2002 should be average, despite the impact on crops by the passage of hurricanes “Isidore” and “Lili”. In the Dominican Republic, the outlook is good for the second season crops and an above-average maize output is anticipated.

In most of Central America and the Caribbean, harvesting of this year's paddy crop is underway. Aggregate output for the region has been revised downward since the last report, by 5 percent, to 2.1 million tonnes, implying a 200 000 tonnes drop in production from 2001. Much of the region endured a prolonged dry spell at the onset of the season, which caused either delays to rice planting or a partial shift out of rice cultivation. For instance, Mexico is anticipated to have suffered a 17 percent contraction in its 2002 paddy output, now forecast at 200 000 tonnes. Similarly, the forecast for production in Costa Rica has been adjusted down to 260 000 tonnes, suggesting that output might fall by over 14 percent from the previous year. Virtually no country in the region is expected to register an expansion in paddy output this season.

South America

Harvesting of the 2002 wheat crop is underway in the southern areas of the subregion. In Argentina, a below-average output of some 14 million tonnes is tentatively forecast. This mainly reflects reduced plantings and anticipated lower than normal yields, because of the reduced use of fertilizers, linked to financial constraints on farmers, as a result of the economic crisis still affecting the country. In Brazil, in the main producing states of Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul, which account for more than 90 percent of domestic wheat production, adverse weather has incurred considerable damage to crops. The wheat output is officially forecast at 3.1 million tonnes, still above average, but well below earlier expectations. In Chile, harvesting is due to start from December. A small reduction in the area planted to wheat is officially reported compared to last year's above-average plantings. In Uruguay, harvesting is underway and production is expected to increase significantly from last year, when the crops were affected by disease, but would, nevertheless, remain somewhat below the average of the past 5 years.

Planting of the 2003 coarse grain crops, principally maize, continues in the southern areas of the subregion. In Argentina, planting resumed in November, following some disruption caused by heavy rains in October. Intended plantings are officially forecast at about 3 million hectares, some 4 percent down from the total area planted last year, despite more attractive prices to producers in recent months. This is mainly the result of credit constraints to farmers and higher input costs, combined with the economic uncertainty still faced by the country. In Brazil, planting intentions for the first maize crop are uncertain; farmers may reduce plantings in favour of more attractive exportable crops. However, should this be the case, they would compensate with increased maize area in the second season, which is planted from March. In Chile, planting of the 2003 maize crop is well advanced and the area planted is tentatively forecast to increase by some 8 percent with respect to the previous year. In the Andean countries, in Colombia, normal to abundant rains are favouring planting and development of the 2002 second season crops all across the country. Harvesting is due from January and the aggregate maize output is tentatively forecast to be above average in 2002. In Ecuador, harvesting of the second season maize crop, mostly white maize, has just started. Total output in 2002 is forecast at an above-average 566 000 tonnes, largely reflecting the excellent outturn of the first season crops and despite some damage to crops caused by the emission of ashes caused by volcano eruptions in some producing areas. In Peru, an above-average maize output of some 1.5 million tonnes (white and yellow maize) is provisionally estimated in 2002. In Venezuela, a preliminary estimate points to an about-average maize output in 2002 of some 1.4 million tonnes.

As the 2002 paddy crops have been fully harvested in most of the region, a number of Governments have revised estimates of production for the season. In Colombia, on account of a larger area, the official paddy production estimate has been revised up by 400 000 tonnes to 2.4 million tonnes, slightly higher than last year's estimate. By contrast, despite record yields in Peru, a contraction in rice plantings has brought down 2002 production to 1.7 million tonnes, resulting in a year-to-year drop of 300 000 tonnes. However, the production forecast for the region as a whole stands unchanged from the last report at 19.5 million tonnes, down almost 2 percent from the 2001 level.

Nearly all countries in South America have completed, or are about to complete, planting of the 2003 paddy crop. Heavy rainfall in October delayed somewhat the fieldwork in preparation for the new season throughout the region. However, financial turmoil in many major producing countries is more of a concern to 2003 regional paddy prospects. Nevertheless, despite this uncertainty, in several countries where field surveys to assess planting intentions have been carried out, the outlook for plantings appears promising. For instance, an expansion of rice area in Argentina might bring production to 750 000 tonnes next season, almost 50 000 tonnes higher than in 2002. Similarly, in Brazil, the National Food Supply Corporation has predicted an expansion in plantings, which could bring 2003 output to 11.2 million tonnes, about 5 percent more than produced in 2002.

North America

The official estimate of the 2002 wheat crop in the United States now stands at 44 million tonnes, 17 percent down from the already reduced crop in 2001 and about 30 percent below the average of the past five years. Prospects for the newly sown winter wheat crop are generally favourable. As of 18 November, planting was virtually complete and 89 percent of crops had already emerged, which is about normal for the time of season. Early indications point to an increase in plantings after last year's low level, and the overall condition of the emerging crops is reported to be better than a year ago, reflecting improved moisture availability. In Canada, wheat output in 2002 has fallen sharply to 15.5 million tonnes (2001: 20.6 million tonnes), after one of the worst droughts on record across the central and northern regions of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Planting of the relatively small winter wheat crop in the east of the country is reported to have gone well this year and the area is estimated at a record level of about 1 million hectares, compared to 600 000 hectares a year ago.

As the coarse grains harvest draws to a close in the main producing states of the United States, latest estimates point to a larger output this year than previously expected. The USDA's November forecast put aggregate coarse grain production at about 246 million tonnes, up from expectations earlier in the autumn, but still about 17 million tonnes down from last year's crop. Of the total, maize is now expected to account for about 229 million tonnes, compared to 241 million tonnes in 2001. By 18 November, it was reported that, 94 percent of the maize crop had been harvested, slightly behind last year's pace but about the average for the time of year. In Canada, as for wheat, production of barley, the main small coarse grain was severely affected by drought. Barley output fell by some 3 million tonnes to 7.7 million tonnes. Maize, which is predominantly grown in eastern Canada, benefited from generally favourable weather and yields increased slightly as a result, leading to an output estimate of about 8.5 million tonnes. Harvesting of the 2002 paddy crop in the United States is virtually complete. Reflecting better than expected yields, the crop estimate for 2002 has been raised by 250 000 tonnes to 9.6 million tonnes since the last report, slightly below the previous season's record outcome. Officials have estimated a 12 percent expansion in medium and short grain rice output, in response to their relatively high prices in the pre-season, and a 5 percent fall in long grain rice production.


Latest estimates put the 2002 wheat crop in the EU at 103.6 million tonnes, 13 percent up from last year, while the. The estimate of aggregate coarse grain production remains at about 105 million tonnes, 3 percent down from last year. While barley output is estimated to be up marginally this year, output of the other small coarse grains (mostly rye and oats) is estimated to be down. Output of maize is estimated at about 39 million tonnes, 2 percent down on 2001. Autumn weather conditions have been generally satisfactory throughout the EU for planting of the winter grain crops for harvest in 2003. Although rainfall across northern Europe in late October hampered fieldwork, the moisture was beneficial for germinating crops. Early indications suggest that the winter wheat area has likely remained similar to last year's above-average level. After some weather-related delays, gathering of the 2002 paddy crop is drawing to a conclusion. The aggregate output of the EU is estimated at 2.6 million tonnes, almost 50 000 tonnes more than last year. The increase reflects moderately larger crops in Italy and Greece, where growing conditions have generally been favourable, which have more than offset a weather-associated contraction in Spain.

In central and eastern Europe, a generally wet autumn disrupted the summer crop harvest and delayed autumn grain sowing in many parts. In the Czech Republic, the final official estimate puts aggregate 2002 cereal production at 6.7 million tonnes about 9 percent down from the previous year. Of the total, wheat would account for about 4 million tonnes, compared to almost 4.5 million tonnes last year. Prospects for the winter grain planting campaign are uncertain: apart from planting delays directly related to adverse weather conditions, many farmers are expected to be short of funds following the effect of devastating summer floods on revenue from the 2002 harvest. Hungary's cereal output fell sharply in 2002, mostly because of dry conditions in the spring and early summer. Latest estimates put the aggregate cereal production at about 11.6 million tonnes. Wheat is estimated to account for 3.9 million tonnes, down from over 5 million tonnes last year. The maize crop is tentatively estimated at 6 million tonnes. Winter wheat planting intentions for the 2003 harvest point to an unchanged area of about 1 million hectares. However, a slow start to planting fieldwork because of excessive rain in October could limit the final area sown. In Poland, latest official estimates put the aggregate 2002 cereal harvest at about 26.9 million tonnes (2001: 27 million tonnes). While the wheat crop remained virtually unchanged at about 9.3 million tonnes, output of rye fell sharply, by 1 million tonnes, to 4 million tonnes. Output of barley and triticale increased and although the final outcome of the summer maize crop is still uncertain an increase is also expected. September was generally drier than in other parts of the region and winter grain planting was mostly completed earlier than normal. However, establishment of crops was hampered by rainfall in October leading to concern over the condition of the crops as they entered dormancy in November. Early indications point to a possible decrease in wheat plantings for the second year but a recovery in the rye area after last year's exceptionally low level. In the Slovak Republic, the aggregate 2002 cereal crop is estimated at about 3.3 million tonnes, similar to the previous year's level and about average. As of early November, planting of the winter grain crops was reported to be about 50 percent complete, well behind the pace at the same time last year. As in other parts of the region excessive autumn rainfall has hampered fieldwork somewhat, particularly in October.

Among the Balkan countries, Bulgaria has suffered from particularly heavy and prolonged summer and autumn rains, with adverse affects on the 2002 cereal harvest and autumn grain planting. The 2002 wheat output is now estimated at about 3.5 million tonnes, 11 percent up from 2001, but the quality is much poorer. Regarding maize, the summer rainfall was initially beneficial for yield prospects but continuing rainfall throughout the late summer and autumn when crops should have been maturing worsened prospects again. As of late November a significant proportion of the crop had still not been harvested and is likely to be left in the field until spring. Latest official information puts the final winter wheat area for next year's harvest at about 800 000 hectares, compared to an average of over 1 million hectares. Furthermore, many of the crops were planted well after the optimum date and their condition going into winter dormancy is expected to be far from ideal. The wheat harvest in the Yugoslav Federal Republic (Serbia and Montenegro) is estimated at 2.1 million tonnes in 2002, which is some 400 000 tonnes lower than last year, while the wheat harvest at 850 000 tonnes in Croatia this year is lower by about 90 000 tonnes compared with the harvest last year. The maize harvest in 2002 is estimated at 5.6 million tonnes in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and 1.9 million tonnes in Croatia, similar to the harvests in 2001. In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the level of winter wheat planting is uncertain in the wake of another reduced harvest in 2002, which adversely impacted farmer's incomes, thus limiting funds for necessary inputs for the new season. In Romania, wheat output fell sharply in 2002, to just 4.4 million tonnes because of drought in the winter and spring. Moreover, the arrival of substantial rainfall later in the season, while too late to improve yields, adversely affected the near-mature crops and hampered harvesting, causing overall crop quality to be reduced. Harvesting of the summer maize crop was completed by the end of October and latest information puts output at a reasonably good level of 8 million tonnes, up 500 000 tonnes from last year. While many maize crops benefited from the good summer rainfall, precipitation was excessive in some parts, particularly in the north, leading to quality problems. Planting of the 2002/03 winter wheat is reported to be complete and to cover an area of almost 2 million hectares, about 8 percent down from the previous year. The winter barley area is estimated at about 250 000 hectares, down by 20 percent from the normal area.

The wheat harvest this year in the Baltics is estimated at 1.3 million tonnes, which is similar to last year's output, while the coarse grain harvest at about 2.6 million tonnes in 2002 is slightly below last year's level. Declining profitability from cereal production continues to negatively affect output in the region.

CIS in Europe: The 2002 aggregate wheat harvest in the CIS countries in Europe amounted to some 70.6 million tonnes, which is slightly above the bumper harvest of the preceding year. The Russian Federation produced some 47.5 million tonnes of wheat in 2002 compared with 46.9 million tonnes in 2001. Ukraine, the second largest wheat producer in the region after the Russian Federation, produced some 21 million tonnes in 2002, which is slightly below the bumper harvest of the preceding year. The coarse grain harvest in 2002 is estimated at about 57.4 million tonnes, which is similar to the harvest last year. This total includes some 31.5 million tonnes of barley and 5.8 million tonnes of maize. Barley output in the Russian Federation is estimated at 16.5 million tonnes, 8.8 million tonnes in Ukraine and 1.8 million tonnes in Belarus. The maize harvest is now estimated at about 1.3 million tonnes in the Russian Federation, 2.5 million tonnes in Ukraine and 1.2 million tonnes in Moldova. Favourable weather conditions and relatively improved access to inputs are the main factors contributing to sharply recovered harvests two years in succession. The winter grain crop for harvest in 2003 is already established throughout much of the region, and early prospects are reported to be favourable, reflecting generally good weather for planting and ample soil moisture. Based on current indications, there is reasonable potential for this year's bumper crops to be matched again in 2003.


Australia's 2002 winter grain harvest has been severely reduced by drought. In a special report issued in late October, ABARE forecast the 2002 wheat crop at 10.1 million tonnes, more than 3 million tonnes down from the forecast a month earlier and about 58 percent below the previous year's near record crop. The forecast for barley output has also been reduced further since the previous report, to about 3.4 million tonnes, which would be 55 percent down from 2001. Although some rainfall arrived in early October, this was generally reported to be too patchy and light to be of any significant benefit to the crops which were already nearing maturity ahead of normal because of the dry season. As of late October the harvest had already started in some parts and it is now considered to be generally too late for any further rainfall to significantly improve crop yields. With soil moisture reserves now well depleted, the prospects for the summer crops, normally sown between November and January in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland will depend heavily on the arrival of some good planting rainfall and subsequent timely showers throughout the growing season. Planting of the 2003 season rice crop in the country is over. There has been little respite to the drought that has lingered over the major rice growing state of New South Wales. Official reports indicate that the drought has led to a 69 percent contraction in rice area, which could imply a drop in paddy output in 2003 to 380 000 tonnes, which compares to a level of 1.3 million tonnes in 2002 and a record of 1.8 million tonnes in 2001.

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