BELARUS - Harvest of the 2014 winter cereal crops, mainly wheat, is underway, while spring barley is maturing.
The outlook for this year’s cereal production is largely positive, reports FAO.
After a mild winter, below average rains were recorded in April but abundant precipitation followed in May and June, timely replenishing soil moisture levels. Temperatures during the cropping season were close to normal levels.
Winter wheat is reported in overall good conditions and above average yields are anticipated.
Good conditions are also reported for spring maize and barley crops, which benefited of early sowing and adequate soil moisture, due to above average precipitation in May and June.
Favourable cropping conditions combined with timely provision of fertilizers, seeds and other agricultural inputs through state subsidies are anticipated to higher yields of cereals this season.
The area planted to cereals was estimated at 2.6 million hectares or close to the five-years average. Winter cereals plantings account for about 44 percent of the total. The total 2014 cereals output is forecast at around 8.1 million tonnes, which is close to last year’s level and 5 percent above the five years average.
Imports decreased in 2013/14 marketing year (July/June)
The country imports small volumes of high quality wheat, barley and maize for the food industry. Cereal imports in 2013/14 (July/June) are estimated at 129 000 tonnes, slightly below from last year’s level, and amount about only 2 percent of domestic needs.
In recent years, the country has become a net exporter of cereals. Export opportunities are mainly connected to its membership with the Customs Union (to be converted to the Eurasian Economic Union from January 2015), whose other members are the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan.
Prices of wheat products stable in past months but well above their year earlier levels
In spite of the country’s adequate food supply, prices of staple foods are well above their levels of a year earlier in nominal terms. Prices of wheat flour, bread, and potatoes in May 2014 were 54, 32, and 83 percent respectively, higher comparing to their year –earlier level.
This was partially due to general and food inflation, reported at 17 and 20 respectively on yearly basis, supported by depreciation of the national currency and changes on state price regulation on some types of bread.
TheCropSite News Desk