FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.3, June 2000



Planting of the first maize crop started in the south in mid-May following the first significant rains. Rains progressed northwards in April but reached only in mid-May the extreme north where they permitted land preparation and plantings of millet and sorghum. Precipitation remained below average over the northern half of the country during the first dekad of May and over the entire country during the third dekad. Improved rains are needed to avoid crop stress.

Following an above average cereal harvest in 1999, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory except in some flooded areas in the north. Cereal imports for domestic use and re-export during the 2000 marketing year are estimated at 290 000 tonnes, mostly wheat and rice. Congolese refugees are present in northern Cameroon.


Widespread and significant rains in late March permitted land preparation. Precipitation remained generally below average in April and early May, except in the south. Rains improved during the second dekad of May but decreased in the south and the west during the third dekad.

Following a record cereal crop in 1999, estimated at 161 000 tonnes, the food supply situation is satisfactory. The cereal import requirement for the 2000 marketing year is estimated at 29 000 tonnes, mainly wheat.


Intensification of the civil conflict in eastern parts of the country has resulted in further population displacements and a deterioration of the food situation. Fighting in May and early June in Kisangani town between Rwandan and Ugandan forces resulted in the killing of civilian populations, massive damage to the city infrastructure and fresh waves of displacements. Intense fighting has been also reported in early June in parts of South Kivu between Mayi-Mayi militia and the "Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie". Killings of civilians have been reported around Uvira and Kalehe towns.

In general, the food supply situation is tight in most of the country due to the disruption of agricultural production and marketing caused by the persistent civil war. The situation is particularly serious for more than a million people internally displaced. Most IDPs have lost their homes and belongings and can not survive without humanitarian assistance. However, most of them are in conflict areas in eastern parts of the country and are not currently accessible due to insecurity and cut-off of roads. The food and health situation of these populations is reported to be critical. The situation also gives serious cause for concern in urban areas, particularly in the city of Kinshasa, where 10 percent of the 6 million inhabitants are estimated to suffer acute malnutrition.

CONGO, REP OF* (5 June)

Following the December 1999 ceasefire between the government and opposition parties, peace now prevails throughout the country. It is estimated that some 600 000 people - out of an estimated 810 000 displaced by the war - have returned to their homes since the signing of the peace accord. In Brazzaville, the number of IDPs has declined rapidly as thousands of people move back to their home towns, as sites for displaced people close. The Mossendjo area of Niari region now hosts the country's largest remaining group of internally-displaced people, in a zone still under the control of "non-state actors". Over 50 000 IDPs are believed to be in need of assistance in Mossendjo. A one month airlift of relief supplies to northern Pool began for distribution to conflict-affected populations. A feeding centre has been set up in Kindamba for severely malnourished people. Large parts of northern Pool have been inaccessible by road since last year because of the fighting, and tens of thousands of people had spent months hiding in the forest. The cereal import requirement for the 2000 marketing year is estimated at 140 000 tonnes, mostly wheat and rice.


Abundant and widespread rains have been registered from mid-March to late April. Precipitation decreased in early May but resumed in mid-May and remained abundant in late May in the west. The staple crops are sweet potatoes, cassava and plantains. The cereal import requirement for the 2000 marketing year is estimated at 9 000 tonnes of rice and wheat.

GABON (5 June)

Very abundant rains were registered in mid-April. Precipitation decreased in May and notably during the third dekad of the month. The main foodcrops are cassava and plantains but some maize is also produced (around 25 000 tonnes). The country commercially imports the bulk of its cereal requirement, estimated at around 82 000 tonnes in 2000.

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