BURUNDI* (9 September)
The volatile security situation in the country has deteriorated in recent weeks, with an escalation in violent incidents and renewed displacement of people.
Planting of the 2000 A crop season is about to start. FAO, in collaboration with WFP and NGOs, has started an agricultural input distribution programme, targeting assistance of bean and vegetable seeds to about one million people.
A Government/FAO/WFP Mission at local level assessed production of the 1999 B season at 1.7 million tonnes, 6 percent below 1999 B production. The decline in production was mostly due to irregular rains, which were late in parts and ceased earlier than normal. This more than offset the positive impact on production of a relatively stable security situation, that allowed an increase in planting, and satisfactory and timely availability of agricultural inputs. Most affected crops were cereals and pulses. The output of beans is estimated at 157 000 tonnes, 22 percent lower than last year, while that of cereals is put at 161 000 tonnes, a decline of 10 percent.
The 1999 first season production of cereals and beans was also reduced. The deficit in the 1999 marketing year (January/December) is estimated at 38 000 tonnes of cereals and 61 000 tonnes of beans, of which only half is expected to be covered by commercial imports and food aid.
ERITREA* (6 September)
Prospects for 1999 main season cereal and pulse crops to be harvested from November have improved, due to above-average and well distributed rains in July and August. Earlier, erratic and inadequate spring rains (March to May) and below- average rainfall in June affected land preparation and early sowing in parts. The Desert Locust situation remains calm, however, an armyworm outbreak affected more than 4 000 hectares, mainly in Anseba province.
Despite a favourable harvest overall in 1998, the food situation remains very tight for an estimated 550 000 people affected by the war with Ethiopia. Furthermore, the failure of the 1998/99 winter (Keremti Bahri) rains (October to March) in coastal areas and the adjoining coastal escarpments has resulted in serious shortages of grain and forage in Semenawi and Keih Bahri provinces.
Donor support is sought for an Emergency operation approved by FAO and WFP in March this year for 44 000 tonnes to provide food assistance to 268 000 people most affected by the war. At the end of August total pledges amounted to 15 600 tonnes.
ETHIOPIA* (6 September)
Abundant rains in July and August benefited developing 1999 main “Meher” crops, particularly in parts of Ahmara, Tigray and eastern Oromiya where precipitation had been insufficient. However, inadequate rains in April and May delayed land preparation and planting of long-cycle crops in parts, which may affect yields. Furthermore, armyworm infestation affected thousands of hectares, but the extent of crop damage is not known.
The 1999 “Belg” crop, normally harvested from June, largely failed due to inadequate rainfall. Although Belg production accounts for only 7 percent of total cereal production, it is important in several areas where it provides the bulk of annual food supplies. The magnitude of food shortages has, therefore, increased in terms of numbers and areas affected. The worst hit area is the north-western Amhara Region, where some 2 million people face severe food shortages. The Government has recently appealed for 425 144 tonnes of food aid for an estimated 5.3 million vulnerable people, including those affected by the failure of the Belg season, as well as 385 000 internally displaced people due to the ongoing conflict with Eritrea.
Despite some beneficial rains in recent months, southern and eastern pastoral areas have yet to recover from consecutive years of drought and severe water shortages. The recent lifting of the ban on livestock imports from the Horn, by Saudi Arabia, is expected to increase incomes in pastoral areas. An Emergency Operation for food assistance to 1.2 million people, for US$40.5 million was jointly approved by FAO and WFP on 31 May 1999. Against total requirements of 551 271 tonnes of food aid, pledges as of August 1999 amounted to about 470 000 tonnes, of which 295 000 tonnes have been delivered.
KENYA (6 September)
The 1999 main season maize crop has been affected by erratic rains, inadequate supply of agricultural inputs and armyworm infestation in parts. Preliminary official estimates indicate maize production of about 1.95 million tonnes compared to 2.44 million tonnes last year and an average of 2.5 million tonnes over the previous five years. Significant output reductions are reported for Eastern, Central and Rift Valley Provinces.
The food supply situation is critical in the northern and north-eastern pastoral districts where rainfall for the current season has been erratic and insufficient for adequate pasture and water supplies until the next rains in October. Severe food shortages are also reported in parts of Central and Eastern provinces. The Government has provided about 4 000 tonnes of relief food to vulnerable households in Eastern Province and the pastoral districts. The situation is likely to deteriorate in the coming months with a depletion of food stocks. Further food assistance, therefore, will be needed for the affected population.
RWANDA* (9 September)
Land preparation for planting of the 2000A season is underway under seasonally dry weather. Final estimates of a Government of Rwanda/FAO/WFP/USAID/EU mission at local level that assessed 1999B season production estimates an output of 2.4 million tonnes. This is 9 percent higher than the previous year, which was seriously affected by insecurity in northwestern areas and similar to pre-war levels before 1990. Despite an increase in planting, production this season was constrained by an early cessation of rains, which affected cereal and beans crops. The relatively recent displacement and reallocation of 650 000 persons in the northwestern prefectures of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi, also affected production since not all of the reallocated population had access to land. Cereal and pulses output are estimated at 149 000 tonnes and 126 000 tonnes respectively, above last year but below 1990.
1999 A season cereal and bean production was also reduced. The deficit for 1999 marketing year (January/December) is estimated at 123 000 tonnes of cereal equivalent, most of which is anticipated to be covered by commercial imports and expected food aid.
SOMALIA* (6 September)
A recent FAO/WFP Mission to the country found that the 1999 “Gu” season has largely failed due to erratic rains, uncontrolled crop pests and renewed civil conflict in southern parts of the country. After some early rains in March, the Gu season started late in April followed by erratic and below-average rains in May and a dry June. The low and poorly distributed rains resulted in poor yields and in many places crop failure. Irrigated maize suffered from low levels of water in the Shebelle and Juba rivers at the beginning of the season and lack of pumps.
1999 Gu cereal production, accounting for some 75-80 percent of annual production in normal years, is forecast at about 135 683 tonnes (37 135 tonnes of sorghum and 98 548 tonnes of maize), about 18 percent above last year’s Gu, but 32 percent below the post-war average. At this level, the sorghum crop amounts to little more than one-third of the post-war average of about 100 000 tonnes, while maize is about average. Reflecting yet another poor Gu harvest, cereal retail prices rose sharply compared to the same period last year. In addition to short supplies, the increase in cereal prices, particularly in Mogadishu, have also been driven by increased money supply, as factions inject new currency into the market.
Assuming Deyr cereal output at a post-war average of 70 000 tonnes and taking into account the expected (reduced) harvest in northern regions (Somaliland), total cereal production in 1999/2000 is estimated at about 206 000 tonnes, about six percent above last year’s poor output and 23 percent below the post-war average. With an opening stock of about 18 000 tonnes, total domestic cereal supply is estimated at 224 000 tonnes for the 1999/2000 marketing year (August/July). The country’s total cereal utilisation requirement for the 1999/2000 marketing year is estimated at 534 000 tonnes, leaving an import requirement of about 310 000 tonnes. With commercial imports estimated at 240 000 tonnes, the cereal deficit amounts to 70 000 tonnes. So far, total food aid pledges amount to 63 000 tonnes leaving an uncovered deficit of 7 000 tonnes.
SUDAN* (6 September)
Heavy rains in northern and central parts of the country in August resulted in severe floods causing loss of life, population displacement, damage to infrastructure and property, and loss of cereals and cotton. Preliminary assessments indicate that nearly 200 000 people were affected by the floods. The Government has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas and has appealed for international assistance.
In Southern Sudan, crop conditions were favoured by abundant rainfall in July and August, except in parts of Eastern Equatoria where partial crop failures have been reported. Pasture conditions are reported to be satisfactory in most regions, especially in the Upper Nile, which was flooded last year. Livestock are being brought back to villages from seasonal swamps. This has increased the availability of livestock products.
Food shortages are reported in a number of locations in southern parts of the country. Civil unrest since early 1999, particularly in Western Upper Nile and Bahr-El-Ghazal regions, disrupted agricultural production and resulted in loss of assets and access to markets, leaving thousands of people in urgent need of assistance. However, relative peace in most other locations has helped continuing improvements and a decline in admissions to feeding centres. WFP delivered about 8 200 tonnes of food aid to southern areas in July, against a target of 9 500 tonnes, a 38 percent increase on June deliveries.
TANZANIA (16 September)
Harvesting of the 1999 main season cereal crops is complete. Preliminary estimates put total cereal production (maize, rice, wheat, sorghum and millet) at about 3.76 million tonnes, about 9 percent below last year. The decline is attributed to erratic rains, reduced use of inputs and an outbreak of armyworms. In contrast, prospects for non-cereal foodcrops (pulses, potatoes, cassava and plantains) are reported to be good.
As a result of reduced production, the cereal deficit is currently forecast at 590 000 tonnes. In addition to substitution with non-cereal foodcrops, much of the deficit is expected to be covered by commercial imports. However, food assistance will be required for nearly 1.2 million people, mainly in the regions of Dodoma, Mara, Shinyanga, Singida, Tabora, Tanga and southern Mwanza, all of which have suffered the third consecutive poor harvest. Food prices in most markets have declined with the increasing availability of maize.
The situation for some 420 000 refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda remains a big concern. Since the beginning of this year alone, the refugee influx from these countries totalled 99 326 persons with 6 975 Burundian and Rwandan refugees repatriated.
UGANDA (8 September)
In Western and south-western parts, a prolonged drought resulted in almost total loss of crops and also affected livestock severely. More than half a million farmers are reported to be facing severe food shortages and are in need of urgent assistance. Thousands more have moved to northern Tanzania in search of water and pasture. The worst hit counties are Nyabushozi, Kashari and Ibanda in Mbarara, and Ruhinda and Ruhaama in Bushenyi and Ntungamo respectively. The agro-pastoral north-eastern Districts of Moroto and Kotido are also facing serious food shortages as many areas report total crop failures due to inadequate rainfall. Furthermore, food difficulties persist in northern areas, where 400 000 people remain displaced by persistent insurgency. International food aid is being provided.
Elsewhere, the outlook for the 1999 main season cereal crop harvest, which is nearing completion, is generally favourable. Output in eastern and central districts is reported to be normal, with surpluses in beans and maize. In the north, where the rainy season extends from April through November, crop conditions were reported to be normal. Cereal production is expected to increase in Kitgum and Gulu due to abundant rainfall, satisfactory availability of inputs and improved security, which allowed increased access to cultivable land.