Planting of main season crops has started in southern Africa; only irrigated winter wheat is currently being harvested in the sub-region. Crops in several countries in eastern Africa are maturing or being harvested, while harvesting of main season crops has commenced in Ethiopia and Sudan. Harvesting is underway in the coastal countries of western Africa, while the rainy season has come to a close in Sahelian countries.
|Eastern Africa 1/||March-June||Aug.-Dec.|
|- Coastal areas (first season)||March-April||July-Sept.|
|- Sahel zone||June-July||Oct.-Nov.|
|Central Africa 1/||April-June||Aug.-Dec.|
In eastern Africa, a decline in the 1999 aggregate cereal production is expected compared to last year, due to drought, civil strife or both. In Somalia, the 1999 main season cereal output, estimated at nearly 136 000 tonnes, is about 32 percent below the post-war (1993-1998) average due to drought and civil strife. In Tanzania, following drought in major producing areas during the "short rains" season earlier in the year and erratic and poorly distributed rains during the "long rains" season, the 1999 cereal crop is estimated at 3.8 million tonnes, about 9 percent below 1998. In Uganda, a prolonged drought has affected 1999 main season crops, with near total failure in some areas. In Kenya, significant cereal output reductions are forecast in main growing areas, due to drought and pest infestation. In Ethiopia, in addition to the near-total failure of the secondary "belg" season crops due to drought, erratic rains and recent flooding have reduced potential yields of the 1999 main "meher" season cereal crops. In Eritrea, despite the generally favourable outlook for the 1999 main season cereals, thousands of farmers displaced by the war with neighbouring Ethiopia were not able to grow crops. In Sudan, despite some flooding and localised drought, overall prospects for main season crops are favourable. In Rwanda and Burundi, in addition to the dry weather that affected food production in parts, the escalation of violence in rural areas of Burundi has resulted in large-scale population displacement and the suspension of all humanitarian assistance, leading to grim food supply prospects.
As a result of the anticipated decline in the sub-region's aggregate 1999 cereal production, imports in 1999/2000 are expected to increase substantially. In the four countries that have entered their new marketing year, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Tanzania, import requirements for 1999/2000 are estimated at 2.7 million tonnes, of which food aid requirements are estimated at 284 000 tonnes.
In southern Africa, harvesting of the 1999 irrigated wheat crop is underway. A reduced crop is in prospects reflecting another below-average crop in South Africa, the largest producer in the sub-region. By contrast, in Zimbabwe, production of wheat is forecast substantially above last year, at 320 000 tonnes. In Zambia, where harvesting is completed, preliminary estimates point to a bumper crop of 113 000 tonnes. In aggregate, the sub-regional wheat output is forecast at 2 million tonnes, 5 percent above the level of 1998 but well below the past five years average.
Planting of the 1999/2000 crops has started, but rains were erratic in October. The sub-region's 1999 coarse grain production, harvested earlier in the year, was estimated at 15.3 million tonnes, an increase of 3 percent over 1998 but below average. Favourable rains at the beginning of the season encouraged increased plantings but yields were negatively affected by excessive rains in some areas and by prolonged dry spell in others. In South Africa, the largest producer of the sub-region, maize output declined 8 percent from the below-average level of last year to 7.5 million tonnes. Production of maize also decreased (by 15 percent) in Angola, in spite of favourable growing conditions, due to the on-going civil conflict. In Swaziland, maize output declined by 18 percent from last year but remained around average. Although outputs increased in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho Botswana and Namibia, they remained well below average. Record crops were obtained in Malawi and Mozambique, resulting in an exportable surplus in both countries.
With the exception of Angola, the overall food supply situation is stable, reflecting a relatively strong commercial import capacity of the countries of the sub-region. The aggregate cereal import requirement for marketing year 1999/2000 (May/April) is estimated at 5.3 million tonnes. With commercial imports expected to reach 5 million tonnes, food aid requirements amount to 300 000 tonnes.
In western Africa, several joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions were fielded in October to the nine CILSS member countries to review the outcome of the 1999 cropping season, including an assessment of the preliminary cereal production estimates made by the national agricultural statistical services. The 1999 aggregate cereal production of the nine CILSS member countries has been estimated by these missions at a record 10.9 million tonnes, 2.3 percent higher than in 1998 and 16 percent above the average of the last five years. Record crops are anticipated in Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali and Mauritania, while above-average outputs are anticipated in Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Senegal. Output is estimated to be below average in Guinea-Bissau, following the civil conflict in 1998. These estimates should be viewed as preliminary, as the national surveys were generally carried out before the end of the harvest and include forecasts for recession and off-season crops yet to be planted. The estimates may, therefore, be revised in the coming months, but it is unlikely that there will be a significant change in the overall picture which indicates average to above-average production in the main producing countries.
In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, harvest prospects are generally good in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Togo but less favourable in Nigeria and Ghana following substantial flooding in some parts. Liberia and Sierra Leone remain heavily dependent on international food assistance despite some improvement in food production, notably in Liberia.
Following the generally satisfactory harvests, the food supply situation is expected to be stable during the 1999/2000 marketing year, with the exception of Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In some localised areas of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal, populations may be at risk of food shortages, following notably flooding, and may require some assistance. In other areas, two successive good harvests have enabled farmers to replenish their grain stocks. Replenishment of the national grain reserves will also be facilitated this year by relatively low cereal prices on local markets. Localized deficits in some areas can be covered by transfers from surplus areas. Exportable surpluses will also be available, notably in Mali and Niger.
Imports of wheat and rice will remain necessary, but those of coarse grains will be limited. For ongoing food aid programmes, donors are urged to undertake local purchases (including through triangular transactions) of coarse grains to the extent possible. The aggregate cereal import requirement in the 1999/2000 marketing year (November/October) of the nine Sahelian countries is estimated at about 1.9 million tonnes.
For the coastal countries which have a January/December marketing year, the aggregate 1999 cereal import requirement is estimated at 4.1 million tonnes. Commercial imports are estimated at 3.9 million tonnes, while food aid needs were estimated at 200 000 tonnes. Food aid pledges reported to GIEWS as of late November 1999 amount to 260 000 tonnes.
In central Africa, crop prospects are generally favourable in Central African Republic and Cameroon. Civil strife in both the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo has hampered agricultural and marketing activities. In Kivu (eastern DRC), planting of the main season crops is about to start but crop prospects are not favourable due to insecurity. In the capital city, Kinshasa, floods in early December have aggravated the food situation.
For the countries of the sub-region, all of which have a January/December marketing year, the 1999 cereal import requirement is estimated at almost 800 000 tonnes. Food aid pledges reported to GIEWS as of late November 1999 amount to about 20 000 tonnes against an estimated food aid requirement of 31 000 tonnes.
The table below summarizes sub-Saharan Africa's cereal import and food aid requirements by sub-region. Food aid pledges and deliveries are shown in Tables 1 and 2 .
|Sub-Region||1998 Production||1998/99 or 1999|
|Eastern Africa||22 939||3 507||2 448||1 059|
|Southern Africa||18 633||5 554||5 107||447|
|Western Africa||37 215||6 203||5 775||428|
|Central Africa||3 104||796||765||31|
|TOTAL||81 891||16 060||14 095||1 965|