Uzbekistan

FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 5/01 - Uzbekistan

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Assessment
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This year's total grain harvest is estimated at about 3.5 million tonnes, about 500 000 tonnes less than the poor harvest in 2000 and about 0.9 million tonnes less than in 1999 when production was considered average. Wheat production is estimated at 3.2 million tonnes and rice at 90 000 tonnes, which compares with 1999 production levels of 3.6 million tonnes of wheat and 421 000 tonnes of rice. The worst affected areas are Karakalpakstan and Khorzam autonomous regions, where the spring-sown area and output have fallen by half. Cotton, the main export crop, is forecast to fall far short of the official target output of 3.9 million tonnes (cottonseed). Severe water shortages and drought two years in succession are contributing factors to a significantly low crop production. Water flows in the two main sources of irrigation, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers are reported to be about 40 percent of the average flows, while record hot and dry weather conditions have increased demand for irrigation water. In addition, the available scarce water is reported to be contaminated with high levels of salinity.
The cereal import requirement in 2001/02 is tentatively estimated at about 1 million tonnes, roughly 398 000 tonnes higher than the preceding year's imports. Food aid requirement is estimated at about 121 000 tonnes, including 60 000 tonnes of wheat, 51 000 tonnes of rice and 10 000 tonnes of maize. The Government has appealed for international assistance in the rehabilitation of the irrigation systems, desalinization equipment and targeted food aid in some areas. UNOCHA estimates that nearly 600 000 people particularly in Karakalpakstan and Khorzam may face food shortages unless assisted. An FAO/WFP mission in October 2000 found that 45 000 people in Karakalpakstan alone had experienced severe food shortages.