Planting of main season crops is about to begin in southern Africa; only irrigated winter wheat is currently in the ground in the sub-region. Crops in several countries in eastern Africa are maturing or being harvested, while harvesting of main season crops is due to commence in November in Ethiopia and Sudan. Harvesting is underway in the coastal countries of western Africa, while the rains are well established for the main season crops in Sahelian countries.
Cereal Crop Calendar
|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.|
Eastern Africa: The outlook for the 1996 cereal production is mixed. Following good rains during the season, above average cereal crops have been harvested in Tanzania and Uganda. Both countries expect exportable surpluses. In Rwanda, the 1996 "B" foodcrops, has increased from last year, but due to population displacements and inadequate agricultural inputs, remained below pre-war levels. In Burundi, increased insecurity during the season adversely affected agricultural activities in several areas; the foodcrops output of the 1996 second season is estimated to be lower than last year. In Somalia, the recently harvested 1996 "Gu" crops increased from last year but remained below pre-civil strife levels and was reduced in several regions. In Kenya, the 1996 main maize crop is anticipated to be poor as a result of a decline in plantings following dry spells earlier in the season. In Ethiopia, abundant rains in past months resulted in floods but overall benefited the 1996 main "meher" crops, early prospects of which remain favourable. In Eritrea, timely and abundant rains favoured establishment and early development of the 1996 cereal crops. In the Sudan, rains in August brought relief to the 1996 coarse grains stressed by earlier below-normal rains.
The aggregate cereal import requirement of the sub-region in marketing year 1995/96 is estimated at 2.1 million tons. Commercial imports are estimated at 1.4 million tons and the food aid requirements at some 0.7 million tons. Food aid pledges reported to GIEWS as of late September amount to 0.9 million tons, with 0.8 million tons delivered so far. Three countries, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania, have entered the 1996/97 marketing year.
Southern Africa: Following a favourable rainy season and excellent growing conditions for crops in most countries, the 1995/96 coarse grains crop harvested earlier in the year is estimated at 19.8 million tons, some 89 percent above the 1995 drought-affected level and 40 percent above-average. Only Namibia experienced below normal rainfall, resulting in serious shortages of water and livestock which have significantly deteriorated livestock conditions. With abundant irrigation water in most of the major dams, an excellent 1996 wheat crop is anticipated in most growing countries. Consequently, the sub-regions total 1996 cereal output is estimated at 24 million tons, 67 percent over the 1995 level and 35 percent above-average. Cereal output is expected to be well above average in Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Lesotho, a revised official forecast points to a record maize crop of 199 000 tons and a total cereal output of 242 000 tons, almost three times last years crop and 72 percent above average. In Namibia, cereal production is estimated at 86 000 tons, which is much above the 1995 drought-reduced output, but only two-thirds of what could be expected in a year of good rainfall. In Madagascar, paddy production is expected to exceed 2.5 million tons, which is above average and over last years relatively good crop.
For the 1996/97 marketing year, the food supply situation in the sub-region is expected to improve considerably. Maize supply in South Africa and Zimbabwe is largely in excess of domestic requirements and total availability in the sub-region should cover maize requirements, including the replenishment of stocks that were virtually depleted in several countries. A cereal surplus of over 2 million tons is anticipated from South Africa and Zimbabwe, part of which is already available for export. Other countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia, will carry some cereal shortfalls which are expected to be covered by commercial imports and limited relief distributions. However, Angola and Mozambique will continue to require substantial food assistance to meet their food supply needs for 1996/97.
As a result of the arrival of abundant foodcrops on the markets, most food prices have been decreasing since June/July and household access to food has significantly improved compared to last year. Governments in several countries, including Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are under pressure from traders to approve exports of cereal crops, particularly maize.
The aggregate cereal import requirement of the sub-region in 1996/97 is estimated at 2.5 million tons, about half the previous years requirement. This includes 0.5 million tons of food aid. So far, pledges amount to 396 000 tons, of which 170 000 tons have been delivered.
Western Africa: Below-normal rainfall in early/mid-July affected crops in several Sahelian countries, but growing conditions improved significantly in late July and August. Following generally adequate rains in May and June, except in Burkina Faso, precipitation remained below normal in early/mid-July in northern Senegal, western and central Mali, most parts of Niger and in the Sahelian zone of Chad, where substantial areas have had to be replanted. However, rains increased significantly during the last dekad of July, notably in southern Mauritania, western and central Mali and in southern and central Chad. Rainfall declined in early August in Senegal, Mali and Niger, but resumed in mid-August, except in central Mali. Generally above-normal rains have been registered during the last dekad of August over most countries. Soil moisture reserves have generally been replenished. Precipitation decreased in early September but remained generally widespread. From west to east, crop conditions are mostly satisfactory in Senegal and The Gambia following widespread above-normal rains in late August. However, dry weather in mid-September in northern Senegal may affect crops. Abundant rainfall also favoured desalination and transplanting of swamp rice in Guinea Bissau. In Mauritania, increased rains benefited crops in late August. In Mali, reduced rains in mid-August may have stressed crops in the centre-north. In Burkina Faso, crop condition have improved significantly. In Niger, good rains in mid-and late August favoured crop and pasture growth but rainfall remained below normal in the centre. In Chad, well above normal rains covered the south and the centre in late August. In Cape Verde, crop condition varies from island to island reflecting an irregular pattern of rains.
Grasshoppers are reported in several countries but damage to crops remains limited. During August, significant Desert Locust infestations continued to develop in the summer breeding areas of the Sahel, albeit on a smaller scale than last year in the same period, possibly due to less rain. The infestations were dispersed over a wide area in southern Mauritania but to date they seem to have remained limited in size and numbers. Control operations were limited to about 800 hectares during August. In northern Mali and northern Niger, breeding was in progress but infestations remained limited (see box on page 10).
Provided normal rains continue up to the end of the season, average crops are anticipated in most countries. A series of FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions in October will visit the nine CILSS countries to estimate 1996 cereal production.
In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, growing conditions are generally favourable. Precipitation decreased during July and remained low at the end of the month. However, cumulative rainfall so far in the season is about normal. The first maize crop is being harvested and marketed in the south, and millet and sorghum are growing satisfactorily in the north. A recovery is in prospect in Sierra Leone, but food output again remains very low in Liberia, where the security situation is worsening.
The cereal import requirement of the 14 countries in the sub-region which are still in their 1995/96 marketing year is estimated at 2.7 million tons. Commercial imports are expected to be 2.1 million tons. The aggregate food aid requirement is estimated at 0.6 million tons of which 0.5 million tons have been covered by pledges. Some 0.4 million tons have been delivered so far. Eleven countries still need additional pledges amounting to 179 000 tons, while for three countries, pledges already cover or exceed requirement.
The cereal import requirement of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, which have already entered a new marketing year, is estimated at 1.9 million tons.
Central Africa: Abundant and widespread rains allowed favourable development of coarse grains. The harvest of the first maize crop is drawing to an end in Cameroon, Central African Republic and Congo, while dry conditions prevail in southern and central parts of Zaire.
The aggregate cereal import requirement of the four countries which are still in their 1996 marketing year (January/December) is estimated at 0.3 million tons of which 0.2 million tons are anticipated to be covered by commercial imports and 0.1 million tons by food aid. Pledges reported so far to GIEWS amount to 30 000 tons, of which 19 000 tons have been delivered. Cameroon, Central African Republic and Congo, have already entered a new marketing year and their cereal import requirement is estimated at 0.5 million tons, mostly to be covered by commercial imports.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Cereal Imports and Food Aid Requirements by Sub-Region (in thousand tons)
|1995/96 or 1996|
uncovered by pledges
|Eastern Africa||22 648||2 091||1 419||672||351|
|Southern Africa||14 584||5 188||4 139||1 049||108|
|Western Africa||25 845||4 535||3 773||762||201|
|- Coastal countries||17 144||2 830||2 342||488||65|
|- Sahelian countries||8 701||1 705||1 431||274||136|
|Central Africa||2 973||802||702||100||63|
|TOTAL||66 050||12 616||10 033||2 583||724|