WESTERN AFRICA

BENIN (21 June)

The rainy season started in early March, with sufficient rainfall over the south to allow planting of the first maize crop. Rainfall decreased in May and early June but remained generally sufficient for adequate crop development, except in the north where reduced rainfall may have affected sorghum and millet development. Some replanting may have occurred in localized areas.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. The reduced demand from Sahelian countries that had a good harvest in 1998, is allowing prices to remain low. The cereal import requirement for 1999 (January/December) is estimated at 200 000 tonnes (including re-exports) of wheat and rice.

BURKINA FASO (22 June)

The rainy season started with generally above-normal rains but precipitation reduced significantly in early June. First rains were registered in April in the south-west and the south-east. They progressed northwards in May over almost the entire country and were generally above normal except during the third dekad. In early June, precipitation decreased significantly over the entire country and weather remained dry in the centre and the north. Rains resumed in mid-June but remained below average in the north. Planting of millet and sorghum is now well underway. Land preparation is underway in the north. Some replanting may be necessary following the dry spell in early June. No pest activity is reported. Seed availability is generally adequate following the 1998 record harvest.

Aggregate 1998 cereal production is officially estimated at a record 2.65 million tonnes, some 32 percent above 1997 and 12 percent above average.

As a result, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Markets are well supplied and prices of cereals are stable. However, some deficit areas remain vulnerable and may need some assistance during the lean season, notably in the provinces of Bazéga, Boulgou, Boulkiemdé, Kouritenga, Oubritenga and Sanguié.

CAPE VERDE (21 June)

Seasonably dry conditions prevail. Planting of maize normally starts in July with the onset of the rains on the main islands. Due to poor maize harvests in recent years, some problems of seed availability are likely in some areas.

The final production figure has been estimated at 4 900 tonnes, which is equal to the 1997 level but below average. Following successive poor harvests, some sections of the rural population may need assistance in food and/or seeds for the next season. The overall food supply situation, however, remains satisfactory as the bulk of food is imported. The cereal import requirement for 1998/99 amounts to 95 000 tonnes. 91 000 tonnes have been pledged of which 37 000 tonnes have been delivered so far.

CHAD (21 June)

The growing season has started on time in the Sudanian zone. Following first sporadic rains in mid-March and in April in the extreme south, the rainy season really started in May in the south. Rains progressed northwards through late May but remains below normal in early and mid-June. Planting of coarse grains is underway in the south, in the Sudanian zone. Land preparation is about to start in the Sahelian zone. No Desert Locusts activity is reported. Army worm infestations are reported on recently planted millet and sorghum crops in Tandjilé and the two Logone. Grain-eating birds are also reported in off-season rice fields in Chari- Baguirmi.

Final 1998 cereal production figures have recently been published. The aggregate output of cereal is estimated at a record 1.35 million tonnes, some 37 percent above 1997 and 48 percent above the last five-year average. The overall food supply situation is satisfactory, notably in the Sahelian zone which harvested well above average production. However, food supply difficulties are likely in areas of the Sudanian zone affected by flooding and/or poor crops in 1998, notably in Logone oriental and occidental and in Tandjilé, where a WFP Assessment Mission in May undertook nutritional surveys and recommended about 4 000 tonnes of food aid for 255 700 persons.

COTE D'IVOIRE (21 June)

The rainy season started in early March over the south, and in late March in the north. Overall rainfall remained below normal over the whole country in April and early May and increased in mid-May. Satellite images showed below-average vegetation over Man and Gagnoa areas in April, but crops seem to have recovered in May.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory following the marketing of the 1998 crops. Organised repatriation is underway for about 100 000 Liberian refugees, remaining in western departments. Estimates for 1998/99 cereal production point to about 1.6 million tonnes. The cereal import requirement for 1999 (January/December), is estimated at 640 000 tonnes, mostly wheat and rice.

THE GAMBIA (21 June)

Rains started in early June in the east and the centre. Significant rains over the east and the centre permitted wet planting. Elsewhere, seasonably dry conditions prevail. Planting is expected to start in the weeks ahead with the onset of the rains. As a result of 1998 reduced harvest in some areas, localized seed availability problems are likely.

Aggregate 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. Markets are generally well supplied. However, some areas where millet production was poor may be at-risk of shortages during the next lean season, notably in the 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. A WFP Rapid Rural Appraisal mission visited 15 villages in the affected areas in late April/early May and estimated the number of affected people at 110 000, who need 2 671 tonnes of cereals, 400 tonnes of pulses and 167 tonnes of oil.

GHANA (21 June)

Rainfall started in early March over the south and reached the centre of the country in late March. Rainfall decreased substantially in late March and early April, which might have hampered crop development. However, vegetation images in May show about-normal vegetation.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. About 30 000 Liberian refugees still remain in the country and are receiving food assistance. Aggregate 1998 cereal production is estimated at 1.78 million tonnes and roots and tuber production at an above-average 13.44 million tonnes. The 1999 cereal import requirement is estimated at 475 000 tonnes, mostly wheat and rice.

GUINEA (21 June)

Rains started in mid April over the south, which is slightly later than normal. They reached the north of the country by the end of the month and remained widespread in May, allowing the planting of cereals. Below-normal rainfall in the east is likely to have hampered crop development.

The total number of refugees in the country is estimated at 614 000, of which about 414 000 are Sierra Leoneans and 200 000 Liberians. They are mainly in the south, putting a high pressure on natural resources and reducing food availability in these areas. Nearly 12 000 new refugees have arrived since the beginning of the year, following fighting in Sierra Leone. About 30 000 refugees located in Geckedou and Forecariah camps are being relocated inside the country for security reasons. The 1999 cereal import requirement is estimated at 385 000 tonnes, mostly wheat and rice.

GUINEA-BISSAU* (21 June)

The first significant rains in the east and south came in mid- May. After some sporadic showers in late April in the south- east, rains actually started in mid-May over all parts of the country except the north-west. They decreased in late May but resumed in early June. Precipitation remained below average during the second dekad of June. Land preparation for coarse grains is underway in the east and north. Planting of rice in seedbeds has also started. Transplanting will start in July/August after desalination of swamp rice fields with more rains. Seed availability problems are likely, following the 1998 reduced harvest due to civil strife.

The security situation remains calm following a coup on 7 May. Most displaced people following earlier fighting have returned home. A CILSS/Government crop Assessment Mission in late April estimated aggregate 1998 cereal production at a below average 131 300 tonnes, including 87 200 tonnes of rice (in paddy) and 44 100 tonnes of coarse grains. In order to avoid wide fluctuations of the price of rice, the Government decided on 28 May to impose price controls. The price is tentatively fixed at 11 000 to 12 000 CFA per 50 kg bag until 28 November. Food distributions are underway in the Oio and Cacheu regions for more than 100 000 beneficiaries. In Bissau, they have reached almost 200 000 beneficiaries.

LIBERIA* (21 June)

Growing conditions have been satisfactory since the beginning of the rainy season, and torrential rainfall has been recorded in May and early June. Occasional fighting continues in the north, disrupting food aid deliveries and causing some population displacement to Guinea. The offices of humanitarian agencies in Voinjama, Kolahun and Vahun were looted in mid-April. Agencies are now storing food aid in country before the onset of rains, as transportation will become increasingly difficult due to poor infrastructure.

An FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Liberia late last year and found that the overall food situation had improved significantly. The Mission estimated 1998 paddy production at 210 100 tonnes, 25 percent above 1997. Cassava production is estimated at 313 300 tonnes (fresh weight), some 96 percent of the pre-crisis average.

On the basis of an estimated population of about 2.8 million in 1999, FAO estimates 155 000 tonnes of cereals will need to be imported 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, estimated at 30 000 tonnes of wheat and 20 000 tonnes of maize products (maize meal and CSB). As of late May, 39 500 tonnes of food aid had been delivered.

MALI (21 June)

The growing season has started in the south. The first significant rains fell in the extreme south in mid or late April. They progressed northwards but decreased in late May. In early June, rains improved in the west. They remained generally average or below average during the second dekad of June. Land preparation is underway and first planting of millet and sorghum has started in the south. Pastures have started to regenerate in Sikasso, southern Kayes and Koulikoro regions. Seed availability is adequate following the 1998 record crop.

A large population of quelea grain eating birds covering about 200 hectares was reported in early May in Bakélé (Ténenkou region). Control operations have been undertaken over 150 hectares. The birds moved to the Office du Niger area in mid-May, where treatments are underway. Isolated Desert Locusts may be present in a few areas in the Adrar des Iforas. Small scale breeding could occur once the seasonal rains commence.

1998 cereal production is estimated at a record 2.5 million tonnes, 13 percent above average and 3 percent over the record in 1994. The food supply situation is satisfactory and prices of cereals are stable. The early warning system (SAP) classified the arrondissements of Farach, Gargarde and Raz El Mä (in Goundam area), Bourem central and Bamba (in Bourem area) and Gao central as at risk of economic difficulties, but no food aid distributions are required.

MAURITANIA (21 June)

Seasonably dry conditions prevail, although some limited rains were registered in mid-May or early June in the centre- south, notably in eastern Gorgol and at Selibaby. Dry planting is underway in the extreme south-east, in Amourj and Bassiknou departments. Pastures are scarce in several regions, notably in Brakna and Trarza.

During May, isolated Desert Locusts were reported in a few places north of Zouerate and between Akjoujt and Atar at mid month. No significant developments are likely. 1998 cereal production is estimated at 189 700 tonnes, some 25 percent above 1997 and 11 percent above average. The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Prices of rice are stable and below the 1998 level. Localised shortages are likely following reduced crops in some areas. The most vulnerable areas are Aftout and Affolé where WFP has undertaken a rapid rural appraisal mission in late March and estimated the food aid needs at 6 897 tonnes for 161 692 persons. A recent FEWS Assessment Mission in late May confirmed the seriousness of food supply difficulties in Aftout and Affolé. 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 (21 June)

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 planting as of late May. Rains remained below average in early and mid-June, which may necessitate replanting and delay generalization of planting. Dry planting is also underway countrywide. Seed availability is adequate following the 1998 record crop.

Rodents were reported following planting in Kélanam (Maïné 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.

1998 aggregate cereal production has been estimated at a record 2.97 million tonnes, about 72 percent higher than 1997 and about 44 percent above the five-year average. The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. 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 (21 June)

Rainfall in February/March allowed planting of the first maize crop and land preparation for rainfed rice. Rains remained low in the north, with none received in the extreme north (about one month late) which has delayed millet and sorghum planting. Together with reduced rains in May and early June, this could reduce yields and production.

Food supplies remain constrained by high post-harvest losses 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 (21 June)

Rains started early in the south-east. Substantial early rains were registered in the south-east in mid-May. In early June, above-normal rains covered the south and centre-east of the country, but decreased somewhat in mid-June. Planting of coarse grains is well underway in the south while land preparation is starting in the centre. Seed availability problems are likely in some areas following localized 1998 reduced harvest. No significant pest activity has been reported.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Food markets are well supplied and the price of rice remains generally stable. The prices of millet and sorghum are also stable and 20-25 percent lower than in 1998. However, some localized food supply difficulties are expected for vulnerable groups affected by successive poor harvests in Louga, Tivaouane 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* (21 June)

Growing conditions are satisfactory for recently planted rice and root crops and abundant rainfall was recorded in May. However, insecurity in most parts continues to disrupt agriculture and rehabilitation, mainly delivery of agricultural inputs. The security situation has improved during the past weeks and emergency distribution of seeds and tools is planned. This may not, however, be sufficient to allow recovery.

Estimates indicate that about 700 000 to 1 million people have been displaced country-wide. Most aid agencies have returned to Freetown where food distributions are underway. The nutritional situation of IDPs, however, remains precarious and food prices remain very high. Despite the recently signed cease fire and control of main roads to Bo and Kenema areas by ECOMOG forces, insecurity still restructs transport of food aid to these areas where large numbers of internally displaced persons are located. Prepositioned food aid stocks are almost exhausted and only limited quantities can be transported by air. As a result, food distributions to about 60 000 persons around Bo and Kenema may cease in June. Food aid deliveries to the north of the country are organized from neighbouring Guinea. Most humanitarian operations are constrained by poor infrastructure, severe fuel shortages and insecurity. It is estimated that about half of the population of the country remains out of reach of any assistance.

Despite satisfactory weather conditions, 1998 cereal output is estimated at 400 000 tonnes (paddy equivalent), 16 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. As of the end of May, 17 000 tonnes of food aid, mainly bulgur wheat, had been delivered.

TOGO (2 June)

The rainy season started in early March in the south, allowing the planting of the first maize crop, and in mid April in the north, allowing land preparation for the planting of millet and sorghum. Conditions have been generally favourable so far.

The food supply situation is satisfactory. The aggregate cereal output for 1999 is estimated at 590 000 tonnes (paddy equivalent), lower than normal but offset by a 5 percent increase in roots and tubers production to 1.29 million tonnes. The cereal import requirement (including re-exports) for 1999 (January/December), is estimated at 115 000 tonnes. Due to a good harvest in the Sahelian countries, cereal exports from Togo to Sahelian countries are expected to decrease significantly over past years.


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