NIGER (8 February)
An early end of the rains in September 2004 affected cereal crops and pastures and contributed to the movement of Desert Locusts to crop areas. Out of 205 villages in Tahoua region, about 125 have reported crop damage due to locusts. The joint FAO/CILSS/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission has provisionally estimated the 2004 cereal production at 3.14 million tonnes, which is 12 percent lower than last year’s good crop, but close to the average for the previous five years. However, due to the fall in grain output, some 3.6 million people are estimated to be at risk of food shortage. In 2003 the population at risk was estimated at 1.58 million people. Imports of cereals in the marketing year ending in October 2005 are forecast to increase sharply from last year to over 500 000 tonnes.