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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 08-April-2016


  1. Early forecast for 2016 cereals production points to 6 percent increase from last year

  2. Cereal production in 2015 declined from previous year’s record crop but remained about the recent average

  3. Exports of cereals on the rise

  4. Prices of staple foods remain stable or rose slightly in past months

Early forecast for 2016 cereals production points to 6 percent increase from last year

Despite unfavourable weather conditions (an unusually warm December and cold snowless January), the outlook for the 2016 winter cereals is positive. The area planted to winter cereals last autumn for harvest in 2016 is reported to have increased by 18 percent to 1.5 million hectares (winter wheat: 550 000 hectares; triticale: 540 million hectares: rye: 350 000 hectares: barley: 15 000 hectares), while the percentage of winterkill is reportedly the smallest in the last five years. Planting of spring cereals started earlier than usual, at the end of March, reflecting the unseasonably warm weather. At this early stage, assuming normal weather for the remainder of the season, FAO forecasts the country’s total cereal production in 2016 at about 8.5 million tonnes, of which 2.6 million tonnes would be wheat.

Despite increased plantings, cereal production in 2015 declined due to drought

The latest estimate of total cereal production in 2015 stands at 8.0 million tonnes, 11 percent less than the 2014 record level but still about the average of the past five years. Adversely dry weather during planting of the winter crops impacted negatively on yields. Wheat output is estimated at 2.5 million tonnes, down 15 percent from the record level of 2014, while that of barley decreased by 15 percent to 1.5 million tonnes. By contrast, conditions for the spring‑planted maize crop were particularly favourable leading to a record output, estimated at 1.3 million tonnes, more than double the 2014 reduced level.

Exports of cereals continue to rise

With an upward trend in cereal production in recent years, the country has become a net exporter of cereals. Despite the decrease in 2015 production, total exports of cereals in the 2015/16 marketing year are forecast to increase by about 4 percent from the previous year, reflecting abundant carryovers, to reach about 500 000 tonnes.

Prices of staple foods remain stable in past months

The national average price for wheat flour remained generally stable in early 2016, while prices for bread and potatoes rose by 1 and 3 percent, respectively, in February. In January, the Government announced that it will no longer set a maximum price for bread but will continue to do so for potatoes and other staple foods.