Africa report


Area: 1 259 000
Climate: From north to south: arid, semi-arid and tropical wet-dry; one rainy season: May-Oct.
Population: 6.74 million (1995 estimate); G.N.P. per caput: U.S.$ 200 (1993)
Specific characteristics of the country: Low-income food-deficit country; land-locked sahelian country.
Logistics: Roads inadequate during rainy season
Major foodcrops: Millet and sorghum, roots and tubers, tree nuts
Marketing year: November/October; Lean season: August-September
Share of cereals in total calorie intake: 52 percent


The rains commenced in May in the Sudanian zone, increasing from the second decade of June in the South but remaining light in the Sudano-Sahelian zone. Abundant rainfall was received in July although it was somewhat erratic in parts of the Sudanian zone. The rainy season commenced in the Sudano-Sahelian zone in July but tailed off in the northern half of the country in the third decade. Adequate precipitation was recorded throughout the country in August. September witnessed a decline from the second decade onwards especially in the Sahelian zone although some rainfall was received up to the beginning of October. Cumulative rainfall is below last year’s level in the northern half of the country and in the “Moyen-Chari” and above last year’s level in the rest of the country. Cumulative rainfall has been below average only in Kanem and the Lake prefecture.

Sowing took place up to July in the Sudanian zone. Some rice crops were flooded by heavy rains after the first sowing necessitating late re-sowing. A total of some 3 400 hectares of rice were destroyed by the floods, but, after this difficult start, the season progressed well. Abundant ground water supplies in low lying areas permitted an increase in the areas planted to recession sorghum crops. In the Sudano-Sahelian zone the first sowings took place in June in Chari-Baguirmi and Guera and at the beginning of July in Ouaddai. The poor rainfall distribution necessitated widespread re-planting right up to the end of August, especially in Chari-Baguirmi. Crops developed well in August but in September grain-eating birds and grasshoppers caused significant damage to the maturing crop. In the Sahelian zone no sowing was possible until mid July but the poor rainfall distribution necessitated re-planting up to the second decade of August. The most drought affected areas are Kanem, northern Batha and Biltine, and numerous fields were turned over to livestock for grazing as pastures were also affected.

The Desert Locust situation remained relatively calm during the rainy season although a few small swarms were reported in the east in June/July. Grasshoppers were reported in several regions, most notably Ouaddai, Biltine Batha, Kanem, Guera and the northern part of Chari-Baguirmi. Significant losses of millet and sorghum were reported. Beetles, stem borer and grain eating birds were also reported in several regions, causing losses of millet, sorghum and maize.

An FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in mid-October estimated the total cereal production at 932 700 tons (including rice in paddy equivalent), some 21 percent down on the record level of 1994 but remains above average. Output of all cereals has fallen from last year’s level, with a particularly marked decline in maize production.

The national food supply situation is satisfactory. The arrival of the harvest on the markets has led to a seasonal dip in prices. The fall in domestic crop production in 1995 may lead to an increase in cereal imports in 1996. On farm stocks are still high and the national food security reserve has been partly replenished although it still remains below its optimal level of 25 000 tons. In December an FAO Mission visited the country to determine the ideal location of the reserve stocks. Donor-financed local purchases are also planned before the end of the year.


Wheat Rice Coarse grains Total
Normal production 2 56 743 801
Normal imports (incl. re-exports) 40 10 10 60
of which: Structural food aid 2 2 10 14
1995/96 Domestic availability 4 44 914 962
1995 Production 3 44 864 911
Possible stock drawdown 1 - 50 51
1995/96 Utilization 44 69 914 1 027
Food use 43 65 779 887
of which: local purchase requirements - - 10 10
Non-food use 1 4 135 140
1995/96 Import Requirement 40 25 - 65
Anticipated commercial imports 38 20 - 58
Food aid needs 2 5 - 7
Current Aid Position
Food aid pledges - 17 - 17
of which: Delivered - - - -
Estimated per caput consumption (kg/year) 6 10 116 132
1995 production as % of normal: 114
1995/96 import requirement as % of normal: 108
1995/96 food aid requirement as % of normal 50