BURUNDI* (18 October)

An FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission which visited Burundi from 6 to 17 October 1996 estimated the 1996 second season foodcrops production at about 1.634 million tons, 2 percent lower than in the previous year and some 8 percent below the 1988-93 pre-crisis level. The Mission based its estimate on production surveys of the second crop season undertaken earlier in the year and on information provided by Provincial Directorates.

The 1996 second season foodcrops started under generally favourable agroclimatic and security conditions. In the important cereal growing areas of the North and Northeast, weather and security conditions remained satisfactory and production was higher than anticipated and reached above normal levels. By contrast, dry spells in April and May reduced bean production by about 30 percent in Gitega, Rutana and Makamba provinces. Further, Bubanza, Cibitoké and Karuzi provinces were seriously affected by the civil strife during the season which prevented crop tending. Production is estimated to be reduced in these provinces by as much as 50 percent.

Based on aerial surveys of much of the country and field visits of the northern, central and southern provinces, the Mission estimated the 1996 third season foodcrops, harvesting of which was well advanced, at 615 000 tons, slightly lower than in the previous year and 11 percent below normal. Generally favourable growing conditions prevailed during the season and there was no noticeable disease. However, the output was reduced because of low levels of plantings in areas affected by the civil strife, such as Bubanza and Cibitoke provinces, and irregular rains in parts.

The Mission forecast the aggregate food production for 1996 at 3.5 million tons, some 3 percent down from 1995 and 4 percent below the 1988-93 pre-crisis level. This comprises 273 000 tons of cereals, 324 000 tons of pulses, 1.36 million tons of roots and tubers and 1.54 million tons of bananas. Considering normal consumption requirements, the deficit in 1996 is estimate at 53 000 tons of cereals and 69 000 tons of pulses. Commercial imports and food aid distributions until July 1996 amounted to 31 000 tons of cereals and 7 000 tons of pulses, leaving a gap of 22 000 tons of cereals and 62 000 tons of pulses in the second half of the year which will remain uncovered due to the current trade sanctions.

Planting of the 1997 A season is underway in most areas, except in Bubanza and Cibitoke where the security situation is precarious. The rains were on time in most areas, but the distribution is very irregular and dry spells lasting for three weeks from late September to mid-October have delayed planting in Karuzi and Makamba provinces. More rains are urgently needed to avoid reductions in plantings and yields. Production is anticipated to be affected by local shortages and high prices of seeds, lack of fertilizers and pesticides.

The food supply situation has tightened since July following sharp increases in prices of basic staples beans and bananas, as well as processed food. The food situation of large sections of the displaced and vulnerable population gives cause for concern.

DJIBOUTI (4 October)

A timely onset of the rainy season in September improved conditions of pastures and animals throughout the country, particularly in southern areas where precipitation was above average.

Food aid assistance continues to be distributed to some 50 000 farmers and pastoralists affected by severe losses of livestock, the main economic activity in rural areas, following dry weather late in 1995. The food situation is also tight for large numbers of vulnerable population in urban and rural areas.

ERITREA (15 October)

Harvesting of the 1996 cereal crops is about to start. The overall outlook is uncertain. Cumulative rains have been normal to above normal in the cereal growing areas of southern Highlands and crop prospects are generally satisfactory. However, parts of the Lowlands have been affected by erratic rains and a dry spell in July; crops are anticipated to be poor in these areas. Latest estimates of the area planted to grains indicate an increase of 4 percent from last year’s level. Availability of agricultural inputs has been adequate and the pest situation generally calm.

Prices of cereals, which had risen since June reflecting the poor harvest of 1995 and the low levels of stocks, remained stable in the past month as a result of active commercial imports and expected arrival of substantial amounts of food aid in November. Livestock prices have decreased drastically reflecting shortages of grain. The food situation remains tight for large number of vulnerable population. Against estimated food aid requirements of 191 000 tons in 1996, pledges until the end of September amounted to about 90 000 tons.

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is scheduled to visit the country in early November to estimate the cereal production and import requirements in 1996, including food aid.

ETHIOPIA* (7 October)

More normal rains in September, following heavy precipitation in the past months, benefited developing crops of the 1996 main “meher” season. Despite localized crop losses due to widespread floods during the season, overall prospects for the harvest, about to start, are favourable. The area planted is estimated slightly higher than the above average level of last year reflecting firm prices. Prices were supported by local purchases of grain by donors for food aid distribution to vulnerable population and building-up of emergency stocks. Yields are expected to be good as a result of abundant rains and a slight improvement in the distribution of fertilizers and other agricultural inputs. Pests incidence, though high this year, has been successfully controlled. While harvest prospects are generally favourable, production is anticipated to be reduced in several areas affected by floods, including the traditionally food deficit areas of Wallaita in the North Omo zone. Food aid is already being distributed to about 100 000 persons affected by housing, infrastructure and crop losses to floods, mainly in Gambella region and along the Awash river in central areas.

Pastures and livestock are reported in generally adequate conditions as a result of the abundant precipitation of the past months.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory following the good 1995/96 “meher” and “belg” cereal crops. However, food aid continues to be distributed to 2 to 3 million vulnerable persons, particularly in parts of Tigray regions and in North Wollo, Gonder, Wallaita and Hararghe zones, albeit with delays due to heavy rains in inaccessible areas. The estimated food aid requirements were expected to be covered by carryover stocks and local purchases. However, food aid received until September amounted to 310 000 tons.

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is scheduled to visit the country in early November to estimate the cereal production and import requirements in 1997, including food aid.

KENYA (4 October)

Harvesting of the 1996 “long rains” cereal crops season is underway. Normal to above normal rains since July in the main maize growing areas of the west, which followed erratic rains at the beginning of the season, have significantly improved overall prospects for the harvest. However, this year’s maize output is anticipated to decrease reflecting a decline in the area planted in response to a sharp fall in producer prices, due to high level of stocks following two successive years of good harvests and import liberalization. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is currently making an on-the- spot evaluation of the 1996 “long rains” cereal crop season and estimating import requirement for 1996/97, including food aid.

Prices of maize, which had increased in the past months in anticipation of a reduction in production, have stabilized with the beginning of the harvest. However, they have continued to increase in the Eastern and North Eastern Provinces and large portion of Coastal Province where the “long rains” cereal crops, harvested earlier than in the rest of the country, have been severely reduced by unfavourable weather. The food supply situation is tight in these areas because the previous “short rains” crop season, harvested in March, was also reduced and pastures and livestock are in poor condition. Large numbers of population are in need of food assistance in these provinces.

RWANDA* (4 October)

Planting of the 1997 “A” season crops, to be harvested early next year, is underway. Moisture conditions are adequate following normal rains in September. Large quantities of seeds and other agricultural inputs are being distributed to vulnerable population by humanitarian organizations. However, the area planted is forecast to remain at below normal levels, despite the return of some 92 000 Rwandans since the beginning of the year.

The production of the 1996 season ‘B’ foodcrops increased significantly from the previous year’s level. Cereal output increased by some 38 percent to 109 000 tons, that of pulses rose 20 percent to 72 000 tons and of root and tubers by 14 percent to 607 000 tons. Production of bananas remain around the 1995 “B” level of 1 049 000 tons. The rise in production reflected improved stability in the interior of the country and the resumption of regular agricultural activities by a considerable number of returning refugees, as well as generally favourable growing conditions. Nevertheless, despite the increase, per capita production remained 23 percent below the pre-war levels as food output continues to be constrained by the large numbers of population still outside the country.

The food supply situation remains stable following the improved 1996 “B” season harvest and food aid imports for targeted population. An estimated 576 000 persons require emergency food assistance in the second half of 1996, including war-affected population, vulnerable groups and returnees. Relief food aid is also needed for Burundi refugees, who continue to arrive in Cyangugu and Bugarama prefectures, and for Masisi refugees coming from Zaire. Ethnic tension continues in Cyangugu and Bukavu provinces bordering Zaire, where heavy fighting took place in late September.

SOMALIA* (4 October)

A recent FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission estimated the 1996 Gu season cereal crop at 243 000 tons from 492 000 hectares planted. This is some 47 percent higher than the 1995 Gu cereal crop but 37 percent less than the average of the 1982-88 pre-civil war years. The national crop benefited greatly from a marked improvement in the cereal output from the important growing Bay region and from the Northwest which, together, account for half of the country’s production. However, other regions experienced a sharp fall in production due to drought, insect damage and/or flooding (particularly of the Juba river). Outputs in Gedo, Lower Juba and Hiran are all well down on last year and will experience severe food deficits in the months ahead.

The 1996/97 Der crop is tentatively forecast at 105 000 tons, so the total cereal production in the 1996/97 marketing year is estimated at 348 000 tons. At the forecast production level, cereal imports required to maintain normal food consumption including a small build up of stocks, are estimated at 203 000 tons. Commercial imports are expected to continue rising during the year, even if Mogadishu and Kismayo remain closed, to an annual net import of 160 000 tons of cereals (mostly rice and wheat). The remaining gap of 43 000 tons needs to be covered by food aid. Emergency food aid for those areas affected by floods and poor rainfed crops, and where the purchasing power of the people is inadequate to meet high prices is estimated at 19 000 tons, while 24 000 tons are required as non-emergency food aid. There is great scope for the judicious use of food aid to support the rehabilitation of flood control and irrigation schemes, and the provision of agricultural inputs, through monetisation and food for work schemes.

For the current year, the condition of livestock is generally considered to be satisfactory and the availability of animal products for food should be favourable.

Prices of sorghum and maize have decreased in most markets from the second half of August reflecting this year's increased production. Despite the anticipated improved food supplies over last year, the food position in Somalia is still precarious. The Gu harvest fell in several areas. The country is highly dependent on the ability to maintain high levels of commercial imports, and a continued improvement in security is necessary to ensure that food can be transferred from surplus to deficit areas. The situation is particularly critical in the Lower Juba Region, where this is the third consecutive poor harvest, but also in Hiran and Gedo regions where the outputs declined sharply from the already reduced levels of 1995.

The political and security situation remains tense in Mogadishu and southern regions. Increasing number of violent incidents were reported during the past month, and from early October all relief organizations have suspended non-emergency operations.

SUDAN* (4 October)

Normal to above-normal rains in September, following heavy precipitation since mid-July, resulted in further localized floods causing serious damage to property and infrastructure and crop losses in the Nile State, mainly around Khartoum. Over 100 deaths are also reported. Overall, however, the rains benefited the developing coarse grain crops. In irrigated areas, prospects for the harvest are favourable reflecting abundant water supplies due to the above average levels of the rivers. No significant pests incidence is reported this year and the area planted is estimated to be larger than in 1995. The 1996 coarse grains production is anticipated to increase from the reduced level of last year.

Prices of sorghum and millet, which increased sharply in the past months, decreased in September in response to the favourable harvest prosepcts. However, the food supply situation remains tight in northern Kordofan state and Darfur states, where the 1995 cereal crop was sharply reduced and farmers' stock have been depleted. Food aid assistance is urgently needed in these areas. In the ten southern states of the country, where crops have already been harvested, the 1996 cereal production is estimated by a FAO Mission at 474 000 tons, comprising 390 000 tons of sorghum, 86 000 tons of maize. Although substantially higher than in 1995, these figures are not strictly comparable with last year's FAO's estimate due to improved reporting in 1996. Cereal crops benefited from generally good rains during the season, despite dry spells in parts in June and July (Tambura, Juba and Northern Baahr el- Ghazal), and subsequent heavy rains in August and September which resulted in localized floods and crop losses. The abundant rains during the season benefited also pastures and livestock, which are reported to be in good condition. Despite the overall satisfactory harvest, production was sharply reduced in Juba and Gograil due to insecurity, and in parts of Jonglei State (Pochalla and Pibor districts), due to floods and severe crop losses. While at aggregate level the cereal crop is sufficient to meet the requirements of the population, the practical difficulties of moving grain from surplus to deficit areas under the present conditions of increasing insecurity and poor infrastructure, means that large groups of population will remain in need of food assistance for the rest of 1996 and during 1997.

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is scheduled to visit the country in early November to estimate the cereal production in 1996 and import requirements in 1997, including food aid.

TANZANIA (7 October)

Planting of the 1996/97 short rains "Vuli" crop season is underway in the bi-modal rainfall areas of the northern coastal belt and north-eastern. Weather conditions are favourable so far.

The 1996 cereal production is preliminarily estimated at 4.5 million tons, 2 percent above the good crop of the previous year. Maize crop, the main food staple, increased 4 percent to at 2.7 million tons. Non-cereal crops (pulses, bananas and plantains, cassava and potatoes) are also estimated 2 percent higher at 3 million tons. Foodcrop production was favoured by generally good rains along the year, but particularly in the main "Masika" crop season. By contrast, a sharp increase in fertilizer prices following the removal of subsidies, resulted in lower use and lower yields in some areas.

Reflecting this year's good harvest, market prices of maize and other staples have declined since July. Although no cereal exports are forecast in marketing year 1996/97 (June/May), the food production is sufficient to cover domestic requirments and the overall food supply situation is anticipated to be satisfactory. Despite this general situation, food difficulties are anticipated in traditionally food deficit and/or in some areas where crops were reduced by insufficient rains during the season.

UGANDA (4 October)

Planting of the 1996/97 secondary cereal crops is well advanced under favourable weather conditions so far.

The 1996 cereal output is estimated at 2.1 million tons, only slightly below than last year’s record. The main maize crop is estimated at 939 000 tons, 1 percent lower than in 1995. Outputs of other foodcrops, including pulses, sweet potatoes and plantains also increased from last year. However, production of cassava declined by 18 percent due to lower plantings. The good level of production mainly reflects abundant rains during both the 1996 secondary and main crop seasons.

Pastures and livestock conditions are satisfactory, particularly in south-western, western and parts of northern areas which recieved abundant rains during the past months.

Following three consecutive above average crops, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. The country is expected to export about 300 000 tons of maize in 1997. However, limited quantities of wheat will continue to be commercially imported.