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Rice Production to Decrease Sharply but Maize to Increase

06 September 2013

TIMOR-LESTE - Harvesting of the 2013 secondary off season rice has just began, while that of the main season was completed earlier in the year.

Official estimates indicate a sharp reduction in the area planted to rice from last year’s record level.

According to remote sensing data, rainfall was generally average to above average during the growing season (Novermber-April) over large parts of the country, leading to good vegetative growing conditions.

However, heavy downpours in June resulted in localised flooding and landslides causing crop damage and severe reduction in yields particulalry in parts of producing areas of Ainaro, Baucau, Cocalima and Viqueque districts.

As a result, latest official forecast point to a 2013 aggregate rice paddy production (the main and ongoing off seasons), of about 80 000 tonnes, some 43 per cent below last year’s record crop.

The 2013 total maize crop, including main season harvest and off season crop to be harvested later in the year, is officilly forecast at 117 000 tonnes, some 23 per cent above last year’s above average level.

The increase is predominantly attributed to higher yields, as result of favourable rains during the season in the main growing areas, increased use of high quality seeds and improved farming practicies.

Overall, the 2013 aggregate cereal production is forecast at a below average level of 197 000 tonnes, marking a decrease of 16 per cent relative to the previous year’s bumper output. Crop monitoring and production estimation in Timor-Leste is currently being strengthened with a new EU funded FAO project which established a National Information and Early Warning System (NIEWS) in 2012.

TheCropSite News Desk

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