GIEWS Country Brief: Belarus 11-August-2020



  • Below-average wheat output expected in 2020

  • Import requirements forecast above average in 2020/21 - Prices of wheat flour stable in first six months of 2020

Below-average wheat output expected in 2020

Harvesting of the 2020 wheat crop, which started in early July, is ongoing under favourable weather conditions. Precipitation during the season was adequate and well distributed in most croplands, except for some areas in the southeastern Gomel Region (that contributes on average to 15 percent of the total annual cereal production). In these areas, below-average rain levels between October and November 2019 and between March and April 2020 resulted in soil moisture stress, as shown by the Agricultural Stress Index (ASI) values in late June, just before the beginning of the wheat harvest (see ASI image).
Mainly due to below-average plantings, the 2020 output of wheat is forecast at 2.2 million tonnes, 8 percent below the five-year average.
Harvesting of barley started in early August, while harvesting of maize is expected to begin in late September and crop conditions are reported to be good, amid overall adequate soil moisture levels.

Import requirements forecast above average in 2020/21

In the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June), total cereal import requirements are forecast at 665 000 tonnes, about 30 percent above the five-year average. Wheat imports are forecast at 300 000 tonnes, well above the average to account for the low level of stocks following the reduced domestic wheat production obtained in the last two years and due to the expectation of a below-average output in 2020.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to ensure adequate domestic supplies, the Government issued a Decree, on 31 March 2020, imposing a three-month export ban on a number of staple foods, including buckwheat, buckwheat groats, onions and garlic