Crop Explorer - Commodity Intelligence Reports - South East Asia

Oct 1 2021 | Thailand Rice: Recent Dry Conditions After a Promising Start; Optimism Still Remains for this Crop Season
USDA forecasts Thailand rice production for market year 2021/22 at 19.5 million metric tons (milled basis), up 4 percent from last year (Figure 1). The year-to-year production increase is primarily due to favorable seasonal rainfall that benefited early planting and development. In Thailand, the seasonal rainfall arrives as the southwest monsoon, which typically begins its heaviest rainy pattern in June and extends through September (Figure 2). Thailand rice is predominantly dependent on these seasonal rains for germination and development. Early seasonal rains through the month of April supplied adequate soil moisture that benefited early cultivation; rains were about two weeks ahead of last year (Figure 3). Early production reports cited a strong rebound of rice production due to the rains observed which were more abundant compared to the two previous seasons. From early April to the beginning of August, observed rainfall was average to slightly above average in Thailand’s main rice growing regions; the crop continued to progress favorably. In mid-August through early September, however, a moderate dry spell lingered across much of the rice producing areas in the southern North East region, which signaled modest concerns toward rice yield potential (Figure 4). With the main season rice cycle still in the middle of its development stages, soil moisture is adequate; however, the water requirement at this stage is essential.

For market year (MY) 2020/21 Philippines estimated rice production is at record levels as area increases and favorable seasonal weather has benefited the crop. From April through June 2021, Phillipines is harvesting its quarter two crop, the last quarter for the MY 2020/21 season while planting quarter three, during the first part of MY 2021/22. Rice area increases for MY 2020/21 were partially supported by the Philippine government who implemented incentivized programs. These programs are aimed at increasing the country’s self-sufficiency rate from 87 percent to 93 percent, coined as the “Plant, Plant, Plant Program.” The support programs include funding more rice farmers, investing in improved seed varieties, and supporting increased mechanization. As a result, there has been a year-to-year increase in rice cultivation observed throughout the country, most notably in the Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Western Visayas regions (see Figure 1). Though area increases were observed in MY 2020/21, a larger impact to the estimated record output was driven by favorable seasonal weather, boosting yield potential to an estimated record high.

Sep 24 2020 | Vietnam Rice: Ongoing Downward Trend Expected to Continue for MY 2020/21 Harvested Area
USDA forecasts Vietnam 2020/21 rice production at 27.0 million metric tons (milled basis), down 1 percent from last year and down 2 percent from the 5-year average. Harvested area is forecast at 7.4 million hectares, down 1 percent from last year and down 3 percent from the 5-year average. While Vietnam rice production has declined steadily since 2017/18, area has declined consistently at a rate of 1 percent on an annual basis since 2016/17 (Figure 1). Vietnam rice yield is forecast at a record 5.84 tons per hectare, up slightly from last year and up 1 percent from the 5-year average. Yield is contingent on factors such as seasonal weather and water availability.

Jul 16 2020 | Malaysia Palm Oil: Lowest Production Since 2015/16 On Insufficient Rainfall and Reduced Fertilizer Inputs
For market year (MY) 2019/20 Malaysia palm oil output is experiencing one of the lowest production years since 2015/16 when El Niño resulted in drought-related yield losses (Figure 1). The main factors resulting in the decline in palm oil production are insufficient seasonal rainfall in 2019 coupled with reduced fertilizer application inputs, as fertilizer prices were higher than average. Though inconsistent seasonal rains occurred throughout Malaysia’s main palm oil growing regions, Pahang and Sabah provinces were most notably impacted, having experienced the most drastic year-to-year declines in accumulated palm oil output. Pahang and Sabah represent two of the top four main producing palm oil provinces, with annual output accounting for typically 15 and 31 percent, respectively (Figure 2). Precipitation in the months of February through April 2019 in both Pahang and Sabah provinces failed to achieve the minimum water requirement to support palm oil yield potential, thus having a negative impact on palm oil output (Figure 3).

May 31 2019 | Malaysia Palm Oil: Beneficial Weather helps to Increase Annual Production
USDA estimates Malaysia 2018/19 palm oil production at 20.5 million metric tons, up 4 percent from last year. In 2015/16 Malaysia palm oil production was negatively impacted by the El Niño phenomenon, which led to one of the worst outputs since 2009. El Niño events have extreme impacts to palm oil production and the magnitude of impact directly correlates to the intensity of the event. When El Niño occurs in Malaysia, prolonged periods of lower-than-normal rainfall and higher-than-normal temperatures lead to increased levels of water stress for palm trees. As a result, the yearly production of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) decreases. Since the 2015/16 El Niño, Malaysia palm oil production (Figure 1) has rebounded due to adequate weather leading to increased output of FFB, according to industry sources. In addition, industry sources also report that it takes up to 36 months after a significant weather event until production of FFB fully recovers.

May 31 2019 | Indonesia Rice: Area Reduced due to Corn Expansion
USDA estimates Indonesia 2018/19 rice production at 37.1 million metric tons (milled-base), up slightly from last year. Rice production has increased since 2014 (Figure 1) even though rice area has remained relatively steady. The Government of Indonesia (GOI) has implemented several efforts to improve rice production such as stimulating technological innovation, providing subsidized fertilizer, and repairing irrigation facilities. In 2018/19, however, rice area declined in the first-cycle planting campaign (October to December) due to a drier-than-normal start that extended into November. This delayed rice planting in areas such as Central Java, one of the main producing provinces, where a reported 75 percent of planting was delayed. Additionally, the GOI provided incentives to plant corn. Some farmers took advantage of attractive corn prices during the prolonged dry weather period by planting corn instead of rice. Lowered production expectations are attributable to planting delays, less area planted to rice, and a reported decrease in government-provided subsidies this year.

Jun 1 2017 | Northwest Africa: 2017/18 Crop Expectations Deteriorate Because of Unfavorable Spring
Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia are net wheat-importing countries which experience large swings in production due to their semi-arid climate. The arable land in all three countries is concentrated near the coast and in the uplands, where precipitation is higher due to topography. This strip of arable land is quite narrow, reaching a maximum width of about 125 miles in central Morocco. In all three countries wheat is the preferred crop while barley is secondary and grown on more marginal land. Other field crops in Northwest Africa include fava beans, sugar beets, rapeseed, sunflowerseed, and chickpeas. Olives, which are an important traditional crop, are grown in groves in the drier regions. About one quarter of Morocco’s wheat is durum, 40 to 50 percent for Algeria, and about 80 percent for Tunisia.

Feb 16 2017 | PHILIPPINES: Recent Typhoons Result in Limited Rice Losses
Three powerful typhoons ploughed across the northern Philippines in October and December 2016, striking at the heart of the most important agricultural region of the country. Typhoon Sarika struck prime rice growing areas in mid-October 2016, causing widespread flooding and wind-related crop damage. It was followed several days later by Super Typhoon Haima, which stuck further north. Finally, Super Typhoon Nock-Ten ravaged the minor producing region of Bicol southeast of the capital, Manila, on Christmas day. These storms collectively impacted over 350,000 hectares of rice fields during the most important producing period of the year (October to December).

Feb 15 2017 | THAILAND: Rice Production Rebounds Following El Nino
Thailand recovered in 2016 from a severe two-year El Niño-related drought, which had substantially reduced irrigation supplies and rice acreage in the country. Bountiful rainfall during the recent wet season replenished important reservoirs which supply the agricultural sector and enabled the government to lift restrictions on irrigated rice acreage during the 2016-17 dry season (November through May). Farmers responded by increasing rice acreage by an estimated 975,000 hectares compared to last year. Thailand’s 2016/17 harvested rice area is estimated at 10.1 million hectares, unchanged from last month but up 7 percent from last year. Production is currently forecast by USDA at 18.6 million metric tons (milled basis), up 18 percent from last year. Rough rice yield is estimated slightly above average at 2.80 tons per hectare.

Aug 24 2016 | MALAYSIA: El Nino Takes a Bite Out of 2015/16 Palm Oil Production
and early 2016, causing drought-related yield losses for both food and plantation crops in most countries in the region. Rainfall in Malaysia’s prime palm oil growing areas in both eastern and western provinces was erratic and deficient between June 2015 and March 2016, resulting in a prolonged period of moderate drought stress.

Mar 28 2016 | PHILIPPINES: Drought in Mindanao Causes Corn Production Decline
Severe to extreme drought conditions are widespread throughout the prime corn growing areas on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. The dryness is the result of a strong El Niño weather pattern that suppressed rainfall over a wide swath of southeastern Asia during 2015 and early 2016. Mindanao is the country’s largest corn producer, averaging about 3.7 million tons or 50 percent of total national production

Mar 9 2016 | INDONESIA: Rice Production Prospects Reduced by El Nino
A strong El Niño weather pattern has suppressed rainfall over a wide swath of southeastern Asia during 2015 and early 2016, and is currently affecting the Indonesian archipelago. Rainfall in Indonesia’s prime rice growing areas on the islands of Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan has been erratic and deficient, forcing farmers to delay planting well beyond the optimal period during the wet season which traditionally runs from October through April. Planting typically begins with the onset of rains in October and is completed by late November. This year, many farmers had to delay rice planting into late January and early February. The wet season is the most important rice growing period of the year, supporting both irrigated and rainfed grain farming. Rainfed rice area and production in particular are at their peak during this season, with more than a million subsistence farm families dependent on the rainfed crop for their livelihoods.

Dec 15 2015 | INDONESIA: Palm Oil Production Prospects Dampened by El Niño Drought
USDA forecasts 2015/16 palm oil production in Indonesia at a record 33.0 million tons, down 2.0 million tons from last month's forecast but unchanged from last year. Total area devoted to oil palm plantings is estimated at a record 10.8 million hectares, with mature “harvested” area at 8.97 million hectares. Mature area is forecast to increase roughly 5 percent compared to last year, or 425,000 hectares. Crop yield is forecast at 3.68 tons per hectare, down approximately 5 percent from last year.

Oct 30 2015 | THAILAND: Irrigation Shortage Reduces 2015/16 Rice Production
USDA estimates Thailand’s 2015/16 rice production at 16.4 million tons (milled basis), down 1.6 million tons or 9 percent from last month and down 12.5 percent from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 9.7 million hectares, down 0.55 million or 5 percent from last month and 6 percent from last year. Yield is estimated well below-average at 2.58 tons per hectare.

Jun 11 2015 | Southeast Asia: 2015/16 Rice Production Outlook at Record Levels
As the 2015/16 growing season gets underway in Southeast Asia, USDA is forecasting total milled rice production at a record 118.2 million tons. This forecast acknowledges the region’s historical pattern of annual yield growth - resulting from the gradual expansion of acreage under irrigation and improved high-yielding rice varieties. This early forecast also includes an assumption of a near-normal rainfall pattern during the main growing period from June to October when the majority of rainfed rice is cultivated and grown.

Mar 10 2015 | MALAYSIA: 2014/15 Palm Oil Production Affected by Flooding
Extremely heavy rainfall blanketed important palm oil growing regions in Peninsular West Malaysia during December 2014, causing significant localized flooding and harvest disruptions. Rainfall totals exceeded 1,750 millimeters (70 inches) in some areas, which equates to roughly 300-600 percent of normal for the month.

Feb 26 2015 | THAILAND: 2014/15 Dry Season Rice Area and Production Forecast to Decline
There is significant uncertainty concerning the size of the upcoming rice harvest, given varying reports and assessments from official government agencies in Thailand. Thai rice farmers are facing an environment of deteriorating profitability. Domestic rice prices have declined nearly 30 percent over the past two years and the generous Paddy Pledging Scheme has been discontinued. Additionally, as the winter rice-growing season began in November, the government reported that it would restrict irrigation supplies to farmers so that the cultivated rice area and production would decline.

Sep 22 2014 | Southeast Asia: Post-2020 Palm Oil Outlook Questionable
World palm oil output has steadily increased over the past few decades, reaching record levels on an annual basis. Continued expansion in Malaysia and Indonesia relies on certain factors that may be more of a challenge in the future. Given these two nations contribute roughly 86 percent of total global palm oil production, whatever affects their growth trajectory will also influence the wider international production level of this edible oil commodity. Problems that have arisen in Malaysia in the past few years (land shortage, stagnant yields) are not yet a problem in Indonesia.

Jun 19 2014 | Southeast Asia: Historical El Niño-Related Crop Yield Impact
The world’s major meteorological organizations have issued alerts about the increasing probability of an El Niño event. Sea-surface temperatures (SST) from March through May have begun to rise in the eastern and central Pacific ocean. In early June, climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported a 70-percent chance of El Niño forming this summer. Historically, Southeast Asian countries see significant climate-related problems with El Niños, with India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Australia often experiencing deficient rainfall or drought. Given the region’s extremely large population, its significant economic dependence on agriculture, and the preponderance of small-scale subsistence farms , any potential climatic threats to agricultural yields may have implications for regional food security. The early warning provided by climate scientists this year enabled governments throughout the region to discuss and implement El Niño-related contingency plans. This article describes the impact that El Ninos have had on major crop production in the region, focusing on the primary foodgrain, feedgrain, and oilseed crops (rice, corn, and palm oil).

Dec 11 2013 | PHILIPPINES: Super Typhoon Haiyan Causes Marginal Food Crop Losses
The USDA has been conducting an ongoing assessment of damages in the central Philippines owing to super-typhoon Haiyan, and as a result it reduced its estimate of total 2013/14 milled rice production in December to 11.64 million tons - down 60,000 tons or 0.5 percent. Corn production in 2013/14 was also reduced to 7.32 million tons, down 35,000 tons or 0.5 percent owing to typhoon damage. The current national rice and corn area estimates are 4.67 and 2.57 million hectares respectively, down 80,000 and 30,000 hectares compared to last month. These extremely marginal reductions are largely in line with recent reports produced by the Philippine Department of Agriculture, which indicate approximately 80,000 hectares of immature rice and 22,000 hectares of corn were lost in the Visayas region in the aftermath of the storm. Typically during the October-December 4th quarter growing period, the Visayas region harvests approximately 327,000 hectares of rice and 90,000 hectares of corn. Based on this data, typhoon Haiyan destroyed roughly 24 percent of quarterly rice and corn area in the region. On a national basis, however, these losses represent only 2 percent of total Philippine rice area and less than 1 percent of corn area. Despite the devastating humanitarian and infrastructural impact Haiyan had throughout the Visayas, it proved less consequential to the nation’s agricultural sector and does not pose any threat to the current food security picture. As reported earlier, this record-setting category 5 super-storm churned through one of the least intensively cultivated areas in the Philippines, sparing major agricultural growing regions both north (Luzon) and south (Mindanao). This report provides some of the geospatial end-products produced by the USDA analysis.

Nov 21 2013 | CAMBODIA: Seasonal Flooding Impacts Wet Season Rice Production in 2013
Heavy monsoon rainfall which blanketed much of the northern Mekong River watershed in Vietnam and Laos during September and October 2013 caused substantial downstream flooding in Cambodia. Current flood conditions are reminiscent of the epic levels reached in 2011, with large areas of productive rice lands innundated during the summer growing season. Cultivated rice areas stretching from the province of Siem Reap in the northwest to Prey Veng and Takeo in the south have been negatively affected, with an estimated 369,346 hectares or 12 percent of total rice area experiencing flood conditions. USDA conducted a special satellite-based flood assessment analysis in November to more clearly illustrate where flooding was directly impacting rice crops across the country, resulting in the map below. As can be seen, the location and intensity of flooding is similar to 2011 when a record 415,000 hectares was innundated.

Nov 13 2013 | PHILIPPINES: Super Typhoon Haiyan Causes Limited Losses of Rice and Corn
A rare category 5 “Super Typhoon” struck a group of islands in the central Philippines (Visayas Region) on November 8th, 2013 bringing 200+ mile per hour winds, a tsunami-like coastal storm surge, and heavy rainfall. Super Typhoon Haiyan was reported to have been the strongest tropical storm to make landfall anywhere on earth. Large areas across the region are utterly devastated, with an almost total loss of buildings and infrastructure. The Philippine government on November 11th reported the storm had affected over 6.9 million people, with over 2,000 feared dead and over 580,000 people currently homeless or displaced. Entire cities and villages were flattened or destroyed by gale-force winds and a 15-25 foot storm surge. Despite its record intensity and power, however, Typhoon Haiyan is likely to remain a much larger humanitarian disaster than an agricultural one, given it struck in one of the least intensively cultivated regions in the country.

Jun 27 2013 | INDONESIA: Palm Oil Expansion Unaffected by Forest Moratorium
The USDA currently forecasts 2013/14 palm oil production in Indonesia at a record 31.0 million tons, up 2.5 million or 9 percent from last year. Total area devoted to oil palm plantings is estimated at a record 10.8 million hectares, with mature “harvested” area at 8.1 million hectares. Mature area is forecast to increase roughly 6 percent compared to last year, or 430,000 hectares. This follows a long historical trend as seen in the graph below

Mar 26 2013 | THAILAND: Deficient Irrigation Supplies Reduce Dry Season Rice Production
Thailand’s 2012/13 second rice crop is currently suffering from an unusual problem – insufficient irrigation supplies. This high-yielding crop is typically cultivated in the winter dry season, with water supplied from large-scale reservoirs in upland mountain areas. Official in-country reports from USDA staff indicate that key reservoirs throughout the country are currently at record-low levels and that the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has warned farmers it may not have sufficient supply to support late-planted rice. Satellite-derived vegetation index data, however, indicate that the majority of prime dry-season rice growing areas are already experiencing drought-like conditions, with well-below normal vegetative development in the middle of the growing season.

Dec 17 2012 | PHILIPPINES: Super Typhoon Bopha Causes Limted Losses of Rice and Corn
A rare category 5 "Super Typhoon" struck the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines on December 4th, bringing 160 mile per hour winds and heavy rainfall. The Compostela Valley, north of the regional city of Davao, was devastated by the storm. The Philippine government on December 12th reported that 902 people were killed, 938 remain missing, and over 80,000 people are currently homeless. Entire villages were flattened or destroyed by high winds, landslides, and flash flooding. Preliminary estimates of agricultural damages reported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) have reached US$230 million, including $180 million in losses associated with high value crops (bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and tropical fruits), $39 million in lost rice and corn crops, and $12 million in damages to livestock and fisheries.

Dec 12 2012 | VIETNAM: Record Rice Production Forecast on Surge in Planting in Mekong Delta
The USDA forecast Vietnam’s 2012/13 milled rice production at a record 27.7 million tons, up 0.6 million or 2 percent from last month and last year. National rice area was also forecast at a record 7.8 million hectares, up 0.2 million or 2 percent from last month and up 1 percent from last year. Crop yield was estimated unchanged at a record 5.66 tons per hectare. The overall increase in rice production this month was attributed to unusually large increases in seasonal rice area in southern Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta (MRD). Rice farmers reportedly took advantage of lower than normal floodwaters in October to plant extra acreage on lands normally submerged at that time of year.

Dec 11 2012 | MALAYSIA: Stagnating Palm Oil Yields Impede Growth
The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) issued the final monthly production estimate for the 2011/12 USDA marketing year in October 2012, indicating that palm oil production was basically unchanged from the previous year. National average crop yields actually fell 2 percent to the lowest level in the past 5 years, continuing a stubborn pattern of below-trend growth. In fact, palm oil yields have declined steadily over the past 4 years and are now 9 percent below the record 4.7 tons per hectare level achieved in 2008. As a result of the MPOB data, USDA revised its final estimate for 2011/12 palm oil production to 18.2 million tons. USDA forecast 2012/13 production at 18.5 million tons, assuming little or no improvement will occur in national crop yields. The new 2012/13 marketing year began in October 2012 and runs through September 2013.

Mar 19 2012 | INDONESIA: Stagnating Rice Production Ensures Continued Need for Imports
Indonesia ranks 3rd in the world in regards to total rice production, but has also been the world's 7th largest rice importer over the past 5 years - on average requiring over 1.1 million tons of imports per year. Of the top ten global rice producing nations, only the Philippines and Indonesia also rank in the top ten of all rice importers. Owing to the perennial shortfall of rice production, food security and the pursuit of national rice self-sufficiency have become predominant concerns of the government in Indonesia. Rice is the staple foodgrain, and the country's primary statistical agency (Badan Pusat Statistik or BPS) estimates Indonesia to have the 7th highest per capita rice consumption rate in the world, at 139 kilograms per person. The Indonesian government also estimates that its people rely on rice for roughly 50 and 40 percent of their daily caloric and protein requirements, respectively. For this country of 248 million people (The World Factbook), the status of its domestic rice supply is synonymous with its food security. However, in recent years total rice consumption has been rising faster than production, as the growth rate of national rice area and yield has faltered.

Dec 13 2011 | LAOS: Sustainability of Future Rice Production Growth and Food Security Uncertain
Rice is the staple foodgrain produced in Laos, with greater than 60 percent of all agricultural land devoted to its cultivation. However, Laos has serious limits to its ability to expand future production, given it has the smallest amount of arable land (4% of total national area) of any country in Southeast Asia. Despite the inherent shortage of arable land, Laotian farmers have made great progress during the past decade in improving average rice yields and modestly expanding crop area, leading to significantly higher national production. Official government statistics indicate that the country first achieved rice self-sufficiency in 1999 and that total rice production increased an additional 36 percent between 2000-2010.

Nov 9 2011 | SE ASIA: Widespread Flooding Impacts Regional Rice Production in 2011
Heavy monsoon rainfall and multiple typhoons have innundated large areas of productive rice lands in Southeast Asia during September and October. Cultivated rice areas stretching from Burma in the west to the Philippines in the east have been negatively affected, with an estimated 2.6 million hectares or 6 percent of the regions total rice area experiencing flooded conditions. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) staff throughout the region have been investigating the ongoing impact of adverse weather and flooding on crops and have contributed to the overall assessment provided in this article. In addition, a special satellite-based flood assessment analysis was made in October to more clearly illustrate where flooding was directly impacting rice crops across mainland SE Asia.

Jun 28 2011 | MALAYSIA: Obstacles May Reduce Future Palm Oil Production Growth
For the past 30 years Malaysia has been a world leader regarding organizing an efficient and highly productive commercial oil palm plantation sector, as well as in pioneering important agricultural research and varietal development that benefited palm oil producers throughout the region. As a result of the coordinated efforts of government and commercial companies over this extended period (1979-2010), Malaysian palm oil production increased roughly 600 percent - averaging 7 percent growth per annum. Malaysia was the world's leading producer and supplier of palm oil and its various by-products for much of this period, only recently being eclipsed by its neighbor Indonesia. The strength and continuity of the 3 decades-long growth cycle was a remarkable achievement, being a product of substantial financial investment, a large pool of skilled immigrant labor, and extensive land areas suitable for conversion to plantations.

Oct 7 2010 | INDONESIA: Rising Global Demand Fuels Palm Oil Expansion
Based on recently revised official Indonesian government statistics, it is apparent that the country's rapid expansion of oil palm acreage is continuing in 2010. This is despite escalating environmental and climate change campaigns focused on halting or slowing conversion of forest lands to plantation agriculture in Indonesia, including the newly announced moratorium agreement between Indonesia and Norway. Total area planted to oil palm (immature and mature) in 2010/11 is now estimated at roughly 7.65 million hectares, having increased at an average annual rate of 300,000 hectares over the past 10 years. Whether or not this growth trend is maintained in the future is critically important to the global edible oil market. Palm oil is the single largest traded vegetable oil commodity in the world, global demand is rising rapidly, and few if any countries other than Indonesia are capable of increasing production on an appropriate scale in the near-term.

Jan 26 2010 | CAMBODIA: Future Growth Rate of Rice Production Uncertain
Cambodia has recently re-entered the world market as a rice exporting nation, following a 30-year hiatus caused by war, political isolation, and a decimated agricultural sector. A resurgence of rice cultivation is occurring all across the nation's vast lowlands, as the rural population expands and previously abandoned or mined farmland is brought back into production. Rice production growth in Cambodia over the past 10-12 years has been surprisingly strong, increasing at a 9 percent annual growth rate. At the same time, rice exports have increased from zero in MY 2000/01 to an estimated 800,000 tons this year (MY 2009/10).

Mar 19 2009 | INDONESIA: Palm Oil Production Growth To Continue
Extremely high palm oil production growth rates have been sustained over the past ten years in Indonesia. These historic growth rates are a result of strong global vegetable oil demand and significant political and economic reforms established by the government following the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990's. Chief among the reforms were the designation of large land tracts to the development of future palm plantations, decentralizing control over land-use licensing to provincial governments, and subsidizing credit and establishment costs for smallholder's interested in palm.

Jun 10 2008 | BURMA: 2008/09 Rice Crop Threatened By Slow Post-Cyclone Recovery
Tropical cyclone Nargis struck the heart of Burma's rice growing region in the low-lying Ayeyarwady delta on May 2nd, causing extensive damage to agricultural lands, infrastructure, livestock, and stored food grains. A 12-foot storm surge (tidal wave) accompanied the cyclone, reportedly penetrated 25-30 miles inland along the storms path.

May 15 2008 | BURMA: Widespread Cyclone Damage in Major Rice Production Regions
Cyclone Nargis, a category-3 tropical storm, struck the low-lying and heavily populated Burmese coastline on May 2nd with winds of 132 miles per hour. The storm had sufficient strength to propagate a 12 foot tall sea wave (storm surge) that inundated vast areas of farmland in at least 4 major rice producing Divisions (provinces).

Dec 27 2007 | Indonesia: Palm Oil Production Prospects Continue to Grow
A significant change in the oil palm industry has taken place during the past season, as Indonesia surpassed Malaysia in production of palm oil and is now the world leader. This designation will continue and Indonesia's production rate will outpace Malaysia for the foreseeable future. Personnel from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) conducted crop-assessment travel in the main palm oil production regions of Sumatra and West Kalimantan during August and September.

Nov 29 2005 | Malaysia : Near Normal Rainfall Supports Palm Oil Output
Malaysia's national average rainfall in the third quarter of 2005 was slightly above normal. From July to September it was 214 millimeters per month compared to a normal of 200 millimeters. This level of rainfall is favorable for production that will occur in the second quarter of 2006. During the last 10 quarters, 6 quarters had below normal rainfall and 4 quarters above normal rainfall. Overall, this is expected to be moderately detrimental to palm oil yields for the next six quarters. The delayed effect of rainfall will be slightly positive from October 2005 to June 2006, and slightly negative from July 2006 to March 2007.

Sep 14 2005 | Malaysia : Near Normal Rainfall Supports Palm Oil Output
Malaysia's palm oil production is strongly influenced by rainfall levels. National average rainfall in the second quarter of 2005 was 188 millimeters per month, close to the normal amount of 199.9 millimeters. This level of rainfall is favorable for palm oil production in the first quarter of 2006 as well as more distant harvests in late 2006 and 2007. This was in contrast to above-normal rainfall in the fourth quarter of 2004 and below-normal rainfall in the first quarter of 2005, which were unfavorable for future output.

Jun 24 2005 | Malaysia: Palm Oil Yields Surprisingly High
Unusually high yields for Malaysian palm oil in the months from November 2004, May 2005 were not presaged by rainfall analysis. Analysis of rainfall indicated slightly below trend yields should have been attained in the months November through March. Rainfall analysis also indicated that above-trend yields should have occurred in April and May, but not to the extent that they occurred.

Apr 10 2000 | Malaysia: A Strong Competitor in Vegetable Oil Production
Summary Malaysia palm oil production has nearly tripled since 1984/85. Cloning technology, which is being used in palm tree breeding, may be boosting yields. Malaysia: A Strong Competitor Malaysia, the largest palm oil producer, is a strong competitor to the United States in the production of vegetable oil. Output of palm oil there has increased from 3.8 million tons in 1984/85 to a forecast 10.6 million tons in 1999/2000.

Oct 6 2000 | Flooding in Southeast Asia
Since July there has been widespread flooding along the Mekong River in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. However, in the major rice exporting countries of Vietnam and Thailand the flooding has caused only minor damage to the rice crop. While there has been great loss of life and property in both countries, the damage to rice has been limited by both the location and timing of the floods. Cambodia and Laos have experienced much more significant damage to their rice crops, due to different crop growing schedules and less flood-control infrastructure. The Mekong river normally floods every year between late August and November, but this year the monsoon rains started at least five weeks early in July. Extremely heavy rainfall has also caused flood waters along the Mekong river to rise much higher than normal.

Favorable rainfall for the past year and a half, plus projections for rising harvested area bode well for Malaysia palm oil through 2001/02.

Aug 10 2001 | Malaysia: Rainfall Continues While Oil Palm Area Expansion Slows
Rainfall in Malaysia continues to fall at higher-than-normal rates. For the most part this will promote high palm oil yield. Monthly average rainfall, weighted by region for palm oil area, has been above normal for 9 of the last 10 quarters, with the 3rd quarter of 2000 (July-September) missing normal by just 4 millimeters. Excessive monthly average rainfall of over 300 millimeters from November 2000 to January 2001 may have decreased pollination and may have resulted in reduced yields six months later (May-July). Yields are expected to pick up in August or September, benefiting from the good rainfall levels of the past 10 quarters.

Nov 19 2001 | Palm Oil Yield Prospects in Malaysia Fall as Rainfall Returns to Near Normal
Malaysia national-monthly-average rainfall in the third quarter of 2001 dipped below normal for only the second time in the last 10 quarters. Additionally, excess precipitation in November 2000-January 2001 likely reduced palm pollination prospects. As high yields are typically associated with above-average precipitation, the reduced third quarter has reduced palm oil yield prospects.

Feb 13 2002 | Heavy Rainfall May Cut Malaysian Palm Oil Production
Malaysian monthly average rainfall jumped in the fourth quarter of 2001, from below-normal the two previous quarters to an excessive 363 millimeters. The excessive rainfall has likely affected pollination and may have a negative effect on production in the third quarter of calendar year 2002. The below-normal rainfall in the second and third quarters of 2001 also will likely decrease production in the coming months and over the next two years. The Malaysia Rainfall Regression Model (MRRM), which uses Malaysian rainfall data, forecasts production at 3.67 tons per hectare for 2001/02 (Oct-Sep.) This is slightly below average, and well below the 4.06 tons per hectare seen in 2000/01.

May 21 2002 | Malaysia: Lower Rainfall, Less Fertilizer, and Replanting Reduce Palm Oil Prospects
Malaysian monthly average rainfall declined in the first quarter of 2002, and has now been below normal for three out of the last four quarters. Normal rainfall prevailed in the fourth quarter of 2001, the first quarter of 2001, and the fourth quarter of 2000. The variable rainfall results in a mixed situation for palm oil yield prospects. Current harvest yields are influenced by soil moisture conditions from the previous 24 months. Using the Malaysia rainfall data, yield for 2001/02 (Oct. - Sept.) is forecast by the Malaysia Rainfall Regression Model (MRRM) at 3.75 tons per hectare. This is virtually equal to the 5-year average 3.76 tons, but well below the 4.06 tons per hectare seen in 2000/01.

Aug 28 2002 | Malaysia: Lower Rainfall and Lower Than Expected Area Reduce Palm Oil Prospects
Malaysian monthly average rainfall was 161 millimeters, 39 millimeters below normal in the second quarter of 2002, and so has now been below normal for 4 out of the last 5 quarters. The less than normal rainfall is likely to negatively impact palm oil yields for the 2002/03 marketing year.

Oct 29 2002 | Burma: Rice Situation Update
Burma's 2002 main season rice crop experienced both drought and floods this year. Total rainfall was below normal and the distribution was irregular. Moderate-to-heavy monsoon rain in May provided good moisture for planting and transplanting, but unusually dry weather in July and early August stressed the crop. In mid-August, NDVI values (derived from AVHRR imagery) were below normal and lower than last year, when rainfall was more abundant. The monsoon rains returned in force during the second half of August, causing locally serious flooding and property damage in the northwest and central sections of the country. According to official sources, more than 400,000 hectares of farmland were flooded and thousands of people were made homeless in what was described as the worst flooding in 30 years. However, the Government of Burma later stated that the flooding was not responsible for rice shortages in the country as no stocks were lost and the movement of rice to the cities was uninterrupted. The flooding had abated by the end of August; the monsoon retreated on schedule in September. Unseasonably heavy rain was reported in mid-October in a few locations, but it was unlikely to harm the maturing crop or affect harvest progress.

Nov 22 2002 | Indonesia: Rain on Java
Over half of all rice grown in Indonesia is grown on Java (see Table 1), which is also where most of the population lives. The months of July, August, and September are typically dry, but the lack of rain into October was beginning to cause concern in Indonesia, the world's largest rice importer. Main-season rice, harvested between January and April, usually comprises half of the total rice production (see Table 2). Java produces the majority of main-season rice. A delay in the onset of the rainy season is usually not a problem, but if the dryness persists through November and into December, a decrease in production is possible.

Dec 2 2002 | Malaysia: Irregular Rainfall Balances to Average for Palm Oil
Malaysian monthly average rainfall was 221 millimeters, 20 millimeters above normal in the third quarter of 2002, and so has now been above normal for four of the last eight quarters. The rainfall over the past two years has averaged near normal, but has been somewhat irregular. Overall, indications are that palm oil yield levels should be near normal for the remainder of 2002/03 marketing year (Oct.Sept.). Low average rainfall in the first quarter of 2002 (Jan.-Mar.) would portend poor yields in the fourth quarter of 2002, but production data from October 2002 was fairly high at 1.2 million tons, suggesting that the negative effect was mitigated by above normal rainfall in the fourth quarter of 2001.

Feb 11 2003 | Malaysia: Below-Normal Rainfall May Reduce Palm Oil Production
Average monthly rainfall in Malaysia during the fourth quarter of 2002 was 263 millimeters, 28 millimeters or 10 percent below normal. Rainfall has now been below normal for three of the last four quarters. USDA's production forecast for 2002/03 (Oct.-Sept.) remains unchanged at 11.8 million tons, largely because actual production in the fourth quarter of 2002 came in higher than expected. However, near to below normal yields are projected, beginning in the second quarter of 2003. Early indications are that yields may drop below normal in 2004.

Aug 13 2003 | Malaysia: Despite Mixed Rainfall Picture, Palm Oil Production Rises
Since January, actual Malaysian palm oil output has exceeded the levels projected by the Malaysia Rainfall Regression Model (MRRM). The higher-than-expected levels are attributed to increased input levels and improving oil palm selections, which take advantage of more intensive management. Prices for crude palm oil increased by 67 percent from October 2001 to June 2002, which induced plantations to increase input levels. Malaysian monthly average rainfall was 148 millimeters in the second quarter of 2003, 52 millimeters below normal, and has now been below normal for six out of the last ten quarters (see graph below). The below-normal rainfall in the second quarter may have hurt pollination and could negatively affect yields in the first three months of 2004.

Nov 19 2003 | Malaysia: High Rainfall in Third Quarter 2003 Favorable for Palm Oil Production,
Using the Malaysia rainfall data, yield for 2003/04 (Oct.-Sept.) is estimated by the Malaysian Rainfall Regression Model (MRRM) at 3.68 tons per hectare, which is slightly above average. This projection would give a production level of 12.3 million tons (using a projected harvested area of 3.35 million hectares), less than the 13.4 million tons currently forecast by USDA as of November 12, 2003. The USDA is giving credit to increased fertilizer applications and the use of improved selections of oil palm for higher yields that have been seen recently, above what is expected from simply relying on rainfall data and a long term yield trend.

Feb 11 2004 | Malaysia: Excessive Rainfall in Fourth Quarter for Malaysian Palm Oil
Average monthly rainfall in Malaysia in the fourth quarter of 2003 was 381 millimeters. This was excessive, and is expected to have a negative effect on Malaysian palm oil production in the third quarter of 2004. Rainfall levels above 300 millimeters per month reduce pollination levels, which in turn reduce output 6 to 9 months later. Rainfall was heaviest in the states of Pahang and Terengganu, in the central and eastern peninsula. Pahang averaged 591 millimeters per month; Terengganu averaged 519 millimeters per month in the fourth quarter. In Eastern Malaysia, Sarawak had excessive rains, averaging 448 millimeters; Sabah had modestly excessive rains, averaging 344 millimeters. Joho, in the southern part of peninsular Malaysia--the state with perhaps the highest concentration of palm oil trees--escaped the deluge, averaging only 203 millimeters.

Aug 30 2004 | Malaysia: Below-Normal Rainfall May Limit Palm Oil Yields Late 2004-Early 2005
Rainfall in Malaysian palm oil regions was below normal during the first January-June 2004, and palm oil yields may be reduced from what they otherwise would have been in late 2004 and early 2005. However, based on rainfall over the past 10 quarters, Malaysian palm oil yields should to be near trend overall during the next year and a half. Production levels should trend higher as area under oil palm continues to expand at a fairly consistent rate.

Nov 12 2004 | Malaysia: Palm Oil Yields Trending Higher, Rainfall Normal
Rainfall in Malaysian palm oil regions was very close to normal during the third quarter of 2004 (Jul.-Sept.). This is expected to have a neutral effect on palm oil yields. For the marketing year 2004/05 (Oct.Sept.), yields are expected to be below trend from October to March, but move above trend from April to September. This projection is based on the lagged rainfall effects from precipitation occurring over the past 10 quarters.

Dec 16 2004 | Thailand: Drought Affects 2004/05 Rice Crop
Thailand experienced an abrupt end to the rainy season in September 2004, about a month earlier than normal. Government and trade sources report that the immature main-season crop was stressed by the unseasonable dryness, and that yields would be lower than forecast earlier in the season. The sudden end of the monsoon also led to concerns about the availability of irrigation water for the second rice crop, which will be planted during the dry season starting in January 2005.

Mar 24 2005 | Drought Continues in Southeast Asia
Drought conditions currently exist in many parts of Southeast Asia, particularly in Indochina[Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, and Laos]. The drought has stressed rice, coffee, sugar, and other crops in the region and sharply lowered the supply of water for drinking and irrigation. The largest crop losses have been reported in Thailand, but the drought has also damaged crops in southern China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

Mar 1 2005 | Malaysia Palm Oil Area and Production
Above-average yield during the fourth quarter of 2004 boosted the MRRM model yield projection for 2004/05 to 4.0 tons per hectare.

Mar 23 2005 | Record Rice Crop Expected in Vietnam
Vietnam is expected to produce a record rice crop in 2004/05 despite periods of drought and flooding during the growing season. Milled rice production for 2004/05 is estimated at a record 22.1 million tons (33.5 million tons, rough basis), up slightly from last year (USDA, March estimate). Harvested area is estimated at 7.46 million hectares, essentially unchanged from a year ago.

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