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Prospects for Winter Cereals Negatively Impacted by Recent Floods

05 June 2014

BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA - Up to mid-May 2014, owing to a mild winter, winter crops for harvest in June/July were reported to be in satisfactory conditions. Planting of spring crops was proceeding normally. The wheat and maize crop production were forecast at the average of the past five years at 210 000 and 700 000 tonnes, respectively. The 2014 aggregate cereal harvest was forecast at around 1 million tonnes, 14 percent below last year’s but similar to the average of the last five years.

However, the extreme floods in the region caused by heavy rainfall in the second dekad of May threatened field crops as well as livestock production. Precipitation in most parts of the country reached over 100 mm per dekad, compared to 10?50 mm in the second dekad of May 2013. In almost the entire country, the relative difference in the second dekad of May 2014 compared to the long-term average was more than 80 percent.

Although final damages remain to be assessed with the retreat of flood waters, preliminary assessments indicate that floods damaged cereal crops, oilseeds as well as horticulture products.

Infrastructures, processing facilities and farm equipment have also been reported to be affected. Spring crops (maize, spring wheat) may have been affected more than the relatively firmly established winter crops. Nevertheless, diseases resulting from excess moisture, such as yellow rust, are likely to emerge. Livestock and poultry farming are seriously affected. Completion of the first assessment of damages is planned for the end of May. Options to mitigate consequences of the floods are currently being discussed.

Public consultation on the Rural Development Programme underway

Public consultation process on the Rural Development Programme of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2013-2020 was launched in May 2014. The Rural Development Programme aims to provide foundation for the introduction of the EU rural development and agriculture standards.

Only 20 percent (approximately1 million hectares) of Bosnia and Herzegovina is suitable for intensive farming. Crop production dominates agricultural production, livestock production represents less than one-third of the total output. The economically most important sub-sector is vegetables.

The structure of the agriculture sector is characterized by small-sized family farms which to a large extent produce for home consumption. Over 50 percent of agriculture holdings are estimated to be less than 2 hectares, possibly complicating distribution of eventual assistance for flood-affected production.

Country’s cereal imports remain high

The country heavily depends on imports to satisfy the cereal consumption needs. Imports in the 2013/14 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 500 000 tonnes, mostly wheat, compared to last year’s 720 000 tonnes and the five-year average of 620 000 tonnes. The country normally imports about 60 percent of wheat for domestic consumption.

The food security situation is fragile

The inflation rate in the country has been moderate and slow from about 2 percent in 2012 to a deflation of 0.1 percent in 2013 owing to declining international commodity prices. Nevertheless, at 30 percent in 2013, unemployment levels remain high, which coupled with high relative poverty and political tensions results in a fragile food security situation.

TheCropSite News Desk

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