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Country Briefs

  Belarus

Reference Date: 25-April-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Latest estimates point to 12 percent decline in 2017 cereals production

  2. Exports of cereals forecast to decrease in 2017/18

  3. Prices of wheat products rose in February

Early forecast points to 12 percent decline in 2017 cereals production

Planting of winter cereals, to be harvested by mid-2017, has been completed by November. A total of 1.6 million hectares of winter crops of grains and green fodder had been planted with a year-on-year increase of 1.4 percent. The tendency to increase the share of winter cereals plantings has been observed over the past years. Farmers prefer to plant winter crops instead of spring crops as the latter are often affected by adverse weather conditions at planting time. Winter cereals were at the stage of tillering in most of the surveyed fields by the end of March.

Spring planting operations started in March, ahead of season this year, but were hampered by wetter-than-normal weather conditions. As of end-March, spring planting was completed on 84 100 hectares (around 9 percent of the forecast area).

Assuming average yields, FAO’s early forecast for aggregate cereal production stands at 8.5 million tonnes, a 12 percent decline from the above-average production of last year.

Exports of cereals to decrease in 2017/18

With an upward trend in cereal production in recent years, the country became a net exporter of cereals. However, total cereals exports in the 2017/18 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at about 310 000 tonnes, slightly below from the previous year, reflecting the smaller production in 2017.

Prices of wheat products rose in February

The prices for wheat flour have been rising over the past year despite a good domestic harvest of wheat in the country, underpinned by a weak national currency and increasing flour production costs. The level of inflation of the Belarussian Rouble was reported to reach 12 percent in 2016 and fuel and energy prices have been rising over the past months. Moreover, the Government no longer sets the maximum price for bread since January 2016. As a result, the national average prices for wheat flour and bread were around 12 percent above their levels of February 2016.

Similarly, prices of potatoes increased by 20 percent over past three months, but were 40 percent below their values of July 2016, when prices reached their two-year high as a result of the good domestic harvest in 2016.