GIEWS COUNTRY UPDATES

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AFRICA

ASIA

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

NORTH AMERICA, EUROPE AND OCEANIA

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

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COSTA RICA (19 September)

Harvesting of the 2006 first season cereal and bean crop is virtually completed under normal weather conditions, while in some areas planting of the second season crops just started. Output of the main paddy crop is estimated at low 225 000 tonnes as a consequence of the reduced planted area. The aggregate (first and second season crops) maize production is early forecast at average level of 13 000 tonnes. Production of cassava is officially forecast to increase from 59 000 tonnes in 2005 to 210 000 tonnes in 2006, following good price expectations at sowing time. However, large increases in plantings have prompted a sharp fall in prices. Current cassava farmgate prices of cassava at farmgate are only some 10 per cent of those in the same period of 2005, making completely unprofitable to harvest the crop or suitable just for animal feed.

Wheat imports for marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are forecast at 220 000 tonnes, slightly above last year’s level as a consequence of the higher domestic demand, while maize imports (principally yellow) should be high at more than 600 000 tonnes due to the increasing demand of the feed industry.

CUBA (8 September)

At the end of August, tropical storm “Ernesto” caused heavy rains especially in the Eastern portion of the island. No serious damages were reported, while reservoirs in the southern provinces that were suffering from drought have been replenished. Harvesting of the 2006 main paddy crop is about to start and production is expected to be about 500 000 tonnes, with a significant increase from last year production of only 370 000 tonnes that was affected by the limited availability of irrigation water. Rice import requirements for marketing year 2006 (January/December) are forecast at high 750 000 tonnes.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (19 September)

Harvesting of main 2006 paddy crop, which accounts for about 70 per cent of annual production, has been completed and aggregate output is early estimated at an above average level of 700 000 tonnes. Abundant precipitations in July and August benefited cereal and bean crops and resulted in higher yields. Wheat imports in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are forecast at 350 000 tonnes, while those of maize (entirely yellow maize for the poultry industry) stand at high 1.1 million tonnes as previous year.

EL SALVADOR (19 September)

Harvesting of the 2006 main first season maize and bean crops is practically completed and the output is anticipated to be good as a consequence of above average precipitation during the months of July and August. Normal rains during the first half of September, benefited the start of the second season crops planting. The international community continues to deliver food assistance, especially to chronically malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women in the poorest municipalities of the country.

GUATEMALA (19 September)

Intense seasonal rains in July have been affecting central departments of Quiche, Alta Verapaz and Izabal, causing floods and some localized damages to crops. Harvesting of the 2006 main season maize crop has been virtually completed and the aggregate output (main and second season) is expected to reach an average level of about 1 million tonnes. Maize production covers approximately 60 percent of domestic demand and import requirements in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are forecast at 650 000 tonnes, below the record level of about 700 000 tonnes in 2005/06. Wheat production is negligible, while its consumption is steadily increasing, setting import requirements for 2006/07 marketing year at about 500 000 tonnes. Food assistance from the international community continues to be delivered to families still in temporary shelters in the 10 departments that were affected by the hurricane Stan in October 2005.

HAITI (8 September)

Harvesting of 2006 main season cereal crops is still underway and production prospects are favourable. Dry spells during March and April in some parts of southern departments of Grand’Anse, South and South-East caused a substantial delay in planting operations and, in several cases, re-planting was needed. However, abundant precipitations since the second decade of June had a positive impact on yields of maize and bean crops. The improved soil moisture has also favoured the ongoing planting of the 2006 second-season crops. Aggregate 2006 maize crop production is tentatively forecast at as above average level of 200 000 tonnes. By contrast, the irrigated paddy crop continues its declining production trend due to the reduction in plantings and yields as a result of the insufficient maintenance of the irrigation infrastructures in the key growing department of Artibonite. Paddy production in 2006 is expected at low 94 000 tonnes. Import requirements for marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are anticipated at about 270 000 tonnes of wheat and 320 000 tonnes of rice. Despite some improvements since the presidential election in February, the overall security situation in the country remains fragile. The international community continues to provide food aid to more vulnerable groups, especially to pregnant and lactating women and children under 2 years in the North, West and North-East departments, as well as in the capital city.

HONDURAS (19 June)

The start of the rainy season has been characterized by abundant and continuous precipitations that caused landslides in some hilly areas around the capital city. Planting of 2006 main season cereal and bean crops just started and early forecast points to an average area planted under maize of about 334 000 hectares. Assuming normal weather conditions, production is tentatively forecast at 510 000 tonnes. Paddy production is expected to reach 21 000 tonnes the same level of the last two years. Wheat and maize import requirements in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are forecast at about 240 000 tonnes and 300 000 tonnes respectively, very similar to the previous year. Food assistance continues to be provided by the international community, in particular to families in municipalities with over 50 percent of chronic malnutrition.

MEXICO (11 September)

Widespread normal to abundant rains across the large growing southern and south central states of Jalisco, México, Michoacá, Chiapas and Puebla have continued to provide adequate moisture for the 2006 main rain-fed summer maize and sorghum crops, currently at developing stage. However, dry weather conditions have been reported in northeast states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, with some negative impact on yields of sorghum crop. Harvesting the summer maize crop is expected to start in October and output is forecast at an above average level of 16 million tonnes, similar to the good output obtained in last year’s same season. Harvesting of the 2006 main paddy crop is about to start in key producing states of Veracruz and Campeche and aggregate production in 2006, which includes the output of the 2005/06 winter crop harvested earlier in the year, is tentatively forecast at 310 000 tonnes, similar to the good output of 2005. Land is being prepared for planting of the 2006/07 winter wheat crop in the irrigated areas of the northwest, where heavy rains at the beginning of September increased reservoir levels. Maize imports in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are forecast at 6.3 million tonnes, 6 per cent above previous year’s high level, due to the expansion of the demand of the animal feed industry. Imports of wheat and sorghum are forecast at about 3.7 and 3.3 million tonnes respectively.

NICARAGUA (5 September)

Harvesting of the 2006 first season (primera) cereal and bean crops is virtually completed, while planting of the second season crop (postrera) has just started. Abundant precipitation, typical of the hurricane season is being reported over most of the country, with the exception of some western coastal areas that experienced limited soil moisture since August. Preliminary estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture indicate the that the first season maize production, which accounts for some 60 per cent of the aggregate annual production, will be similar to previous year’s good level of about 360 000 tonnes. Import requirements in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are forecast at 130 000 tonnes of wheat, 60 000 tonnes of maize and 120 000 tonnes of rice. Food assistance continues to be provided by the international community to the most vulnerable groups in Central and Northern Atlantic Regions, particularly to pregnant and lactating women and children under two years old.

SOUTH AMERICA

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ARGENTINA (15 September)

Planting of the 2006 winter wheat crop was completed by the end of August and harvest of early planted crops is due from November. Despite some increase in the area planted in Cordoba, Santa Fe and Entre Rios, dry weather conditions in La Pampa and southeast Buenos Aires have prevented the achievement of the planned acreage of 5.9 million hectares; official estimates point to a planted area slightly below 5.4 million hectares, only some 3 per cent more than in the previous year. If precipitation resume in areas affected by dry weather and assuming average yields, 2006 wheat production is expected to reach 13.5 million tonnes which is above the reduced level of 2005 but still below average. Planting of 2006 barley crop has been recently completed and planted area is estimated at about 290 000 hectares. With some concerns for the limited soil moisture and cold weather conditions, planting of the 2007 maize crop has started in Santa Fe and Córdoba departments. Planting intentions point to 2.5 million hectares, an increase of 5 percent from the level of 2006, and early unofficial forecast put the 2007 maize production at about 17.5 million tonnes. This is well above the previous five years average of 16 million tonnes and about 20 per cent above the 2006 crop that was affected by reduced yields following dry weather.

BOLIVIA (12 September)

Harvesting of 2006 second season (winter) cereal crops, mainly maize and paddy, is underway under normal dry weather conditions and production is forecast about average and above the level of the last two years affected by dry weather conditions. Land is being prepared for planting the 2007 first season (summer) coarse grains, which will be harvested from next March. The country is self-sufficient in coarse grains and rice, but wheat production covers only about 20 percent of total utilization. Wheat imports in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are forecast at 400 000 tonnes, the same high level of 2005/06 reflecting the increasing demand of the past years. Food assistance continues to be provided by the international community to families affected by floods at the beginning of the year in Santa Cruz department.

BRAZIL (19 September)

Harvesting of the 2006 winter wheat crop has just started in Centre-South states and production is expected at a low level of 2.7 million tonnes. This outcome is due to lower plantings and yields. The area planted decreased sharply in response to low profitability of wheat in the past years, which has resulted in heavy indebtedness of farmers and lower use of fertilizers. Wheat yields have been negatively affected by dry weather conditions during the season in areas from northern Parana to Mato Grosso di Sul and Goias, as well as and by frosts at the beginning of September. Harvesting of the 2006 second-season maize crop (safrinha) is well advanced in Centre-South producing states and the output is expected at 10.7 million tonnes, an increase of about 34 per cent from last year’s same season seriously affected by erratic rains especially in the key growing state of Parana. The aggregate 2006 maize output is provisionally estimated above 42 million tonnes, some 20 per cent more than in 2005. Maize exports in marketing year 2006/07 (April/March) should increase considerably from last year’s low levels to 2.5 million tonnes. Harvesting of 2006 paddy crop has been recently completed in North and North-Eastern states and aggregate output (including the production obtained from February to May in Centre-Southern states) is estimated at average 11.5 million tonnes, about 13 per cent below previous year’s record level.

CHILE (11 September)

Planting of 2007 winter wheat crop, to be harvested from December to March, has been virtually completed and early official estimates indicate an area planted of 315 000 hectares, very similar to the low level of previous year. Sowing of 2007 maize crop is expected to start at the beginning of October in departments VI, VII and VIII and planting intentions point to 125 000 hectares, similar to 2006. Attractive domestic prices for oats crop are expected to result in an increase in 2007 planted area of about 10 per cent compared to 2006 and, assuming average yields, production may reach 430 000 tonnes. Cereal import requirements for marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are forecast at 1.2 million tonnes of maize (mostly yellow maize), 750 000 tonnes of wheat and 80 000 tonnes of rice.

COLOMBIA (12 September)

Harvesting of 2006 first season cereal crops is well advanced, while in areas with adequate soil moisture land is under preparation for planting of the second season. The 2006 maize aggregate production (both seasons) is provisionally forecast at an average level of 1.3 million tonnes. By contrast, production of sorghum is expected at very low level of 205 000 tonnes as a consequence of reduced planted area. Paddy production, an important staple food in Colombian diet, is tentatively estimated at 2.6 million tonnes, very similar to previous years’ above average output. Wheat and maize imports in marketing year 2006/07 are forecast at record levels of 1.3 million tonnes and 3 million tonnes respectively, reflecting the growing consumption of bread and pasta as well as the high demand for feed by the poultry sector. The international community continues providing food assistance in various parts of the country to internally displaced population, victim of the civil strife affecting the country.

ECUADOR (12 September)

Harvesting of the 2006 second-season paddy crop has started and this year’s aggregate output is anticipated to be above 1.3 million tonnes, very similar to the good results obtained in previous two years. Harvesting of the 2006 summer maize crop (mainly white) is scheduled for October. Despite lower yields of the winter crop due to dry weather conditions in late 2005 and early 2006 and of subsequent heavy rains, the 2006 aggregate production of maize (white and yellow) is early estimated at average 680 000 tonnes. Parts of Los Ríos and Bolívar provinces have been severely affected by ash fall following the eruption of the Tungurahua volcano in mid-August. A preliminary assessment indicates that more than 100 000 persons have been directly affected by the disaster and that approximately one quarter of them is in immediate need of food assistance. Maize import requirements for 2006/07 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at average 400 000 tonnes, while imports of wheat are forecast at high 500 000 tonnes as a consequence of the increasing demand of the feed industry.

PERU (7 September)

Harvesting of the 2006 paddy crop is well advanced and production is early forecast at about 2.2 million tonnes, approximately 11 percent below last year’s record output. This is due to reduced planted area, especially in the High jungle, in response to falling domestic prices following the bumper 2005 supply. The peak of the wheat crop harvest operations has been reached from June to August and the output collected is above that of 2005 for the same period. The harvest should continue through October and the 2006 wheat production is provisionally estimated at 190 000 tonnes, some 4–5 percent above the average of the past five years. Harvesting of the 2006 white maize crop has been virtually completed, while the yellow maize crop harvest is well advanced. Despite some reduction in plantings in the highlands, mainly white maize, due to inadequate soil moisture at the end of 2005, the 2006 aggregate maize production (white and yellow maize) is forecast at 1.2 million tonnes, just slightly below last five years average. Wheat and maize imports in marketing year 2006 (January/December) are forecast at about 1.6 and 1.3 million tonnes respectively.

URUGUAY (19 September)

Despite some delay due to localized excess of soil moisture, planting of the 2006 winter wheat and barley crops is virtually completed. Wheat plantings are officially estimated above 200 000 hectares, the highest acreage since 1997, while barley plantings are expected to reach 130 000 hectares, with an increase of about 70 per cent compared to previous year that was characterized by a low demand of the local beer industry. Wheat crop harvest is due to start by mid-November and, under normal weather condition, production is expected to be record with approximately 570 000 tonnes, that will guarantee an exportable surplus of about 120 000 tonnes. Planting of the 2006/07 summer maize crop is about to start and plantings intentions point to an area of 54 000 hectares, slightly above last year’s level. In the north of the country, reduced rains and water reservoirs below their normal level for this time of the year may affect planting of 2006/07 important paddy crop that is due to start in October. If precipitations do not resume abundantly in September, total planted area with paddy may barely reach 140 000 hectares, well below the previous forecast of 175 000 - 180 000 hectares.

VENEZUELA (7 September)

Harvesting of 2006 summer maize crop is underway and production (essentially white maize for human consumption) is estimated at 2.1 million tonnes, similar to the good level obtained in last two years. This is mainly due to the abundant rains from May to July throughout the country that favoured crop development and yields. Harvesting of the irrigated summer paddy crop is underway and the 2006 aggregate output is tentatively forecast at 930 000 tonnes, about 4 percent less than the previous year’s level as a result of a widespread invasion of rats that affected the winter paddy crop in the main growing state of Guarico in January. The country is traditionally self-sufficient in rice, while it entirely relies on imports to satisfy the growing domestic consumption of wheat. For marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) wheat import requirements are forecast at high 1.5 million tonnes and those of maize (mostly yellow maize for the animal feed industry) at 450 000 tonnes.

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