NICARAGUA (14 February)
Harvesting of the 2002/03 third season crop (“apante”) is about to be completed. Maize output for the whole year is early forecast at a record 485 000 tonnes, largely reflecting increased plantings and improved yields. Production of sorghum is also high at 98 000 tonnes. The output of beans is provisionally estimated at a record 144 000 tonnes.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2002/03 (July/June) are forecast at about 120 000 tonnes, similar to the previous year. Imports of maize in 2002/03 (July/June) are expected to decline considerably from 2001/02 level as a consequence of the significant increase in production.
The coffee sector is still affected by the international price crisis and thousands of workers from coffee plantations continue to be unemployed. Food assistance from the international community is being delivered to the stricken families.