Land preparation and early planting of the 1996//97 season crop is underway in the northern parts of the country where light, consistent rains have been received since the second half of September. Little rainfall activity has reached so far southern areas where planting starts later in the season.
Despite a good 1995/96 aggregate cereal production, estimated 68 percent higher than the previous year’s output, the food security situation of the country remains precarious. The poor state of infrastructure and marketing services make it difficult to move cereals from surplus to deficit areas. Cereal import requirements for 1996/97 are estimated at 442 000 tons including 242 000 tons of relief assistance, half of which is required as emergency food aid for some 1.375 million people. Food aid pledges by donors amount so far to 161 000 tons, including 83 000 tons of emergency assistance. Deliveries so far amount to some 90 000 tons of which 52 000 tons are for emergencies.
BOTSWANA (3 October)
Seasonably dry weather prevailed until early October, with very light rains in most western and central areas. Planting of the 1996/97 cereal crop is not expected to start until November.
The food supply situation for the 1996/97 marketing year remains satisfactory following a good harvest earlier in the year. Cereal production estimated at 88 000 tons is double the previous year’s output and above-average. Import requirements of some 200 000 tons for the current marketing year are expected to be met by commercial channels. On-going government feeding programmes are expected to provide adequate food assistance to people in vulnerable groups.
LESOTHO (4 October)
Official estimates of the 1995/96 cereal production have recently been revised upwards to 242 000 tons, which is three time last year’s output. The maize harvest is estimated at a record 199 000 tons. Growing conditions have been favourable for the winter crop, recently harvested. Output is expected to be above normal.
Reflecting the sharp increase in production, the food supply situation for the 1996/97 marketing season is expected to improve substantially. Cereal imports requirements of some 150 000 tons are significantly lower than anticipated. Commercial imports are expected at about 100 000 tons, leaving a deficit of 50 000 tons to be filled by food aid. Food aid pledges and deliveries up to September amounted to 35 000 tons.
MADAGASCAR (3 October)
The rainy season is about to start and land preparation is underway for the transplanting of the main 1996/97 paddy crop which is usually undertaken in November and December. Following favourable rainfall which benefited most crops, the 1995/96 paddy crop is estimated at 2.6 million tons, while coarse grains have reached 165 000 tons. This is above- average and over last year’s relatively good crop.
As a consequence, the food supply situation has improved considerably and the country is expected to cover most of its rice requirement this year. Commercial cereal imports and donor pledges should normally cover import requirements for the 1996/97 marketing year.
MALAWI* (15 October)
The weather so far has been seasonably dry with very light rains in the north and in central areas. Land preparation for the 1996/97 cereal crop is underway in several areas, notably in the southern and central regions where planting start in November.
The 1996 cereal production is estimated to be above-average at 2 million tons, with maize output at 1.9 million tons. At this level, production is very close to the 1993 record crop. Production of rice, sorghum and soybean also increased significantly.
The food supply situation in the country has improved following a good cereal crop and an excellent cassava harvest. Domestic cereal consumption requirements, including the replenishment of stocks, is largely covered by current supplies and food aid pledged, which amount to 52 000 tons, of which only 5 000 tons have been delivered so far.
MOZAMBIQUE* (17 October)
Generally dry conditions have prevailed so far, with some very light rains falling over much of the south, the north- west and the northern coast. Fields are being prepared for planting of the 1996/97 crops to be harvested from April.
Reflecting the above average cereal and cassava crops harvested earlier this year, the food supply situation has improved in the 1996/97 marketing year (April/March). Provinces in the north and the centre are self-sufficient in basic foodstuffs and have generated a substantial marketable surplus of maize. However, about 154 000 persons are in need of emergency food assistance. Some 300 000 tons of cereals still need to be imported during 1996. Most of the emergency food aid requirements could be met with local purchases in surplus areas. Food aid pledges amount to 150 000 tons of which 65 100 tons have been delivered so far.
NAMIBIA (17 October)
Dry conditions continued to prevail through much of September with some very light rains in the south and the centre. Following below normal rainfall during the 1995/96 season, which also affected livestock regions, good rains are needed during the upcoming 1996/97 season to avoid a poor cereal harvest from May.
The national food supply situation is satisfactory. The cereal import requirement, estimated at 108 000 tons, is expected to be covered by the commercial sector. Distribution of food to an estimated 180 000 vulnerable people continues through the government’s drought relief programmes. To reduce the impact of future droughts, the government has developed a long-term programme focusing mainly on large water development schemes for which it is seeking international assistance.
SOUTH AFRICA (17 October)
Seasonably dry weather has prevailed so far with some light rains along the coast and eastern areas. The outlook for the winter wheat now due for harvest is excellent as a result of the abundant rainfall. Production is forecast at 2.5 million tons, compared to 2.1 tons in 1995.
The final estimates of the 1995/96 maize crop is 10.18 million tons, against 4.67 million tons in 1995. With a total cereal crop of some 13.5 million tons, more than double last the previous year’s production, the country will have over 2 million tons of cereals as exportable surplus, even after allowing for some stock replenishment.
Despite this bumper crop, there are concerns that the high level of maize export commitments may result in shortage of yellow maize and imports later in the season.
SWAZILAND (17 October)
Dry weather has prevailed so far over most areas while land preparation is underway for the 1996/97 crop season. The 1995/96 total cereal production is estimated at 112 000 tons, including 108 000 tons of maize. This is 42 percent higher than the previous year’s output, despite excessive late rains which affected yields. Inadequate on-farm storage and drying facilities also led to losses of part of the maize harvest.
As a result of the bumper cereal harvest, the food supply situation continues to improve considerably during the 1996/97 marketing year. Maize supply is expected to cover most of the domestic requirements. Cereal imports are estimated at a reduced level of some 58 000 tons, which should be largely covered through commercial channels.
ZAMBIA (16 October)
Seasonably dry conditions have prevailed so far with patches of very light rains in the north. Land preparation is underway for the 1996/97 crop. The irrigated wheat crop is about to be harvested and prospects remain favourable. Output is provisionally set at 50 000 tons, which is above last year’s crop and close to the average of the past 5 years.
Reflecting the above-average coarse grains harvest earlier in the year, the food supply situation in the country has improved considerably. Marketing activities of the bumper harvest are behind schedule in some areas as some farmers are holding substantial quantities of grains and storage facilities are not adequate. The government has issued export permits, through a quota system, for the exports of maize and maize meal.
ZIMBABWE* (17 October)
Weather conditions have so far been dry with scattered thunderstorms since mid-September, particularly in the southern and south-western parts of the country. Land preparation is underway for the planting of the 1996/97 cereal crops.
The winter wheat crop currently being harvested is provisionally estimated at 260 000 tons, which is slightly lower than initially anticipated but still above average and three times higher than the 1995 drought-reduced output. Red locust swarms have been observed in the country but no damage to crops have been reported so far.
With the above-average coarse grain crop harvested earlier in the year, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Maize exports which stand at 100 000 tons are anticipated to reach a level close to 300 000 tons during the current 1996/97 marketing year.