|No.2 July 2006|
|Crop Prospects and Food Situation|
Harvesting of the winter grains (mainly wheat and barley), which make up the bulk of the subregion's cereal crop, is underway. Prospects are very favourable for 2006 cereal production, except in Tunisia. Following above-average precipitation throughout the season across most of the subregion, FAO forecasts the aggregate output of wheat in North Africa at 18.5 million tonnes, 21 percent up from the previous year's drought-reduced level, while that of barley is put at 4.5 million tonnes, an increase of almost 56 percent, both results being well above the recent average. In Egypt, the largest producer in the subregion, the area sown to wheat, which is the most profitable winter crop, is officially estimated to have expanded again last autumn, and output is expected to rise further from the bumper level of almost 8.2 million tonnes already achieved in 2005. In Morocco, output of wheat, the main cereal, is officially estimated at a record of 6.1 million tonnes, nearly 50 percent above the average of the past 5 years and twice the level of the 2005 drought-affected crop. This is due to government policy to encourage investment in agriculture, in particular, increased subsidies to farmers to expand mechanization and use of high quality seeds, in addition to the exceptionally favourable weather conditions. In Tunisia, by contrast, below-normal and poor distribution of rainfall in March and April, seriously affected wheat and barley yields.
In the Sahel region, the start of the rainy season has been erratic with below-average rains recorded in several countries in June. In Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, plantings have been delayed in several areas and emerging crops will suffer water stress if rains do not improve in July. By contrast, in the southern part of coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea, rains have been regular and widespread since the beginning of the main season in April and prospects for the first maize crop, to be harvested from August, are good in most countries.
In spite of an overall satisfactory food supply situation in the region, following a sharp recovery of cereal production in 2005 from the previous year’s drought and locust-affected harvest, serious localized food insecurity is reported to persist in several countries. In Guinea-Bissau a failure of the 2005 rice crop in the southern regions of Quinara and Tombali, combined with market disruption in the cashew sector, the source of cash income for rural households, led to severe food difficulties. In Niger, both food and cash reserves have become exhausted for the majority of families, food consumption has been sharply cut back, and sale of livestock and other few remaining assets has resumed. Unless 2006-2007 is a second very good year in a row, there may be a deep and generalized food crisis. In Mauritania, the hunger period reportedly came early this year for thousands of households due to localized insufficient cereal production in 2005 and a lack of income. In Guinea, the price of rice - the staple food for Guineans - has more than doubled over the past two years following a large depreciation of the Guinea Franc. Petrol prices also rose steeply in recent months, fuelling inflation and seriously eroding the purchasing power of, and access to food by, urban and rural populations. In Chad, insecurity in recent weeks has severely constrained humanitarian access to the Sudanese refugees who are living in the eastern part of the country. In these countries, vulnerable groups need to be continuously monitored and assisted during the lean season.
In Cameroon and the Central African Republic, where rains have been abundant and widespread since the beginning of the cropping season in April, harvesting of the first 2006 maize crop is about to start. In the latter country, however, agricultural recovery and food security continue to be hampered by persistent insecurity and inadequate availability of agricultural inputs, notably in northern parts. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, June weather conditions were unfavourable for development of the recently planted sorghum and millet, and for the main maize crop planting in the north and centre of the country. Moreover, security problems continue to cause food insecurity, especially in the eastern and north-eastern provinces.
Table 4. Africa cereal production ( million tonnes)
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.
In eastern Africa, harvesting of the 2006 main season cereal crops is about to start in southern parts, while in northern parts crops are in the early stages of development or still being planted. In pastoral areas, despite generally improved rainfall from February to May, precipitation has been irregular dimming earlier optimism of a strong recovery from the impact of the recent severe drought in the subregion. In addition, escalation of long-running conflicts in parts of the subregion continues to exacerbate the difficult food situation. In Eritrea, planting of the 2006 cereal and pulse crops has just started. Recent rains have helped land preparation and water replenishment in some areas of the country, but more rains are required in main growing zones. In pastoral areas, the spring (short) rains from March to May were generally beneficial for regeneration of pastures, but precipitation has been inadequate in localized areas. In Ethiopia, good rains from March have improved prospects for the 2006 secondary “belg” grain crops, being harvested, in several parts of the country. The belg crop accounts for some 10 percent of annual grain output at the national level, but in some areas it provides most of the annual grain production. The good rains have also helped land preparation for the main “meher” season crops and improved pasture conditions in parts of the lowland areas of the south and south-east and in the pastoral Afar region, which suffered severe drought in 2005 and earlier in 2006. However, inadequate rainfall in the drought-affected south-eastern parts of the country is a cause for concern. In Kenya, the 2006 long-rains have been adequate in the main growing areas of the Rift Valley and overall prospects for the cereal harvest are favourable. Official forecasts point to a good 2006 maize crop. The overall food supply situation has improved considerably following good short-rains harvests and improved pasture in most pastoral districts. However, localized areas in the eastern and northern parts have yet to recover with only scant rainfall received so far. The food security situation in pastoral areas continues to be serious, as herds need to be rebuilt following several months of pasture and water shortages. In Somalia, prospects for the 2006 main "gu" cereal crops, for harvest from August, are poor due to insufficient rains. This would lead to the third consecutive year of below-average production. Despite some heavy rains at the beginning of the season, large areas in Gedo, Bakol and Hiran and parts of Bay, Lower Shabelle, Lower and Middle Juba, Galgadud, Toghdeer, Sool, Sanaag, and Bari received below-normal rains. In Sudan, estimates of the recently harvested 2006 wheat crop indicate an output of 414 000 tonnes, about 14 percent above the five-year average. The 2005 total cereal production, estimated at about 5.5 million tonnes, was also above the average of the last five years. In Tanzania, U.R., harvesting of the 2006/07 main season maize crop is well underway in uni-modal central and western regions, while in the grain-basket southern highlands, harvesting is expected to start in August. Seasonal rains were delayed by up to 40 days across much of Tanzania, limiting the crop growth cycle and negatively affecting yield prospects. Earlier, the 2005/06 short “vuli” season crops in the bi-modal rainfall northern areas failed due to severe drought conditions. Normally, the vuli crop accounts for about 30 percent of annual production of the bimodal areas. In pastoral areas recent rains have generally improved pasture conditions, but in northern and central parts precipitation has been insufficient. In Uganda, prospects for the 2006 main season cereal crops have generally improved due to well distributed rainfall. In the Great Lakes, in Burundi and Rwanda the 2006A season harvest earlier in the year was reduced, but prospects for the main season (2006B) cereal and other food crops are favourable, improving the food outlook for the second part of the year.
In Southern Africa, harvest of 2006 main season coarse grain crops is complete. Growing conditions were generally favourable throughout the season and production recovered from last year’s drought-reduced levels in most countries. However, in South Africa, by far the largest producer of the subregion, which did not suffer from the drought last year, output fell sharply as a result of reduced plantings. Thus, despite good crops elsewhere, the subregion’s aggregate 2006 coarse grain output is estimated by FAO at 15.2 million tonnes, about 17 percent down from 2005 (Table 4). Excluding South Africa, the total maize harvest this year for the subregion is estimated at 7.5 million tonnes, 41 percent above the previous year (Table 5 and Figure 5). Apart from the generally favourable rains during the growing season, subsidized fertilizer distributions in some countries (for example in Malawi and Zambia) were also an important contributing factor to this outcome. Based on the results of the coarse grain harvest and the early outlook for the winter crops to be harvested later this year (mostly wheat in South Africa), total cereal output in the subregion in 2006 is now forecast at 21.2 million tonnes, 12 percent down from 2005.
Table 5. Southern Africa, maize production ( 000 tonnes)
In South Africa, the total area planted area under maize and sorghum for the 2005/06 agricultural season declined sharply by about 40 and 60 percent respectively, largely reflecting low and unprofitable prices at planting time and high levels of closing stocks at the end of 2005/06 marketing year (May/April) (nearly 4 million tonnes). Consequently, the 2006 maize production is officially estimated at 6.3 million tonnes, down 5.4 million tonnes from 2005. Cereal output decreased also in Angola, due to erratic rains and long dry spells that particularly affected the central and southwestern provinces. Maize production is estimated at about 579 000 tonnes, some 21 percent below last year’s bumper harvest. In Lesotho, the total cereal harvest remained at the reduced level of last year due to some frost damage and uneven distribution of precipitation. Elsewhere in the subregion, bumper harvests were gathered. In Zimbabwe, despite a significant recovery from last year, maize production remains well below requirements.
Reflecting this year’s good crops in most countries, the aggregate cereal import requirement of the subregion for the 2006/07 marketing year (April/March in most cases) is estimated to go down by about 1 million tonnes from the previous year to about 6.4 million tonnes (Figure 6). If South Africa is excluded, the reduction in the total cereal import requirements of the subregion is more marked, declining from 5.1 million tonnes to 3.6 million tonnes. Food assistance needs in 2006/07 are also projected to decrease to under 500 000 tonnes, well below the five average level of nearly 800 000 tonnes.
In the countries where production recovered, maize and other cereal prices have declined sharply since the beginning of the new harvest in April to normal post-harvest lows, resulting in an improvement in food security in general. In Zimbabwe, however, the sky-rocketing prices, with inflation officially estimated at an unprecedented level estimated of 1 194 percent in May 2006, continue to severely hamper access to food in many areas of the country.
In South Africa, contrary to the usual post-harvest trend, the SAFEX export price of white maize has been firming up in recent months. By July 2006, prices, that have increased steadily since planting time last November/December 2005, reached Rand 1 340 per tonne, an increase of 62 percent from the corresponding level a year ago (Table 6). This reflects tighter supplies in the country following this year’s sharply reduced maize production. However, the comfortable level of carryover stocks and the improved harvests in the other countries of the subregion are likely to limit further increases in prices. In dollar terms, the increase in SAFEX white maize prices has been eased by the recent depreciation of the Rand against the US dollar.
Overall, prospects for the regional food supply for the current marketing year look favourable. In South Africa, the subregion’s major exporter, supplies of white maize (for human consumption) are estimated at 6.1 million tonnes which, compared with a domestic utilization of 4.3 million tonnes, leaves a surplus of 1.8 million tonnes. Assuming the level of the strategic reserves at about 600 000 tonnes, the potential exportable surplus of white maize from South Africa is likely to be about 1.2 million tonnes, just enough to cover the needs of the other maize deficit countries in the subregion. In addition, some sizeable exportable quantities are estimated from Zambia (180 000 to 280 000 tonnes), Mozambique (150 000 to 250 000 tonnes) and Malawi (100 000 to 200 000 tonnes) after accounting for a build-up of stocks in each of these three countries.
Table 6. Safex white maize export prices
AFRICA: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance and main reasons (26)
Harvesting of the 2006 main winter wheat and first rice crops is complete and land preparation and planting of the main rice and coarse grains crops have started with the timely arrival of monsoon rains. In countries around the Equatorial belt, the main rice season is well advanced. In China (mainland), the 2006 winter wheat output is estimated at 95 million tonnes, some 2.8 million tonnes above last year’s good crop and the highest in the past 5 years, mainly reflecting favourable weather conditions in the major producing regions. Sowing of 2006 coarse grain crops, mainly maize, is complete in the major producing regions and soil moisture availability was reported to be generally satisfactory for germination, apart from some localized areas. With the continuing recovery in production of the past three years, China’s cereal imports in 2006/07 are expected to remain at the relatively low level of the previous year.
In India, harvesting of the 2006 wheat crop is almost complete and an above-average output of 71.5 million tonnes is estimated. This is, however, lower than earlier forecast. The Government has revised downward the estimate of the 2005 wheat output from 72 million tonnes to 68.6 million tonnes. Thus, despite the good crop just harvested, in order to replenish stocks, wheat imports in 2006/07 are expected to reach 4 million tonnes, resulting in the country changing its trade position from a large net exporter of wheat to a large net importer. The Government has recently allowed duty free imports of wheat by private traders and flour millers until the next harvest in April 2007. Sowing of the main Kharif coarse grains and rice, oilseeds and groundnuts crops, for harvest from September, has begun. The early outlook is satisfactory but the Kharif season will still depend greatly on the rains of the southwest monsoon in the next months. Harvesting of the 2006 wheat crop is complete in the main wheat-growing provinces of Pakistan, with the output officially estimated at a record level of 21.7 million tonnes, reflecting increased availability of irrigation water and increased application of fertilizers and herbicides. The country is expected to import some 400 000 tonnes of wheat in 2006/07, compared to 758 000 tonnes in the previous year. In the Philippines, paddy production in the first half of 2006 is officially estimated at a record 6.52 million tonnes, some 8 percent above output during the same period in 2005 and 2004, reflecting favourable weather and expanded (irrigated) areas. The aggregate 2006 paddy output in Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, is tentatively forecast to reach a record 30 million tonnes, 285 000 tonnes above the previous record achieved last year, reflecting attractive intervention prices and good weather so far. Output of maize in 2006 is forecast to reach an about-average 4.25 million tonnes, which would be enough to meet domestic demand in 2006/07. Harvesting of the winter/spring rice crop is underway in Vietnam. A sharp increase in paddy output is expected in 2006, reflecting increased plantings and higher yields. Vietnam, the world’s second largest rice exporter after Thailand, exported around 5.2 million tonnes of rice in 2005 and a similar amount is expected in 2006. In Mongolia, the 2006 wheat crop is being planted. Harvesting will take place in September and output is provisionally forecast at 127 000 tonnes, which, although about average, would cover only about 33 percent of the normal domestic wheat utilization. Thus, the wheat import requirement for 2006/07 is estimated at about 256 000 tonnes. In Timor-Leste, the aggregate output of cereals in 2006 is expected to recover from the drought-affected level of last year and is tentatively forecast at 155 000 tonnes. The cereal (mainly rice) import requirement for 2006/07 is estimated at some 60 000 tonnes.
Table 7. Asia cereal production ( million tonnes)
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.
Despite an overall satisfactory food supply situation in the subregion, food shortages and emergencies persist, at national or subnational levels. In Pakistan, drought has devastated the Baluchistan and Sindh provinces, causing serious food shortages. Water levels in major reservoirs in Sindh are low after winter rain was reportedly 40 percent less than normal and the snowfall was up to 25 percent less than normal. The Government is planning to distribute subsidized wheat to the affected people. Furthermore, some 11 000 people in 30 villages around Muzaffarabad city in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir have been prepared for evacuation because of a landslide threat but the operation was delayed by early monsoon rains. This is a part of the area affected by the massive October 2005 earthquake, which claimed over 75 000 lives and made over 3.5 million people homeless. WFP is preparing a food distribution plan for over 21 000 beneficiaries. In China, several provinces in western and northern parts have experienced a prolonged drought. The most affected provinces include Yunnan, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Helongjiang. The drought has had an adverse impact on the food security situation of vulnerable groups, particularly in mountain areas. In the Philippines, about 450 people have reportedly been evacuated from around Mount Bulusan after dangerous volcanic activity in Sorsogon province on 18 June. The farming towns of Casiguran and Juban were affected. Experts are warning of a threat of a major eruption, which could threaten about 50 000 people in six towns in the province. Also affecting the Philippines is a long-standing internal conflict since the late 1970s, which has created a precarious food situation and very dire living conditions in the affected areas in Mindanao. Clashes in the southern region of Mindanao in the first week of July displaced 16 000 people. Uncertainty about long-term prospects has deterred foreign investment, stunted rural development and disrupted agricultural marketing and food production. In Mongolia, unfavourable winter conditions and summer drought in the past few years have substantially depleted the coping mechanisms of pastoral households, resulting in increased food insecurity. In Timor-Leste, the food security situation of many urban residents remains significantly affected by recent civil unrest; more than 145 000 people, some 15 percent of the country’s total population, are reported to be displaced and in need of food and other humanitarian assistance. In Nepal, the armed conflict and the unstable political situation in the country also continue to disrupt the food security and livelihood of thousands of families. WFP is distributing emergency food to more than 225 000 people in the central and western parts of the country, affected by severe drought during the 2005/06 winter. Tsunami recovery and rehabilitation efforts continue in Sri Lanka, where the WFP will extend its operations through 2007 for some 347 000 people affected by the disaster, with a focus on long-term recovery rather than free food distributions. Tsunami recovery and rehabilitation also continue in Indonesia. The country suffered from another earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale on May 27 2006, making over 1 million people homeless. Some 100 000 farming households in the Yogyakarta and central Jaya districts have reportedly lost their assets and source of income. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, despite expectation of another relatively good cereal production in 2006, reflecting the Government’s agricultural production support policy, the country is facing a large cereal deficit, and chronic food insecurity is likely to remain widespread. The Government stopped all humanitarian aid by the United Nations on 31 December 2005 and decided to only accept assistance addressing medium-and long-term needs. Under a Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), approved in February 2006, WFP is to provide 150 000 tonnes of various commodities to 1.9 million children over two years.
The outlook for winter cereal crops, being harvested, is generally favourable throughout the subregion. In Iraq, the overall food security situation continues to be adversely affected by conflict and security problems. According to humanitarian agencies, there are more than 1 million internally displaced people in the country. In Afghanistan, water stress due to reduced precipitation this year, particularly in the areas south and west of the Hindukush mountains has compromised some cereal crops, in particular rainfed wheat, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of the total wheat production. Affected vulnerable households will require food aid over the coming year.
Cereal harvesting has begun in the region and the aggregate output is forecast at about 28.8 million tonnes, slightly up on the already bumper harvest collected in 2005. The increase is mainly attributed to above-average precipitation, especially snowfall during the winter, which provided ample water for the extensive irrigation systems in the subregion. Of the total output, wheat is forecast to account for some 23.7 million tonnes, while coarse grains would account for 4.5 million tonnes. Kazakhstan is the main producer in the subregion and its aggregate cereal exports during the 2006/07 (July/June) marketing year are forecast at about 4.5 million tonnes, some 400 000 tonnes up on the 2005/06. Uzbekistan has also exported some half-a-million tonnes of cereals annually over the past few years and is expected to do likewise in 2006/07 (July/June). Only a few years back, the country was a net cereal importer.
ASIA: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance and main reasons (9)
Harvesting of the 2006 main irrigated wheat crop is well advanced in Mexico, virtually the sole producer in the subregion, under favourable dry weather conditions. Production is expected to be above the good level of the previous year, as a consequence of adequate availability of irrigation water in the north-west’s main producing states. Planting of the 2006 first season coarse grain and bean crops has been completed in all Central American and Caribbean countries. Precipitation has been abundant since the beginning of the season. Rains have been particularly heavy in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, with some damage to rural housing and infrastructure, but no significant losses are reported so far to newly planted crops. The 2006 aggregate cereal area is expected to reach 13.2 million hectares, almost 1 million hectares above the previous year’s level, mostly reflecting higher planting intentions for first season maize and sorghum crops in Mexico, which are favoured by the abundant widespread rains from the southern plateau to the Yucatan peninsula. Despite the forecast increase in maize production, imports from Mexico in 2006/07 (July/June) are expected to remain at last year’s high level due to increasing demand from the domestic feed industry. Assuming average yields, 2006 aggregate cereal production (wheat and coarse grains) is tentatively forecast at some 38.2 million tonnes, 2.5 million tonnes more than last year’s output and above the five-year average.
In Cuba, harvest of 2006 sugar cane crop is virtually completed and raw sugar output is tentatively estimated at 1.2 million tonnes, further down from last year’s previous record low of 1.3 million tonnes. The crisis in the sugar sector started in 2003 with the progressive reduction of area and milling capacity as a consequence of unattractive international prices. However, better prospects for prices, coupled with plans to produce ethanol for domestic use and export, have led the Government to recently revitalize the sugar industry. Following an increase in planted area, sugar cane production in 2007 is expected to increase by about 15 percent.
Food assistance from the international community continues to be delivered in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras to most food insecure communities and in Guatemala to households that have been affected by hurricanes during the second half of 2005. Food aid is also distributed to vulnerable population in North, West and North-East departments of Haiti, as well as in the capital city, where the food situation continues to be tight despite an improved security situation since the presidential election of last February.
Table 8. Latin America and Caribbean cereal production ( million tonnes)
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.
Harvesting of the 2006 main season coarse grain and rice crops is well advanced or just completed in the main southern growing areas. Preliminary estimates put the subregion’s aggregate output at about 73 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from last year’s average level. While production in Brazil recovered sharply, this was mostly offset by reduced crops elsewhere. In Brazil, the area planted to the main season maize crop increased by about 10 percent in response to unattractive prices for soybeans and a technical need for rotation, and yields recovered from last year’s drought-reduced levels. The latest official forecast for the 2006 aggregate maize production (first and second seasons) now points to a crop of about 42.4 million tonnes, 7.2 tonnes more than in 2005 and above average. The recently harvested paddy crop, accounting for some 80 percent of the subregion’s aggregate output, is tentatively estimated at 11.6 million tonnes, some 1.6 million tonnes less than the 2005 record output although still average. This reflects a sharp decrease in plantings in response to low domestic prices following the bumper harvest of the previous year. In Argentina, harvesting of maize crop is almost completed and preliminary official estimates point to a production of 14 million tonnes, well below the record of 20.5 million tonnes obtained in 2005. Plantings were reduced by 10 percent in response to low prices, higher production costs and higher export taxes, while yields were reduced by prolonged mid-season dry weather. In Uruguay, the 2006 maize production is expected to decrease substantially from last year’s level of 251 000 tonnes to 190 000 tonnes, as a consequence of dry weather in late 2005 that affected early crops at flowering stage, particularly in northern departments. By contrast, in Chile a good maize crop has been recently harvested.
In the Andean countries, harvesting of the bulk of 2006 maize crop was completed during the months of May and June. In Colombia and Peru, the outcome of the harvest was good, while a below average crop was gathered in Ecuador due to excessive rains at the beginning of the year in key producing coastal provinces of Guayas, Los Ríos and Manabi. The intense rainy season caused damage to infrastructure and localized losses of food and cash crops in Ecuador, as well as in some areas of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. In May, severe localized flooding also occurred in Suriname, affecting subsistence farming systems of about 175 villages in the interior areas that are based on paddy and cassava crops and causing losses of poultry and small livestock. Overall, however, prospects for the 2006 cereal crops remain favourable in these countries.
Planting of the 2006 winter wheat crop, to be harvested by the end of the year, has been recently completed in central and southern states of Brazil, while it is still underway in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. The subregion’s aggregate planted area is forecast at 8.6 million hectares, slightly above the level of the previous year, but still below the five-year average of 9.3 million hectares. However, insufficient precipitation in some main growing areas of Argentina and Uruguay may prevent farmers’ planting intentions from materializing, especially for long-term varieties; more rains are needed.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance and main reasons (3)
The harvest of the 2006 wheat crop is underway in the southern parts of the United States as of early June and progress was reported to be more rapid than normal because of the prevailing hot and dry conditions. Despite latest information (updated after the completion of the spring wheat planting) indicating an increase in the aggregate wheat area (winter plus spring), an exceptionally high abandonment of winter wheat, because of drought, is expected to lead to a reduction in the harvested area this year compared to 2005. Lower winter wheat yields are also expected to impact on this year’s aggregate wheat crop, which is currently forecast at just 49.4 million tonnes, sharply down from last year and well below the average of the past five years (55.4 million tonnes). With regard to coarse grains, planting of the main crops was virtually complete by late June. The area in maize is estimated to be about 3 percent down on the previous year but the crop is reported to be developing satisfactorily. Based on the early area indications, and assuming normal weather conditions prevail for the remainder of the season, the aggregate 2006 coarse grains output in the United States is forecast at about 284 million tonnes, which would be 5 percent down from the previous year, but close to the average of the past five years. Of the total, maize would account for 268 million tonnes. The area sown to rice in 2006 is estimated to have declined by about 12 percent from last year. The bulk of the crop had emerged by late June and its condition was mostly rated from good to excellent. In Canada latest estimates indicate a 6 percent increase in the overall wheat area this year, reflecting generally adequate moisture conditions and an improved price outlook during the planting period. However, assuming yields return closer to average following two years of above-average levels, which the seasonal conditions would currently point to, aggregate wheat output may decrease slightly from last year’s level to about 26.3 million tonnes, which would still be well above the five-year average. For coarse grains, latest indications point to little change in the overall area but a switch to more oats and less barley compared to the previous year. The aggregate coarse grain output is forecast at 24.2 million tonnes, about 8 percent down from last year, but about average.
Table 9. North America, Europe and Oceania cereal production ( million tonnes)
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.
Total cereal production in the EU in 2006 is forecast at 269.2 million tonnes, 9 million tonnes up from last year and slightly above the average of the past five years. The increase is mainly accounted for by larger wheat and barley crops in France, Germany and Spain. In France, despite dry conditions at the beginning of the season, yields are expected to be higher than last year and, combined with an increased area, production is forecast to rise by about 5 percent. In Germany, the wheat area has not changed significantly this year but despite an abnormally cold spring, which delayed crop development, higher yields are expected and production is forecast to rise by about 5 percent from 2005. In Spain, dry conditions towards the end of the growing season caused some deterioration in wheat yield prospects, but output is, nevertheless, expected to recover sharply from last year’s drought-reduced level. Among the other major wheat producers, output is expected to change little in the United Kingdom, where it is forecast to remain close to average; but could drop again this year in Poland to about 8.3 million tonnes because of harsh winter conditions and a significant delay encountered with the spring wheat sowing campaign. Regarding coarse grains, the total EU output is forecast at 138.2 million tonnes, 4.5 million tonnes up from 2005. For barley, as for wheat, most of the increase is expected in France, Germany and Spain, partly due to increased areas and partly due to improved yields expected. The latter is most relevant in Spain where a significant recovery in yields of all cereals is expected after severe drought-reduced levels last year. Maize production is not expected to change much in 2006. A slightly larger crop in Italy is likely to be mostly offset by smaller harvests in Hungary and Germany.
In the Balkan Peninsula, latest information continues to point to reduced cereal harvests in the two largest producing countries, Romania and Bulgaria. Winter grain planting last autumn was hampered and subsequently reduced because of the delayed 2005 harvest and inclement autumn weather conditions, while yields are expected to have been compromised by harsh winter conditions in parts, particularly in the former country. Among the other Balkan countries this year’s cereal output prospects look to be similar to last year’s about-average crop.
In the European CIS (The Russian Federation, The Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova), cereal harvesting is about to begin with a significant decline in wheat production in prospect, following an abnormally cold winter. The aggregate cereal harvest in the subregion this year is estimated at 116.7 million tonnes, some 5.8 million tonnes down from 2005. Wheat is the main crop affected by the harsh winter and aggregate output is forecast at 57 million tonnes, some 11.5 million tonnes from 2005. Losses in wheat are entirely accounted for in the two main producing countries, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Winter coarse grains are more resistant to harsh weather and the aggregate coarse grain harvest in the region is forecast at almost 59 million tonnes, nearly 5.6 million tonnes up on the harvest in 2005. The aggregate cereal exports from the region during the 2005/06 marketing year are estimated at about 25.5 million tonnes. Aggregate cereal exports from the region during the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast to decline to about 17.6 million tonnes, including 8.8 million tonnes of wheat and 8.8 million tonnes of coarse grains.
Australia is expecting a drier than average winter cropping season in 2006 and winter grain production is tentatively forecast to decline by 11 percent from last year’s above-average crop. The planting season started late or was hampered in most states because of dry conditions. As a result, the area planted is estimated to have declined in all states with the exception of South Australia, and yields are also forecast to fall compared to the previous year, although may remain above or close to the five-year average. The June Crop Report released by The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) forecasts the 2006 wheat output at 22.8 million tonnes, about 9 percent down from 2005. Output of barley is also seen down, by about 14 percent at 8.5 million tonnes. The small summer grain harvest is virtually completed. Output of sorghum is estimated at about 2 million tonnes compared to almost 2.2 million tonnes in the previous year. After a promising start to the season, hot and dry conditions in early 2006 in the main producing areas of New South Wales and southern Queensland significantly reduced yield potential. By contrast, rice production, all of which is in New South Wales, is estimated to have more than tripled to over 1 million tonnes, reflecting higher irrigation water allocations and generally better growing conditions.
EUROPE: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance and main reasons (1)
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