No.4  November 2006  
   Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Food Emergencies Update

Global cereal supply and demand brief

Low-Income Food-Deficit Country food situation overview

Regional reviews

Special features

Statistical Appendix

Terminology and Notes

Regional reviews



North Africa


Harvesting of the 2006 summer coarse grain and paddy crops is nearly complete while planting of the 2007 winter wheat and coarse grains has started. The 2006 aggregate production of wheat, the main crop in the subregion, is estimated at 18.7 million tonnes, nearly 22 percent up from the previous year's drought-reduced level.

In Egypt, the largest producer in the subregion wheat output is estimated at 8.3 million tonnes, which is higher than the bumper crop already achieved in 2005.
In Morocco, output of wheat, is officially estimated at a record of 6.3 million tonnes, nearly 50 percent above the average of the past 5 years and twice the level of the 2005 drought-affected crop. In addition to the exceptionally favourable weather conditions this reflects government policy to encourage investment in agriculture, in particular, increased subsidies to farmers to expand mechanization and use of high quality seeds.
In Tunisia, by contrast, below-normal and poor distribution of rainfall in March and April, seriously affected crop yields of winter wheat and barley.

The 2006 subregion’s aggregate production of coarse grains (winter and spring) is preliminarily estimated 6 percent higher than last year at 12.4 million tonnes. This reflects a recovery in the winter barley output estimated at 4.5 million tonnes, 56 percent above the drought-affected crop of 2005, and a decline of 11 percent in spring maize production (mostly in Egypt) from the bumper level of last year.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation preview


Western Africa


In western Africa, the 2006 cereal harvest is complete in the Sahel while in the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, harvest of the second season cereal crops is in progress.
A good 2006 aggregate cereal output is anticipated.

In the Sahelian countries, after erratic and below-average rains until late June, which necessitated replanting in most regions, precipitation improved significantly from July and remained regular and well distributed through October. In October-November 2006, joint CILSS/FewsNet Crop Assessment Missions to the nine CILSS member countries provisionally estimated aggregate cereal production in the Sahel at about 15 millions tonnes, mostly millet and sorghum (see Figure 4), which is slightly above last year’s bumper output and some 19 percent above the average for the last five years.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation preview


This represents the second consecutive record crop after a significant drop in cereal and pasture output in 2004 that led to reduced food supplies and exceptional high food prices, with serious effects on household assets and income. Record crops are estimated in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, the largest producers in the subregion (see Figure 5), as well as in Chad, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, while above-average outputs are expected in Mauritania and Cape Verde. Cereal production is anticipated to be about average only in Senegal due mostly to inadequate supply of inputs.

In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea harvest prospects for the 2006 second season coarse grain crops are generally good.

In Nigeria, the largest producing country, a bumper food harvest is expected (see box).
The aggregate 2006 cereal production (main and second season) is officially forecast nearly 8 percent higher than in 2005 at about 28 million tonnes including about 4 million tonnes of rice. Cassava production is forecast at about 45.7 million tonnes, which is 10 percent above last year’s level. The good outcome is due to several factors including, exceptionally favourable weather conditions this year, government subsidies to farmers to expand mechanization and use of high quality seeds and fertiliser, and steady demand for cereals by the agro-industrial sector in the past years.
Other areas in the subregion also experienced favourable agro-climatic conditions and production is expected to be average in most countries including Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Liberia.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation preview


As a result of two consecutive good crops across Western Africa, a satisfactory food supply situation is anticipated in 2007. Cereal prices have been decreasing since the beginning of
the harvests and are expected to continue their downward trend as more grains arrive to the markets. Unsold old stocks of various commodities are reported to have been carried over into the new season. In order to support producer prices, governments of the subregion are encouraging the replenishment of national food reserves depleted by food relief distributions or subsidized sales during the 2005 food crisis.
For ongoing food aid programmes, donors are also urged to undertake local purchases and triangular transactions of coarse grains to the extent possible, notably in Nigeria, Burkina-Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad.

Overall access to food is also anticipated to remain adequate during 2007 because of stable and relatively low prices. However, in some localised areas of the Sahelian countries, where yields were severely reduced by delayed rains or floods, populations may be at risk of food shortages, and may require assistance. Marketing problems in the cashew and groundnut sectors, the main sources of cash income for rural households in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, will also continue to negatively affect food security in these countries unless adequate measures are taken.

Bumper foodcrops harvest and declining maize prices in northern Nigeria


Although Nigeria does not usually experience severe food crises, the status of the country in Western Africa is such that developments in its agricultural sector can directly affect the food security position of other countries. An FAO/CILSS/FEWSNet Mission visited Northern Nigeria from 23rd October to 4th November in order to review the outcome of the 2006 foodcrop production and assess the food supply situation and its implication for food security in the neighbouring Sahelian countries.

In addition to agro-physical factors and meteorological conditions, agricultural production in Nigeria is strongly influenced by a series of factors, including intervention measures by the Federal and State Governments either in the form of subsidies on basic inputs or import restrictions, and demand for cereals by the poultry and breweries sectors, which in recent years has underpinned the sustained growth of coarse grain output.

During 2006 agricultural season, weather conditions were overall favourable for crop development. Though there was a dry spell between May and June which affected early plantings, precipitation improved significantly from July onwards and remained regular and
well distributed through October. Moreover, the impact of pests and diseases on crop yields was not significant this year.

Productivity of cereal crops is generally low in Nigeria due to inadequate supply of fertilizers and improved seeds, as well as the poor timeliness of supply and distribution of agricultural inputs. Production this year was supported by increased efforts by both the Federal and some State Governments to make fertilizer available to farmers at subsidized rates.

As a result of these positive developments, a bumper harvest of cereals is expected this year. Based on data from government sources, the 2006 production is preliminary estimated at about 28 million tonnes of cereals, including about 4 million tonnes of rice. Output of cassava, another main food staple in the country, is estimated at a good level of 45.7 million tonnes.

However, the incidence of Avian Influenza in Nigeria has had a devastating effect on the poultry industry during 2006, prompting to a drastic fall in demand for poultry products.
This in turn has led to a correspondent decline in demand for maize, which usually constitutes some 80 percent of poultry feeds. With last year’s stock of grains still in the market, serious concern has been raised about the impact of the abundant supplies on grain prices. A continuing decline in maize prices is likely to result in lower plantings of maize next season as farmers shift land to other more profitable crops.

A satisfactory food supply situation is anticipated in Western Africa for the 2006/07 commercial year (November/October for the Sahel and January/December for coastal countries), following the good harvests gathered in the Sahel and in the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, including Nigeria. However, the Mission was concerned about price instability that, if not adequately addressed, could result in a significant decline in production of grains decline next season and in tight food supplies in the following marketing season. Measures to revive the poultry industry are urgently needed to stabilize maize prices.

Table 7. Africa cereal production (million tonnes)

  Wheat Coarse grains Rice (paddy) Total Cereals
  2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast
Africa 22.4 21.0 24.9 89.4 97.8 97.8 19.4 20.8 22.1 131.2 139.5 144.7
17.2 15.4 18.7 12.9 11.7 12.4 6.4 6.2 6.6 36.5 33.2 37.7
0.1 0.1 0.1 35.2 39.9 41.7 8.1 9.2 9.7 43.4 49.1 51.4
0.0 0.0 0.0 2.9 3.0 3.1 0.4 0.4 0.4 3.3 3.5 3.5
3.2 3.3 3.6 20.7 24.8 24.9 1.2 1.4 1.6 25.1 29.5 30.1
Southern Africa 1.9 2.2 2.5 17.7 18.4 15.8 3.3 3.7 3.8 22.9 24.2 22.0
South Africa1.

Note:Totals computed from unrounded data.

Central Africa


In Cameroon and the Central African Republic, harvesting of the second 2006 maize crop is about to start and prospects are favourable due to abundant and widespread rains throughout the cropping season. The first season harvest was good and the 2006 aggregate output is forecast to be about average.
In the Central African Republic, however, agricultural recovery and food security continue to be hampered by persistent insecurity and inadequate availability of agricultural inputs, notably in northern parts.

Eastern Africa


In eastern Africa, harvesting of the 2006 main season cereal crops has started in northern parts while planting of the secondary season crops is underway in southern parts.
The 2006 aggregate output of the subregion is anticipated to increase over the previous year mainly as a result of relatively abundant and well-distributed rains in the main growing areas.
However, exceptionally heavy precipitation from August to late November has caused widespread flooding in south-eastern Ethiopia, southern Somalia and north-eastern Kenya, resulting in loss of life and property, and damage to crops and livestock. It is estimated that 1.5 to 1.8 million people are affected in the three countries. In pastoral areas the floods follow drought conditions early in the year that resulted in acute food shortages and migration of thousands of people. Wetter-than-average conditions are forecast over equatorial East Africa for the rest of the year.

September to December rainfall differs in impact and importance, depending on location throughout the subregion. In central and northern Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan, for example, these rains complete moisture requirements for maturing crops, while they constitute the minor growing season in parts of Uganda, Kenya and Somalia. In south central Tanzania, these rains mark the beginning of the long uni-modal rainy season. In pastoral areas of northern Kenya and Somalia, and eastern and south-eastern Ethiopia they are vital for replenishing water resources and regenerating pasture.

In Eritrea, the 2006 main “Kiremti” season cereal harvest has started. Satellite imagery indicates that rainfall in September was slightly above average while that of October was below average. However, NDVI images point to an improvement in crop conditions over last year’s situation in both the traditional and mechanized agriculture areas.
The main pastoral areas appear also to be better than average. According to official sources, the 2006 total cereal output could be about 20 percent up from the average of the past few years.

In Ethiopia, harvesting of the 2006 main “meher” cereal crop is about to start. Overall prospects are favourable reflecting good rains during the growing season in major producing areas. However, satellite imagery for October has indicated rather mixed conditions at a more localized level, with a cumulative rainfall profile that was below average in the North-Central Highlands, the Arsi-Bale and the South-Central regions, and the extreme northern part of the country; an average profile in the South-Central region and above average one in the West Wet Plateau. In addition, unusually heavy rains in late October and November have resulted
in loss of life and localized damage to assets and property, particularly in the south-eastern, mainly pastoralist lowland areas. Official estimates indicate that some 350 000 people in the Somali region have been affected by the floods. By contrast, in Afar region, the main rainy season (karma) has generally performed better than in the past few years and this is having
a positive impact on the overall food security situation.
Generally, livestock conditions have recovered from the effects of earlier droughts and milk production has improved considerably. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is now in the country to assess the outcome of this year’s main season harvest and the food supply outlook for 2007.

In Kenya, harvesting of the 2006 main “long-rains” cereal crop is complete in the major growing areas of the Rift Valley and in the Western and Nyanza Provinces. The revised forecast by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development of this year’s long-rains maize crop stands at 2.5 million tonnes, about 15 percent above average. The long rains cropping season normally accounts for 80 percent of total annual cereal production.
Wholesale maize prices have started to decline reflecting the fresh supplies of maize into the markets. Also, increased cross-border trade with Tanzania and Uganda has supported the decline in prices. The 2006 long-rains (March-June) and emergency operations have provided considerable relief in pastoral areas affected by drought earlier this year, avoiding a major humanitarian catastrophe. Improvements in child malnutrition rates are being reported in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas of the country.

The number of emergency food aid beneficiaries has been reduced from 3.1 to 2.4 million. However, as the conflict in neighbouring Somalia deepens, a UN joint flash appeal was recently launched to provide six months of assistance for an influx of new refugees into Kenya.
By the end of October, an estimated 35 000 Somalis had fled to Kenya since the beginning of 2006, bringing the total number of refugees living in the three refugee camps of Dadaab to 160 000. WFP requires a total of US$19.2 million to provide food assistance for as many as 315 000 refugees living in both Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps for six months. In addition, heavy rains and floods in recent weeks have affected some 500 000 people and resulted in displacement of large numbers of population including 100 000 of the 160 000 refugees of the Dadaab camp.

In Somalia, recent heavy rains of the secondary “deyr” season, resulted in severe flooding along the Juba and Shabelle Valleys in southern parts, causing the death of 80 people, the displacement of large numbers of population, infrastructure, crops and livestock damage. Overall, it is estimated that 900 000 to 1 million people are affected by the floods, but impassable roads due to the heavy rains hamper emergency assistance distributions.
The Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) forecasts continuation of the neutral
or moderate El Niño event for the rest of 2006 in the Horn of Africa, which may result in further heavy rains. Elsewhere, “’karan” rains in the northwest were also normal to above normal for most of the region during August and September. By contrast, seasonal coastal “hays” rains
in the north-eastern areas were reported to be poor. The output of the recently harvested main “gu” season cereal crop is estimated by the Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU ) at about 169 400 tonnes, about 25 percent below last year’s good crop and 8 percent below the post-war (1995-2002) average.

The heightened state of civil insecurity and tension in the country has also resulted in an alarming food security situation, particularly with the intermittent disruptions to relief food distributions in several areas. In the last few months there has been a considerable increase in population displacements both within and outside Somalia. If the conflict spreads further, the impact on the humanitarian crisis would be severe and the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance could significantly increase. Further information and analysis can be accessed from the FSAU at:

In Sudan, a recent FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to southern Sudan forecast the 2006 cereal harvest to be generally good following satisfactory rainfall, and improved security conditions. However, despite the improved food supply situation, food assistance requirements remain as the fragmentation of the regions and absence of normal trade routes exclude easy movement of food commodities from surplus to deficit areas.
In central and northern Sudan, harvesting of the 2006 main season cereal crops has just started. Despite floods and insecurity in parts, overall harvest prospects have improved with good rains and an increased area under cultivation. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is in northern Sudan to assess the outcome of this year’s main season harvest and the food supply outlook for 2006/07 marketing year (November/October).

In the United Republic of Tanzania, planting of the 2006/07 short “vuli” season crops in the bi-modal northern areas has started. The overall food supply situation is satisfactory.
The Government through the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR), has set a target for local purchases of over 50 000 tonnes of maize. Cross border trade in agricultural commodities continued between Kenya and Tanzania despite an export ban imposed by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania.
In September, a total of 15 000 tonnes of maize was exported from the United Republic of Tanzania into Kenya compared to 9 000 tonnes in August. With the peaking of harvesting season in Kenya, imports from the United Republic of Tanzania declined in October to only 1 400 tonnes.

In Uganda, prospects for the 2006 second season foodcrops, to be harvested from next January, are generally favourable. The current neutral to moderate El Niño event conditions, in effect since September, are forecast to prevail until at least the end of the year, which could lead to beneficial above-average rainfall across the country. However, should the wet season extend into the normally dry months of January or February 2007, this could be problematic for crop maturation, harvest and post-harvest storage . Excess rainfall may also cause further flooding and landslides. Hundreds of people were already reported to have been made homeless due to flooding in north-eastern Uganda.

Southern Africa


The 2006/07 agricultural season is underway with heavy rains reported in October and November in south-western Angola, northern Namibia, and parts of Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. However, as of mid-November, the other areas of the subregion, especially the northern parts, remained generally dry, delaying planting operations.

While it is still too early to forecast the extent of the area planted this year in the subregion, in South Africa, a farmer’s planting intentions survey indicates that the maize area could expand from last year’s reduced level by about 1.2 million hectares to some 2.8 million hectares, encouraged by current high prices.

Harvesting of the subregion’s 2006 wheat crop, mostly produced in South Africa, is well advanced and should come to a close by the end of November or early December.
Output is preliminarily estimated at 2.5 million tonnes, about 14 percent up from the 2005 harvest. The total includes 2.2 million tonnes in South Africa, 135 000 tonnes in Zimbabwe and 93 000 tonnes in Zambia. Winter crops, mainly wheat amount to about 12 percent of the total annual cereal output in the subregion. The estimate of the aggregate 2006 maize crop, harvested earlier in the year, has been revised to 14.3 million tonnes, which is about 16 percent down from 2005. However, virtually all of the decline at the subregional level is accounted for by South Africa, where output dropped by about 44 percent, to just 6.6 million tonnes, as a result of reduced planting, in response to low prices and high carryover stocks of maize. In sharp contrast, most of the other countries harvested bumper crops, well up from the previous year’s levels, reflecting favourable weather during the growing season and subsidized fertilizer distributions in some countries (for example in Malawi and Zambia).
In Zimbabwe, the output rose dramatically from the drought-affected and economically constrained output of the previous year but remained well below the pre-crisis average and below requirements.

Elsewhere, in Angola, cereal output (mostly maize) is estimated to have fallen by 23 percent due to erratic rains and long dry spells in the central and south-western provinces.

In Madagascar, maize production in the south was also reduced this year compared to 2005 due to dry weather. However, the output of paddy rice, by far the most important crop on the island, increased from the above-average level of 2005.

In Lesotho and Swaziland the total cereal harvest remained below average showing the overall structural decline in this sector.

Reflecting latest production estimates from countries of the subregion, the aggregate cereal import requirement for the 2006/07 marketing year (April/March in most cases) has been revised down to 6.3 million tonnes, about 13 percent lower than in the previous year.
If South Africa is excluded, the reduction in the total cereal import requirements of the subregion is more pronounced, declining from the actual imports of 5 million tonnes in 2005/06 to an estimated requirement of about 3.8 million tonnes in 2006/07.
Food assistance needs in 2006/07 estimated at about 547 000 tonnes would be lower than the average annual food aid of the previous five years, calculated at about 709 000 tonnes.

Table 8. Import requirements and current import position
(as of 16/11/2006), Southern Africa, excluding South Africa
and Mauritius, 2006/07*

  (‘000 tonnes) (‘000 tonnes) (%)
Total Cereals 
Total3 4591 36239%
Commercial2 9121 08637%
Food Aid54727650%
Total1 22454745%
Food Aid2846422%

* Marketing year mostly April/March.
Source:FAO/GIEWS estimation.

Current prices of maize in most deficit countries are much below the corresponding levels a year ago when widespread food shortages were experienced. For example, wholesale white maize prices in the capital city markets in Zambia and Mozambique, in early November 2006, were about US$184 and US$212 per tonne, down from US$243 and US$261 per tonne respectively at the same time a year ago.
These prices have steadily come down from about US$354 and US$390 per tonne, respectively, during the peak of the hunger season in February 2006.

On the contrary, in South Africa, current maize prices in dollar terms are higher than the corresponding levels last year, reflecting the 2006 reduced harvest and lower maize supplies. In line with international trend there has been a steady increase in the SAFEX price since September 2005. This increase is likely to continue further through this lean period until the arrival of new harvest in April 2007.

Changes in the maize prices in local currency have been a little more pronounced as compared to the changes in US dollar prices as a result of the weakened Rand in South Africa, but less marked in Zambia due to the strengthening of the Kwacha against the US dollar.
In Mozambique, variation in the Metical prices have more or less mirrored changes in the US dollars prices primarily due to this currency’s relative stability during this period.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation preview 

Overall, food supply in the region this marketing year is quite favourable.

In South Africa, the subregion’s major exporter, supplies of white maize (for human consumption) are estimated at 6.3 million tonnes which, compared with a domestic utilization of 4.3 million tonnes, leaves a surplus of 2 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 1.4 million tonnes. In addition, some sizeable exportable quantities are estimated from Malawi (200 000 to 350 000 tonnes), Zambia (180 000 to 280 000 tonnes) and Mozambique (150 000 to 250 000 tonnes) after accounting for a build-up of stocks in each of these three countries to a level of about 100 000 tonnes.
Thus in aggregate, the regional surplus is more than enough to cover the commercial import requirement of the other maize deficit countries in the subregion estimated at about 1.3 million tonnes. Also, significant quantities are available for local and regional purchases of food aid for distribution in the region.

AFRICA: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance
and main reasons (24)

Exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production/supplies
LesothoMultiple year droughts, HIV/AIDS impact
SomaliaDrought, localized floods, conflict
SwazilandMultiple year droughts, HIV/AIDS impact
ZimbabweDeepening Economic Crisis
Widespread lack of access
EritreaIDPs, returnees, high food prices
EthiopiaLow incomes, drought in south-eastern parts, localized floods
LiberiaPost-conflict recovery period, IDPs
MauritaniaAfter effects of 2004 drought and locusts
NigerAfter effects of 2004 drought and locusts
Sierra LeonePost-conflict recovery period, refugees
Severe localized food insecurity
AngolaResettlement of returnees, adverse weather in parts
BurundiCivil strife, IDPs, returnees and recent dry spells
ChadRefugees, insecurity
Central Afr. Rep.Recent civil strife, insecurity
Congo, Dem. Rep.Civil strife, IDPs and refugees
Congo Rep. ofIDPs, refugees
Côte d’IvoireCivil strife, IDPs
GuineaIDPs, refugees, high food prices
Guinea-BissauAfter effects of floods, localized insecurity
KenyaDrought in parts
MadagascarDrought in southern areas
SudanCivil strife, returnees, drought in parts
Tanzania, U.R.Drought in parts and refugees
UgandaCivil strife, IDPs
Note: For explanation see terminology.



Far East


Harvesting of the 2006 coarse grains is complete or drawing to a close. Based on recent information, the aggregate maize output is forecast at 191.3 million tonnes, some 3 million tonnes higher than the 2005 level. Harvesting of the 2006 secondary spring/summer wheat crop has just been completed, while the main winter crop was gathered earlier in the year. The aggregate wheat output of the subregion is estimated at 198.1 million tonnes, 6.6 million tonnes above last year’s record output. Most of the increase of both wheat and maize outputs comes from China.

Excluding this country, the subregion’s aggregate 2006 maize and wheat outputs remain unchanged from the good levels of 2005. Harvesting of the 2006 main paddy crops is well advanced. The 2006 aggregate output of paddy rice is put at 564.7 million tonnes, revised down 5.5 million tonnes from the previous forecast. The adjustment is mainly due to the changes in India in order to reflect recent official estimates.
At this level, the paddy output of the subregion is only marginally smaller than last year’s record production, and about 5 percent above the 5-years average. Planting of the 2007 wheat crops is underway in countries in the northern hemisphere including China, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq. Early prospects are mixed.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation preview


In China (Mainland), harvesting of the late rice, spring wheat and maize crops has been complete. The estimated 2006 aggregate paddy production has been revised downward to about 180.7 million tonnes, reflecting the drought impact in Sichuan, Chongqing and Hubei Provinces. At this level, production is almost unchanged from last year’s crop.

The aggregated 2006 wheat output is estimated at 103 million tonnes (winter wheat 97.8 million tonnes and spring wheat 5.16 million tonnes), some 6 percent higher than in 2005.
The 2006 maize output is estimated at 142 million tonnes, 2.6 million tonnes up from last year and 17.8 million tonnes above the five-year average. Overall, China’s 2006 cereal output is estimated to increase by about 2 percent from last year. As a result, the country will be a net cereal exporter in 2007, while closing stocks are expected to increase in 2006/07.
The planting of the 2007 winter wheat has been completed. Weather conditions in the main producing provinces of Heber, Henna and Shandong have been somewhat unfavourable so far for crop establishment with unseasonably dry and warm conditions. At the same time the profitability of planting wheat relative to cotton is also unfavourable which may have resulted in planting reductions.

In India, based on official reports, the 2006 paddy production forecast has been revised
down by 5 million tonnes from the October report to 135 million tones, and the aggregate 2006 cereal production would be marginally lower than last year’s good level. With the arrival into the country of some 6 million tonnes of wheat imports, or half the quantity contracted,
the supply and stock situation is improving. Planting of 2007 Rabi season wheat is underway. In order to encourage production, the Government increased the minimum support price for wheat by Rs.1000 (US$22) per tonne and the wheat area is reported to have increased in every state.

Harvesting of the main 2006 rice crop in Thailand started in October and the 2006 aggregate paddy output is forecast at 29.7 million tonnes, slightly below the last year’s record of 30 million tonnes. The forecast of the 2006 rice exports remains at 7.5 million tonnes, while exports in 2007 are expected to increase to 8.8 million tonnes in response to the newly-lowered government intervention prices, which should increase Thai rice’s competitiveness in the world market.

The 2006 paddy production in Viet Nam is forecast at 36.2 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from the record 2004 production, despite reported crop losses from recent pest infestation in southern Viet Nam. The government has suspended exports until January 2007 to ensure enough domestic supplies. Viet Nam, the world’s second biggest rice exporter, behind Thailand, exported some 4.4 million tonnes of rice in the first 10 months of this year. In Pakistan, the 2006 paddy output has been revised up to a record 8.4 million tonnes reflecting the better water availability and exports in 2007 are forecast at 3.5 million tonnes. Similarly, record outputs of rice and maize are expected in the Philippines due to favourable weather conditions in 2006.

Table 9. Asia cereal production (million tonnes)

  Wheat Coarse grains Rice (paddy) Total Cereals
  2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast
Asia 255.6 263.2 270.8 232.7 246.6 249.7 549.5 570.9 570.4 1 037.8 1 080.7 1 090.9
Far East 187.6 191.5 198.1 208.1 221.0 224.1 544.5 565.7 564.7 940.2 978.2 986.9
Viet Nam0.
Near East 46.2 48.2 47.7 19.9 21.4 20.9 4.3 4.6 5.0 70.4 74.2 73.6
Iran (Islamic Republic of)14.014.514.
CIS in Asia 21.7 23.3 24.9 4.6 4.2 4.7 0.7 0.6 0.7 26.9 28.2 30.3

Note:Totals computed from unrounded data.

Despite the overall record cereal production in the subregion, food difficulties persist at national or subnational levels. Heavy monsoon rains and a severe typhoon season from August to October triggered flooding and landslides in many countries. Heavy rains and floods in south-western Bangladesh (Jessore, Satkhira and Khulna districts) left thousands of families homeless, who were moved to temporary shelters. Crops and shrimp fields were reported to be severely damaged in these areas.

In Pakistan, the monsoon rains began earlier and lasted longer than usual, resulting in floods that killed hundreds of people, destroyed property, crops, livestock and household food stocks. Similarly in many parts of India, annual monsoon rains triggered rounds of flooding resulting in loss of life, displacement of millions of people and damage to livestock and vast areas of crops. In Thailand, the worst floods since 1995 seriously affected about 47 of the country’s 76 provinces.

Philippines and Sri Lanka and China have also severely affected by floods this year.

In Nepal, the 2006 rice crop being harvested is forecast 10 to 15 percent lower than in 2005. The maize crop, harvested until September, is estimated to have declined from last year as a result of drought, floods and landslides during the summer crop season. It is reported that several areas, such as southwest Dolpa and southern parts of Siraha and Saptari are in an acute food crisis situation. The total number of people estimated at risk of food insecurity is almost 900 000. However, a positive development is the recent peace agreement between opposing parties, which is expected to end the ten-year-old conflict that has claimed at least 12 500 lives and resulted in widespread food insecurity.
The food emergency situation in Timor-Leste remains significant, but has reportedly improved with a better security situation following an increase in the number of UN police.

In Sri Lanka, despite a record cereal crop in 2006, hundreds of thousands of people in the north and east have no access to food due to the continued fighting in the country. Some 130 000 displaced people have reportedly been cut off from international aid distributions. Overall, there are some 600 000 to 800 000 IDPs in the country due to civil strife and the December 2004 tsunami.

In DPR Korea, harvesting of the 2006 main season cereal crops was completed in October. The 2006 cereal output is estimated lower than in the previous year, reflecting floods in July and October in parts of the country. The total cereal import requirement in 2006/07, including commercial imports and food aid, is expected to be at least 1 million tonnes.

A joint United Nations (FAO/UNICEF/UNDP) food security assessment mission visited Mongolia from 2 to 18 October. The 2006 wheat crop, collected in October/November, is estimated at some 130 000 tonnes, doubling last year’s drought-affected level. However, consumption of wheat, the main staple in the country, is dependent on commercial imports and food aid and the import requirement for 2006/07 is estimated at 230 000 tonnes. While wheat supplies are stable, supply of meat is tight and market prices have been surging in last couple of years reflecting the lingering effects of harsh winters and drought from 1999 to 2002 (see special feature).

Near East


Planting of the 2006/07 winter crops is underway or about to start in most countries of the subregion and will continue until the end of the year in parts. Most countries harvested average to above-average cereal crops last summer reflecting favourable growing conditions. However, in Afghanistan, drought almost entirely decimated rainfed cereals in some northern and western parts of the country, and significantly reduced irrigated wheat yields.
Severe food shortages and movement of people in search of food in some parts of the country have already been reported. The Government has appealed for external assistance.
In addition, heavy rains and floods in western parts in late November have affected 50 000 families along the Murghab River.

Asian CIS


Winter cereal planting conditions have been favourable and about-average planted areas are expected. Winter cereals, in particular wheat, are the most important crops in the subregion, with the exception of Kazakhstan, where most of the cereals are spring sown.

The subregion’s 2006 aggregate cereal output is estimated at more than 30 million tonnes, some 2 million tonnes up from the 2005 harvest. This aggregate includes nearly 25 million tonnes of wheat and 4.7 million tonnes of coarse grains (mainly barley and maize). Kazakhstan, the region’s main producer and exporter, is set to export some 5.3 million tonnes of cereals during the 2006/07 marketing year.

However, while the aggregate 2006 harvest was satisfactory, some countries in the subregion suffered localized drought. Cereal and other crops in Armenia and Georgia were affected following drought during early summer. Following recent strained relations between Georgia and the Russian Federation, the former may suffer increased food insecurity through reduced levels of remittances, trade and energy supplies.

ASIA: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance and main reasons (12)

Exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production/supplies
Widespread lack of access
AfghanistanConflict, IDPs and returnees, localized drought
GeorgiaExternal trade constraints
IraqConflict and insecurity, IDPs
Korea, DPREconomic constraints, floods
MongoliaMultiple years of adverse weather
NepalCivil strife and drought
Timor-LesteCivil strife
Severe localized food insecurity
IndonesiaAfter effects of the Tsunami and earthquakes
PakistanAfter effects of the Kashmir earthquake, floods
Sri LankaAfter effects of the Tsunami, deepening conflict and floods
Note: For explanation see terminology.

Latin America and the Caribbean


Central America and the Caribbean


In Mexico, harvesting of the 2006 main rain-fed summer maize and sorghum crops is well advanced and should be mostly completed by the end of the year. The country’s aggregate coarse grains output in 2006 (crops planted fall/winter 2005/06 and spring/summer 2006) is forecast at about 28.8 million tonnes, almost 10 percent up from the previous year as a result of an expansion in plantings. Abundant rains in August and September helped to restore soil moisture and improved levels of water reservoirs in the irrigated areas of the northwest, where sowing of the important winter 2006/07 wheat crop is about to start.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation preview


In the other Central American and Caribbean countries, harvesting of the 2006 second season “postrera” cereal and bean crops is underway. Aggregate maize (first and second season crops) production is provisionally forecast slightly above average, largely due to abundant rains during July and August that were beneficial for the first season crop yields. However, “postrera” rains have been lighter than normal and with irregular distribution in some areas, such as central Honduras, west Nicaragua and northwest Costa Rica, and may lead to a downward revision of the current aggregate production forecast.

Despite the overall good prospects, in Honduras, 2006 maize production is expected to be about 6 percent below the average of the past five years as a consequence of a prolonged dry period that affected parts of Olancho, Francisco Morazan and El Paraiso departments during the second half of the first season.

In Nicaragua, land is being prepared for planting the third “apante” season crops but the outcome is uncertain as there are some concerns over insufficient moisture. The apante season is the most important for bean production, accounting for about 50 percent of the annual production.

In Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, harvesting of second season paddy crops is about to start and production prospects are good following beneficial abundant and well distributed rains during the hurricane season that has just finished.

The 2006 aggregate cereal output of the subregion is estimated by FAO at 38.5 million tonnes, about 2.9 million tonnes above the previous year’s level and about 1.7 million tonnes below the average of the last five years, mainly reflecting Mexico’s good performance.

In Guatemala and El Salvador, food assistance from the international community continues to be deliveredto rural families and communities affected by hurricane “Stan” during October 2005. Food aid is also distributed to the most vulnerable population in Nicaragua and Honduras. In Haiti, torrential rains in late November resulted in floods in the north-west region of Port-de-Paix, which was severely hit by floods in 2005.

Table 10. Latin America and Caribbean cereal production
(million tonnes)

  Wheat Coarse grains Rice (paddy) Total Cereals
  2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast
Latin America & Caribbean 27.7 23.7 21.9 108.3 103.1 106.3 25.7 26.4 25.0 161.7 153.2 153.2
Central America & Caribbean 2.4 3.0 3.2 33.5 30.2 32.8 2.3 2.3 2.5 38.2 35.6 38.5
25.3 20.7 18.7 74.8 72.9 73.6 23.3 24.1 22.5 123.5 117.6 114.7

Note:Totals computed from unrounded data.

South America


In South America, harvesting of the 2006 winter wheat crop has just started in key growing areas of Argentina and Uruguay, while it is well advanced in central and southern states of Brazil and in eastern Paraguay. Aggregate wheat production for the subregion is preliminarily forecast at 18.7 million tonnes, the lowest level since 2002.
This is largely due to the record low output in Brazil, where area planted decreased sharply in response to low profitability of wheat in the past years, and yields were negatively affected
by dry weather conditions at the beginning of the season in key growing states of Parana, São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul, as well as by low temperatures and frosts at the beginning of September. The same factors have negatively affected the production of winter barley and oats crops. Below average wheat crop production is also expected in Chile and Paraguay as
a consequence of reduced plantings in response to low domestic prices and unfavourable weather conditions at planting time.

In Argentina, timely precipitation since the beginning of October has restored soil moisture in central and southern key growing areas, with a positive impact on yields and production prospect after a prolonged dry spell in August. However, lower yields than last year are still expected in centre-north departments. Wheat production is officially forecast at 13.5 million tonnes, above last year’s drought-reduced output but almost 5 percent below the five-year average.

After a slow start at the end of September due to limited soil moisture in some growing areas, planting of the 2007 main season coarse grain crops is well underway in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Uruguay. Planting intentions point to an aggregate sown area of about 18 million hectares in the subregion, slightly above the previous year.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance and main reasons (2)

Widespread lack of access
HaitiInsecurity, economic crisis
Severe localized food insecurity
HondurasAdverse weather
Note: For explanation see terminology.

North America, Europe and Oceania


North America


Planting of the United States’ winter wheat crop for harvest in 2007 was 96 percent complete by mid-November, similar to the 5-year average, and the condition of the young crops is reported to be mostly fair to excellent.
Unofficial estimates indicate that the wheat area may have expanded by as much as 5 percent to about 17.2 million hectares. The estimate of the aggregate 2006 wheat output has been revised up marginally since the last report, taking into account results of the last of the spring crops to be gathered, and now stands at 49.3 million tonnes, although still 14 percent down from the previous year’s level. However, regarding coarse grains, which are still being harvested in some parts, the latest estimate has been revised downward. Yields of maize in parts of the Corn Belt are turning out lower than anticipated earlier because of persisting hot and dry conditions during the summer.

In Canada, the cereal harvest in the major producing areas in western Canada was
completed well ahead of normal but as of early November, rain was reported to be delaying the final stages of the maize harvest in eastern parts. Latest official estimates put the 2006 wheat output at 26.3 million tonnes, about 2 percent down from last year’s bumper crop but still well above the five-year average. The reduction is the result of a sharp drop in durum wheat production, which more than offset increased output of other wheat types.
Regarding barley, the second most important cereal, a further reduction in area, for the third year in succession, and a return to near-average yields after last years good level, has led
to an estimated 20 percent drop in production.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation preview




The bulk of the 2006 cereal crops have now been gathered throughout the region and the 2007 winter grain planting has mostly been completed. The estimate of 2006 aggregate cereal output in the EU stands at 250.5 million tonnes, almost 3 million tonnes down from the forecast in September and about 10 million tonnes less than in 2005.

The latest adjustment follows collection of firmer estimates after the completion of harvests in several member states. While hot and dry conditions deteriorated output prospects as the season progressed in several large producing countries including Hungary, Poland, Italy, Germany and France, the decrease was partially offset by a sharp recovery in output in
and Portugal, where drought had devastated crops in the previous year.
Regarding the winter grains that have just been planted for harvest in 2007, early indications are favourable. Areas are expected to have increased, especially for wheat, and conditions are reported to be generally favourable for the establishment of crops before winter dormancy.

The Balkan countries also gathered smaller cereal crops in 2006. Wheat output estimates have remained unchanged since the previous report, with this year’s reduced output mostly reflecting the impact of harsh winter weather on plantings and yields. For coarse grains, the maize harvest is still in the final stages in some parts or is just completed, and results have been poorer than earlier expectations.

In Romania, the latest estimate puts the maize harvest at just 8.7 million tonnes, compared to 9.9 million tonnes last year and an average of 10.3 million tonnes over the past 5 years. Regarding the winter grain crops just planted, although firm estimates are not yet available, early indications point to a significant increase in area.

In the European CIS (the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova), with the possible exception of some maize crops, the 2006 cereals have all been gathered and the
bulk of the winter cereals for harvest next year have been planted. Conditions for crop establishment are by and large reported to be favourable throughout the main producing areas, the main exception being Russia’s Southern District, where soil moisture is reported to be less than optimum after particularly dry weather in August and September.
Early indications suggest that the area sown to winter grains in the Russian Federation is similar to or slightly larger than that of the previous year, while a sharp recovery is estimated in Ukraine after last year’s reduced plantings.

Latest estimates put the 2006 aggregate cereal output in the subregion at 115.5 million tonnes, nearly 7 million tonnes down from 2005. An unusually cold winter and thin snow cover compromised the wheat crop in the Russian Federation and the Ukraine by about 10 percent and 26 percent, respectively, compared with the previous year.

The coarse grains, being mainly spring sown, fared better in 2006, and aggregate output in the four countries is estimated at more than 56 million tonnes, up by 2.8 million tonnes from 2005. Aggregate cereal exports from the region during the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast at about 18 million tonnes, 7 million tonnes down on 2005/06 marketing year.
Of this, wheat is expected to account for some 9.7 million tonnes and barley for 6.6 million tonnes. Aggregate cereal imports to the region during the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast at about 2.6 million tonnes, similar to the volume imported in the previous marketing year.

Table 11. North America, Europe and Oceania cereal production
(million tonnes)

  Wheat Coarse grains Rice (paddy) Total Cereals
  2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast 2004 2005 estim. 2006 f’cast
NorthAmerica 84.6 84.1 75.6 346.6 325.4 308.9 10.5 10.1 8.8 441.7 419.6 393.3
United States58.757.349.3319.9299.1285.510.510.18.8389.1366.5343.6
Europe 219.5 207.2 188.7 245.4 214.4 210.2 3.4 3.4 3.3 468.4 425.0 402.2
CIS in Europe 64.8 68.5 58.6 60.3 53.4 56.2 0.6 0.7 0.7 125.6 122.5 115.5
Oceania 22.2 25.4 9.9 12.7 15.0 8.3 0.6 0.3 1.1 35.4 40.8 19.2

Note:Totals computed from unrounded data.

EUROPE: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance
and main reasons (1)

Severe localized food insecurity
Russian Federation (Chechnya) Conflict
Note: For explanation see terminology.



Australia's 2006 winter grain harvest has been severely reduced by drought. In a special report issued in late October, ABARE forecast the 2006 wheat crop at just 9.5 million tonnes, almost 7 million tonnes down from the forecast a month earlier, 15.6 million tonnes below last year’s bumper level, and the smallest crop since 1994.

The forecast for barley output has also been reduced dramatically since the previous report,
to about 3.6 million tonnes, which would be 64 percent down from 2005.
As of late October the harvest had already started in some parts and it is now considered to be generally too late for any rainfall, should it arrive, to change the current outlook for the winter crops. With soil moisture reserves very depleted, the prospects for the summer crops depend more than normal on the actual rainfall during planting and early development. However, the rainfall outlook for this period (November-January) is unfavourable, with drier than normal conditions forecast in south east Queensland and northern New South Wales.

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