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Favourable Prospects for 2013 Bhutan Winter Wheat Harvest

18 July 2013

BHUTAN - Harvesting of the 2013 winter season crops, mainly wheat and barley, is currently underway and will continue until the end of July. Based on satellite imagery, relatively normal winter rainfall/snow patterns were recorded between November and February in most of the country.

During the first dekad of March to the second dekad of May, the rainfall remained mostly above-average in eastern parts of the country, while lingered at below average levels in the north-west, affecting potential yields.

The FAO reports the 2013 wheat production is estimated to be slightly higher than last year’s level, mainly due to an estimated increase in plantings and favourable weather during growing season.

Planting of the 2013 maize was completed in March, while that of rice and millet commenced in May and will continue into August.

Rainfall has been generally good from late May to early June, benefiting planting operations.
The cereal import requirement for the 2013/14 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 69 900 tonnes, some 7.4 percent below last year’s estimated level.

Imports consist mainly of rice and wheat, forecast in the current marketing year at 63 000 and 6 900 tonnes, respectively.

Above average aggregate cereal crop gathered in 2012

The aggregate 2012 cereal production is estimated by FAO at 174 400 tonnes, including rice in paddy terms, some 3 percent above the 2011 output.

Rice is the main staple food in the country, with per capita consumption currently estimated at about 175 kg/year.

Food inflation remains relatively high

According to the Bhutan National Statistics Bureau (NSB) the year-on-year inflation rate stood at 8.37 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year earlier.

During the same period, the food price inflation was estimated at 7.86 percent as opposed to the non-food price inflation of 8.66 percent. The increase is mainly attributed to high food prices as well as weakening of Ngultrum (which is pegged to the Indian Rupee) against US Dollar.

TheCropSite News Desk

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