Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture -------------------------------------------------- FAO Rome, December 1999



NB: This document is also available in French.

For further information, please contact Abdur Rashid, Chief, Global Information and Early Warning Service (ESCG), FAO, Rome: Telephone: (39-06) 5705-3099, Facsimile: (39-06) 5705-4495, E-mail INTERNET: GIEWS1@FAO.ORG




This report presents a preliminary assessment of the 1999 cereal harvests in the nine CILSS member countries [/ CILSS: Comité permanent inter-Etats de lutte contre la sécheresse dans le Sahel. (Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel). The nine Member States are: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.]. It is based on information available to FAO's Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) as of early November 1999 and on production estimates provided by the national services and reviewed by Crop Assessment Missions during the second half of October to all the nine CILSS countries. These Missions comprised experts from GIEWS, the CILSS, Agrhymet Centre in Niamey and, as last year, Sahelian experts recruited under FAO's Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC) Programme. FEWS (Famine Early Warning System) Programme of USAID and World Food Programme (WFP) also participated as observers in some countries. These Missions worked closely with the national agricultural statistics services responsible for collecting and processing cereal production data, meteorological information, crop protection, hydrology and, where they exist, with national early warning systems (SAP), market information systems (SIM) and food security monitoring systems (SISAAR in Mauritania, CASPAR in Senegal, CASAGC in Chad, etc.). The Missions also met representatives of the main donors. FAO and CILSS worked closely together, at both field and headquarters level, and the figures in the report are those generally agreed by both secretariats.

These figures were discussed on 1-4 November 1999 in Niamey at a meeting organised by CILSS with representatives of the CILSS countries. They were also presented and discussed during the annual meeting of the "Network for Prevention of Food Crises in the Sahel" organised by the Club du Sahel and CILSS on 17 to 19 November in Washington.

At the time of the Assessment Missions, harvesting of rainfed crops was underway or nearing completion in most of the countries. Early millet and maize had generally been harvested, but long-cycle varieties and late-planted crops were not yet harvested everywhere, while irrigated crops were at a less advanced stage. Rice was still being transplanted in swamp and low-lying areas of southern Senegal and in Guinea-Bissau. Planting of flood recession crops was underway in the Senegal River valley and in Chad. The forecasts made in this report are therefore preliminary and subject to revision.




Reflecting generally favourable growing conditions, a bumper crop is anticipated in the Sahel for the second consecutive year, reaching a new production record. Rains started generally on time, except in Senegal where they were late in the centre and north. Only limited replantings were necessary in localized areas as no prolonged dry spells were experienced. Precipitation was generally widespread, regular and abundant during the months of July, August and September over most producing areas, causing substantial flooding in The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad. The pest situation was mostly calm. The abundant rains permitted satisfactory regeneration of pastures and replenishment of water reserves.

The 1999 aggregate cereal production of the nine CILSS member countries has been estimated by the FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions at a record 10.9 million tonnes, which is 2 percent higher than in 1998 and 16 percent above the average of the last five years. Record crops are anticipated in Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali and Mauritania. Above-average output is anticipated in Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Senegal, while output is below average in Guinea-Bissau following civil disturbances in 1998. Output has clearly increased relative to 1998 in Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. It is below the 1998 record outputs in Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger.

In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, harvest prospects are generally good in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Togo but less favourable in Nigeria and Ghana following substantial flooding. Liberia and Sierra Leone remain heavily dependent on international food assistance despite some improvement in food production, notably in Liberia.



(i) Factors Affecting 1999 Production

(a) Rainfall

The 1999 rainy season had an early onset in southern Senegal while it was normal in most parts of the Sahel. Above normal rains fell in mid-May in the centre and the east of the Sahel, followed by a significant decrease in early June. In the west, rains progressed northwards over Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Elsewhere, in northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central and northern Mali, eastern Niger and the Sahelian zone of Chad, rains started in mid-June. In Cape Verde, dry conditions prevailed until early July.

Below-normal rains were received in Burkina Faso and Niger until late June, when abundant rains were recorded over most producing areas of the Sahel. In these areas, rainfall was normal to above normal during July and August when the cumulative rainfall was higher than for the same period in 1998. However, in northern Senegal, southern Mauritania and western Mali, rainfall decreased in late July. In August, heavy rains caused flooding in most countries of the Sahel. In September, normal to above normal rainfall was received, particularly in the western part of the Sahel.

The map below shows the cumulative rainfall from May through October as a percentage of the long-term average (1961-90). Cumulative rainfall was average to above average over most of the crop producing areas of the Sahel. Well above average rainfall was registered over western Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, western Burkina Faso, most parts of Niger and central and northern Chad. Average rainfall was recorded in eastern parts of Senegal, western and southern Mali, western and southern Burkina Faso and southern Chad. Rainfall between 70 and 90 percent of average was recorded in some southern parts of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Chad.

(b) Area Planted and Seed Availability

Preliminary indications are that the aggregate area planted to cereals remained close to the 1998 levels in most countries. More marginal areas were cropped in Senegal and Mauritania, in the Senegal river valley, as the high level reached by the river allowed cultivation on normally uncultivated land.

Overall, seed availability was adequate following good harvests in 1998 except in Cape Verde, which had poor harvests in 1997 and 1998. As rains were generally regular after sowing, replanting was limited. However, in some localized areas irregularity or lack of post-sowing rainfall in June or July made some replanting necessary.

(c) Pest Situation

The pest situation remained mostly calm during the growing season.

Several countries experienced localised grasshopper infestations, notably Cape Verde, Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. Substantial treatments were undertaken in Cape Verde, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. Elsewhere, due to good natural vegetation, the grasshoppers did not concentrate too much on crops. Various other insect attacks were reported, particularly of cantharids and army worms in Chad, Mali and Niger.

Only limited Desert Locust activity has been reported. Some breeding occurred in Mali, in Tilemsi (in Timetrine and Adrar des Iforas regions) and in Mauritania (notably in Brakna and Tagant) in September and October. Hopper bands appeared and limited treatments have been undertaken in Mali and Mauritania. As vegetation dries, locusts will concentrate and form groups which may move from Mali towards the north of Mauritania and the south of Algeria and Morroco.


(ii) Weather Performance and Monitoring of Crop Development in 1999

In addition to its conventional information sources, GIEWS uses rainfall data received from meteorological stations as well as information derived from two types of satellites for its crop monitoring and agricultural production forecasting activities in the region.

Through the ARTEMIS System at its Environment and Natural Resources Service, FAO produces satellite imagery for the whole of Africa indicating 10-day and monthly Cold Cloud Duration (CCD), Estimated Rainfall and Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The CCD information, which indicates hours of coverage of rain-bearing clouds, is produced from data received in real-time from the European METEOSAT satellite. On the basis of this information, 10-day and monthly charts are prepared on Estimated Rainfall. The NDVI imagery, which gives an indication of the photosynthetically active biomass, is produced from information received from the American NOAA satellites.

GIEWS has access to the ARTEMIS system's archive that includes the NDVIs dating back to 1981. Those indices based on METEOSAT information date from August 1988. With the archive, the present situation can be compared with previous years, and a spatially more complete and quicker analysis can be made than from information derived only from ground-based observations.

Figure 1 gives the occurrence of rain-bearing clouds (CCD) for the months of April to October 1999. It shows that CCD - and thus the implied rainfall - was highest during July and August. The July image illustrates the early arrival of the rains over southern Senegal. Both the August and September images illustrate the farthest extent of the rainfall during the 1999 season, resulting, in general, in above normal conditions, particularly in the central and eastern part of the Sahel.

You can also watch the film of Cold Cloud Duration over Western Africa in 1999

Figure 2 gives an assessment of the 1999 cropping season, based on a classification of the evolution of the NDVI during the season compared to the 1982-97 average. The CILSS area has been divided into four classes. Each class, identified by a colour, indicates one type of behaviour during the 1999 season as compared to the average. The analysis clearly shows that the 1999 season performed rather well. Grey (Class 1) indicates areas where the season behaved normally. These include not only the Sahara, but also considerable areas in the south. Class 2, in yellow, indicates areas where the NDVI values were above normal throughout the season, showing an early start and a late ending of the season. Classes 3 and 4, in blue and green, indicate areas where the season started as normal, but that experienced a prolonged rainy season towards the end.

The graphics (click here) show the rainfall pattern of different zones of the Sahel for the 1999 season as compared to the average calculated over the period 1989-95. The values for the 1999 season have been extracted from dekadal images of cold cloud duration images produced by the Agrometeorology Group of Environment and Natural Resources Service of FAO. The graphics depict the dekadal pattern and the cumulative one from 1 March to 31 October, respectively at left and right of each page.


(iii) Preliminary Cereal Production Forecast for CILSS Countries for 1999

As indicated in the introduction, this report presents a preliminary FAO/CILSS assessment of the 1999 cereal harvests in the nine CILSS member countries. It is based on information available to the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) as of early November 1999 and on production estimates provided by the national services and reviewed by Crop Assessment Missions during the second half of October to the nine countries.

The 1999 aggregate cereal production of the nine CILSS countries has been estimated at a record 10 947 000 tonnes, which is 1.8 percent higher than in 1998 and 15.9 percent above the average of the last five years. Record crops are anticipated in Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali and Mauritania, while above-average output is anticipated in Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Senegal. Output is below average in Guinea-Bissau following civil disturbances in 1998. Compared to 1998 output increased in Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. It is below the 1998 record outputs in Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger. The production trend for each country since 1990 is given in the following table and the graphs (click here).

Table 1: CILSS Countries - Cereal Production 1990 to 1998 and Preliminary Forecast for 1999
(in thousand tonnes gross basis, with rice in paddy)

Country  Cereal Production Preliminary

for 1999
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Burkina Faso 1 518 2 455 2 477 2 557 2 492 2 308 2 482 2 014 2 657 2 448 102.4
Cape Verde 11 8 10 12 3 8 1 5 5 26 572.1
Chad 601 812 977 617 1 175 908 878 986 1 353 1 153 108.8
The Gambia 90 111 128 102 91 103 112 112 114 137 128.9
Guinea-Bissau 1/ 169 180 171 180 190 201 147 173 131 139 82.4
Mali 1 771 2 414 1 809 2 228 2 457 2 189 2 219 2 124 2 548 2 952 127.9
Mauritania 103 104 106 162 200 220 121 152 195 251 141.1
Niger 1 476 2 468 2 248 1 803 2 438 2 093 2 261 1 721 2 979 2 833 123.2
Senegal 2/ 950 970 856 1 134 964 1 093 1 023 818 771 1 009 108.1
TOTAL 3/ 6 700 9 500 8 800 8 800 10 000 9 100 9 200 8 100 10 800 10 900 115.9


Note: Record harvests are underlined.
1/ A change in the methodology was introduced in 1997.
2/ For 1993 and 1999, the figure is based on estimates prepared by statistical services but not based on a survey.
3/ Totals have been rounded.

These figures should be viewed as provisional as the surveys were generally carried out before the end of the harvest and include forecasts for recession and off-season crops, especially in Mauritania, where rainfed crops only represent about one-third of total production. These estimates may, therefore, have to be revised in the coming months, but there is unlikely to be a significant change in the overall trend of an above-average to record production in the Sahelian sub-region.

Cereal production by country

The breakdown of 1999 cereal production by crop for each country is given in Table 2..

Table 2: CILSS Countries - Preliminary Forecast of 1999 Production by Cereal (in thousand tonnes gross basis)

Country Millet Sorghum Maize Rice(paddy) Wheat Others1/ Total2/
Burkina Faso 922 1 011 416 80 - 19 2 448
Cape Verde - - 26 - - - 26
Chad 347 436 97 131 5 139 1 153
Gambia 72 15 21 29 - - 137
Guinea-Bissau 12 15 25 80 - 6 139
Mali 3/ 953 714 438 810 15 23 2 952
Mauritania 3/ 25 123 16 86 - - 251
Niger 2 254 485 8 73 13 - 2 833
Senegal 3/ 506 160 69 271 - 3 1 009
TOTAL 2/ 5 091 2 958 1 117 1 560 33 189 10 947

1/ Including fonio, berbéré and recession crops in Chad.
2/ Totals have been rounded.
3/ Including recession and off-season crop estimates

Cereal Production by commodity

(iv) Country-by-Country Summaries

Burkina Faso:

The 1999 agricultural season was marked by a difficult start. The first significant rains were received during the months of April and May in the extreme south-west of the country but were followed by a dry spell during the third dekad of May and the first two dekads of June. The rains began again at the end of June and then intensified in July and August. During September, less rain and its poor spatial and temporal distribution were observed with some localised pockets of drought, notably in the regions of the centre, centre-west and north. In October there was low rainfall which was poorly distributed in time and space. Cumulative rainfall as at 10 October 1999 was down on last year's level in the majority of rainfall stations but above 1961-1990 average, with the exception of the eastern (Fada N'Gourma) and western (Bobo-Dioulasso) regions.

The agricultural season only got under way during the month of July, suffering several weeks delay notably in the south. The good rainfall conditions recorded during the month of August favoured good crop growth and development on the highlands but also caused excess water or floods in the low-lying fields and damaged infrastructures in many localities. As a result, the high yield potential of the low-lying areas was reduced.

The phytosanitary situation was calm in the country as a whole. All the dams fed by the small watersheds were filled to maximum capacity and the large dams such as Bagré and Kompienga have been satisfactorily replenished. The feed needs of the herds in the pastures have been well covered and the water points for the animals were satisfactorily replenished everywhere.

In mid-October a joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission, together with the national services, examined the evolution of the growing season and harvest prospects. The aggregate 1999 cereal production is estimated at 2 448 164 tonnes, a fall of 8 percent compared to the record figure in 1998 and an increase of 2 percent compared to the average for the last five years. This fall is due to a simultaneous fall in the production of millet and sorghum of 5 percent and 16 percent respectively. In contrast, maize and fonio registered increases of 10 percent and 29 percent respectively.

Some base data on this country (in french)


Cape Verde:

The rains arrived in the archipelago on 7 July and then spread over all the islands during the second and third dekads of July. After that rain was well distributed in time and space. Torrential rain caused damage on the islands of Santo Antão and Fogo in October. There was a high number of days with rain over all the agricultural islands, exceeding 40 days in some localities. Cumulative rainfall was generally higher than both the preceding year and the 1981-1990 average, exceeding 600 mm in places.

Land preparation and dry planting of maize began in June on some islands. The emergence of the crops in the high zones of the main agricultural islands took place towards mid-July. In the semi-arid zones, the sowing of rainfed seeds was carried out everywhere after the rains of 20 August. Generally speaking, the first sowings developed in good hydrological conditions. However, some water stress was reported on the island of Santiago and the northern islands (Santo Antão and S. Nicolau).

Attacks from various pests, notably army worms, leaf beetles and grasshoppers, required some interventions. Maize infestation by the Disease streak virus was also reported. There will be a large production of forage which will be added to the harvest residues to adequately cover the feed needs of livestock.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission, together with the national services, estimated 1999 maize production at 25 745 tonnes, about 5 times more than in 1998 and the average of the last five years.

  Some base data on this country (in french)


After the first rainfall at the end of April, the rainy season began at the end of May in the Sudanian zone. In June, significant and well distributed rains fell on most of the agricultural zone but were less than normal in the prefectures of Chari-Baguirmi, Lac and Kanem. In July, heavy rain was recorded in the Sahelian and Sudanian zones, intensifying in August and causing crop flooding in the prefectures of Lac, Batha and Moyen Chari. Despite a relative drop in the quantity of rainfall in September, the northern prefectures of the Sahel have had more rain than usual while the situation in the rest of the country has remained the same as in 1998 and the average for 1961-90. Compared to last year, the floods were more serious in the Sahelian zone than the Sudanian zone. The biomass was abundant - even exceptional - in the Sahelian zone.

The sowing of the cereal crops began at the end of May/beginning of June. Crop development was satisfactory in all areas in mid-July. At the end of August, cereal crops were at different stages. The crops in the prefectures of the Sahelian zone had been affected by floods which caused stunting in millet in the Lac and Kanem regions. The water reserves available in October should permit good crop development.

In June, army worms attacked crops at the emergence stage all over the Sudanian zone, notably in the prefecture of Logone Occidental. Grasshoppers attacked the market garden, fruit and sorghum crops in several prefectures. Grasshopper attack is feared for the next recession crops. Grain eating birds (Quelea-quelea) were also observed in the rice in Chari-Baguirmi and cantharids in millet at the maturation stage. There were no reports of any desert locusts or African migratory locusts. The abundant rainfall of the last two dekads of July permitted good pasture regeneration in the Sudanian and Sahelian zones.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in mid-October estimated total cereal production for the 1999/2000 season at 1 153 294 tonnes against 1 352 891 tonnes in 1998, a fall of 15 percent. In contrast, compared to the average of the last five years, there has been a 9 percent increase. In relation to 1998/99, the production of rice, recession sorghum and wheat have increased respectively by 8 percent, 2 percent and 13 percent. Maize, sorghum and millet production has decreased by 46 percent, 21 percent and 3 percent respectively. As regards production in different zones, forecasts for all cereals are a little less favourable in the Sahelian zone (-17 percent) than in the Sudanian zone (-12 percent).

Some base data on this country (in french)

The Gambia:

The first significant rainfall arrived during the second dekad of May in the central part of the country. Rain then spread throughout the rest of the country during the third dekad. From July on, the rainfall recorded in the country was regular and well distributed in time and space. It increased in intensity and frequency during the month of August. The heavy rains caused serious flooding across the country. Cumulative rainfall for the season is higher than last year and above average. Rainfall exceeded 1000 mm at most of the rainfall stations, reaching a record of 1723.4 mm in Sapu in the south of the Central River Division.

Sowing of rainfed cereals began at the beginning of June in almost all the country. Emergence was generally good and the crops enjoyed good rainfall conditions for their development throughout the season. However, in the North Bank Division (NBD), millet was affected by the lack of soil fertilization and hailstones, while flooding affected the low-lying rice in the Central River and Upper River Divisions. Some plots of land were abandoned due to excess water and weed growth.

Overall, the phytosanitary situation has been relatively calm. Pastures are abundant in almost all the country.

A joint FAO/CILSS mission to the country from 18 to 23 October provisionally estimated total cereal production in 1999 at 137 144 tonnes against 114 182 tonnes last year, an increase of 20 percent. This is 29 percent more than the average of the last five years. Cultivated area was estimated at 109 709 hectares, an increase of 5 percent compared to last year and 12 percent higher than the average for the last five years. Coarse grain production is estimated at 108 271 tonnes, 79 percent of total output. As regards rice, output is estimated at 28 873 tonnes against 26 640 tonnes in 1998, an 8 percent increase.


Some base data on this country (in french)


The first rains were recorded in most of the country in the second dekad of May. But it was only in the first dekad of June that the rainy season really began over the whole country. From June to October the rainfall recorded was generally regular, abundant and well distributed in time and space. During the month of August, heavy rain caused serious flooding in low-lying areas and swamps. Cumulative rainfall for the season was greater than in 1998 and above average.

Cereal sowing began in June, slightly later than usual. Throughout the agricultural season, the crops benefited from good hydrological conditions for their development and growth. As regards low-lying rice, in the majority of the flooded plots of land, transplanting work was not completed on time. As regards swamp rice, the excess water has on the one hand allowed the plots of land to be desalinated, but on the others the height of the water level prevented transplanting and caused a delay of over a month. As regards millet and sorghum, despite good crop development, the excess water adversely affected plants at the flowering stage, notably in the regions of Oio and Cacheu. In November, harvesting of maize and upland rice had begun. Swamp rice was being transplanted while millet and sorghum were generally at the flowering/ripening stage.

Generally, the phytosanitary situation has been calm. The greatest damage was observed in the swamp and lowland rice following insect attack. Pastures are abundant countrywide. However, in the eastern region of the country (Gabu), the pasture situation will be adequate until the month of February 2000, the time when livestock traditionally move to the regions of Bafata and Oio.

In total, cereal production is estimated at 138 666 tonnes, a fall of 6 percent compared to 1997/98 (a year of armed conflict) and an increase of 6 percent compared to last year. Rice production is estimated at 80 273 tonnes, a fall of 20 percent and 8 percent respectively compared to 1997/98 and 1998/99. This fall is due to the joint effects of the floods and pest attacks in the low-lying areas and swamps. In contrast there is an increase in the production of the other cereals (23 percent and 32 percent compared to 1997/98 and 1998/99 respectively) mainly due to an increase in sown area and good ground water reserves.

Some base data on this country (in french)



Following sparse rainfall in April and May, the rainy season actually began at the end of June in most of the country's agricultural zones. Rainfall then became abundant and well distributed in time and space. In August, torrential rain was recorded over most of the country causing floods and, in some places, damage to crops (rice in particular) and livestock. In September rainfall decreased but it was still significant and above average. Cumulative rainfall at the end of September exceeded that of last year and the average rainfall in the same period. It continued to rain until the third dekad of October in the region of Sikasso and in the south of Ségou and Koulikoro regions.

The growing season had a difficult start because of long periods of low rainfall (April to June). Most of the first sowing carried out during this period failed which led to re-sowing in many cases starting from the third dekad of June. From July to September, ground water reserves were sufficient for crops to develop satisfactorily. However, the heavy rains in August caused flooding in the rice fields, especially in the Mopti region. Millet and sorghum also suffered from prolonged water stagnation which caused plants to turn yellow. Some plots of crops had to be abandoned because of excessive weed growth .

In general, the phytosanitary situation during the growing season has been calm. However, attacks from army worms and leaf beetles led to some re-sowing in the region of Sikasso at the beginning of July. Other pests (grasshoppers, grain eating birds and cantharids) were reported at the heading-ripening stage. Treatment from the air and on the ground carried out in September have limited losses. As regards the Desert Locust, no significant attacks were reported during the growing season. Thanks to good rainfall, pastures are abundant and well distributed across the country.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission at the end of October estimated 1999 cereal production at a record 2 951 633 tonnes, an increase of 17 percent compared to last year and 28 percent compared to the average for the last five years. Rice production has significantly increased by 13 percent and 41 percent respectively in comparison with 1998/1999 and the average of the last five years.

Some base data on this country (in french)



The growing season started early, particularly in the south where the first rains were recorded in May in Hodh El Gharbi. However, Trarza received its first rainfall in July. A dry spell followed in all regions except Guidimaka. Rainfall resumed from mid-July, becoming heavier and more regular. In general, the rains remained regular and above average in August and September, sometimes becoming torrential. Rain continued late into October. Cumulative rainfall was in general higher than in 1998 and the average for the period 1980-95.

The heavy rains in August and September caused a significant rise in the waters of the Senegal river and its tributaries and an exceptional replenishment of the water reserves, dams, low-lying areas and the walo, but also significant flooding in the middle valley and the river delta.

The first rains in May and June facilitated land preparation. The rainfed sowing began in June in Guidimaka and in July in the other regions. A dry spell in July led to some sowing failures. Starting from mid-August, with the arrival of more regular and abundant rainfall, the sowing and re-sowing of rainfed crops started. The sowing and transplanting of rice in the irrigated fields began in August but large areas were not utilized due to floods caused by the river overflowing. The hydrological situation which prevailed during the growing season offers good production prospects for the low-lying crops, the walo crops and the crops behind the dams. Nevertheless, the area to be cultivated depends on the speed at which the waters recede but also on labour availability.

Grasshopper infestations were reported in several regions. Limited breeding of the Desert Locust took place in Brakna in September. With the arrival of regular and abundant rainfall, the development of the pastures became uniform and dense in the pastoral zone with the exception of Trarza and Gorgol.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission provisionally estimated cereal production for the 1999/2000 season at almost 250 900 tonnes, an increase of 28 percent compared to the 195 500 tonnes harvested in 1998/99. Production in Dieri has increased by 68 percent compared to last year when there was insufficient rainfall. As a result of the large areas which received rains, production could increase by more than half in the low-lying areas and double in the walo. On irrigated land, following the floods, production is anticipated to fall by 12 percent in comparison with 1998/99.

Some base data on this country (in french)


The first significant rainfall for sowing of rainfed crops was in April in the west of the country. The rain then became light over all the country until mid-June. At the end of June, good rains started again and were well distributed in space and time in July and August. Monthly cumulative rainfall of between 200 and over 300 mm was recorded locally during the month of August. These heavy downpours led to floods and excess of water in the fields. About 23 000 hectares of crops, mainly upland rice, sorghum and millet were flooded across the country. The month of September was also marked locally by higher rainfall than usual. The rains continued during the first two dekads of October. Cumulative rainfall was above average at the majority of rainfall monitoring stations.

The 1999 season had a delay of 15 days in starting up except in the north of the agricultural belt. Several rounds of sowing were observed in various regions. As a result, the crop growing stages were late compared to normal and varied according to region.

Attacks from various insects on flowers were reported, notably in the departments of Dosso, Tillabéri, Zinder and Maradi. Grasshopper attacks were mostly in the departments of Tahoua, Zinder and Diffa but were less severe than last year. Overall, pastures were adequately reconstituted but the late sowing (at the beginning of August) in most of the pastoral zone did not allow good development of the vegetation as in 1998.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission at the end of October provisionally estimated total cereal production in 1999 at 2 832 600 tonnes, made up of 2 747 100 tonnes of millet, maize and sorghum, 72 800 tonnes of rice and 12 000 tonnes of wheat. This level of production is 5 percent less than that in 1998 but 23 percent more than the average of the last five years. Rice production has increased by almost 25 percent compared to last year.

Some base data on this country (in french)


The agricultural season began early this year. The first rains were recorded in May in the east and the south and in June in the other agro-ecological zones. In July, rainfall was regular and significant in the south and the centre-south but there was a short dry spell lasting two weeks in the centre-north and three weeks in the north. In August, the rains became more abundant and regular, reaching the whole of the country and causing floods. At the end of October, seasonal cumulative rainfall was above the long-term average (1961-90) at all the rainfall stations with the exception of Fatick (centre-south) and, compared to the previous season, in all the regions except Podor and Linguère.

Sowing took place from June on in the south, east, centre-south and in the centre-north where it was delayed for four weeks. The abundance of the rains from July to September led to a significant rise in the water level of the Senegal river, causing flooding, notably in the middle valley and the river delta where some large areas of rice fields were flooded causing delays in transplanting.

The phytosanitary situation was dominated by infestations of grasshoppers and leaf beetles, notably at the start of the season. In June, they caused crop loss in the regions of Kaolack, Fatick, Saint-Louis and Tambacounda. Also, some attacks by caterpillars and other insects were reported but damage was slight.

With good pastures, well replenished water points and animals that are generally in good health, the livestock situation is satisfactory in the whole country. Nevertheless, some pockets of poor crops due to dry spells and grasshopper attacks were observed in the regions of Saint-Louis, Louga and along the coast.

At the end of October, a joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission estimated 1999 production of upland crops at 962 143 tonnes from a total area of 1 288 221 hectares. Compared to last season's production, the cultivated area has increased by 18 percent and production by about 32 percent. Compared to the average of the last five years, area planted has increased by 8 percent and production by 7 percent. Generally, all cereals have increased compared to the last season. Adding the forecast production of the recession and the off-season crops, total cereal production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 1 009 200 tonnes. Early prospects for recession crops are better than last year since the waters are receding normally and the rural people have quality seed.

Some base data on this country (in french)



Following a rather early start of the growing season in most coastal countries, the prospects for the 1999 cereal output are good. Cereal production is likely to be above normal, except in Liberia and Sierra Leone where civil strife hampered agricultural activities.

The rainy season started in early March in the south of the countries along the Gulf of Guinea allowing the planting of the main maize crop. Rains generally reached the northern part of these countries in late March/early April, allowing land preparation for the sowing of millet and sorghum. Rains generally remained widespread and abundant until the end of October.

Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Togo and Cameroon experienced adequate agro-climatic conditions, and crop production should be close to or above normal. Flooding occurred at maturity stage in some areas of Benin, Ghana and Guinea and might result in localized reduced crop output.

Rains started later than normal over northern Nigeria, reaching these areas only in late May, but despite the late planting, crop production is expected to be normal following widespread and abundant rainfall up to the end of October.

In Sierra Leone, crop prospects are unfavourable and output is expected to be similar to last year's reduced level, due to civil strife and below normal rains in August. In Liberia, some improvement in security conditions and agricultural input distributions allowed about normal agricultural activities in the main cereal producing areas and the output is expected to be significantly above last year's.

Preliminary FAO estimates for the aggregate cereal production in the nine coastal countries point to a total of about 28.5 million tons. These estimates, presented in Table 3, are very tentative, since, due to the late start of the season, crop production forecasts by local administrations are not available to date.

Table 3: Western African Coastal Countries - Cereal Production 1991 - 1998 and preliminary forecast for 1999
(thousand tons, gross basis with rice in paddy)

Country Cereal production Preliminary
forecast for
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Benin 587 608 628 649 634 668 915 904 950 126
Cameroon 1 001 905 980 920 1 200 1 161 1 160 1 121 1 100 99
Côte d'Ivoire 1 314 1 317 1 352 1 363 1 480 1 787 1 552 1 142 1 600 109
Ghana 1 436 1 255 1 644 1 594 1 834 1 770 1 790 1 711 1 600 92
Guinea 872 935 964 978 870 890 911 676 850 98
Liberia 109 102 65 50 56 95 168 113 150 156
Nigeria 18 615 19 597 19 329 20 358 20 943 21 636 21 833 20 815 21 300 101
Sierra Leone 467 478 499 465 337 399 480 299 300 76
Togo 465 494 633 443 502 687 717 662 700 116
Total 24 900 25 700 26 100 26 800 27 900 29 100 29 500 27 400 28 500 101

Source: FAO
Note: Record harvests are underlined.
1/ Preliminary FAO estimates based only on a qualitative assessment of the growing season.
2/ Totals have been rounded.

Some base data on these countries (in french)

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