No.3  October 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 Note

Regional reviews



North Africa


Harvesting of the 2006 winter crops has been completed, coarse grains (maize and sorghum) are presently being harvested in Egypt and harvesting of paddy is about to start. Aggregate wheat output for the subregion is provisionally estimated at 18.6 million tonnes, a significant recovery from the drought-reduced crop in 2005. Wheat output in Egypt, the largest producer in the subregion, is provisionally estimated at 8.3 million tonnes, well up from the to the five-year average of 7 million tonnes. The improvement is due to the combination of a modest increase in wheat plantings in 2006 with respect to 2005 and the normal to abundant rains that have benefited the crops throughout the season. In Morocco , the wheat crop doubled from last year’s poor level while barley output more than doubled to 2.5 million tonnes.
In Algeria, wheat production is tentatively estimated at 2.7 million tonnes, compared to the above-average crop of 2.3 million tonnes harvested in 2005. By contrast, in Tunisia, a 50-day dry spell from early March through late April resulted in crop failure in many parts of the country, and the wheat and barley crops are estimated at a below-average 1.2 million tonnes and 395 000 tonnes, respectively.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation


Western Africa


In the Sahel region, following below-normal rains in June/early-July in several parts, precipitation improved significantly in August over the main producing areas, increasing soil water reserves and providing relief to stressed crops, thus improving production prospects in most countries. However, in the areas affected by earlier dry conditions, some yield potential was already irrevocably lost and late plantings or replanted crops will still need more rains late in the season to cover their entire growing cycle and ensure a reasonable crop. In some areas where rains were particularly heavy severe flooding was reported, causing considerable human casualties and damage to crops, notably in Burkina Faso and Niger. From west to east, crop conditions are satisfactory in Cape Verde and Senegal following widespread rains in August . In The Gambia, according to remote sensing rainfall estimates, crop prospects appear to be mixed. Adequate rainfall favoured desalination and transplanting of swamp rice in Guinea-Bissau. In Mauritania, increased rains in August benefited crops in the south-west, but more good rains are needed in the south-centre and south-east. In Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, crop conditions improved significantly after the scant rains of June. Satellite imagery for early September indicates that good rains continued to fall over most of the Sahel region.

In the coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea, rains have been regular and widespread since the beginning of the major season in April in the south, where harvesting of the first maize crop is underway. In the north, millet and sorghum crops are developing satisfactorily and harvest prospects are good, provided favourable weather conditions persist. However, migratory pests have reportedly destroyed about 50 000 tonnes of crops in central Nigeria in mid-September.

Table 5. 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 24.6 82.1 94.9 92.1 19.4 20.8 21.5 123.9 136.7 138.3
17.2 15.4 18.7 12.9 11.7 12.7 6.4 6.2 6.2 36.5 33.2 37.6
0.1 0.1 0.1 28.0 36.9 36.3 8.1 9.1 9.8 36.1 46.1 46.2
- - - 2.9 3.0 3.1 0.4 0.4 0.4 3.3 3.5 3.5
3.2 3.3 3.4 20.7 25.0 24.2 1.2 1.4 1.3 25.1 29.7 28.9
Southern Africa 1.9 2.2 2.4 17.7 18.4 15.8 3.3 3.6 3.8 22.9 24.2 22.1
South Africa1.

Note:Totals computed from unrounded data.

Central Africa


In Cameroon and the Central African Republic, where rains have been abundant and widespread since the beginning of the cropping season in April, harvesting of the first 2006 maize crop is underway. In the latter country, 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


Harvesting of the 2006 main season cereal crops has almost been concluded in southern parts of the subregion. In northern parts crops are at varying stages of development and abundant rains in July and August generally improved prospects. However, severe floods in some areas have resulted in loss of life and caused damage to crops and property. Over the last three years, successive poor rains in most pastoral areas of the subregion have severely affected pastures and livestock, resulting in acute food shortages and the migration of thousands of people in search of water and food. Past or ongoing civil conflicts have also seriously disrupted food production and distribution in some areas.
In Eritrea, following below-average rainfall in June and July, which raised some concern, the August rains were above normal allowing crops to recover somewhat before the harvest due to start in October. In the mechanized areas of Gash Barka the condition of crops is slowly recovering back to normal, while in the traditional agriculture areas, crop condition is generally similar to last year and in some areas above-average. In August, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicated profiles that were better (greener) than last year and similar to the average of the past seven years. The August rains were also beneficial for grazing conditions in the pastoral areas of Habero, Nakfa and Asmat, which were reported to be better than the average, but still slightly below last year’s condition.
In Ethiopia, prospects for the 2006 main “meher” season cereal crop, to be harvested from late October, are favourable. Abundant rains since June benefited developing crops in major producing regions. However, although good for the crops, the rains have resulted in some of the worst flooding on record throughout the country, causing hundreds of deaths, displacement, and widespread loss of property, crops and livestock. In addition, outbreaks of water borne diseases including diarrhea have increased and present a significant risk. While the full impact of the flooding is still being assessed, urgent food and non-food assistance is needed for about 200 000 affected people. More flooding is expected in the southeastern and northwestern parts of the country in the coming weeks. The output of the 2006 “belg” season crop, harvested earlier in the year, was good. The belg crop accounts for some 7 to 10 percent of the aggregate cereal production of the country, but it is important in several areas, where it provides the bulk of the annual food supplies. By contrast, in the pastoral areas of south-eastern Ethiopia, rainfall was inadequate meaning that recovery of the food security situation in sites of last year’s severe food shortages will be delayed. FAO and WFP will jointly field a mission to the country in November 2006 to assess the outcome of this year’s harvest and the food supply outlook for 2007.
In Sudan, harvesting of current season crops is expected to start in the next few weeks. The continued crisis in Darfur, remains the most pressing humanitarian problem. The humanitarian community fears hundreds of thousands of people could be displaced again should Darfur face an upsurge in conflict. A realistic scenario could see as many as 350 000 people displaced, loss of basic services such as clean water and healthcare, and an increased dependence on helicopters and planes to deliver aid as road travel becomes too dangerous. Food security prospects in Darfur are doubly worrying as the deteriorating security situation may disrupt the harvesting of current crops, about to start in the coming few weeks. Table 6 below indicates production of millet and sorghum in the three states of Darfur while Figure 4 shows millet production in Darfur compared with that of Sudan as a whole.

Table 6. Sudan: Coarse Grains Production in Darfur 1996-2002

( Avg.) 2003, 2004, 2005 (Area in 000 feddans and Production in 000 tonnes)

  Sorghum Millet
  Planted Area Harvested Area Yield kg/feddan* Production Planted Area Harvested Area Yield kg/feddan* Production
North Darfur        
1996-2002896710471 9101 0709298
2003895012062 2301 0507983
2004532110021 4405176333
2005896511271 4066108954
South Darfur        
1996-20026474192551071 9861 297118153
20031 4768722141872 6751 634214350
2004730423180761 537922150138
2005na620270167na1 300190247
West Darfur        
2005 na127135044na18030054

*One feddan is equivalent 0.42 ha.
1 Indicates a switch from millet to sorghum due to seed provision and good early rainfall. Total harvested area was only 4 percent

Crop Prospects and Food Situation


It is clear from the above that the bulk of the staple millet crop in Sudan is produced in Darfur and any disruption to the harvesting will have a significant negative impact. In southern Sudan, conflict arising from this year’s disarmament process and the ongoing cattle raiding in Jonglei continues to exacerbate food insecurity. Fighting disrupted wild food collection, fishing and traditional livestock/grain exchange mechanisms during the dry season (January to April), forcing households and cattle to return from dry season grazing areas earlier than normal. An interagency assessment led by the UN conducted in June found that food shortages have increased due to conflict. Local defence and security forces lost their food to looting, and this overburdened the community as they had to feed the forces at a time when food is most scarce.  In addition, insufficient access to seeds and tools, reportedly caused by the conflict, affected the ability of households to take full advantage of this year's cropping season, despite an earlier than normal season onset and improved rains when compared to last year.  The assessment also reported that heavy rains have affected maize and sorghum crops in some areas. Elsewhere in Sudan, extensive floods in parts have displaced tens of thousands of people, and destroyed crops and property. Although a respite is now reported, heavy rains in the Blue Nile catchment areas in the Ethiopian highlands caused an overflow of the Nile river, surpassing those of earlier years, and submerged many villages and settlements. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is visiting southern Sudan in October and is planned to visit northern Sudan in November to assess the main season production and estimate food assistance requirements, if any, in 2007.
In Kenya, harvesting of the 2006 long-rains season maize is complete in parts and will continue for the next few weeks in others. The long-rains cropping season normally accounts for 80 percent of total annual food production. The revised official forecasts indicate a long-rains season maize output of 2.52 million tonnes, about 15 percent above average. Over 50 percent of maize crop has already been harvested, from different parts of the country. The maize crop, for harvest from October, in the Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza Provinces is reported to be good condition.
The 2006 long-rains season and the emergency operation have provided considerable relief to pastoralists avoiding a major 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, sustained improvement will require a normal to above-normal short-rains season between October and December. Considerable livestock losses experienced between December and March, coupled with a shortened long-rains season in parts, means that pastoral lives and livelihoods remain vulnerable to a further shock.  An upsurge in disease has also compounded poor nutrition, reducing effectiveness of interventions in some areas. Meanwhile, an increase in the incidence of conflict in the pastoral Turkana, Marsabit and Samburu districts is disrupting normal seasonal migrations.
In Somalia, the 2006 main gu season cereal crop, harvested in August/September, is estimated at about 113 000 tonnes, 29 percent below the five-year average. The decline is due to the poor rainfall in the main producing areas. The gu cereal crop normally accounts for some 70 to 80 percent of annual production. The overall food security situation in Somalia continues to be alarming. The gu assessment confirmed that a severe food crisis will persist throughout the country for the rest of 2006, affecting at least 1.8 million people. The situation is further aggravated by the intermittent hostilities and insecurity.
Cereal prices peaked in May – June 2006 in response to low cereal supplies following the poor crop performance in the previous crop seasons. Recent heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands during the month of August caused localized flooding around Jowhar that affected an estimated 30 000 people and 14 000 hectares of farmland. Additional flooding was recorded elsewhere in the Upper and Lower Shabelle and Upper and Lower Juba regions. The expected onset of deyr (secondary season) rains and the high level of rain continuing in catchment areas indicate a potential for further flooding in the Middle and Lower Shabelle Regions. Worryingly also, the rate of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) remains high at over 20 percent. Despite the serious nature of the humanitarian situation in Somalia, only half of the US$326 million requested in the current Consolidated Appeal for Somalia have been committed so far. Any further escalation of conflict in the current standoff could trigger a significant and rapid deterioration in food security.
Further information and analysis can be accessed from the Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) at:
In Tanzania and Uganda, the overall food supply situation is adequate following recent good harvests and improved pastures. However, food difficulties remain in parts, due to localized drought conditions and/or insecurity. In Uganda, in the north, the on-going peace process and improved security conditions have encouraged resettlement and improved household access to land, but the poor performance of the rains has limited extensive planting and cultivation. In the Great Lakes, the Joint FAO/WFP/Government assessments in Burundi and Rwanda, the 2006B total food production in cereal equivalent is estimated to be slightly better than in the 2005B season. However, following the dry weather of the 2006A season, the aggregate outputs of the two seasons combined, are estimated to be lower than in 2005 in both countries, by 1 percent in Burundi but 14 percent in Rwanda.
Some of the decline has been offset by a bumper crop of beans during this year. Total cereal import requirements, including food aid for 2006 are projected to increase in both countries. Maize prices in the capital markets recently were found to be about 6 percent higher in Rwanda and 11 percent higher in Burundi compared to the corresponding prices a year ago.

Southern Africa


In Southern Africa, the final estimate of the aggregate 2006 maize harvest stands at 14.38 million tonnes, about 16 percent down from the output in 2005. Excluding South Africa, however, the subregion’s 2006 maize and total cereal harvests, estimated at 7.78 million tonnes and 12.89 million tonnes, respectively, represent historical record levels and are a significant improvement over the past year, in the magnitude of 46 percent for maize and 28 percent for total cereals. The total for all cereals includes an early forecast for the winter crops (mainly wheat) which amounts to about 12 percent of the total. Apart from the generally favourable weather conditions during the growing season, subsidized fertilizer distributions in some countries (for example in Malawi and Zambia) were also an important contributing factor to this outcome. The final official estimate in South Africa, puts the 2006 maize production at 6.6 million tonnes, sharply down from near record harvest of 11.72 million tonnes last year. The decline in production caused by a sharp drop in the area planted is the result of low prices at planting time coupled with high carryover stocks of maize (estimated at 4 million tonnes as of 30 April 2006). Thus, despite good crops elsewhere, the subregion’s aggregate 2006 coarse grain output is estimated by FAO at 15.8 million tonnes, about 14 percent down from 2005.

While in most other countries in the subregion bumper harvests were gathered, in Angola, total cereal output, estimated at 749 000 tonnes, decreased by 16 percent due to erratic rains and long dry spells that particularly affected 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 the average of the past five years showing the overall structural decline in this sector. In Zimbabwe, total cereal output in 2006 is estimated at 1.5 million tonnes is 88 percent higher than the drought-affected and economically constrained output of the previous year. However, despite this significant recovery, cereal production remains well below requirements.

Reflecting this year’s good crops in most countries, the aggregate cereal import requirement of the subregion for the 2006/07 marketing year (April/March in most cases) is now revised at 6.5 million tonnes, some 10 percent lower than in the previous year (See Figure 5). 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 4.95 million tonnes in 2005/06 to an estimated requirement of 3.72 million tonnes in 2006/07. Food assistance needs in 2006/07 estimated at about 542 000 tonnes would be lower than the average annual food aid of the previous five years, calculated at about 708 000 tonnes.

Table 7. Southern Africa – Import requirements for 2006/07 and estimated imports for 2001/02-2005/06 ( 000 tonnes)

  2006/07 f’cast 2005/06estim. 2001/02-2005/06 average 2006/07
2005/06 (%)
2006/07 over
5-yr avg (%)
Southern Africa 6 482 7 223 6 705 90 97
Southern Africa
excl. South Africa
3 719 4 945 4 383 75 85
Increase from 2005/06   
South Africa2 7632 2782 322121119
No significant change from 2005/06   
Decrease from 2005/06    
Zimbabwe4571 2108993851
Malawi 125 3443063641


Crop Prospects and Food Situation


In the countries where production recovered, maize and other cereal prices have declined sharply since the beginning of the new harvest in April to normal post-harvest lows, resulting in an improvement in food security in general. As seen from Figure 6, maize prices in the capital city markets in Zambia and Mozambique, were about US$354 and US$390 per tonne, respectively, during the peak of the hunger season in February 2006, compared to the current levels of about US$172 and US$210. In South Africa, contrary to the usual post-harvest trend, the SAFEX price of white maize has been rising from a low of US$126 per tonne in September 2005 to the current level of US$187 per tonne, reflecting the huge levels of stocks earlier and the sharp reduction in production later in this period. However, the still comfortable level of carryover stocks and the improved harvests in the other countries of the subregion are likely to limit further increases in prices. Changes in the maize prices in local currencies in South Africa and Zambia, on the other hand, have been a little more pronounced as compared to the changes in US$ prices. For example, between September 2005 and September 2006, a rise in the Rand price in South Africa and a drop in Kwacha price in Zambia were more a result of the weakened Rand and strengthened Kwacha against the US$, respectively. The Mozambique Metical, however, with the exception of a temporary devaluation in November 2005, has been fairly stable against US$ during this 12 month period.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation


Overall, prospects for the regional food supply for the current marketing year look 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, just enough to cover the needs of the other maize deficit countries in the subregion estimated at about 1.3 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.

AFRICA: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance and main reasons (26)

Exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production/supplies
EritreaDrought, IDPs, returnees, high food prices
LesothoMultiple year droughts, HIV/AIDS impact
SomaliaDrought, civil strife
SwazilandMultiple year droughts, HIV/AIDS impact
ZimbabweDeepening Economic Crisis
Widespread lack of access
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
Burkina FasoAfter effects of 2004 drought and locusts
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
MaliAfter effects of 2004 drought and locusts
SudanCivil strife, returnees, drought in parts
Tanzania, U.R.Drought in parts
UgandaCivil strife, IDPs
Note: For explanation see terminology.



Far East


Harvesting of the main rice and maize crops, which make up the bulk of the subregion’s cereal crops, is underway in most countries. Following above-average precipitation throughout the season across most of the subregion, FAO forecasts the 2006 aggregate output of rice at 570.2 million tonnes, about 1 percent up from the good crop in previous year and 6 percent above the five-year average. A bigger crop expected in India, for the second successive year, accounts for most of the increase. The 2006 production of maize in this subregion is forecast at 192.1 million tonnes, 2 percent up from the previous year’s record harvest and 14.5 percent above the five-year average. The 2006 wheat output in the subregion, gathered earlier in the year, is estimated at a record level of 197.9 million tonnes. For both maize and wheat, the growth is expected largely in China.

Table 8. 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 255.6 263.5 269.4 232.7 246.7 250.5 548.4 570.8 575.7 1 036.7 1 080.9 1 095.6
Far East 187.6 191.5 197.9 208.1 221.0 224.8 543.4 565.5 570.2 939.1 978.0 992.9
Viet Nam---
Near East 46.2 48.2 47.7 19.9 21.4 20.9 4.3 4.6 4.8 70.4 74.1 73.4
Iran (Islamic Republic of)14.014.514.
CIS in Asia 21.7 23.6 23.7 4.6 4.3 4.8 0.7 0.6 0.7 26.9 28.5 29.2

Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.

In China (Mainland), the main rice crop is presently being harvested, while harvesting of the late crop will take place in October-November. The forecast for 2006 aggregate paddy production has been revised downward to 181.5 million tonnes from the previous estimate of 185 million tonnes to reflect the impact of serious drought in Sichuan, Chongqing and Heilongjiang. But this production is still close to last year’s high level. Harvesting of maize in southern areas was completed in August, but is still ongoing in northern China. Latest information points to a record output of 142 million tonnes, 2.6 million tonnes up from last year and 17.8 million tonnes above the five-year average, as a result of increased area and higher yield. In 2006/07, China’s cereal imports are expected to remain at the relatively low level of some 4 million tonnes, but cereal exports are forecast to decrease from some 7.5 million tonnes to 5.5 million tonnes.
In India, the 2006 southwest monsoon has been close to the long-term average in terms of the cumulative rainfall amount, but with highly skewed distribution. Harvesting of the 2006 main Kharif rice, coarse grains, oilseeds and groundnuts crops has begun. The Kharif rice production this year is forecast at 76 million tonnes, some 2.7 percent higher than last year’s good harvest. The aggregate output of the 2006 milled rice crop is forecast at some 93.3 million tonnes, some 2 million tonnes above the good level of the previous year. The 2006 wheat output is officially estimated at 69.48 million tonnes, 1.2 percent above the reduced crop of the previous year, but 0.5 percent below the five-year average. In order to replenish stocks, the 2006/07 wheat imports are expected to reach 6 million tonnes, resulting in the country changing its trade position from a large net exporter of wheat to a large net importer. Harvesting of the 2006 paddy and coarse grain crop in Pakistan is underway. Paddy production in 2006 is forecast to be less than last year’s record, but higher than the average. Rice exports are forecast at 3.4 million tonnes in 2006 and 3.2 million tonnes in 2007.
The main 2006 rice crop in Thailand, accounting for about 75 percent of annual rice production, is developing under favourable weather conditions since the beginning of the season. Harvesting of this crop will begin in November. The 2006 aggregate paddy output is provisionally forecast at 30.6 million tonnes, some 600 000 tonnes above the record achieved last year, reflecting the good weather and attractive intervention prices, which prompted an increase in plantings. The country maintains its status as the world’s largest rice exporter. The 2006 rice exports are forecast at 7.3 million tonnes. Harvesting of the winter/spring paddy crop was completed in July in Vietnam. The aggregate paddy output in 2006 is expected to be record at 36.7 million tonnes, reflecting increased plantings and higher yields. Vietnam, the world’s second largest rice exporter after Thailand, exported around 5.2 million tonnes of rice in 2005 and a similar amount is expected in 2006. The 2006 maize crop is estimated at 3.8 million tonnes, similar to last year’s record. With this production, the country is self-sufficient in maize.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation


Despite an overall satisfactory food supply situation in the subregion, food shortages and emergencies persist, at national or subnational levels due to natural disasters and civil unrest. In DPR Korea, harvesting of the 2006 main season crops of rice, maize, and potatoes is underway. Lower output than last year is expected, as a result of severe floods that struck South Pyongan, North Hwanghae, Kangwon and South Hamgyong provinces in mid-July, which totally or partially destroyed 23 400 houses and left some 19 000 families homeless, and caused extensive damage to crops (mainly maize, paddy and soybeans). Total cereal import requirement in 2006/07 (Nov/Oct), including commercial import and food aid, is expected at more than 1 million tonnes.

The food security situation of many urban residents in Timor-Leste remains significantly affected by recent civil unrest. By the end of August, WFP had provided a 1 467 tonnes of food assistance to approximately 167 100 beneficiaries.
In Sri Lanka, despite a good crop forecast this year, the deterioration of the political and security situation since late 2005 has significantly affected food security in some areas of the country, particularly districts in the northeast, which were also affected by the 2004 tsunami disaster. A WFP special operation amounting to 2.6 million dollars has just started in support of 600 000 beneficiaries. Harvesting of the 2006 wheat crop in Mongolia, virtually the only cereal produced in the country, is underway. The output is expected to recover from the poor drought-affected level last year to around 127 000 tonnes. This will cover only about 33 percent of domestic wheat utilization, leaving an estimated import requirement for 2006/07 of 256 000 tonnes. Dzud and drought conditions in Mongolia in the past few years have substantially depleted household coping mechanisms and have resulted in an increase in poverty. A joint UN food security expert consultation and food security assessment mission will visit the country in October 2006.
In Nepal, according to the Nepal Red Cross Society, more than 16 000 families in 26 districts have been affected by this year’s seasonal floods and landslides. By mid-September, over 45 000 people had received relief assistance. WFP plans to deliver some 1 300 tonnes of food to the affected population in the western regions. While the national cereal supply position is satisfactory in Indonesia, a large number of the poorest population, especially those affected by recent natural disasters, continue to be in need of international food assistance. In July, an earthquake and tsunami on the island of Java caused widespread damage to houses and displaced a large number of people, and earlier in the year, in May, an earthquake in Yogyakarta, left some 6 000 people dead and some 300 000 homes destroyed. Six weeks of torrential rain has affected more than 10 million people in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in India. Hundreds of houses, public buildings, bridges and schools have reportedly collapsed or been badly damaged. Some 50 000 families in the Sindh region of Pakistan have also been severely affected. In China, the worst drought in the last fifty years has reportedly affected more than 3 million hectares of crops in Sichuan and Chongqing. The economic losses are officially estimated at more than 10 billion yuan (1.25 billion US dollars) in Sichuan and over 6 billion yuan (0.75 billion US dollars) in Chongquing. Meanwhile, China also was hard-hit by a series of devastating typhoons and tropical storms, killing over 600 people and causing over 3 million people displaced.

Near East


Most countries in the Near East harvested average to above-average cereal crops this year reflecting favourable growing conditions. Jordan has registered increased production, continuing to recover output from the 2004 drought-affected poor crop. The food situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip gives cause for serious concern due to shortages and market disruption, which are further aggravated by the current tense political situation. In Afghanistan reduced precipitation and drought conditions have almost entirely decimated rainfed cereals in northern and western parts of the country, while the associated impact on irrigation reserves has resulted in significantly reduced yields also of irrigated wheat. Severe food shortages and movement of people in search of food in some parts of the country have already been reported. The situation may further deteriorate with the onset of winter.

Asian CIS


Cereal harvesting is virtually complete in the region and the aggregate output is estimated at just over 29 million tonnes, more than half a million tonnes up on 2005. The improved harvest is mainly due to above-average precipitation in the main producing parts of the subregion, especially snowfall during the winter, which amply replenished water reserves for the extensive irrigation systems. The aggregate harvest includes some 23.7 million tonnes of wheat and 4.8 million tonnes of coarse grains. Kazakhstan is the main producer in the region and accounts for about 50 percent of the total cereal output. Reflecting the good harvest, aggregate cereal exports from Kazakhstan during the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast to rise to about 4.7 million tonnes, some 769 000 tonnes up on 2005/06. Uzbekistan is also expected to export a significant volume in 2006/07, estimated at about 500 000 tonnes. The country switched from being a net importer of cereals only a few years ago, and since then has maintained a significant level of exports, ranging from 200 000 to 500 000 tonnes annually in the marketing years since 2003/04.

However, while the 2006 output was satisfactory in the main producing parts of the subregion, other areas suffered localized crop losses due to dry spells during the season, notably in Armenia, which has led to a tight cereal supply situation (see box).

Food, feed and cereal seed supplies are tight in Armenia following drought conditions in spring/summer


Armenia suffered reduced precipitation in 2006 spring/summer causing significant losses of the rainfed spring cereal crops, mainly barley, but also reduction in yields of the winter irrigated cereal crops, mainly wheat. Rainfall practically ceased between May and June, when cereal crops were in the grain development stage.

Wheat, potatoes and fruit trees are the most important crops in Armenia. Spring cereals (barley and wheat) are mainly grown under rainfed conditions and output is normally around 100 000 tonnes or about 14 percent of the aggregate annual cereal harvest. Nearly 70 percent of the spring cereals is barley cultivated in the uplands for feeding livestock. Most households in the rural areas keep at least one cow for subsistence and limited livestock products are also sold. Pure pastoralists and intensive livestock farms, except very few Kurdish households in the uplands, do not exist in the country. However, the integrated crop-livestock system plays an important role in rural household food security, both through direct household nutrition supplement and as a source of income.

Latest Government reports indicate that on average about 60 percent of the spring cereals have been compromised following reduced precipitation this summer. Winter cereal output dropped by about 14 percent compared with the harvest in 2005. In aggregate, the Government estimates the 2006 cereal output at about 304 000 tonnes, nearly 74 000 tonnes, or 20 percent, down on the 2005 harvest. The Government also reports that crop damage varies greatly across regions. In some areas more than 90 percent of the crops have been compromised, while in others the damage is estimated at about 10 – 15 percent. The second most important crop, potatoes, has reportedly fared well along with vegetables, which are cultivated under irrigated systems.

In addition to losses in the 2006 barley crop, grazing areas have also been affected by the reduced precipitation in spring/summer. These factors have significantly reduced feed supply for livestock, which has reportedly prompted many farmers to sell their animals. The Government has requested international food and feed assistance.

ASIA: Countries in crisis requiring external assistance and main reasons (9)

Widespread lack of access
AfghanistanConflict, IDPs and returnees, localized drought
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
Sri LankaAfter effects of the Tsunami, conflict
Note: For explanation see terminology.

Latin America and the Caribbean


Central America and the Caribbean


Harvesting of the 2006 main season cereal crops is about to start in Mexico but is virtually complete in the other Central American countries, where planting of the second season crops just started. The 2006 aggregate cereal output of the subregion is forecast by FAO at 38.2 million tonnes, about 2.7 million tonnes above the previous year’s level and 1.2 million tonnes below the average of the last five years. In Mexico, harvesting of the 2006 main rain-fed summer coarse grain crops, accounting for some 75 percent of the annual production, is expected to start from late October. Beneficial rains across the major producing southern and south central states of Jalisco, México and Chiapas have continued to provide adequate moisture and early official forecasts point to an above-average production. Maize and sorghum outputs are forecast at about 21.3 and 6.2 million tonnes respectively, with increases of 8 and 10 percent from the previous year’s levels as a consequence of an expansion in the areas planted. Land is being prepared for planting of the 2006/07 winter wheat crop in the irrigated areas of north-western states of Sonora, Guanajuato, Baja California, where heavy rains at the beginning of September have positively increased the water level of main reservoirs.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation


The 2006 aggregate (first and second season crops) maize outputs throughout the subregion are provisionally forecast at above-average levels. This is essentially due to the positive effects on the main season yields of the abundant rains that have been reported in most parts since the beginning of August. The only country where 2006 maize production is expected to be below the level of the previous year is Honduras as a consequence of a prolonged drought period (the so-called canicula) that affected some parts of central departments in August. In the Caribbean, in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, the abundant rains due to the remote passage of some hurricanes have benefited yields of the main food and cash crops that were locally affected by recurring dry spells from March to May.

In Guatemala and El Salvador, food assistance from the international community continues to be delivered to vulnerable rural families and communities affected by hurricanes during the second half of 2005. Food aid is also distributed to vulnerable population in Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras.

Table 9. 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 22.0 108.3 102.9 106.1 25.6 26.3 25.0 161.6 152.9 153.1
Central America & Caribbean 2.4 3.0 3.2 33.5 30.2 32.5 2.3 2.3 2.5 38.2 35.5 38.2
25.3 20.7 18.9 74.8 72.8 73.6 23.3 24.1 22.4 123.4 117.5 114.9

Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.

South America


Harvesting of the 2006 winter wheat crop has recently started in Centre-South states of Brazil, while it is expected to start by the end of October in the important growing areas of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Aggregate production for the subregion is tentatively forecast just below 19 million tonnes, the lowest level since 2002. This is essentially due to the record low expected in Brazil as a consequence of reduced 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 do Sul and Goias, as well as and by frosts at the beginning of September. Reduced soil moisture has also severely affected plantings of 2006 winter crop in Argentina, where the planned area of 5.9 million hectares was not achieved and the area planted is officially estimated slightly below 5.4 million hectares, only some 3 percent more than the previous year’s sharply reduced level. Low domestic prices and unfavourable weather conditions at planting are the key factors behind the reduced area under winter wheat in Chile and Paraguay.

Harvesting of the 2006 second season maize crop is virtually completed in the subregion and the 2006 aggregate production (first and second season) is estimated at an average 65.3 million tonnes, around last year’s level. This reflects a very good crop obtained in Brazil that compensated for reduced crops in Argentina and Uruguay due to a widespread reduction in planted area and lower yields following a mid-season dry spell. Meanwhile land is being prepared for planting the important 2007 summer maize crop in southern countries of the subregion. Prospects for planting are uncertain reflecting current dry conditions in parts.

Limited soil moisture is raising some concerns from the planting of the 2007 paddy crop that should start by mid-October. If substantial rains are not received during the next few weeks in the main growing areas, the area planted to the 2007 paddy crop may be further reduced from the low level of 2006, when low domestic prices in Brazil, the main producer in the subregion, induced a sharp decrease in plantings.

In Ecuador, parts of Los Ríos and Bolívar provinces have been severely affected by ash fall following the eruption of the Tungurahua volcano in mid-August, with serious long-term consequences for soil fertility. 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.

Dry weather conditions are affecting agriculture and livestock sectors in Argentina


A prolonged drought is severely affecting the agriculture and livestock sectors in Argentina. Precipitation has been scarce since late July in north and north-western provinces (Santiago del Estero, Chaco, north Santa Fe, Salta and Catamarca) and since the beginning of August in south-east and south-west Buenos Aires, La Pampa and centre-south Córdoba provinces. Light rains in the second decade of September in most parts of the country were insufficient to reverse the drought situation.

In the north-western provinces of Catamarca, San Juan and La Rioja it has been reported that about 40 000 head of cattle have been lost due to poor pasture conditions, while many others are being sold or moved into other provinces with better pasture availability in order to avoid further losses. In the main cereal growing central provinces, where planting of the 2006 wheat crop was still underway in August, the dry weather conditions have prevented farmers from achieving the planned acreage of 5.9 million hectares, in particular in the south-west of Buenos Aires province and in the centre-west of La Pampa province. The area planted to wheat is officially estimated at about 5.4 million hectares, only some 3 percent more than the record low of the previous year.
By late September, about 30 percent of the wheat crop was suffering from water stress and high temperatures, while just over half is reported to be in good or very good condition. The crop is due to be harvested from November and if substantial rains are not received soon, yields are likely to be reduced in several areas, mainly in the provinces of Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Santiago del Estero, Chaco and north-west Buenos Aires.
Based on the current condition of crops, wheat output in 2006 is tentatively forecast to reach at best 13 million tonnes, similar to last year’s reduced crop and well below the good 2004 crop, of 16 million tonnes, and the average. However, should conditions worsen, the harvest could fall even lower.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation


The area that has not been planted to wheat is expected to be planted to 2007 summer crops, such as maize, sorghum and sunflower. However, the pace of planting, which normally starts in mid-September is very slow because of the exceptionally dry soils, and if precipitation does not resume in the next few weeks, the area planted to the 2007 coarse grains may substantially decrease. Weather concerns are also delaying planting of the 2007 paddy crop in the main growing provinces of Corrientes and Entre Ríos.

This situation will probably determine a shift in land use, where areas earmarked for summer coarse grain crops are turned over to soybean, which is planted somewhat later from November to January. In this case, the country’s capacity to export cereals and meat products in the 2006/07 marketing year would be reduced, while output of soybean could rise even further above the record output of 40.5 million tonnes obtained this year.

Countries in crisis requiring external assistance and main reasons (3)

Widespread lack of access
HaitiInsecurity, economic crisis
Severe localized food insecurity
ColombiaConflict, IDPs
EcuadorVolcanic eruption
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 reported to be about 36 percent complete as of late September. This was marginally behind the average pace as fieldwork had been hampered during the month in some areas by wet fields, and in others by excessive dryness. However, the situation was expected to improve with the arrival of beneficial rains in some previously dry southern parts at the end of the month. Early indications point to a significant expansion in the wheat area. The 2006 wheat crop, harvesting of which was virtually complete by the end of August, is officially estimated at about 49 million tonnes, 14 percent below the 2005 crop and well below the average of the past five years. An overall increase in plantings was more than offset by a sharp drop in yields following drought during a large part of the 2005/06 season. With regard to coarse grains, as of late September, harvesting of maize was reported to be about 13 percent complete, just slightly behind the average pace. The area for harvest is estimated to be about 4 percent down from the previous year but better yields are expected, and output is forecast up marginally on last year’s at 282.3 million tonnes, which would be the second largest crop on record after 2004. Crop conditions and yield prospects improved across the northern Great Plains and the western Corn Belt in August following favourable rainfall. Output of other coarse grains is expected to decrease in 2006 after planted areas were reduced and also because smaller yields are forecast.
In Canada, the harvest of the bulk of the wheat in the main producing western regions is virtually complete. Latest official estimates put the total wheat output at 25.9 million tonnes, about 3 percent down from last year’s bumper crop but still well above the average of the past five years. The reduction is due to sharp declines in both area and yield of durum wheat, which more than offset an increase in production of other wheat. This year’s coarse grains area is estimated to be down marginally from the previous year along with a significant switch to more oats and less barley. With yields expected to return closer to average (as was the case for wheat) the aggregate coarse grain output is forecast at some 23.8 million tonnes, 9 percent down from last year.

Table 10. 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 75.0 346.6 325.4 319.9 10.5 10.1 8.8 441.7 419.6 403.6
United States58.757.349.0319.9299.1296.110.510.18.8389.1366.5353.9
Europe 219.5 207.3 188.5 245.4 213.6 213.2 3.4 3.4 3.3 468.4 424.3 405.1
CIS in Europe 64.8 68.5 57.0 60.3 53.4 56.2 0.6 0.7 0.7 125.6 122.5 113.9
Oceania 22.2 25.4 16.7 12.7 15.0 10.6 0.6 0.3 1.1 35.4 40.8 28.4

Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.



The 2006 cereal harvest in the EU has turned out considerably smaller than earlier expected after exceptionally hot and dry weather in July adversely affected crops in several countries. It is reported that the geographic area affected this year by yield loss related to the hot and dry conditions has been larger than in the severe drought year of 2003. However, because the period of water scarcity was shorter, the yield reduction has been less pronounced than in 2003. The aggregate cereal output of the EU is now estimated at 253 million tonnes, 7 million tonnes less than last year and about 3 percent below the average of the past five years. Among the major producers, the largest yield losses compared to last year were recorded in Hungary, Poland, Italy, Germany and France, and in the latter four countries, the average yields were also well down on the five-year average. By contrast, in Spain, output recovered sharply from the very poor drought-reduced level last year, although remaining somewhat below the average. By cereal type, the largest output reductions have been recorded so far for wheat and rye, while the maize harvest, still to be completed, is also expected to be well down on last year. Planting of the winter cereals for harvest in 2007 is reported to be proceeding well under generally favourable conditions.

Crop Prospects and Food Situation


The Balkan Peninsula escaped the severe summer drought that affected the north and west of the region, but this year’s cereal output is nevertheless expected to be down from 2005. The decrease is largely due to smaller wheat crops in the two main producers – Romania and Bulgaria – where winter planting was reduced and, subsequently, severe winter conditions and flooding damaged and/or destroyed some large areas of crops, particularly in the former country. Prospects for the maize harvest, which has still to be completed, are more favourable, and output is expected to remain at last year’s about-average level.

In the European CIS (the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova), cereal harvesting is almost complete and the aggregate output of the four countries this year is estimated at about 114 million tonnes compared with 122.5 million tonnes in 2005. Severely cold weather and relatively thin snow cover last winter were the main reasons for the decline in harvest. Wheat was the main crop affected by the harsh winter, with output falling in the Russian Federation and Ukraine by about 13 percent and 27 percent respectively, bringing the aggregate crop for the region down to an estimated 57 million tonnes, some 11.5 million tonnes below the 2005 harvest. The winter coarse grains are more resistant to harsh weather and, with the bulk of the crop now harvested, the aggregate output in the region is forecast at some 56 million tonnes, about 2.8 million tonnes up on the harvest in 2005. The aggregate cereal exports from the region during the 2006/07 marketing year are forecast at about 18.4 million tonnes, some 6.7 million tonnes down on the 2005/06 marketing year. Of the total, wheat is expected to account for about 9.6 million tonnes, while coarse grains (mainly barley) would account for about 8.8 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 year. Land preparation for the winter grain planting is reported to be progressing well under generally favourable conditions, and early tentative indications point to larger areas than in the previous year.

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

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



With the season in Australia progressing towards the start of harvest (about November in most parts), earlier predications of a drier than average winter cropping season in 2006 have materialized. Throughout most cropping regions crops have been stressed by lack of moisture, and in some parts this has been compounded by particularly hot temperatures. The latest official forecast for winter grain production released in the ABARE September Crop Report, has been revised downward sharply. Output of wheat in 2006 is now forecast at just 16.4 million tonnes, 35 percent down from last year and well below the five-year average. Output of barley is seen to fall by 41 percent to just 5.8 million tonnes. Early prospects for the summer cereals to be planted in the coming weeks are somewhat mixed. The sorghum area could be maintained about the level of last year as plenty fallow land is available in summer crop areas because of reduced winter plantings. However, good spring rains will be vital to allow planting to proceed and for crop establishment. The rice area is expected to decrease sharply in response to the reduced availability of irrigation supplies available after the dry winter.

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