FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.4, September 1999

SOUTHERN AFRICA

ANGOLA* (9 September)

The already precarious food situation in the country has deteriorated further following an escalation of civil conflict in recent months. The number of displaced people from rural areas into provincial capitals increases daily. Unconfirmed reports indicate that apparently 200 people among the displaced population die daily by starvation, while the incidence of malnutrition, particularly among children, is also on the increase. It is currently estimated that over two million people, or one sixth of the population, has been displaced since renewed hostilities in November last year. Worst affected areas are Luena, Huambo, Kuito, Uige and Malanje cities, which have received a considerable influx of displaced people in recent weeks following intensified fighting between government troops and UNITA rebels. While large numbers of displaced people are close to famine conditions, the food supply situation is also extremely tight for the settled population. The provincial capitals have become isolated by the closure of most roads due to insecurity and as a result food prices have risen significantly. Prevailing insecurity has also severely hampered the distribution of food aid to the affected population. In some cases, the increase in military activity has made it impossible to deliver emergency supplies by air.

Despite favourable conditions during the 1998/99 main growing season, production of the main staple maize was estimated by an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission in May, to have declined 15 percent from last year. Overall import requirements for the 1999/2000 marketing year (April/March) were estimated at 505 000 tonnes of cereals. This comprises 325 000 tonnes expected to be imported commercially and 180 000 tonnes to be covered by food aid. Pledges to date fall short of this food aid requirement; donors are urged to make additional contributions. Urgent logistic support is also needed for costly air delivery operations. There is also need for agriculture inputs, mainly seeds, to allow IDPs to cultivate the next season starting in October. The Government has launched a programme to reallocate two million displaced people in agricultural areas around cities, where security conditions are relatively better.

BOTSWANA (9 September)

Recent estimates of 1999 coarse grains production have been revised down to 19 000 tonnes, mostly sorghum. This level is 90 percent above the very poor crop last year, but still below average. A good start to the rainy season encouraged a sharp increase in planting, but yields were negatively affected by a prolonged dry spell from February.

The cereal deficit in marketing year 1999/2000 (April/March) is expected to be entirely covered by commercial imports.

LESOTHO (9 September)

Final official estimates put 1999 coarse grain production at 182 000 tonnes, comprising 134 000 tonnes of maize and 48 000 tonnes of sorghum. While coarse grain output increased by 29 percent above last year, it remained well below 1996. The area planted was average, reflecting favourable rains at the beginning of the season. However, a dry spell from late January to late March, at the critical stage of growth, resulted in reduced maize yields. In contrast, output of the more resistant sorghum crop increased sharply from last year to above average levels.

This year's maize production will cover less than 50 percent of consumption requirements and 155 000 tonnes of commercial imports are anticipated to cover the deficit.

The 1999/2000 wheat crop, planted in June, is at the vegetative stage. Prospects are favourable.

MADAGASCAR (9 September)

1999 rice production is estimated at an above-average 2.6 million tonnes, 8 percent above last year. Although the start of the rains was delayed, precipitation was abundant during the season. Floods in southwestern parts due to heavy rains were localized and did not affect overall production. This year's crop also benefited from limited incidence of cyclones and locust infestations.

The food supply situation is anticipated to be satisfactory in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year, particularly in the vulnerable areas in the south, where production was favourable.

MALAWI (9 September)

1999 coarse grain output, mostly maize, is estimated at a record 2.4 million tonnes, one third higher than the favourable production in 1998. Crops benefited from abundant and well-distributed rains during the growing season, coupled with improved distribution of agricultural inputs. Production of non-cereal crops, mainly cassava, is also estimated to be higher than last year.

As a result of the bumper harvest, the overall food supply situation is anticipated to be satisfactory in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year. The country, which has had to import maize in recent years, is estimated to have 400 000 tonnes of exportable surplus in 1999/2000.

MOZAMBIQUE (9 September)

Total 1999 cereal output is estimated at a bumper 1.7 million tonnes. Favourable production is due to a slight increase in planting and higher yields due to abundant rains during the season, coupled with expanded use of agricultural inputs following distribution programmes and better functioning of markets. Despite a delay in the start of the rainy season in northern provinces and severe flooding in central and southern provinces, overall growing conditions were favourable for crop development. The heavy rains this year particularly benefited chronically food deficit areas in the south where favourable crops were harvested. The area lost to floods was estimated at 63 000 hectares, or some 2 percent of total area planted.

The food supply situation is anticipated to be satisfactory in the 1999/2000 marketing year, reflecting a good harvest and improvements in the marketing system. Exportable surpluses of maize in 1999/2000 are estimated at 150 000 tonnes. However, imports of wheat and rice, in which the country has a structural deficit, are forecast at 175 000 tonnes and 150 000 tonnes respectively.

NAMIBIA (9 September)

Latest official production estimates of the 1999 coarse grain output have been revised up to 70 000 tonnes. At this level production is one-third higher than last year’s poor crop, but still below average of the past five years. The outcome reflects irregular and poorly distributed rains in northern growing areas. In general, cumulative precipitation from October to April in the maize belt was only 75 percent of normal. Higher prices and inadequate supply of seeds also adversely affected production.

To cover the deficit in coarse grains, import requirements of maize in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year are estimated at 84 000 tonnes. In addition, the country has a structural deficit in wheat of some 42 000 tonnes. Most of the imports are anticipated to be on commercial basis and the overall food supply situation is expected to be satisfactory in 1999/2000. However, food supply difficulties will be experienced by poor farmers who had a reduced harvest.

SOUTH AFRICA (20 September)

Latest official estimates of the 1999 maize crop have been revised up to 7 million tonnes, due to favourable weather during the harvest. This includes both the commercial and peasant sectors. At this level, production still remains 8 percent below the reduced production of last year and 22 percent lower than the average of the past five years. Despite a good start to the rainy season, production was affected by excessive precipitation in mid-February and a prolonged dry spell subsequently.

After two consecutive reduced harvests, the country may have to import maize in marketing year 1999/00 (May/April) in order to meet domestic consumption, replenish the Security Grain Reserve (SGR) and meet export commitments.

Despite a decline of 5 percent in the area planted to wheat due to dry weather, latest official forecasts indicate an output of 1.5 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from last year’s below-average crop. Wheat imports are forecast to increase in the year 2000.

SWAZILAND (9 September)

The final official forecast of 1999 maize production is 113 000 tonnes, 18 percent lower than last year's favourable level but around the five year average. Despite an increase in the area planted production was constrained by a prolonged dry spell from January, mainly in southern parts, that severely reduced yields. Hail storm and excessive weeds due to abundant rains at the beginning of the season, also affected crops negatively.

Import requirements of maize in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year are estimated at 24 000 tonnes. In addition, the country has a structural deficit of wheat and rice, not produced domestically, of 40 000 tonnes and 8 000 tonnes respectively. All imports are anticipated to be on commercial basis.

ZAMBIA (9 September)

Final official estimates of the 1999 maize crop have been revised down to 813 000 tonnes, one-third higher than last year’s reduced crop but below the five year average. Sorghum and millet production are also estimated to be higher, although below average. Poor rains in northern parts and localized floods in southern areas negatively affected this year's cereal production.

Prospects for the 1999 wheat crop are favourable due to an increase in planting. Production is forecast to be substantially higher than last year.

The tight food supply situation previously has eased with the arrival of new crops in the markets. Real prices of the main staple maize have declined in recent months. However, to fulfil the coarse grain deficit in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year the import requirement of maize is estimated at 370 000 tonnes. Imports will be largely commercial.

ZIMBABWE* (9 September)

Final official estimates put 1999 maize production at 1.52 million tonnes, 4 percent above the poor crop in 1998, although some 20 percent below the five year average. Excessive rains during the season resulted in localized floods and generally reduced yields.

Following the reduced harvest and low level of carryover stocks, food prices have increased sharply in recent months. Food difficulties are also being experienced in areas where farmers gathered a poor harvest, and in urban areas by low- income families, whose access to food has been also constrained by high inflation. Import requirements of maize in marketing year 1999/2000 (April/March) are estimated at 450 000 tonnes.

Prospects for 1999/2000 wheat crop, to be harvested from October, are satisfactory reflecting an increase in area planted and favourable weather so far.

ANGOLA* (9 September)

The already precarious food situation in the country has deteriorated further following an escalation of civil conflict in recent months. The number of displaced people from rural areas into provincial capitals increases daily. Unconfirmed reports indicate that apparently 200 people among the displaced population die daily by starvation, while the incidence of malnutrition, particularly among children, is also on the increase. It is currently estimated that over two million people, or one sixth of the population, has been displaced since renewed hostilities in November last year. Worst affected areas are Luena, Huambo, Kuito, Uige and Malanje cities, which have received a considerable influx of displaced people in recent weeks following intensified fighting between government troops and UNITA rebels. While large numbers of displaced people are close to famine conditions, the food supply situation is also extremely tight for the settled population. The provincial capitals have become isolated by the closure of most roads due to insecurity and as a result food prices have risen significantly. Prevailing insecurity has also severely hampered the distribution of food aid to the affected population. In some cases, the increase in military activity has made it impossible to deliver emergency supplies by air.

Despite favourable conditions during the 1998/99 main growing season, production of the main staple maize was estimated by an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission in May, to have declined 15 percent from last year. Overall import requirements for the 1999/2000 marketing year (April/March) were estimated at 505 000 tonnes of cereals. This comprises 325 000 tonnes expected to be imported commercially and 180 000 tonnes to be covered by food aid. Pledges to date fall short of this food aid requirement; donors are urged to make additional contributions. Urgent logistic support is also needed for costly air delivery operations. There is also need for agriculture inputs, mainly seeds, to allow IDPs to cultivate the next season starting in October. The Government has launched a programme to reallocate two million displaced people in agricultural areas around cities, where security conditions are relatively better.

BOTSWANA (9 September)

Recent estimates of 1999 coarse grains production have been revised down to 19 000 tonnes, mostly sorghum. This level is 90 percent above the very poor crop last year, but still below average. A good start to the rainy season encouraged a sharp increase in planting, but yields were negatively affected by a prolonged dry spell from February.

The cereal deficit in marketing year 1999/2000 (April/March) is expected to be entirely covered by commercial imports.

LESOTHO (9 September)

Final official estimates put 1999 coarse grain production at 182 000 tonnes, comprising 134 000 tonnes of maize and 48 000 tonnes of sorghum. While coarse grain output increased by 29 percent above last year, it remained well below 1996. The area planted was average, reflecting favourable rains at the beginning of the season. However, a dry spell from late January to late March, at the critical stage of growth, resulted in reduced maize yields. In contrast, output of the more resistant sorghum crop increased sharply from last year to above average levels.

This year's maize production will cover less than 50 percent of consumption requirements and 155 000 tonnes of commercial imports are anticipated to cover the deficit.

The 1999/2000 wheat crop, planted in June, is at the vegetative stage. Prospects are favourable.

MADAGASCAR (9 September)

1999 rice production is estimated at an above-average 2.6 million tonnes, 8 percent above last year. Although the start of the rains was delayed, precipitation was abundant during the season. Floods in southwestern parts due to heavy rains were localized and did not affect overall production. This year's crop also benefited from limited incidence of cyclones and locust infestations.

The food supply situation is anticipated to be satisfactory in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year, particularly in the vulnerable areas in the south, where production was favourable.

MALAWI (9 September)

1999 coarse grain output, mostly maize, is estimated at a record 2.4 million tonnes, one third higher than the favourable production in 1998. Crops benefited from abundant and well-distributed rains during the growing season, coupled with improved distribution of agricultural inputs. Production of non-cereal crops, mainly cassava, is also estimated to be higher than last year.

As a result of the bumper harvest, the overall food supply situation is anticipated to be satisfactory in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year. The country, which has had to import maize in recent years, is estimated to have 400 000 tonnes of exportable surplus in 1999/2000.

MOZAMBIQUE (9 September)

Total 1999 cereal output is estimated at a bumper 1.7 million tonnes. Favourable production is due to a slight increase in planting and higher yields due to abundant rains during the season, coupled with expanded use of agricultural inputs following distribution programmes and better functioning of markets. Despite a delay in the start of the rainy season in northern provinces and severe flooding in central and southern provinces, overall growing conditions were favourable for crop development. The heavy rains this year particularly benefited chronically food deficit areas in the south where favourable crops were harvested. The area lost to floods was estimated at 63 000 hectares, or some 2 percent of total area planted.

The food supply situation is anticipated to be satisfactory in the 1999/2000 marketing year, reflecting a good harvest and improvements in the marketing system. Exportable surpluses of maize in 1999/2000 are estimated at 150 000 tonnes. However, imports of wheat and rice, in which the country has a structural deficit, are forecast at 175 000 tonnes and 150 000 tonnes respectively.

NAMIBIA (9 September)

Latest official production estimates of the 1999 coarse grain output have been revised up to 70 000 tonnes. At this level production is one-third higher than last year’s poor crop, but still below average of the past five years. The outcome reflects irregular and poorly distributed rains in northern growing areas. In general, cumulative precipitation from October to April in the maize belt was only 75 percent of normal. Higher prices and inadequate supply of seeds also adversely affected production.

To cover the deficit in coarse grains, import requirements of maize in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year are estimated at 84 000 tonnes. In addition, the country has a structural deficit in wheat of some 42 000 tonnes. Most of the imports are anticipated to be on commercial basis and the overall food supply situation is expected to be satisfactory in 1999/2000. However, food supply difficulties will be experienced by poor farmers who had a reduced harvest.

SOUTH AFRICA (20 September)

Latest official estimates of the 1999 maize crop have been revised up to 7 million tonnes, due to favourable weather during the harvest. This includes both the commercial and peasant sectors. At this level, production still remains 8 percent below the reduced production of last year and 22 percent lower than the average of the past five years. Despite a good start to the rainy season, production was affected by excessive precipitation in mid-February and a prolonged dry spell subsequently.

After two consecutive reduced harvests, the country may have to import maize in marketing year 1999/00 (May/April) in order to meet domestic consumption, replenish the Security Grain Reserve (SGR) and meet export commitments.

Despite a decline of 5 percent in the area planted to wheat due to dry weather, latest official forecasts indicate an output of 1.5 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from last year’s below-average crop. Wheat imports are forecast to increase in the year 2000.

SWAZILAND (9 September)

The final official forecast of 1999 maize production is 113 000 tonnes, 18 percent lower than last year's favourable level but around the five year average. Despite an increase in the area planted production was constrained by a prolonged dry spell from January, mainly in southern parts, that severely reduced yields. Hail storm and excessive weeds due to abundant rains at the beginning of the season, also affected crops negatively.

Import requirements of maize in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year are estimated at 24 000 tonnes. In addition, the country has a structural deficit of wheat and rice, not produced domestically, of 40 000 tonnes and 8 000 tonnes respectively. All imports are anticipated to be on commercial basis.

ZAMBIA (9 September)

Final official estimates of the 1999 maize crop have been revised down to 813 000 tonnes, one-third higher than last year’s reduced crop but below the five year average. Sorghum and millet production are also estimated to be higher, although below average. Poor rains in northern parts and localized floods in southern areas negatively affected this year's cereal production.

Prospects for the 1999 wheat crop are favourable due to an increase in planting. Production is forecast to be substantially higher than last year.

The tight food supply situation previously has eased with the arrival of new crops in the markets. Real prices of the main staple maize have declined in recent months. However, to fulfil the coarse grain deficit in the 1999/2000 (April/March) marketing year the import requirement of maize is estimated at 370 000 tonnes. Imports will be largely commercial.

ZIMBABWE* (9 September)

Final official estimates put 1999 maize production at 1.52 million tonnes, 4 percent above the poor crop in 1998, although some 20 percent below the five year average. Excessive rains during the season resulted in localized floods and generally reduced yields.

Following the reduced harvest and low level of carryover stocks, food prices have increased sharply in recent months. Food difficulties are also being experienced in areas where farmers gathered a poor harvest, and in urban areas by low- income families, whose access to food has been also constrained by high inflation. Import requirements of maize in marketing year 1999/2000 (April/March) are estimated at 450 000 tonnes.

Prospects for 1999/2000 wheat crop, to be harvested from October, are satisfactory reflecting an increase in area planted and favourable weather so far.


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