ASIA/NEAR EAST: Almost five months after the tsunami, most of the displaced people are still depending on food aid, while recovery and reconstruction activities continue. In Korea DPR, millions of vulnerable people will cease receiving food assistance soon unless substantial food donations are received. The food supply situation in Mongolia remains precarious after another harsh winter in the wake of last summer's drought. Elsewhere in Asia, severe droughts have seriously affected crops in several countries, especially in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and Laos. In the Asian CIS countries and Afghanistan, prospects are for a good harvest this year, owing mainly to favourable weather conditions.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: The recent start of the rainy season, notwithstanding, Cuba and Haiti have been seriously affected by a prolonged dry period and production of main staple food crops is expected to decline. In Central America, food assistance continues to be provided to vulnerable communities in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua mainly due to past disasters. In Brazil, the maize crop has been affected by drought, especially in the main producing southern states. In Ecuador, heavy rains at the end of April affected the 2005 winter paddy crop that was about to be harvested.
EUROPE: A reduction in cereal production is forecast in the EU in 2005 after the bumper crop last year, reflecting an area reduction and lower yields than last year's high levels. However, while yields and outputs remain somewhat above average in most member countries, the outlook is poor in Spain and Portugal because of persisting drought. Some reduction in output is also in prospect in the Balkan countries, despite generally favourable conditions, because also in these parts, yields are not expected to match last year's exceptionally good levels. In the European CIS, spring cereal planting was delayed owing to unfavourable weather while winterkill was low given above average snowfall providing protective cover.
NORTH AMERICA: Prospects remain generally favourable for the wheat crops at different stages of growth throughout the region. In the United States, wheat output is forecast to decrease marginally, and production of coarse grains is also expected to decline reflecting a return to normal yields after last year's records. In Canada, the bulk of the 2005 cereal crops have just been planted and an above-average output is expected, although not as good as that in 2004.
OCEANIA: A below-average cereal output is expected in Australia in 2005 because of persisting drought in eastern parts of the country during what should have been the main planting period.
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