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Reference Date: 13-November-2015


  1. Widespread dry weather delays planting of 2016 main season crops

  2. Downward revision of 2015 aggregate rice and maize production due to prolonged dry weather

  3. Cereal imports in 2015/16 marketing year (April/March) forecast to decrease from last year’s record level

  4. Rice prices at record levels in October, reflecting reduced stock levels and lower 2015 off-season harvests

  5. Concerns remain for vulnerable rural groups due to high prices and negative impact of dry weather on food production

Dry weather delays planting of 2016 main season crops in key producing areas

Planting of the 2016, mostly irrigated, main season paddy crop, which accounts for the bulk of annual production, usually starts with the onset of seasonal rains in early October and continues until December. However, following below-average rainfall during October this year over large parts of the country, plantings have been delayed. Furthermore, yields of the early-planted crops are expected to be negatively affected, particularly in the rainfed areas. Most-affected provinces include West Java, East Java, Central Java, North and South Sulawesi and Lampung, which, together, normally account for close to two-thirds of the country’s annual rice production. The final outcome of the 2016 rice harvest will largely depend on the availability of water supplies for irrigation for the current main and forthcoming off-season, as approximately 85 percent of total rice area is irrigated. There are also concerns about planting of the 2016 main season maize crop, which has just started and normally continues into December. Seasonal rains could be delayed by four to eight weeks in most parts of the country. The Government has put in place measures to mitigate the impact of the current dry weather, through the rehabilitation of irrigation channels, building of new reservoirs and wells and distribution of water pumps to affected farmers. More rains are urgently needed in the coming weeks to avoid significant 2016 main season production declines in the rainfed areas.

Aggregate rice and maize production in 2015 revised down due to prolonged dry weather

Harvesting of the 2015 off-season rice crop will continue until December, with the bulk already gathered between July and mid-October. Prolonged dry weather between May and September across southern and eastern parts of the country delayed planting operations and caused yield reductions particularly in the rainfed areas. As a result, FAO lowered its forecast for the 2015 aggregate rice production by 2.6 million tonnes, to 73 million tonnes (in paddy terms). Pending more detailed information on the full extent of the damage to the 2015 off-season crop, FAO’s current forecast still implies a 3 percent expansion from the 2014 slightly reduced level, mainly due to the record 2015 main harvest, gathered earlier in the year.

Harvesting of the 2015 maize crop was completed in October. Similarly to rice, the estimate of the 2015 aggregate maize output has been lowered from earlier expectations by 1.2 million tonnes to 19.5 million tonnes, following dry weather during the second part of the off-season.

Cereal imports in 2015/16 marketing year (April/March) forecast to decrease from last year’s record level

Indonesia is one of the biggest importers of cereals in Far East Asia. Overall, cereal imports for the 2015/16 marketing year (April/March) are forecast at 11.8 million tonnes, some 5 percent below the record volume of the previous year. This is mainly the result of an anticipated 17 percent decrease in maize imports to 2.9 million tonnes, reflecting a good level of production in 2015 and a high level of carryover stocks. Wheat imports are anticipated to increase marginally and reach 7.9 million tonnes, reflecting sustained demand for the commodity. Similarly, rice exports in 2016 are forecast 400 000 tonnes up to 1.3 million tonnes, largely based on uncertainty over the outcome of the 2016 main season crop.

Rice prices at record levels in October

The average prices of medium quality rice, the main staple in the country, strengthened further to record highs in October, reflecting low stock levels and reduced output from the ongoing 2015 off-season harvest. Prices were also supported by concerns over the slow planting progress of the 2016 main season crop, due to dry weather. In an attempt to stabilize prices, the Government started to distribute, on 2 October, 300 000 tonnes of subsidized rice through the Raskin (rice-for-the-poor) programme and may import rice in the forthcoming months to ease the tight supply situation and reduce upward pressure on prices.

Concerns remain for vulnerable rural groups due to high prices and negative impact of dry weather on food production

Although current forecasts for the 2015 rice and maize outputs still point to an increase compared to 2014 level, significant localized production losses are expected, raising concerns for large numbers of subsistence farming families in the drought-affected provinces. Delays in the main planting season will also extend the lean season with possible negative impact on vulnerable households. The current dry weather also triggered forest and peat land fires over localized areas of Sumatera and Kalimantan islands, with official reports indicating some 43 million people affected by haze. Rains improved over much of Sumatra and Kalimantan in early November, providing some relief to the affected areas. Record high prices of main staple rice are expected to weigh heavily on food access and stress the food security situation of the most vulnerable population. The Government has allocated IDR 3.5 trillion (USD 258 million) intended to improve rice state reserves and stabilize the prices of staple foods, amid worries over the impact of the ongoing drought on food production.

GIEWS is closely monitoring weather developments and the food situation, particularly in the most vulnerable eastern parts of the country. FAO and WFP country offices in coordination with the Government are providing technical support to monitor and increase preparedness to mitigate any potential negative impact of El Niño on vulnerable populations.

Relevant links:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2005, 2005, 2000, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1998, 1998, 1998
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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