AFRIQUE

WESTERN AFRICA

BENIN (28 October)

Precipitation which had been abundant in the north and widespread in the south during the second and third dekads of August and first dekad of September, decreased significantly during the second and third dekads of September. In the south the first maize crop and rainfed rice have been harvested and the second maize crop is emerging/tillering. In the north, rice is heading/maturing while millet and sorghum are elongating/flowering.

The food supply situation remains satisfactory following the marketing of the first season crops in the south and maize, groundnuts and yams in the north. The cereal import requirement for 1996 (including re-export) is estimated at 255 000 tons mostly wheat and rice. An epidemic of cholera affected 3 200 persons in the northern departments of Atakora and Borgou.

BURKINA FASO (4 November)

Following reduced rains in June, precipitation improved in July and became abundant and widespread in August. Rains remained quite abundant during the first dekad of September. They decreased during the second and the third dekads, but remained widespread, except in the north and the east in late September. Cumulative rainfall is normal to above normal in Boromo, Dédougou, Gaou, Ouahigouya and Pô areas, and below normal in Dori, Fada N’Gourma, Bobo-Doiulasso and Ouagadougou. Soil moisture reserves are generally abundant. Millet and white sorghum are flowering/maturing; red sorghum and maize are maturing or being harvested. Despite the generally good prospects, yield potential has been reduced in some areas by the dry spells experienced in June/early July.

Pastures are adequate throughout the country. Water reserves have been replenished from the low levels of 1995, particularly the “mare de Dori”. The Locust situation is calm. Some cantharid attacks are reported on millet flowers, notably in the east, but they remain limited. Control operations are underway.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited Burkina Faso from 21 to 25 October estimated 1996 aggregate cereal production at 2.46 million tons. This is 7 percent above the 1995 level and slightly above the average for the last five years.

The food supply situation has tightened before the harvest in some traditionally deficit areas affected by a reduced crop in 1995. Cereal prices increased sharply during the last few months following stock retention by farmers after a poor start of the rainy season. Millet and sorghum prices reached 200 F.CFA/kg and 240 F.CFA/kg respectively. In some provinces, prices tripled compared to average levels. However, they started to decrease in late September in several regions. Following a first release of 8 282 tons of cereals from the national security stock (being sold at a subsidized price of 60 F.CFA per kg in 11 affected provinces), followed by 3 000 tons (sold at 90 F.CFA/kg), a new distribution of cereals (to be sold at 100 F.CFA/kg) has been undertaken just before the harvest. Tuareg refugees from Mali are also currently receiving food assistance. Their total number is estimated at 39 000, of which 33 000 are in refugee camps.

CAPE VERDE (4 November)

Crop conditions have been particularly poor as a result of irregular rains. On Santiago island, substantial replanting has been necessary following an erratic or very late beginning of the rainy season. Maize crop has been severely affected by dry spells or poor rains in most islands. Grasshoppers and insects attacked crops, notably on Fogo and Santiago islands.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited Cape Verde from 28 October to 1 November estimated 1996 maize crop at only 1 000 tons, compared to about 7 000 tons in 1995.

As the country imports the bulk of its consumption requirement, the overall food supply situation will remain satisfactory despite this reduced crop. However, rural populations, notably in the semi-arid zones, will be severely affected and may need assistance. Cereal import requirement in 1996 is estimated at 90 000 tons, mostly as food aid. About 41 500 tons have been pledged so far of which 19 000 tons have been delivered.

CHAD (25 October)

The maize crop has been harvested while millet is maturing. In the Sahelian zone, sorghum is reaching maturity. In the Sudanian zone, it is being harvested. While harvest prospects are generally favourable in the south, rains have been insufficient in the north. Following widespread and abundant rains in late August, precipitation declined in early September. Clouds started to move southwards during the second dekad. The third dekad was dry in several areas of the Sahelian zone and October marked the end of the rainy season in most areas.

The Desert Locust situation remains calm. Some adults may be present in Biltine area. Grasshoppers caused damage to crops in several areas of Batha, Biltine, Guéra, Kanem, Lac, Ouaddaï and Salamat prefectures. Grain-eating birds attacked maturing millet and sorghum in the Sahelian zone and in Moyen Chari. Caterpillars, other insects and rodents are also reported locally.

Pastures are in excellent condition in the Sudanian zone and poorer in the Sahelian zone. Herd migration has started in some areas of the north.

From 14 to 18 October, an FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission reviewed the 1996 crop production with national services and the early warning system (SAP) of Chad. It estimated 1996 cereal production at 840 000 tons, which is slightly below last year’s level and below average. Production remained similar to last year in the Sudanian zone but decreased in the Sahelian zone.

During the lean season, the food supply situation became tight in several areas as a result of a sharp increase in cereal prices on the main markets. Food difficulties had been reported in Kanem prefecture, notably in Mao and Nokou areas, in Biltine prefecture, mainly in Arada and Iriba areas, and in Abéché-Rural area in northern Ouaddaï prefecture, where cereal prices were particularly high. However, the situation improved somewhat in several deficit areas of the Sahelian region following distributions of cereals at subsidized prices. The national early warning system has estimated that a total of 333 000 persons were vulnerable to food shortages in villages of the prefectures of Kanem, Biltine, Batha, Ouaddaï, Lac and Chari-Baguirmi. Cereals have been drawn from the national food security reserve, the level of which is now almost zero. Therefore, there is an urgent need for assistance to reconstitute the security stock in order to be able to undertake distribution or sale at subsidized prices, the level of which will be estimated during a meeting of the national early warning system (SAP) in early November.

COTE D'IVOIRE (4 November)

In the north, precipitation remained widespread in August and September and was abundant during the last dekad of August. In the south, rains were limited and widespread in August and stopped in September. The first maize crop has been harvested and plantings for the second maize crop are underway. Millet and sorghum are maturing in the north while rice is being harvested in the south.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory and markets are well supplied. The wholesale price of rice decreased in 1995/96, following the low price of imported rice, large imports and good local production. On September 30, the government increased the import duty for ordinary rice from 2 to 15 percent, prior to the liberalization of this market in January 1997. WFP, NGOs and donors defined the caseload of Liberian refugees to be assisted from January 1997, at 175 000 persons. The cereal import requirement for 1996/97 (July/June), including re-exports, is estimated at 535 000 tons mostly wheat and rice.

THE GAMBIA (4 November)

Heavy rains were received in late August, notably in the east. Almost all meteorological stations registered more than 100 mm and many of them more than 200 mm of rainfall. These heavy rains caused flash flooding in some areas, notably in the Upper River Division, where some fields of maize failed. Elsewhere, the crop condition is generally satisfactory. The entire country received significant rainfall during the first dekad of September. Precipitation decreased substantially during the second dekad. Rains increased somewhat during the last dekad but remained widespread. Early sown short cycle varieties of maize and early millet reached advanced stages of maturity. Late sown early millet is at the flowering/heading stage; sorghum, late millet and upland rice are in the grain formation stage. Blister beetles are reported on millet in some areas. Birds locally attacked millet, maize and rice in some locations. An FAO Crop Assessment Mission which visited The Gambia from 28 October to 1 November estimated 1996 aggregate cereal production at 104 000 tons. This is slightly above the 1995 level and the average of the last five years.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory except in Upper River Division following flooding in August. Rice stocks and planned imports are sufficient to cover consumption requirements in the months ahead. The rice market is well supplied but prices are higher than last year reflecting the increase in international prices. Following flooding in Upper River Division, a multidisciplinary team estimated the needs of 150 000 affected persons at 2 235 tons of milled rice and recommended the purchase of early millet, maize and rice seeds to be distributed before the 1997/98 cropping season.

GHANA (28 October)

In the north, rains were abundant in August and early September and decreased significantly during the second and third dekads of September, allowing harvesting of the first maize crop and maturation of rice. In the south, rains remained widespread but very light in August and early September, stopped during the second dekad of September, and resumed slightly during the third dekad. The harvest of rice is underway in this area. Following good climatic conditions during the season and the end of ethnic conflicts in the north, the area cultivated and the output of cereals could be above normal in 1996.

There are approximately 71 000 Togolese refugees in Ghana, of whom 50 000 are expected to be repatriated in 1996, and about 10 000 Liberian refugees whose nutritional status is reported to be adequate. The cereal import requirement for 1996/97 (October/September) is estimated at 270 000 tons mostly wheat and rice.

GUINEA (28 October)

Rains were widespread during the first two dekads of August, became abundant in late August and early September, and decreased during the second and third dekads of September, remaining widespread. Millet, sorghum and maize are maturing while rice is heading.

The caseload of refugees retained for food aid distribution from January 1997 amounts at 293 000 Liberians and 173 000 Sierra-Leoneans. The cereal import requirement for 1996 (excluding re-exports) is estimated at 240 000 tons mostly wheat and rice.

GUINEA-BISSAU (4 November)

Abundant rains covered the entire country from late August to mid-September. Precipitation decreased somewhat in late September but remained widespread. Coarse grains are maturing or already harvested for early planted varieties. Rainfed rice is heading. Swamp rice, which was transplanted in August and September is developing satisfactorily, while land preparation and transplanting of rice is underway in low- lying areas, notably in the north. The pest situation remained mostly calm despite some insect attacks on millet in the north and the east and in low lying areas in the south. Pastures are abundant.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited Guinea-Bissau from 28 October to 1 November estimated 1996 aggregate production of cereals at 174 000 tons. This is 13 percent below the 1995 level and 6 percent below the average of the last five years. However, this decrease may also be related to a change in the methodology for crop production estimates.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Markets are generally well supplied and prices remain mostly stable. Cereal imports for domestic use and re-exports in 1996 are estimated at 70 000 tons, mostly rice. Structural food aid requirement is estimated at 6 000 tons.

LIBERIA* (29 October)

Despite the cease fire declared throughout Liberia on 18 August, fighting continues in several regions, notably in the West and southern parts of the country. The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process of about 60 000 fighters is scheduled to begin in late November.

The security situation is improving and food aid is being distributed in Monrovia and between Monrovia and Gbnarga. A severe cholera outbreak is also reported in Monrovia and water sanitation programs are underway to control it. Following the cease fire, some roads towards the centre of the country have been reopened and are considered as secure. Access to humanitarian assistance continues to be denied in several areas. As a result of continuous fighting in the western counties, food aid could be delivered only in September and the nutritional situation remains very serious in this area. In early September, the first humanitarian convoy also reached Tubmanburg where severe malnutrition is reported. The situation is similar in other western counties, notably in Grand Cape Mount where the first humanitarian assistance was provided in late September, as well as in counties in the south-east where no assistance can be provided due to fighting. Food distribution is underway for an indicative target of 630 000 people. The caseload for food aid distribution as of January 1997 is estimated at 1 074 000 people. Cross border supply of food is underway from Côte d’Ivoire to Nimba and Bong counties.

Precipitation resumed during the second and third dekads of August and in early September, mainly in the north. Rainfall remained limited during the second dekad of September and became substantial during the last dekad. Rice is growing satisfactorily in secure areas, as tools and agricultural inputs have been provided by rehabilitation programmes. Preliminary evaluation of farm inputs distributed in May and June indicates that in total more than 2 600 tons of rice seeds were distributed to some 90 000 farmers in the central counties. However, in many areas, population displacements and fighting during the start of the growing season hampered significantly the food production. The 1996 output will again remain limited and is not expected to recover from 1995. A Crop and Food Supply assessment Mission is planned in November/December to assess the 1996 harvest prospects and estimate imports and food aid needs during 1997. An FAO Emergency Coordinator stationed in Monrovia is currently assessing the urgent needs for agricultural inputs for affected farmers.

MALI (4 November)

Reflecting adequate rains since August, crop conditions are generally satisfactory. Following widespread rains in August, precipitation remained quite abundant during the first dekad of September. Although it decreased from the second dekad onwards, it remained widespread, except in the west in late September. Cumulative rainfall is generally normal, except in Kayes and Sotuba regions where it is well below normal. It is equal to or above last year’s level except in Kidal, Nioro and Tessalit. River levels are generally below both last year’s and normal levels but above 1993 level. The Sénégal dam has been full since 22 September. Maize, millet and sorghum are being harvested. Rainfed rice is maturing while irrigated rice of the “Office du Niger” is heading. Pastures are generally satisfactory.

Desert Locust have been reported in the Gao area in late August and in the northern Adrar des Iforas and Timetrine in early September. Control operations are underway. Further west, there were reports for the first time this year of numerous hopper bands west of Tombouctou. Adult groups and a few small swarms are expected to form near Gao and Tombouctou during October and possibly to move into the Adrar des Iforas or further west and north-west. Grain eating birds attacked cereals, notably in the Office du Niger region.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission visited Mali from 14 to 18 October. The Mission estimated 1996 aggregate cereal production at 2.3 million tons, which is 6 percent above last year’s level and 4 percent above the average of the last five years.

Following this relatively good harvest, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Prices of sorghum and maize, which had increased significantly during the first half of 1996, notably in Kayes, Koulikoro, Mopti and Ségou region, started to decrease in late September in several regions. In some areas where the 1995 harvest was reduced, notably in structurally deficit areas of the north, food difficulties have been reported during the lean season. Millet prices increased significantly (up to 230 F.CFA/kg in July). The national early warning system had estimated that the three arrondissements in Gao region were facing food shortages and some 4 000 tons of cereals have been released from the National Security Stock for distribution to about 64 500 people. Risk of food shortages was also reported in several arrondissements in Mopti, Kidal, Gao and Tombouctou, where the national early warning system recommended distribution of a total of 8 567 tons of food aid for 317 100 people in these areas. The quantity has been released from the National Security Stock and distributed from June to mid- August. Assistance has also been distributed from May to the Tuaregs who have started to return from the camps of Annefis and Inabague in the Kidal region of Mauritania.

MAURITANIA (4 October)

Following a late and irregular start of the rainy season, crops were replanted or planted late. Rains improved in late July, decreased in early and mid-August and resumed in late August. Cumulative rainfall is generally below normal. As rains are now ending, late planted crops may suffer water stress and yield potential will be reduced. Nevertheless, pastures have regenerated satisfactorily.

During September, Desert Locust hopper bands continued to mature within a wide area of the south-west. In the second half of the month, hoppers started to fledge and form new swarms, but they remained in the south-west of Nouakchott. In the south-east, scattered adults were present at a few places in early September and an immature swarm was seen flying south. Control operations amounted to 3 660 hectares in September. Swarms are expected to develop during October and move further north towards Inchiri and Adrar, while some could move south across the Senegal River Valley. A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited Mauritania from 19 to 24 October estimated 1996 aggregate cereal production at 208 000 tons. This is 6 percent below the 1995 level but remains above average.

The overall food supply situation, which remained satisfactory in 1995/96 following two successive bumper crops, is expected to remain mostly adequate in 1996/97 except in areas affected by a reduced crop. Food assistance is being distributed to Tuareg refugees in camps in the east of the country. Their number is currently estimated at 28 000. Over a period of 14 months, 14 000 refugees returned to Mali. Of the 60 000 refugees currently in Senegal following civil disturbances along the Senegal river in 1989, a first contingent of 4 000 was expected to return to Mauritania from mid-June, but the operation has been delayed due to logistical problems.

NIGER (28 October)

Following an early start to the rainy season, precipitation decreased significantly in June and caused crop failure or necessitated replanting. However, rainfall resumed in late July/August and remained adequate up to the end of the growing season. Following good rains in mid/late August, precipitation remained quite abundant along the southern border in early September. Rains decreased in mid-September but remained widespread over the main producing areas. They moved southwards during the third dekad and ceased in several areas of the west. Crops are generally reaching reproduction/maturity but stages of development vary by region. The cessation of the rains may stress late planted crops, notably in the west.

Grasshoppers have been reported in several areas. Substantial aerial treatments have been undertaken. Desert Locust are likely to be present in Central Tamesna and fledge, but infestations are expected to remain small and limited.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited Niger from 21 to 25 October is currently finalizing its assessment. The aggregate output of cereals is anticipated to be about average.

Prices of cereals have increased significantly in recent months, notably in Dosso, Maradi and Zinder departments. Food shortages were experienced in some structurally deficit areas, notably in Diffa, Agadez and Tillabery departments. Following a Government appeal for external assistance launched in January and a communication of the “Network for the Prevention of Food Crises in the Sahel” of the Club du Sahel (OECD) in April, which estimated emergency needs at 50 000 tons of cereals, several donors have financed local purchases or pledged against distributions from the national security stock. In 1995/96, a total of about 48 000 tons of millet have been distributed or sold at subsidized prices in the framework of various food aid programmes or donations and 3 000 tons of rice have also been imported under a food aid programme. As most of the millet has been released from the national security stock, its level is now very low (about 3 000 tons). However, some food aid pledges are already or about to be delivered and the OPVN, the cereal marketing board, has launched a bid for 30 000 tons of millet for the reconstitution of the security stock.

NIGERIA (28 October)

Prospects for the 1996 cereal crops are favourable. Rainfall was abundant during the second and third dekads of August and the first dekad of September, but decreased significantly during the two last dekads of September, except in the south- east. In the north, millet and sorghum are being harvested. The second maize crop has been planted and is developing satisfactorily. The 1996 production is expected to increase, but less than last year. Shortages of fertilizers, improved seeds and pesticides were reported during the planting season, following an import ban imposed by the government and difficulties in the distribution of locally produced fertilizers.

In order to reduce large post-harvest losses, the Government has started a food storage programme, including the construction of 26 silos, with a 636 000 tons storage capacity, and the installation of 500 improved storage structures for farmers.

The cereal import requirement for 1996/97 (November/October) is estimated at 1 020 000 tons, including 700 000 tons of wheat and 250 000 tons of rice.

SENEGAL (4 November)

Reduced rains in September are likely to have stressed crops in northern and central areas while growing conditions remain favourable in the south. Following widespread and abundant rains in late August, precipitation decreased significantly during the first dekad of September in the northern half of the country, ceased during the second dekad but resumed during the third dekad in the centre. Cumulative rainfall is below normal in the centre and the north. By contrast, it is normal to above normal in the south and the south-east, where precipitation remained abundant during September. Coarse grains and rice are developing satisfactorily in the south. Pastures are drying in the north.

Cantharids and grasshoppers are reported locally but damage to crops remains limited. Desert Locust adults are likely to be present in the western part of the Senegal River Valley and will almost certainly be supplemented by adult groups, possibly a few small swarms, appearing from the north in October as the Intertropical Front moves southwards. These may mature and lay in areas of recent rains, or move further south.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited Senegal from 14 to 18 October estimated 1996 aggregate cereal production at 1.1 million tons. This is close to the 1995 level and above average. Production of rice and sorghum increased, while that of maize decreased..

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. The country imports large quantities of rice to cover its consumption requirement. Markets are generally well supplied except for maize. However, prices of millet, sorghum and maize had increased significantly in both rural and urban markets, notably in the north.

SIERRA LEONE* (28 October)

Following limited but widespread rains during the first dekad of August, precipitation became abundant in mid and late August and in September. In the north, millet, sorghum and maize are maturing. In secure areas, rice is being harvested. The 1996 output is expected to partially recover from last year's level following the implementation of the peace process and rehabilitation programmes that allowed the main rice crop to be planted in some producing areas.

The security situation is improving following the cease fire after the elections. Some displaced persons have already returned, notably in Makeni and Bo regions, and will have to be provided with food as the main growing season is over. The main roads towards the east and the north (Segbwema, Bo, Kenema, and Makeni) have been reopened and food is being delivered in these areas. However, the security situation is still unstable and ceasefire violations continue to occur in many areas, notably around Kenema. Food aid convoys have also been attacked. The caseload for food aid distribution as of January 1997 has been estimated at 1 276 000 people, including returnees, from a total of 1.6 million internally displaced people.

Multisectoral needs assessment surveys have been organized by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, with the assistance of UN agencies and NGOs. FAO assessed the impact of the civil war on the farm population in Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Kabala and Bonthe and assisted conflict-affected farmers with distribution of seeds, planting materials and tools through the MANR/FAO Emergency Assistance Programme with the help of NGOs. The United Nations Consolidated Inter- agency Appeal, has been updated to focus on recovery and resettlement needs, and harmonize on-going operations with governmental resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is scheduled to visit the country in November/December 1996.

TOGO (28 October)

In the north, rains were abundant in August and the first dekad of September and decreased significantly during the two last dekads of September, allowing the maturation of millet and sorghum. In the south, no rain was reported during the first dekad of August but precipitation was widespread during the second and third dekads of August and in September. The second maize crop is growing satisfactorily and rice is maturing.

Markets are well supplied following the marketing of the first season crops. The cereal import requirement for 1996 (including re-export) is estimated at 160 000 tons.