SAHEL WEATHER AND CROP SITUATION 1999
Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture
Report No 2- 12 July 1999
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The rainy season is now well established over all producing zones of the Sahel. During the three dekads of July, rains were generally regular, widespread and above normal over the whole region, except in northern Senegal, southern Mauritania and western Mali in late July. At the end of July, cumulative rainfall was in most cases higher than for the same period in 1998/99 and above normal. These good rains improved growing conditions in Burkina Faso and Niger, following a dry spell in early June. Satellite imagery indicates that precipitation remained regular and abundant during the first dekad of August over most producing areas. It decreased in Burkina Faso and northern Senegal but remained widespread.
These overall favourable conditions permitted satisfactory crop development. Soil moisture reserves are adequate. Pastures are regenerating satisfactorily in most areas notably in northern areas following well above normal rains.
Some grasshopper’s infestations are reported in Cape Verde, Chad and Senegal. The Desert Locust situation is calm. Low numbers of adults were reported in Mauritania. No locusts were reported from any other country and no significant developments are expected.
BURKINA FASO CAPE-VERDE CHAD GAMBIA GUINEA-BISSAU
MALI MAURITANIA NIGER SENEGAL
In these reports, reference will be made to four different eco-climatic zones based on the average annual precipitation and agricultural features, i.e. Sahelian zone, Sudano-Sahelian zone, Sudanian zone and Guinean zone. They are shown in the map and described below:
Sahelian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges between 250 and 500 mm. This zone is at the limit of perennial vegetation. In parts where precipitation is less than 350 mm, only pastures and occasional short-cycle drought-resistant cereal crops are grown; all cropping in this zone is subject to high risk.
Sudano-Sahelian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges from 500 to 900 mm. In those parts of this zone where precipitation is less than 700 mm, mostly crops with a short growing cycle of 90 days are generally cultivated predominantly sorghum and millet.
Sudanian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges from 900 to 1 100 mm. In this zone, most cereal crops have a growing cycle of 120 days or more. Most cereals, notably maize, root and cash crops are grown in this zone.
Guinean zone: Where average annual precipitation exceeds 1 100 mm. Guinea-Bissau and a small area of southern Burkina Faso belong to this zone, more suited to root crop cultivation.
Reference will also be made to the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), also known by its trace on the earth's surface, called the Intertropical Front. The ITCZ is a quasi-permanent zone between two air masses separating the northern and southern hemisphere trade winds. The ITCZ moves north and south of the equator and usually reaches its most northerly position in July. Its position defines the northern limits of possible precipitation in the Sahel; rain-bearing clouds are generally situated 150-200 km south of the Intertropical Front.