FAO/GIEWS: Africa Report - November 1997:

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ERITREA


Area: 124 320 sq.km
Climate: Highland areas: tropical wet/dry with unreliable rains. Lowlands: semi-arid to arid
Population: 2.82 million (1997 estimate); G.N.P. per caput: n.a.
Specific characteristics of the country: Low-income food-deficit country
Logistics: Roads inadequate, gateway to northern Ethiopia
Major foodcrops: Sorghum, teff, millet, maize, pulses
Marketing year: January/December; Lean season: August-November
Share of cereals in total calorie intake: 73 percent


CURRENT SITUATION

Prospects for the 1997 main season cereal crops, to be harvested from November, have deteriorated following dry spells in September in most growing areas. Precipitation in the first dekad of October was insufficient and late to substantially improve the situation. Provisional forecasts point to a 1997 cereal crop at the same reduced level of the past two years.

Prices of cereals, which had increased steadily from April, continued to rise in the past month reflecting dwindling stocks. With anticipated below-average cereal harvest for the third consecutive year and substantially lower export availabilities from neighbouring Ethiopia, the country’s food supply situation is expected to further tighten in 1998. The food security of large sections of the population, who even in normal years do not cover their subsistence requirements, is likely to deteriorate.



CEREAL SUPPLY/DEMAND BALANCE FOR THE 1997 MARKETING YEAR (in thousand tons)


Wheat

Rice

Coarse grains

Total

1996 Production

10

-

122

132

1997 Utilization

156

-

265

421

Food use

155

-

240

395

Non-food use

1

-

25

26

Stock build up

-

-

-

-

1997 Import Requirement

146

-

143

289

Anticipated commercial imports

70

-

50

120

Food aid needs

76

-

93

169

Current Aid Position





Food aid pledges

74

-

4

78

of which: Delivered

33

-

-

33

Estimated per caput consumption (kg/year)

55

-

85

140

Indexes





1996 production as % of normal:


1997 import requirement as % of normal:


1997 food aid requirement as % of normal (including refugee needs):



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