The main crops in the ground are currently dry season rice and maize, planted in Oct-Dec for harvest from April/May. Latest projections, indicate that output of the paddy crop will be around 5.4 million tonnes, some 2 percent higher than 1999. Overall, an increase in area planted and higher expected yields, indicate that paddy production could be around 12.5 million tonnes this (2000) calendar year, similar to last year's record 11.8 million tonnes. Production in 1998 was severely affected by El Niño related weather anomalies. Much however, will depend on the weather during the remainder of the year, especially during the main wet season from July to December.
1999 maize output was 4.6 million tonnes, around 9 percent above the five-year average and 20 percent higher than the previous year. Due to heavy rains which resulted in a decrease in area planted, first quarter maize production is projected at 1.1 million tonnes, some 14 percent lower than in the same period in 1999. In view of the shortfall, it is expected that additional maize imports will be necessary to meet demand in the feed sector.