Abundant rainfall was received over the entire country during the second dekad of March. Land preparation is complete in the south and planting of the first maize crop is underway. Due to favourable rainfall in 1995, aggregate output of cereals is estimated to be a record 1.2 million tons. Imports of fertilizers from Nigeria have been reported, allowing cotton producers to sell a part of their harvest to Nigerians instead of selling it to the national marketing board.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory and markets are well supplied. Price of bread increased strongly in March. For the 1995/96 marketing year (July/June), the cereal import requirement is estimated at 347 000 tons, mainly wheat and rice.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (10 April)
Light and widespread rainfall was received in January and February, increasing by mid-March over the entire country, allowing land preparation and planting of the first maize crop. The harvest of the second maize crop is complete and output is expected to be satisfactory following favourable weather conditions during the season.
Following a good harvest, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. For the 1995/96 marketing year (September/August), cereal import requirement is estimated at 34 000 tons, mainly wheat and rice. Recent estimates indicate that 13 000 Chadian and 25 000 Sudanese refugees are still in the country and continue to receive food assistance. Following an agreement between the governments of Central African Republic, Sudan and UNHCR, repatriation of Sudanese refugees is underway.
CONGO (10 April)
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Staple foodcrops are roots, tubers and plantains and markets are well supplied with these crops. Cereal production is estimated at some 21 000 tons, mainly maize. For the 1995/96 marketing year (July/June), cereal import requirement is estimated at 108 000 tons, mostly wheat, and structural food aid requirement at 3 000 tons.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA (10 April)
The staple food crops are roots, tubers and plantains and the country annually imports some 10 000 tons of wheat and rice, half of which is in the form of food aid.
GABON (10 April)
The staple foodcrops are cassava and plantains. Production of cereals, mainly maize is estimated at around 26 000 tons. The country needs to import the bulk of its wheat and rice requirements which is estimated at 62 000 tons. No food aid is necessary.
ZAIRE* (12 April)
The country has received abundant rainfall since the beginning of the year. In the north, the second maize crop is being planted while satisfactory growth is reported from central and southern areas. The harvest of the first maize crop in the south has been completed and output is about normal.
In February 1996, the number of Rwandan refugees receiving food assistance was estimated at 1 200 000. Very limited repatriation of refugees continues in Goma and Bukavu camps. In late February, the government decided to administratively close two camps, one near Goma and the other in the Bukavu area and stop all non-essential activities such as school, trading, and training. All other activities, however, such as health, water supply, food aid distribution, are continuing. The security situation remains tense in Uvira, Bukavu and Goma camps, made worse by tensions in the army. It is also becoming very tense in the Masisi (north Kivu) region, where ethnic violence occurred involving soldiers. It resulted in hundreds of deaths and an increase in the number of people seeking asylum in Goma or fleeing to Rwanda. In other regions, food aid or other types of assistance are also targeted for 50 000 Sudanese, 41 000 Angolan and 14 000 Ugandan refugees.
The food supply situation remains tight in urban areas and in the Kivu region. Inflation decreased from 6000 percent in 1994 to about 540 percent in 1995 but unemployment and economic difficulties in a tense political climate are severely affecting the population. Agriculture remains the only growth sector. Despite high production potential, a substantial part of cereal consumption is imported due to lack of transport and marketing infrastructure between rural and urban areas.