Indications are that the winter crop area
has been further reduced in response to uncompetitive yields and higher
fuel prices. By November 1999, only 65 000 hectares had been sown to winter
The 1999 grain harvest is officially estimated at 298 000 tonnes, some 9 percent less than the 326 000 tonnes harvested in 1998. Winter wheat output declined reflecting mainly imports competition from cheaper Russian grain in the wake of the rouble devaluation in 1998 and below normal autumn and winter precipitation. In 1999/2000 the cereal import requirement is estimated at nearly 392 000 tonnes. Against this requirement food aid pledges of roughly 81 000 tonnes have been made. The balance is expected to be imported commercially.
Domestic production and imports are covering the country's food needs, and per capita consumption is slowly recovering from the low levels of the early nineties but household purchasing power remains low. In total, some 170 000 vulnerable people will be covered by WFP food assistance, including some 110 000 refugees and vulnerable persons being provided with relief food aid, and 60 000 will be reached through community based food-for-work activities, supporting economic and social development. The programme is planned for three years and will be reviewed annually.