BENIN (6 April)
The rainy season started in early March, with sufficient rainfall over the south to allow the planting of the first maize crop.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory following the main crop harvest. Planted area in 1998 was above normal, except for groundnuts. 1998/99 cereal output is estimated at about 820 000 tonnes. The reduced demand from Sahelian countries, which had good harvests has generally meant that prices have remained low. The cereal import requirement for 1999 (January/December) is estimated at 200 000 tonnes (including re-exports) of wheat and rice.
BURKINA FASO (6 April)
Seasonably dry conditions prevail and harvesting of off- season crops is underway. Aggregate cereal production for 1998 is officially estimated at a record 2.65 million tonnes, some 32 percent above 1997 and 12 percent above average.
Following record production, the overall food supply situation improved significantly and prices fell appreciably. The Government has bought 15 000 tonnes of cereals locally to replenish the national security stock to a recommended level of 35 000 tonnes. Some deficit areas remain vulnerable and may need some assistance during the lean season. These include the provinces of Boulgou, Bazéga, Oubritenga, Sanguié, Kouritenga and Boulkiemdé.
CAPE VERDE (6 April)
1998 maize production is estimated at 3 400 tonnes, which is below the previous year’s reduced harvest and well below average. Following successive poor harvests, some sections of the rural population may need assistance in food and/or seeds for the next season. An FAO assessment is underway to estimate needs and assess the impact of the drought on the agricultural sector. The overall food supply situation, however, remains satisfactory as the country imports the bulk of its consumption requirement. The cereal import requirement for 1998/99 amounts to 95 000 tonnes. 89 400 tonnes have been pledged, of which 35 000 tonnes have been delivered so far.
CHAD (6 April)
Seasonably dry conditions prevail. Harvesting of recession crops is underway and prospects are generally favourable. Reflecting favourable growing conditions, notably in the Sahelian zone, 1998 cereal production is estimated at a record 1.28 million tonnes, some 30 percent above 1997.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory, notably in the Sahelian zone which had well above average production. Cereal prices declined following the harvest, which should facilitate local purchases for replenishing the national security stock, which is almost exhausted. External assistance for local purchases, however, is required. Some food supply difficulties are likely in areas of the Sudanian zone affected by flooding and/or poor crops in 1998, notably in Logone, Tandjilé, and in parts of Mayo-Kebbi and Moyen- Chari prefectures. In these areas, prices of cereals decreased but remained above normal. Cash crop production also declined, limiting income for farmers.
COTE D'IVOIRE (8 April)
Following scattered rains in February the rainy season began in earnest in early March over the south. This allowed planting of the first maize crop. Seasonably dry conditions continue to prevail in the north.
The overall food supply situation remains satisfactory as 1998 crops are being marketed. Organised repatriation is underway for about 140 000 Liberian refugees, remaining in the western departments. Food assistance is being provided to 50 000 vulnerable people and 30 000 children through school feeding. 1998/99 cereal production is estimated at 1.6 million tonnes and the cereal import requirement for 1999 (January/December) at 640 000 tonnes, mostly wheat and rice.
THE GAMBIA (6 April)
Seasonably dry conditions prevail. 1998 cereal output is officially estimated at 114 000 tonnes, similar to 1997 and 9 percent above average.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory given present rice stocks and planned imports. During the first half of March, about 20 000 tonnes of rice and wheat flour were imported. Markets are well supplied and cereal prices declined after harvest. However, some areas where millet production was poor may be at-risk of shortages during the next lean season. Areas giving most cause for concern include Lower and Upper Nuimis districts in the North Bank Division, Kiang West and Central in the Lower River Division and parts of Fonis of the Western Division. The Government has estimated the number of affected people at 133 200, who need 4 000 tonnes of cereals.
GHANA (12 April)
Rainfall started in early March over the south, reaching central parts by late March. Maize planting has started in the south while land preparation for rice planting is underway in the central parts. Aggregate 1998 cereal production is estimated at 1.78 million tonnes, slightly above last year. Rice and maize output has been normal to below normal, but is balanced by a good millet and sorghum production. Production has recovered in the extreme north, where crop production was severely reduced in 1997. The food supply situation is expected to remain satisfactory in this area in 1999. Production of roots and tubers is forecast to reach an above-average 13.44 million tonnes.
Around 30 000 Liberian refugees still remain in the country, receiving food assistance. The 1999 cereal import requirement is estimated at 475 000 tonnes, mostly wheat and rice.
GUINEA (3 April)
Dry condition prevail, except in the south where limited rainfall started in early March and increased towards the end of the month, allowing land preparation for maize and rice.
The total number of Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees in Guinea is estimated at 614 000, of whom about 414 000 are Sierra Leoneans and 200 000 Liberians. The refugee population is concentrated in the south and has put additional pressure on resources and food. Cereal production in 1999 point to about 900 000 tonnes and the 1999 cereal import requirement is estimated at 385 000 tonnes, mostly wheat and rice.
GUINEA-BISSAU* (12 April)
Seasonably dry conditions prevail. Most of the people who were displaced following fighting last year or in late January have now returned home. A UN Mission visited the country in mid-March to review the current humanitarian situation and assess emergency needs. Food distributions are underway in the regions of Oio and Cacheu for more than 100 000 beneficiaries and have just started in Bissau, Cumura and Prabis, targetting between 350 000 and 400 000 beneficiaries. Emergency food distribution is also scheduled in Quinhamel and Bijagos Islands for a total of 22 000 beneficiaries. Although the food supply situation had improved somewhat following the rice harvest in late 1998, production was lower than the previous year due to insecurity, fighting and adverse weather in some areas.
LIBERIA* (18 April)
An FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Liberia late last year and found that the food situation had improved significantly. The Mission estimated paddy production in 1998 at 210 100 tonnes, some 25 percent above 1997 and about 70 percent of the pre-strife average. Cassava production is estimated at 313 300 tonnes (fresh weight), which is 96 percent of the pre-crisis average. The main factors which contributed to the increase in production include an expansion of area planted as a result of the return of large numbers of farm families, increased yields due to greater access to inputs supplied by NGOs (especially seeds and tools) and improved crop husbandry practices as more extension services become available. In addition, improved varieties of cassava have become more readily available from a number of NGO-supported projects. However, bad road conditions, eating habit as well as the lack of processing and preservation facilities, often lead to food insecurity during the “hungry” season from late June to October.
Food assistance is being delivered throughout most of the country, which has led to an improvement in the nutritional status of the population. Assistance is being provided to about 1.7 million IDPs and refugees from Sierra Leone. Organised repatriation is underway for about 480 000 Liberian refugees in neighbouring countries, of whom 80 000 have been repatriated. Resettlement of IDPs and refugees is taking place in the counties of Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Upper Lofa, Maryland and Sinoe. Due to the influx, however, these counties are experiencing food deficit. On the basis of an estimated population of about 2.8 million in 1999, the Mission estimated that Liberia will need to import 155 000 tonnes of cereals to meet consumption requirements. Commercial imports are anticipated at 100 000 tonnes of rice and 5 000 tonnes of wheat. The remaining 50 000 tonnes will need to be covered by food aid (30 000 tonnes of wheat and 20 000 tonnes of maize meal and CSB). Food aid in the form of rice is not foreseen.
MALI (6 April)
Seasonably dry conditions prevail and off-season crops are developing satisfactorily. 1998 cereal production is estimated at a record 2.5 million tonnes, 13 percent above average and 3 percent over the record in 1994. Low numbers of Desert Locusts may be present in a few areas of the Adrar des Iforas.
The food supply situation is satisfactory and prices of cereals have declined. There is a substantial surplus for local purchase, export or triangular transaction.
MAURITANIA (6 April)
Seasonably dry conditions prevail and off-season and recession crops are developing satisfactorily. 1998 cereal production is estimated at 189 700 tonnes, some 25 percent above 1997 and 11 percent above average. Scattered Desert Locust adults may be present and could breed in a few limited areas of the north between Akjoujt and Zouerate. No significant developments are likely.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory but localised shortages are likely following reduced crops in some areas, notably in the wilayas of the Hodhs El Chargui and El Gharbi, Gorgol, Assaba and Guidimakha, as well as in some areas of Brakna, Tagant, Trarza. The cereal import requirement (including re-exports) for 1998/99 (November/October) is estimated at 320 000 tonnes and the food aid requirement at 35 000 tonnes.
NIGER (19 April)
Seasonably dry conditions prevail. 1998 aggregate cereal production has been revised down slightly to a record 2.97 million tonnes, about 72 percent higher than 1997 and about 44 percent above average of the last five years. Some Desert Locusts may be present in a few areas of Tamesna.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. The security situation is normal following the coup on 9 April, but some donors have suspended their aid. Low cereal prices following record crops in late 1998 should facilitate local purchases for the reconstitution of the national security stock for which external assistance is required. However, the food supply situation is likely to be tight in some areas which are chronically food deficit, notably in the arrondissements of Bouza, Illela, Konni, Matameye, centre- Madaoua, centre-Mayahi, north-Mirriah, south-Ouallam, north- Tanout (Belbedji), north-Tillabery (Aiorou), south-Diffa and south-N’Guigmi.
NIGERIA (6 April)
Limited rainfall started in mid February in the south and increased in March, allowing planting of the first maize crop and land preparation for rainfed rice. Cereal output in 1998 is officially estimated at 22.8 million tonnes, about 4 percent above 1997. Production of roots and tubers, mainly cassava and yams, is estimated at an above-average 62 million tonnes.
Food supplies are still constrained by high levels of post- harvest loss and high distribution costs. The cereal import requirement for 1999 is estimated at 1.25 million tonnes, including 1.05 million tonnes of wheat and 150 000 tonnes of rice.
SENEGAL (6 April)
Seasonably dry conditions prevail. A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in late October estimated 1998 rainfed cereal production at 976 400 tonnes, about 24 percent above 1997 but 3 percent below the average of the last five years. With favourable prospects for recession and off-season crops, total cereal production is forecast at slightly over 1 million tonnes.
The overall food supply situation is expected to improve. Markets are well supplied. Prices of rice are generally stable. Prices of millet and sorghum are much lower than in 1998. However, some localized food supply difficulties are likely for vulnerable populations affected by successive poor harvests, notably in the departments of Louga, Tivavouane and M’Backé and in the regions of Fatick, Thiès, and Ziguinchor. The cereal import requirement for the 1998/99 marketing year (November/October) is estimated at about 800 000 tonnes, mainly rice and wheat.
SIERRA LEONE* (6 April)
Despite some improvement in security, the food supply situation remains critical. In Freetown, limited food distributions are underway and the nutritional status of IDPs is stable. There are an estimated 700 000 displaced people, including 150 000 in Freetown, 30 000 in Lungi, 55 000 in Kenema, 4 000 in Bo, 13 000 in Blama, 17 000 in Kambia, 3 000 in Bombuna, 5 000 on Banana Island, and unconfirmed reports of some 18 000 in Shenge. Pockets of acute food shortage are located in these areas and some limited food distributions are underway
Humanitarian operations are still constrained by looting of warehouses and poor infrastructure. Insecurity in most parts of the country means that humanitarian assistance remains limited to the South and East. The main roads from Freetown to the central parts of the country (particularly to Bo and Kenema) are still insecure and allow only limited amounts of food aid to be transported. Severe food and fuel shortages are reported and are further hampering humanitarian operations. In addition, the rainy season, which usually begins in May, will make road travel more difficult. Rehabilitation activities, including distribution of seeds and tools and technical assistance, have been delayed or remain limited. As a result, agricultural production for the coming season beginning in May, will continue to decline.
Despite satisfactory weather, the area planted in 1998 was substantially lower than the previous year due to insecurity. Cereal output is estimated at 400 000 tonnes, some 20 percent lower than in 1997. FAO estimates Sierra Leone’s cereal import requirement for 1999 at about 290 000 tonnes, including 140 000 tonnes of food aid.
TOGO (6 April)
The rainy season started in early March in the south, allowing planting of the first maize crop. Seasonably dry conditions prevail in the north.
The food supply situation is satisfactory. Aggregate 1998 cereal production is estimated at 590 000 tonnes, some 18 percent below the 1997 record and significantly below normal. Root and tuber production, which is less sensitive to dry periods, recorded a 5 percent increase over last year, reaching 1.29 million tonnes. The cereal import requirement for 1999 (January/December), is estimated at 75 000 tonnes. Due to a good harvest in the Sahelian countries, cereal exports from Togo to these countries is expected to decrease significantly.