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Commodity Intelligence Report
July 17, 2015

AFGHANISTAN: 2015/2016 Wheat Production above Average but Down from Last Year

USDA estimates Afghanistan’s 2015 (USDA market year MY2015/2016) wheat crop at 5.0 million metric tons. Production is down 25,000 tons, or 0.5 percent, from last year. The 5-year average is 4.26 million tons. Harvested area is estimated at 2.55 million hectares which is 10,000 hectares below last year. Yield is estimated at 1.96 tons per hectare which is the same as last year and above the 5-year average of 1.75 tons per hectare.

A large part of the Afghan wheat crop is grown in the Northern provinces with the majority of the crop being dependent on seasonal precipitation (Fig. 1). Winter snow levels in the Hindu Kush higher elevations was normal and provided good snow melt for irrigation (Fig. 2). Overall precipitation for the season was normal and generally above the levels of last year (Fig. 3b).


As a result of the favorable precipitation, the vegetation anomaly (normalized difference vegetation index or NDVI) for all of the wheat growing areas was above average based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer satellite (MODIS) (Fig. 3c). The same above average trend was also noted in the evapotranspiration anomaly (ETa) map (Fig. 3d). Precipitation in the northern wheat growing region was normal and on track with levels from the last 2 years (Fig. 4a). MODIS NDVI curves for the northern region indicated an above average crop at or just above a production level observed last year (Fig. 5). In northwest Afghanistan, the rain-dependent wheat areas received beneficial rains as dormancy was broken in late February. Beneficial rains then continued on throughout the flowering and maturation period which exceeded the cumulative precipitation for the last 2 years (Fig. 4b). These rains helped to boost the MODIS NDVI for the northwestern crop slightly above that observed in 2012/13 and well above last year’s level which was a drier year (Fig. 6). In southern Afghanistan, MODIS NDVI curves for the irrigated Helmand and Kandahar provinces were found to be just below that of the curves for the last 2 years (Fig. 7). Precipitation was generally favorable and the 2015 wheat crop was just below the record production level observed last year.




This report has been published by the Office of Global Analysis (OGA), International Production Assessment Division (IPAD). Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available at the PSD Online.

For more information contact William Baker | | (202) 260-8109
USDA-FAS, Office of Global Analysis

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