FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS, ROME
CROP AND FOOD SUPPLY SITUATION IN BURUNDI
3 December 1996
An FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Burundi in October 1996 to review the outcome of the second season harvest, forecast the third season production, update the 1996 food supply/demand balance and assess prospects for the 1997 first season crops. In addition to meeting with field staff of the UN agencies, donor countries and NGOs, the Mission attended meetings with National Directors for extension and agriculture and held discussions with provincial agricultural directors. Further, the Mission made field visits to 5 out of the countrys 15 provinces and conducted an aerial survey of the northern and central provinces.
The 1996 second foodcrop season started under favourable agroclimatic and improved security conditions. In the northern and northeastern provinces representing some of the most important cereal producing areas, and where security conditions were stable, production was higher than anticipated earlier and normal. However, dry spells in April and May reduced bean production by approximately 30 percent from normal levels in Gitega, Rutana and Makamba provinces. Furthermore, Bubanza, Cibitoké and Karuzi provinces were seriously affected by the civil strife during the season which prevented crop husbandry. Production is estimated to be reduced in these provinces by as much as 50 percent. Based on the results of surveys of the second crop season undertaken earlier and on information provided by provincial directorates, the Mission estimates the 1996 second season foodcrop production at about 1.63 million tons, a drop of some 8 percent from the 1988-93 pre-crisis level and 2 percent lower than in the previous year.
Based on aerial surveys of much of the country and field visits of the northern, central and southern provinces, the third season foodcrops, which were still being harvested at the time of the mission, were anticipated to be good. This reflects an overall favourable growing season, relatively stable security situation at planting time and absence of any noticeable plant diseases. The Mission provisionally forecast foodcrop production for the 1996 third season at 615 000 tons, 3 percent below the previous years level, mainly reflecting reductions in provinces affected by civil strife.
The total food production in 1996 is forecast at 3.5 million tons, some 3 percent down from the 1995 output 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 and plantains. Considering normal annual consumption requirements, there is a deficit of 53 000 tons of cereals and 69 000 tons of pulses to be covered by imports. Commercial imports and food aid distributions until July 1996 are estimated at 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, which will remain uncovered due to the current economic sanctions. The deficit of 181 000 tons of roots and tubers and 123 000 tons of bananas/plantains would require additional imports of cereals and pulses. As a result of the embargo on food imports, the nutritional status of the population in general and of the internally displaced people and dispersed populations in particular, is likely to be seriously affected.
Resident population for mid-1996 is estimated at 5.934 million people. This figure excludes Rwandan refugees, all of whom were repatriated in July and August 1996. Internally displaced people (IDPs) are estimated at 213 123. This figure does not take into account the 4 853 settlers at Mishiha camps in Cankuzo province, less in need of external assistance as they have access to agricultural land. Dispersed populations are difficult to estimate because their number varies continuously according to changes in local security conditions. However, it has been reported that the number of dispersed people would be equivalent to that of IDPs in camps.
Deepening of the socio-political crisis since April sent fresh waves of refugees from Cibitoké, Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza provinces to Zaire. However, the fighting since early October between the Zairean army and ethnic Tutsi armed groups in the Kivu region led to the return of more than 45 000 Burundian refugees by late November seeking a safe haven. The unstable security situation in Muramvya and Kayanza provinces led some 4 000 Burundians to seek shelter in Rwanda in September. Some 50 000 crossed into Tanzania in November, escaping from fresh fighting in the Bururi, Rutana and Gitega provinces.
The provinces most affected by the civil strife are Gitega, Muramvya, Kayanza, Cibitoké, Bubanza and parts of Bujumbura Rural and Rutana. In Cibitoké, recent reports indicate the massacre of 300 Burundian returnees from Zaire in the Murambi commune in late November. Bujumbura city is calm since the military take-over in July, though the city is regularly blacked-out because of attacks by armed groups on power lines.
The main roads leading out from Bujumbura to the rest of the country are still considered insecure and some attacks have been reported. The combined impact of insecurity and fuel rationing, following the imposition of economic sanctions, has brought both commercial traffic and humanitarian activities to a standstill.
Burundi has three crop seasons. The first season, "agatasi", runs from September to mid-January and represents approximately 37 percent of annual agricultural production. The second season, "impeshi" goes from February to June and accounts for 46 percent of annual output. The third season, "marshland season" spans from July to October, provides around 17 percent of yearly production and involves cultivation of cash crops such as vegetables and Irish potato.
Output of the first season foodcrops was poor, mainly due to the deterioration in the security situation in Bubanza, Bujumbura Rural and Cibitoké provinces and unfavourable weather conditions in some localized areas. These factors resulted in substantial planting and yield reductions for beans and cereals. Production of the first season foodcrops was estimated by the FAO/WFP Mission of January/February 1996 at 1.26 million tons. This represents 85 percent of the food produced in the same season during the pre-crisis 1988-93 period.
Based on the results of agricultural surveys for the second crop season carried out in 113 of the countrys 115 communes by extension agents, and on the basis of information provided by provincial directors of the Ministry of Agriculture, foodcrop production from the second 1996 crop season is estimated at 1.63 million tons (Table 1). This figure includes 109 000 tons of cereals, 182 000 tons of pulses, 681 000 tons of roots and tubers and 658 000 tons of bananas.
Table 1: Food production estimates for 1996 second season (tons)
|Crop Province||Bananas||Wheat||Rice||Maize||Sorghum||Taro||Eleusine||Bean||Yam||Cassava||Sweet potato||Irish potato||Peas||TOTAL|
|Bubanza||40 329||5 938||1 967||362||4 358||2 442||12 769||921||123||69 209|
|Bujumbura||54 737||1 231||723||179||5 483||2 708||240||20 980||4 557||3 437||400||94 675|
|Bururi||28 231||2 992||6 253||303||1 405||1 534||187||4 543||58||16 517||11 174||580||3 840||77 617|
|Cankuzo||12 974||26||3 871||711||506||4 567||3 235||3 807||122||438||30 257|
|Cibitoké||46 465||5 245||2 808||542||3 365||3 710||22 064||1 666||314||86 179|
|Gitega||43 544||165||1 915||4 722||4 700||663||22 947||2 455||32 545||90 743||58||6 138||210 595|
|Karuzi||13 889||1 443||2 533||1 763||188||8 579||1 173||10 853||28 775||79||1 530||70 805|
|Kayanza||70 605||1 707||3 244||2 927||3 126||183||19 564||16 399||56 163||4 691||3 245||181 854|
|Kirundo||88 171||6 177||8 778||2 182||22 756||14 883||33 616||1 188||177 751|
|Makamba||14 946||124||1 936||205||372||574||50||2 055||29||11 245||3 248||159||628||35 571|
|Muramvya||20 937||2 022||1 437||4 081||3 813||573||16 399||13 932||63 331||5 881||1 682||134 088|
|Muyinga||83 605||3 666||6 972||1 718||459||14 210||19 739||19 366||1 477||151 212|
|Ngozi||80 243||10||4 728||4 552||3 916||21 097||21 468||65 530||2 247||2 463||206 254|
|Rutana||26 174||79||2 697||1 107||696||4 118||14||6 721||3 160||190||347||45 303|
|Ruyigi||33 444||36||4 171||853||826||8 053||8 418||2 558||206||719||59 284|
|TOTAL||658 294||8 251||19 372||28 757||48 164||39 203||4 331||157 748||3 969||231 768||388 615||17 650||24 532||1 630 654|
Table 2: Food production forecast for 1996 third season (tons)
|Crop Province||Bananas||Wheat||Rice||Maize||Sorghum||Taro||Eleusine||Bean||Yam||Cassava||Sweet potato||Irish potato||Peas||TOTAL|
|Bubanza||21 669||92||3 137||77||8 901||21||33 897|
|Bujumbura||32 461||3 251||12 046||47 758|
|Bururi||16 939||1 287||969||822||10 661||833||2 444||33 955|
|Cankuzo||7 784||217||426||198||1 879||3 103||58||13 665|
|Cibitoké||22 303||131||1 615||95||10 254||35||34 433|
|Gitega||24 820||1 418||2 820||3 097||19 901||9 024||274||61 354|
|Karuzi||10 556||444||1 269||1 047||7 986||1 072||22 374|
|Kayanza||40 245||1 575||1 678||2 556||9 527||1 139||649||57 369|
|Kirundo||50 258||769||1 131||1 679||8 394||2 739||102||65 072|
|Makamba||8 968||585||345||448||6 533||188||261||17 328|
|Muramvya||13 223||3 329||2 288||2 353||8 093||4 718||3 807||37 811|
|Muyinga||50 163||502||976||1 194||10 893||1 401||65 129|
|Ngozi||48 146||1 889||2 474||3 072||11 877||1 305||68 763|
|Rutana||17 449||81||664||376||4 338||3 683||26 591|
|Ruyigi||20 066||512||251||4 446||4 328||29 603|
|TOTAL||385 050||-||-||12 102||217||23 555||17 265||-||135 729||33 589||7 493||102||615 102|
Output of the second season indicates a 2 percent drop in aggregate food production from the same season in 1995 and a 8 percent reduction from the pre-crisis level. Most notable drops from normal levels were reported in minor crops such as rice (28 percent down) and Irish potato (12 percent down), but also in maize (12 percent down), beans (10 percent down) and peas (9 percent down). Although beans are produced all over the country, the production is concentrated in some areas, while maize production is more widespread.
The growing season started under favourable agro-climatic conditions and normal to above normal planting levels were achieved in the important growing provinces of Kayanza, NGozi, Kirundo, Muyinga and in Cankuzo, where the security situation was calm. Even in provinces affected by sporadic attacks, like Gitega, Muramvya, Rutana, Ruyigi, Makamba and Bururi, about 90 to 95 percent of the land was sown. However, planting was reduced by approximately 50 percent from normal levels in parts of Bubanza, Cibitoké, Bujumbura Rural and Karuzi provinces, more seriously affected by the civil strife.
Despite overall favourable weather conditions during the growing season, in the central and southern provinces (Gitega, Karuzi, Rutana, Makamba and Bururi) yields were adversely affected by dry spells in April and May. Yields of bean and maize crops have dropped by about 30 percent in those provinces. Shortage of fertilizer and quality seed also negatively affected yields of Irish potato crop. In areas affected by insecurity, particularly Bubanza, Cibitoké and Karuzi provinces crops suffered from lack of maintenance.
The 1996 marshland season crops were planted before the recent socio-political crisis and the subsequent international embargo. Normal plantings were achieved in most provinces. However, they were reduced in areas affected by civil strife such as Bubanza and Cibitoké. Production is expected to have also been constrained by irregular distribution of rains in parts, and by localized shortages of quality seed for beans and Irish potato. At the time of the Missions visit the 1996 third season harvest was well underway. The output in the third season is forecast at 615 000 tons, some 3 percent below production obtained in the same season in 1995 and an 11 percent drop from the pre-crisis level (Table 2).
Table 3: Food production forecast for 1996 (tons)
|Province||Bananas||Wheat||Rice||Maize||Sorghum||Taro||Eleusine||Bean||Yam||Cassava||Sweet potato||Irish potato||Peas||TOTAL|
|Bubanza||100 521||13 544||4 857||693||13 073||4 240||36 505||1 798||236||175 467|
|Bujumbura||135 571||1 231||6 124||4 065||689||13 324||5 049||843||49 087||8 647||3 437||618||228 685|
|Bururi||67 755||3 188||11 256||17 431||2 533||3 796||613||9 708||253||41 392||23 396||5 143||4 019||190 483|
|Cankuzo||33 732||1 319||8 172||1 706||1 765||14 454||7 620||16 633||554||438||86 393|
|Cibitoké||108 418||7 289||7 126||1 335||7 850||6 229||49 408||2 719||1 107||191 481|
|Gitega||99 716||165||12 431||5 525||11 279||1 549||36 994||4 559||76 328||145 867||469||8 669||403 551|
|Karuzi||40 742||5 592||2 626||4 724||455||16 563||2 102||30 047||51 883||281||2 924||157 939|
|Kayanza||158 861||2 049||16 297||3 014||6 516||586||39 278||37 290||87 041||8 930||6 200||366 062|
|Kirundo||191 332||11 876||8 778||4 901||29 569||36 146||61 280||1 726||345 608|
|Makamba||35 273||124||3 597||6 152||1 092||1 378||81||5 371||127||26 488||5 570||2 075||750||88 078|
|Muramvya||49 146||2 287||28 184||5 765||8 998||1 053||26 841||32 493||98 963||15 119||2 040||270 889|
|Muyinga||193 963||9 666||6 972||3 924||459||24 170||44 393||32 592||2 078||318 217|
|Ngozi||182 954||17 388||4 552||9 028||603||42 638||46 964||97 841||5 748||4 562||412 278|
|Rutana||62 235||10||1 350||5 879||2 523||1 757||8 861||25||16 034||16 331||423||359||115 787|
|Ruyigi||84 279||728||8 406||1 979||2 371||17 996||18 791||19 695||206||719||155 170|
|TOTAL||1 544 498||9 054||41 810||144 462||66 031||94 999||11 292||287 961||7 909||548 986||670 256||42 385||36 445||3 506 088|
Table 4 summarizes total food production in 1996, with province-wise details given in Table 3. Output is estimated at 3.5 million tons, comprising 273 000 tons of cereals, 324 000 tons of pulses, 1.364 million tons of roots and tubers and 1.544 million tons of bananas/plantains. Compared with the 1988-93 average output, overall food production is expected to decrease by 4 percent, pulses by 12 percent, cereals by 8 percent, roots and tubers by 5 percent and bananas/plantains by 1 percent.
Table 4: Estimated 1996 food production by season and commodity type (000 tons)
|Average output||1995||1996 Production||1996 as % of average||1996 as %|
|1988-1993||Production||first season||second season||third season||Total||1988-93||of 1995|
|Roots & tubers||1 433||1 403||483||681||200||1 364||95||97|
|Bananas/plantains||1 563||1 564||501||658||385||1 544||99||99|
|TOTAL||3 663||3 602||1 260||1 630||615||3 505||96||97|
Widespread planting was undertaken in late September in most provinces, except Bubanza and Cibitoké which have been virtually inaccessible for the past three months because of continuing fighting between armed groups and the army. Virtually all the arable land was planted in the areas where the security situation permitted. The rains came on time in most areas, but the distribution was very irregular and dry spells in late September and the second half of October may have resulted in planting reductions in Karuzi and Makamba provinces. Rains resumed in the first half of November. At the time of the Missions visit, planted crops were growing well and there were no signs of any serious plant health problem. However, a number of negative factors will constrain yields and the final output is expected to be lower than both the previous year and the pre-crisis level.
There was a reduced availability of bean seed at planting time due to a reduced harvest in the 1996 main second season, induced by irregular rain distribution in the central and southern provinces. Because of the economic sanctions, the bean seed situation was even tighter in the eastern provinces which, despite the self-sufficiency at the national level, used to import seed from Tanzania. Bean plantings are likely to have been reduced. Seed quality is poor for Irish potato since the suspension a year ago of activities of the Burundian Institute of Agricultural Sciences (ISABU) following the delayed renewal of programme funding by bilateral donor countries. Furthermore, the disruption in the activities of most seed multiplication centres will adversely affect the quality of seed for rice, wheat, maize and beans, and cassava cuttings.
Due to the embargo, there was virtually no fertilizers in the country at the time of planting. Some 4 000 tons of fertilizers purchased by FAO have been exonerated from the import ban. However, by mid-November only 500 tons have been distributed while the rest is still arriving in Burundi. It is too late for the current production season, particularly because fertilizers are usually applied at planting time, but will be useful for the next crop season starting in February. For the foodcrops, chemical fertilizers are applied mostly on beans but also on minor rice and Irish potato crops. Taking into account the crop pattern in each season of the year, average yields obtained with and without fertilizers, and assuming application of recommended rates, the lack of fertilizers could result in the 1997 first crop season in the shortfall of some 8 000 tons of beans, 2 000 tons of rice and about 7 000 tons of Irish potato. The drop in output due to lack of fertilizers represent 6 percent of the pulses and rice production in 1996 A season and 35 percent of the Irish potato crop.
Burundi normally imports some 200 tons of insecticides per year. While most of it is used in coffee plantations, limited quantities are applied on foodcrops, mainly Irish potatoes but also rice and beans; insecticides are also used in grain conservation and seed treatment. The frequency, magnitude and probability of distribution of pest attacks against foodcrop fields are not adequately documented in Burundi, making, therefore, difficult to estimate crop losses in case of pest outbreaks.
Burundi imported an average of 900 000 hoes annually in 1991-1995. A hoe lasts for two to three production years. The international sanctions have led to an expansion of the domestic hoe production sector. Although there was no lack of hoes at the time of the Missions visit, continuation of the embargo will negatively affect hoe availability in the future.
Petrol rationing has resulted in sharp increase in the cost of transportation with consequent increases in the general level of prices. In particular, distribution of seed from surplus producing to deficit areas has been hampered, inducing a drop in the sowing rate.
Suspension of all bilateral funded programmes, except an Austrian financed project in three communes of Bururi province, will also adversely affect the farm sector.
Overall, the combined impact of the above-mentioned factors is likely to result in poor yields for the 1997 first season crop.
Diets in Burundi are almost exclusively vegetarian. The cattle population has declined substantially from the pre-crisis level. This is due to losses incurred since the outbreak of civil strife. Milk production is down by 80 percent from 2 million litres in 1992 to 386 000 litres in 1995. Annual imports from 1991 to 1995 average 991 tons for milk products and about 3 tons of meat. Consequently, per caput consumption of meat and milk products is very low.
Fishing provides an important source of protein, though the annual catch is relatively small amounting to about 5 000 tons. The suspension of fishing activities in lake Tanganika will curtail protein availability.
Beans represent the principal source of protein and the reduced harvest in 1996 second season, combined with the embargo on commercial imports and food aid, will adversely affect the nutritional status of the population in general and of IDPs and dispersed populations in particular.
Malnutrition does not seem to be widespread, through it is reported that the incidence rate has increased from 6 to 12 percent of the population. The situation is particularly worsening among IDPs with no access to farm land and health centres. In Bubanza and Cibitoké provinces, where insecurity is persistent, populations are at risk of severe malnourishment owing to massive population displacement, reduced plantings in 1996 second and third crop seasons and unavailability of food aid. In Karuzi province, widespread malnutrition has been reported among women and young children and some 40 000 people are in urgent need of food assistance.
The food supply situation remains generally tight with variations among provinces. Three categories of provinces can be distinguished. Group I, which comprises Kayanza, NGozi, Kirundo, Muyinga and Cankuzo provinces enjoys a stable food supply position, achieved through normal harvests in 1996. Group II, composed by Gitega, Muramvya, Rutana, Ruyigi, Makamba, Bururi and Bujumbura Rural shows signs of a tight food supply situation due to below average harvests in 1996 second and third seasons, resulting from unfavourable weather conditions. The food situation in these provinces could deteriorate if the security situation worsens or economic sanctions remain in force. Group III, comprising Bubanza, Cibitoké and Karuzi, is experiencing a serious food situation because of substantially reduced planting in 1996 stemming from the civil strife in these provinces.
With domestic production below pre-crisis levels and the current trade embargo, the supply situation is tight for some commodities. Prices of beans and bananas/plantains have risen sharply in Bujumbura city and in deficit provinces (Table 5), reflecting the reduced harvest in 1996 second season, disruption of arterial truck routes and increase in transportation costs. However, in most provinces the prices of staple crops have remained unchanged or have decreased in surplus producing areas, except for processed commodities such as milled rice, refined cotton and palm oil, which require imported fuel.
Table 5: Foodcrop prices on some selected rural markets (July-August 1995 and 1996)
|Crop||July 96||Sept. 96||July 96||Aug. 96||July 96||Aug. 96||July 96||Aug. 96||July 96||Aug. 96||July 96||Sept. 96|
|Cassava (dried)||100 2/||100||45.7||48.0||42.0||46.9||42.8||33.7||71||40||45||45|
Consequently, it is expected in the coming months that farm income will decline in food surplus areas due to lower prices for staple crops resulting from reduced transportation and marketing activities. Moreover, a sharp drop in earning from cash crops such as coffee, tea and vegetables, will further reduce farm cash income and lower farmers purchasing power. Urban consumers, on the other hand, will experience a decline in their standard of living stemming from rising prices and short food supplies.
Overall economic activity has also been disrupted since the embargo from late July. The general price index has increased by 40 percent by September 1996 and the depreciation of the local currency has accelerated. There have been massive layoffs of workers at Bujumbura port, airport and truck station in the embryonic manufacturing sector, in the tourism industry and at some aid agencies. About 60 percent of government revenues come from import and export taxes on goods, mainly agricultural products. As a consequence of this sharp decline in revenue, some civil servants may have to be laid off.
The aggregate food output in 1996 is provisionally forecast at 3.5 million tons, representing 96 percent of the food produced annually during the 1988-93 pre-crisis period.
Precise information on farm-level stocks is not available. However, stocks held by farmers were reported to be low because of the poor harvest in 1996 second crop season. In addition, persistent insecurity in some provinces discouraged farmers from keeping stocks. As of 7 October 1996, WFPs emergency aid stocks amounted to about 4 000 tons.
Total food requirements are based on revised annual normal consumption standards estimated at 50 kg for cereals, 56 kg for pulses, 238 kg (80 kg in maize equivalent) for roots and tubers and 255 kg (33 kg in maize equivalent) for bananas/plantains.
Consumption requirements are estimated at 297 000 tons of cereals, 332 tons of pulses, 1.41 million tons of roots and tubers and 1.51 million tons of bananas and plantains.
Post-harvest losses and seed rates are based on historic norms for storage losses and seeding rates for the country.
The food shortfall in 1996 is estimated at 53 000 tons of cereals, 69 000 tons of pulses, 181 000 tons of roots and tubers and 123 000 tons of bananas and plantains.
Commercial food imports until July and for the rest of the year are estimated at 20 000 tons of cereals and 3 000 tons of pulses, while food aid distributions in the first half of the year reached 11 000 tons of cereals and 4 000 tons of pulses. In view of the imposition of international trade sanctions on the country on 31 July 1996, there will be an uncovered deficit of 22 000 tons of cereals and 62 000 tons of pulses, plus an additional 77 000 tons of either cereals or pulses for the uncovered deficit in roots and tubers and bananas and plantains.
Table 6: Food supply/demand balance sheet for 1996 (000 tons)
|Cereals||Pulses||Roots & tubers||Bananas & plantains|
|A. Total availability||273||324||1 364||1 544|
|1996 production||273||324||1 364||1 544|
|B. Total utilization||326||393||1 545||1 667|
|Food use||297||332||1 412||1 513|
|Seeds and losses||29||61||133||154|
|C. Import requirement||53||69||181||123|
|Commercial imports 1/||20||3||-||-|
|Food aid distributed 1/||11||4||-||-|
Even if sanctions are lifted soon, the countrys capacity for commercial food imports will be constrained by the shortage of foreign exchange. Coffee provides over four-fifths of Burundis export earnings. Production is bought from farmers, then processed and marketed by the State-owned "Office du Café du Burundi" (OCIBU). Harvest starts generally in June and runs throughout the second semester of the calendar year. The 1996/97 production is forecast at 30 000 tons. The deepening of the socio-political crisis in July 1996 and the economic sanctions have disrupted coffee marketing activities. It has been reported that there will be a 20 to 25 percent quality loss if this years coffee crop is not processed by January 1997 and an almost total loss of the harvest if not processed by April 1997. Given the embargo on all exports and imports, the resulting loss in foreign exchange earning from coffee exports will adversely affect the countrys commercial import capacity when the sanctions are lifted.
Tea provides about 10 percent of Burundis export earnings and output in 1996 is forecast by the state-owned "Office du Thé du Burundi" (OTB) to exceed 7 000 tons due to favourable weather conditions. However, actual production will be constrained by the unstable security situation which has led to abandonment of tea plots by displaced farmers. Further, processing capacity is reduced by the closing down of two processing plants owing to lack of spare parts. In addition, Burundi has not been able to sell tea on the international market since 2 August 1996 because of the embargo.
This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO Secretariat with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact Mr. Abdur Rashid, Chief, ESCG, FAO, (Telex 610181 FAO I; Fax: 0039-6-5225-4495, E-Mail (INTERNET): GIEWS1@FAO.ORG) for further information if required.
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