First rains in late May permitted planting to start in most areas. The first rains started latter than in 1998 but covered most producing zones, allowing planting to start everywhere except in Niamey area and in Agadez department. It is estimated that about 15 percent of the villages had done their plantings as of late May. Dry plantings are also underway countrywide. Seed availability is adequate following the 1998 record crop.
Rodents were reported following plantings in Kélanam (Maďné arrondissement),
northern Dakoro, Mayahi and Tessaoua (Maradi department), Abalak (Tahoua departement)
and Gouré (Zinder department). Grasshoppers have also been reported in northern
Diffa department and grain-eating birds in N'Guigmi arrondissement. Isolated
Desert Locusts may be present in a few areas in Tamesna. Small scale breeding
could occur once the seasonal rains commence.