FEATURE COMMODITY ARTICLES
Central and East African Grain Production
Total grain production in Central and East Africa for 1999/2000 is estimated at 24.8 million tons, down from 26.3 million in 1998/99. Harvested area is estimated at 25.8 million hectares, down marginally from last season. Central and East Africa for the purpose of this article, include the following countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
For 1999/2000, grain production in most Central and East African countries is lower than last year, but still near the 5-year average. The principle reasons for the decline in output are erratic weather, civil strife, pests, and reduced use of inputs. However, in Cameroon, Burundi, Uganda, and the Central African Republic production is either similar to or slightly higher than in 1998/99.
Burundi: In Burundi, total grain production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 0.2 million tons, virtually the same as the previous year. Harvested area is estimated at 0.2 million hectares, unchanged from last year. The main grain crops produced are corn and sorghum estimated at 140,000 tons and 70,000 tons, respectively. Irregular rainfall caused yields to fall below average.
Cameroon: Total grain production in Cameroon for 1999/2000 is estimated at 1.2 million tons, up slightly from 1998/99. Harvested area is estimated at 0.9 million hectares, marginally higher than last season. The main grain crops produced are corn and millet estimated at 0.7 million and 0.5 million tons, respectively. During July and August, rainfall was widespread and normal to above normal, favoring crop prospects. However, in August an infestation of pests reportedly had caused damage to the grain crops in the north, but a bumper crop is still expected.
Central African Republic: In the Central African Republic, total grain production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 120,000 tons, unchanged from last year. Harvested area is also estimated unchanged from the previous year. The main grain crops produced are corn and millet estimated at 80,000 tons and 40,000 tons, respectively. Rainfall started slow, but became widespread and normal to above normal. Harvest prospects are favorable.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire): In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, total grain production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 1.4 million tons, down 0.2 million from 1998/99. Harvested area is estimated at 2.0 million hectares, nearly unchanged from last year. The main grain crops produced are corn and rice estimated at 1.1 million and 0.3 million tons, respectively. Rainfall was above average in the north and central regions; however, civil strife until late August, mitigated crop prospects.
Ethiopia: Total grain production in Ethiopia is estimated at 8.0 million tons, down from 8.4 million in 1998/99. Harvested area is estimated at 6.6 million hectares, unchanged from last year. The main grain crops of corn, sorghum, barley, and wheat are estimated at 3.0 million, 1.7 million, 1.5 million, and 1.4 million tons, respectively. The climate in the northern coastal areas and lowlands in the south and east are from semi-arid to arid, while the highlands are rainy with mild winters. The main crop season is called the Mehr and accounts for over 90 percent of total grain, with crops planted from May - December. The second season is called the Belg and covers the February - June time period. For the Mehr crops, land preparation and planting were delayed due to inadequate rains. Abundant rainfall from July into mid-August benefitted the crops, but an early withdrawal reduced yield prospects.
Kenya: In Kenya, total grain production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 2.7 million tons, down 0.3 million from 1998/99. Harvested area is estimated at 2.1 million hectares, virtually unchanged from the previous year. The main grain crops produced: corn, wheat, and sorghum are estimated at 2.1 million, 0.3 million, and 0.1 million tons, respectively. The climate in Kenya is considered semi-arid to arid in the north-east; and in the mountainous central and south-western areas there are two rainy seasons : the long rains (March - June) and the short rains (November - January). The main season crops during the long rains have been affected by erratic rains, an inadequate supply of agricultural inputs, and pests infestation in parts. The main season corn, representing 80 percent of total annual production, has been negatively affected.
Rwanda: Total grain production in Rwanda for 1999/2000 is estimated at 194,000, down slightly from 1998/99. Harvested area is estimated unchanged from last year. The main grain crops produced, corn and sorghum are estimated at 70,000 tons and 120,000 tons, respectively. Land preparations for planting was completed under seasonally dry weather, but was constrained by an early cessation of rains. Also, production is hampered due to the displacement and reallocation of people, since not all the population had access to land.
Somalia: In Somalia, total grain production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 0.2 million tons, down 20 percent from 1998/99. Harvested area is estimated at 0.6 million hectares, unchanged from 1998/99. The main grain crops produced, corn and sorghum, are estimated at 110,000 tons and 90,000 tons, respectively. The main 1999 Gu season (March - June) crop prospects are poor due to erratic rains, pest infestations, and renewed civil strife in the south. The Gu grain production accounts for 75 to 80 percent of annual production, normally. The Deyr season (November - January) has just started with peak rainfall in November.
Sudan: Total grain production in Sudan for 1999/2000 is estimated at 5.3 million tons, down from 5.7 million last year. Harvested area is estimated at 8.7 million hectares, down slightly from 1998/99. The main grain crops produced are sorghum, millet, and wheat estimated at 4.3 million, 0.8 million, and 0.2 million tons, respectively. The rainy season is from March - October. Wheat is planted and harvested from November - March and production is down sharply due to late sowing, less area, and high temperatures. Corn is planted and harvested in the south from April - September. Millet and sorghum are planted and harvested in both the north and south: from June - December in the north and from April-September in the south. Abundant rains in northern and central parts of the country caused severe flooding which hampered grain production. In southern Sudan, abundant rains favored crop conditions, but in parts of Eastern Equatoria, partial crop failures were reported. Coarse grain output is estimated to be similar to last year.
Tanzania: In Tanzania, total grain production is estimated at 3.7 million tons, down 0.2 million from 1998/99. Harvested area is estimated at 3.3 million hectares, unchanged from the previous year. The main grain crops produced are corn, rice, sorghum, and millet estimated at 2.5 million, 0.6 million, 0.4 million, and 0.2 million tons, respectively. The climate in the country is considered tropical wet-dry with two rainy seasons. Farmers plant in March with the arrival of the "long rains," and harvest beginning in July/August. About 70 percent of total corn is produced during this period. A second crop is planted in October/November with the arrival of the "short rains," and harvested in February/March. The short rains are more unpredictable (dry spells, late arrival, etc), making the second season production fluctuate widely. For the 1999/2000 main season, the harvest is complete. Production is estimated lower due to erratic rains, reduced use of inputs, and an outbreak of pests.
Uganda: Total grain production in Uganda for 1999/2000 is estimated at 1.7 million tons, unchanged from 1998/99. Harvested area in 1999/2000 is estimated at 1.3 million hectares, the same as 1998/99. The main grain crops produced are corn, millet, and sorghum estimated at 0.8 million, 0.6 million, and 0.4 million tons, respectively. The harvesting of the 1999 main season is complete. Output in the central and eastern parts are reported normal; however the western and south-western regions suffered from a prolonged drought.
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Persistent Rains in Eastern Europe Alter 1999/2000 Grain and Oilseed Production
Much of Eastern Europes 1999/2000 winter wheat crop suffered from frequent heavy rains which fell during the fall, the spring and at harvest. The resulting moisture surplus contributed to reduced quality and production across the Balkan Peninsula. In addition to the poor weather, a lack of financing also set the crop back. Less credit was available to farmers needing to purchase fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. Total East European wheat production dropped 5.0 million tons from last year to 28.7 million.
Despite the disappointing winter wheat situation in Eastern Europe, other crops did improve over past years. Spring crops such as corn and sunflower gained area from land previously earmarked for winter wheat. As abandoned fields dried out from the late spring heat, summer crops were sown. During the summer, corn and sunflower benefitted from the heavy rains while wheat suffered again from rains at harvest. Coarse grain production in Eastern Europe remained unchanged from 1998/99 at 51.1 million tons. Total 1999/2000 East European grain is estimated at 79.9 million tons, down 9 percent from last season. Total oilseed production is estimated at 6.5 million tons compared to last years total output of 5.3 million.
Total grain production for Poland during the 1999/2000 season is estimated at 25.6 million tons, down 1.6 million from last year. Lower yields were realized as insufficient funds prohibited many farmers from utilizing adequate quantities of fertilizer. Favorable fall weather contributed to timely winter crop planting, and adequate winter precipitation kept soils moist. Beneficial weather conditions also existed during the spring months, but July and August brought dry weather which stressed summer crops and reduced yields. Compared to last year, wheat production dropped 0.4 million tons to 9.1 million, barley dropped 0.2 million to 3.4 million, and rye fell 0.5 million to 5.2 million. Area sown to rapeseed increased 0.1 million hectares to 0.5 million, and production increased slightly to 1.2 million tons. A mild winter combined with an early spring was beneficial for winter rapeseed development (81 percent of Polish rapeseed is the winter variety).
Bulgaria experienced the wettest fall in 49 years during the 1999/2000 season, which delayed or prevented winter crop sowing. While spring weather was favorable for crop development, the arrival of heavy rains in June and July damaging the maturing wheat. Harvested wheat area is estimated at 0.9 million hectares, equal to the lowest in over 40 years, and production is estimated to fall 0.5 million tons from last year to 2.8 million. Wheat was also adversely affected by poor seed quality and reduced amounts of pesticide and fertilizer. Corn production is slightly lower than last season at 1.1 million tons. Hot, dry weather in August and September stressed the corn crop, resulting in a reduced yield of 2.97 tons per hectare, compared to 3.33 obtained last year. Total grain output is estimated at 4.6 million tons, down 13 percent from last year. Sunflowerseed production, however, is expected to reach 0.6 million tons, up 0.1 million from last year, primarily benefitting from the late summer heat and dry weather.
The Czech Republic escaped the devastating weather seen by many of its neighbors and is producing the best grain harvest in eight years with total grain output reaching 6.8 million tons. This seasons harvest produced an estimated 4.1 million tons of wheat, 0.2 million over last year and 2.2 million tons of barley, 0.1 million better than last year. Favorable weather increased rapeseed area and has also helped to produce a bumper rapeseed harvest of 1.0 million tons, 0.3 million above last year.
Hungary received persistent rains in the fall of 1998 which delayed planting, lowering winter wheat sowings. Record snowfall in February was followed by a rapid thawing which subjected many fields to floods. Standing water on fields during March destroyed significant areas seeded to winter wheat and held up spring barley planting. After a brief period of dry weather, torrential rains, hail, and strong winds hit in late June and continued into July. Precipitation records were broken and agricultural fields were again in standing water. These muddy fields were inaccessible to harvesting machinery, which delayed harvest by two to thee weeks. A resulting record low in wheat area caused production to plummet to the lowest level in 33 years to 2.7 million tons. Corn area, however, rose as producers planted on abandoned wheat fields. With higher planted area and favorable weather occurring in August and September, a bumper corn crop of 7.0 million tons is estimated. Also, rapeseed had an exceptional year with low winterkill and little damage occurring during spring green-up. A bumper sunflowerseed production of 0.8 million tons is expected from a record 0.5 million hectares, as farmers planted sunflower to substitute for damaged winter grains. Total grain production is estimated to reach 11.0 million tons, down 1.5 million from 1998/99.
Slovakia experienced significant flooding during both the fall of 1998 and later during the spring of 1999. During the spring, particularly in eastern Slovakia, snow melt from heavy winter accumulation filled rivers past capacity. While many of the flooded wheat and barley fields were abandoned, others were replanted with sunflower. Wheat output for 1999/2000 is estimated to be slightly lower than last year at 1.7 million tons. Oilseeds continued to increase significantly in Slovakia with 183, 000 hectares of sunflower and rapeseed harvested but rainy, windy weather during the year may have lowered yields.
Wheat in Romania was harvested on just 1.7 million hectares, the second lowest (1.5 million in 1992) in over 40 years. Production is estimated to only reach 4.6 million tons, 0.6 million tons less than last year. The autumn of 1998 provided Romania with its second wettest fall in 49 years. A relatively "normal" winter was followed initially by a beneficial warm and rainy spring. In May and June, heavy rains flooded winter wheat, and delayed corn planting. Corn production, however, benefitted from the June rains and the warm summer temperatures. Corn production is up 1.5 million tons over last years crop and is estimated at 10.0 million tons. Total grain production is estimated at 16.4 million tons, up 1.1 million from 1998/99. A record high 1.0 million hectares sown to sunflowers is estimated to have yielded a record production of 1.3 million tons.
The jurisdictions within Yugoslovia have also seen reductions in winter wheat production for the 1999/2000 season. As with much of the region, this problem stemmed from lower planted area, poor weather, and a lack of inputs applied to crops. In Croatia, wheat production is much lower than the previous year as planted area was reduced due to low prices and a shift in the government commodity support system. In addition, corn production is expected to drop due to low market prices. In Serbia, civil strife reduced production prospects. Corn and wheat are the primary grains within the former Yugoslovia and production is estimated at 7.0 million tons (8.2 million last year) for corn and 3.5 million tons (4.8 million last year) for wheat. Total oilseed production from sunflower (0.4 million), soybean (0.3 million), and rapeseed within the Yugoslavian districts is estimated to be near last seasons level of 0.7 million tons.
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Eastern Europe Analyst
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World Oilseeds Production Continues to Grow, But Grains Stall Recently
World grain and oilseed production has trended higher over the past twenty years, with oilseeds growing at an annual percentage rate of 2.9 percent and grains at 1.6 percent. However, over the past three years, expansion in grain production has faltered as harvested area declined. Lower grain prices, weather disruptions, and increasing demand for high protein animal feeds and vegetable oil have encouraged producers to shift into oilseeds. Since 1996/97, oilseed area has expanded 16 million hectares, while grain area decreased by 29 million hectares. The Former Soviet Union (FSU), European Union (EU), Eastern Europe, Argentina, and the United States all showed decreases in grain area, but increases in oilseed area. Decreases in world wheat, barley and oats area more than offset increases in soybeans and rapeseed. Also, there is a significant upward trend in yield due to improved plant genetics, cultural practices, and changes in crop mix. For example, minor, lower yielding grain crops such as barley, oats, and sorghum have declined steadily in favor of higher yielding food and feed grains such as rice and corn.
Total-grain (wheat, coarse grains, and milled rice) production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 1858.0 million tons, down 11.2 million or less than 1 percent from the previous year. Production of the five major oilseeds (soybeans, rapeseed, cottonseed, peanuts, and sunflowerseeds) is estimated at a record 285.7 million tons, up 2.5 million or 1 percent from 1998/99. For the 1999/2000 season, year-to-year increases for the five major oilseeds are estimated to have led to record production levels for China, EU, Canada, and Eastern Europe, while countries having an increase in grain output are Argentina, Brazil, China, FSU, India, and Canada. For the United States, total-grains and oilseeds production are estimated lower. For grains, reduced corn and wheat harvested area mainly pressured production; while for oilseeds, decreased soybean yield more than offset an increase in harvested area.
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Timothy Rocke, Foreign
Grains Production Chairman
Foreign Oilseeds Production Chairman
Telephone: (202) 720-0882
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