Good rains in October prompted early planting of winter grain along the coastal areas in the Northeast. Sowing of the 1998 wheat and barley crops will continue until mid-January next year, but the bulk is usually planted in November/December.
Isolated adult desert locusts were observed during October in the extreme south near the Niger. Scattered adults are likely to be present in few places in central and southern Sahara. These may breed in areas of recent rainfall.
Following unfavourable weather conditions, production of cereals in 1997 dropped to a 20-year low of about 1.08 million tons from a record 4.6 million tons in 1996. Wheat output in 1997 is estimated at 750 000 tons, about 73 percent lower than in the previous year. The production of barley is estimated at 300 000 tons compared to 1.7 million tons last year.
Cereal imports in 1997/98 (July/June) are estimated to rise to about 5.5 million tons reflecting the drop in 1997 domestic production.