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GIEWS Country Brief: Belarus 21-June-2022

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  • Favourable weather conditions for 2022 winter cereals

  • Slightly above-average cereal production obtained in 2021

  • Import requirements forecast above average in 2021/22

  • Prices of wheat flour increased sharply in April 2022

Favourable weather conditions for 2022 winter cereals

Sowing of the 2022 winter cereal crops, mainly wheat and triticale, finalized in early October 2021 and the harvest is expected to start from mid-July. Weather conditions have been overall conducive during the season and, according to satellite-based images, vegetation conditions were favourable across the country in May (VHI map).

Planting of the 2022 spring cereals, mainly barley and maize, finalized in May and crops will be harvested from mid-July.

Slightly above-average cereal production obtained in 2021

Harvesting of the 2021 winter and spring cereal crops finalized last August and last November, respectively. The aggregate 2021 cereal production is estimated at a slightly above-average level of 7.3 million tonnes. The output of wheat is officially set at 2.5 million tonnes, 6 percent above the average level following adequate and well-distributed rainfall during the season. Maize production is estimated at a well above-average level of 1.4 million tonnes due to large plantings and overall favourable weather conditions during the season. By contrast, the aggregate output of cereals NES (mainly triticale) and barley is estimated slightly at a below-average level of 2.3 million tonnes, mostly due to reduced plantings.

Import requirements forecast slightly above average in 2021/22

In the 2021/22 marketing year (July/June), total cereal import requirements are forecast at about 570 000 tonnes, about 6 percent above the five-year average volume. Maize import requirements are forecast at 60 000 tonnes, well below the average level due to the large output harvested in 2021.

Similarly, barley import requirements are forecast at a below-average level of 100 000 tonnes, while wheat imports are forecast at an above-average level of 350 000 tonnes.

On 11 March 2022, the government adopted Resolution 125, providing for a six-month extension of the existing temporary ban on exports of wheat and meslin, rye, barley, oats, maize, buckwheat, millet, triticale and other cereals, as well as rapeseed, sunflower seeds and other products (FPMA Policy).

The ban was introduced on 26 August 2021, for an initial period of six months. On 31 May 2022, the fovernment amended Resolution 125 through the adoption of Resolution 353, adding other products to the list, mostly animal feed.

Prices of wheat flour increased sharply in April

Retail prices of wheat flour remained generally stable between May 2019 and March 2022. In April, prices increased sharply, amid the adoption on 7 April 2022 of Resolution 214, which partially relaxed the controls on wheat flour prices that were in place since February 2021. Prices reached levels well above those of a year before amid very high wheat export quotations in the Russian Federation, the main wheat supplier to the country, and the depreciation of the national currency, which lost about 30 percent of its value against the United States dollar compared to April 2021.

The national average retail prices of potatoes, another food staple in the country, showed an increasing trend between September 2021 and January 2022, in line with seasonal patterns. Prices declined in February and remained quite stable in March and April. Prices reached levels 26 percent higher year on year, amid the harvest of a reduced output in 2021.