Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture
FAO Rome, December 2000



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 2000 cereal harvests in the nine west African countries which are members of CILSS1/. It is based on information available to FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) as of early November 2000 and on production estimates provided by the national services and reviewed by Crop Assessment Missions to all nine CILSS countries in October. 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) were also associated with these Missions. The 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 from 20 October to 3 November 2000 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 21 and 22 November in Bamako, and presented at the CILSS Council of Ministers organised during the same week in the context of the Summit of Heads of States of the CILSS member countries.

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 during the first part of the rainy season followed by reduced rains or long dry spells from mid-August in several countries, the Sahel will gather an average harvest this year, significantly below the 1999 record level. Rains started generally on time and remained widespread and adequate in June and July. Only limited replantings were necessary in localized areas as no prolonged dry spells were experienced. However, in August, precipitation decreased significantly in Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad and remained limited in September. The pest situation was mostly calm. The rains permitted satisfactory regeneration of pastures and replenishment of water reserves but pastures started to dry earlier following reduced rains in September/October, except in the west.

The 2000 aggregate cereal production of the nine CILSS member countries has been estimated by the FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions at 9.5 million tonnes, which is 15 percent lower than in 1999 and 2 percent below the average of the last five years. Below average figures are anticipated in Burkina Faso and Chad. Near average production is expected in Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and above average outputs are foreseen in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal. A record level has been reached in The Gambia. Output has significantly increased compared to 1999 in The Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Output is significantly lower compared to the 1999 records in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger and Chad, and to a lesser extent in Mauritania.


(i) Factors Affecting 2000 Production

(a) Rainfall

The 2000 rainy season started in April-May in southern Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea Bissau and Mali, in the extreme south-west of Niger and the extreme south-east of Senegal; while seasonably dry conditions prevailed in the rest of Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia and Mauritania. Rains progressed northwards in June in the rest of Senegal, The Gambia and southern Mauritania. First rains were recorded in late June in Cape Verde. Above normal rains were recorded during the first dekad of July in Senegal, Mauritania and western Mali. They were particularly abundant in early and mid-July over Mali and Niger, in late July/early August over Senegal, The Gambia and southern/western Mauritania, and during the entire month of July in Chad. Precipitation was more limited in Burkina Faso but improved significantly over the western half of the country in early August. Rainfall was also abundant in Guinea-Bissau. Significant rains were registered on all the islands of Cape Verde in late July. Flooding was reported following heavy rains in mid July in Niger, in late July/early August in northern Senegal and Mauritania and in early August in northern Burkina Faso. Precipitation was also particularly abundant over southern Mali and the Sahelian zone of Chad, but more limited over western and eastern Niger and southern Chad.

Rains were above normal during the first dekad of August in Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau, during the second dekad in Mauritania and during the third dekad in Mali. Precipitation remained below normal in Burkina Faso, except in the south and west. In Niger, below normal rainfall was registered in late August. Rainfall was well below normal in northern and south-eastern Senegal, western Mali and most parts of Niger. Precipitation decreased from late August to early September over the eastern half of the Sahel and it resumed in mid-September and remained normal to above normal until late September, except in Chad. Some more rain occurred in late September and early October in southern Senegal, southern Chad, central Niger and some areas of Mauritania, Mali and Burkina Faso. Well above normal rains were registered in mid-October in Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau. The start of the dry season progressed southwards in October in the other countries.

The maps below show the total rainfall amount from May through October as well as its percentage as compared to the long-term average (1961-90). Above average rainfall is indicated in north-western Senegal, south-central Mauritania, central Gambia, central/northern Mali, some localised areas in Burkina Faso, a narrow band in central Niger, and in western-central of Chad. Below normal rainfall is found in a band crossing Guinea Bissau and southern Senegal and Mali, an area in central Mali, two areas in Niger (Tahoua and Diffa), and the southern part of Chad. The cumulative rainfall for the 2000 rainy season indicates that, except for localised areas, the 300-600 mm band almost coincides with the normal one.

Map 1

Map 2

Data source: NOAA, FAO - Prepared by: FAO, SDRN, Agrometeorology Group


(b) Area Planted and Seed Availability

Preliminary indications are that the aggregate area planted to cereals remained close to the 1999 levels in most countries. Only some small additional areas can be cropped in Senegal and Mauritania in the Senegal river valley, as the level reached by the river was significantly lower this year.

Overall, seed availability was adequate following the record 1999 harvests in most countries. As rains were generally regular after sowing, not much replanting was necessary except in Cape Verde where irregular rainfall or dry spells after sowing in July necessitated some replanting, which then benefited from the heavy rainfall in September and October.

(c) Pest Situation

The pest situation remained mostly calm during the growing season. Grasshopper attacks have bee reported in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Mauritania and Niger. Cantharids have been reported in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. Insect attacks on sorghum necessitated aerial treatments in Niger. An outbreak of sesamia pest in Mauritania is threatening recession crops. Grain eating birds persist in several countries.

The Desert Locust activity remained very limited. Desert Locusts have been reported in Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The threat is higher in Mauritania due to concentrations of solitary adults once pastures started to dry out in September/October and a possible migration into northern Mauritania of swarms which appeared in September in Adrar des Iforas in northern Mali.


(ii) Weather Performance and Monitoring of Crop Development in 1998

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.

Satellite images (click here) give the occurrence of rain-bearing clouds (CCD) for the months of April to October 2000. It shows that CCD - and thus the implied rainfall - was highest during July and August. There was a clear reduction in rainfall in August in the centre and north-east of Burkina Faso and Niger and heavy rains in September in Senegal and in October in southern Senegal and Guinea Bissau. Both the August and September images illustrate the farthest extent of the rainfall during the 2000 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 2000

The map and graph (click here) give an assessment of the 2000 cropping season, based on a classification of the evolution of the NDVI during the season compared to the 1982-99 average. The CILSS area has been divided into four classes. Each class, identified by a colour, indicates one type of behaviour during the 2000 season as compared to the average. Grey (Class 1) indicates areas where the 2000 season behaved normally. These include not only the Sahara, but also substantial areas in the centre of the Sahel. Class 2, in green, indicates areas where the NDVI values were above normal throughout the season, showing a late ending of the season. These areas are roughly corresponding to the above normal rainfall zones indicated on the map on page 5. Classes 3 and 4, in yellow and red, indicate areas where the season started as normal but then experienced a clear fall in crop development compared to the average from June for Class 4, in red, and from September for Class 3, in yellow.

The graphics (click here) show the rainfall pattern of different zones of the Sahel for the 2000 season as compared to the average calculated over the period 1989-95. The values for the 2000 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 1998

As indicated in the introduction, this report presents a preliminary FAO/CILSS assessment of the 2000 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 2000 and on production estimates provided by the national services and reviewed by Crop Assessment Missions between 9 and 27 October in the nine countries.

The 2000 aggregate cereal production of the nine CILSS member countries has been estimated by the FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions at 9.5 million tonnes, which is 15 percent lower than in 1999 and 2 percent below the average of the last five years. Below average figures are anticipated in Burkina Faso and Chad. Near average production is expected in Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and above average outputs are foreseen in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal. A record level has been reached in The Gambia. Output has significantly increased compared to 1999 in The Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Output is significantly lower compared to the 1999 records in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger and Chad, and to a lesser extent in Mauritania.

The production trend for each country since 1990 is given in the following table and the graphs (click here).

Table 1. Sahelian Countries - Cereal Production 1991 to 1999 and Preliminary Forecasts for 2000
(in thousand tonnes gross basis, with rice in paddy)

Country Cereal Production Preliminary Forecast 2000/1995-99
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 for 2000 (%)
Burkina Faso 2 455 2 477 2 557 2 492 2 308 2 482 2 014 2 657 2 700 2 286 94.0
Cape Verde 8 10 12 3 8 1 5 5 36 18 166.1
Chad 812 977 617 1 175 908 878 986 1 353 1 230 890 83.1
The Gambia 111 128 102 91 106 111 112 114 151 174 146.0
Guinea-Bissau 1/ 180 171 180 190 201 147 173 131 139 168 106.4
Mali 2 414 1 809 2 228 2 457 2 189 2 219 2 124 2 548 2 894 2 386 99.7
Mauritania 104 106 162 200 220 121 152 195 193 170 96.4
Niger 2 468 2 248 1 803 2 438 2 097 2 260 1 721 2 979 2 861 2 319 97.3
Senegal 2/ 970 856 1 134 964 1 093 1 023 818 771 1 009 1 072 113.6
TOTAL 3/ 9 500 8 800 8 800 10 000 9 100 9 200 8 100 10 800 11 200 9 500 97.9

Note: Record harvests are underlined.
1/ A change in the methodology was introduced in 1997 and no survey was possible in 1998 and 1999.
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 need, therefore, to be revised in the coming months, but there is unlikely to be a significant change in the overall trend of average production in the Sahelian sub-region.

Cereal Production by country

The breakdown of 2000 cereal production by crop for each country is given in Table 2.

Table 2: CILSS Countries - Preliminary Forecast of 2000 Production by Cereal
(in thousand tonnes gross basis)

Country Millet Sorghum Maize Rice(paddy) Wheat Others1/ Total2/
Burkina Faso 725.6 1016.3 423.5 103.1 - 17.8 2286.3
Cape Verde - - 18.5 - - - 18.5
Chad 252.7 389.4 65.9 69.1 2.7 110.4 890.2
Gambia 94.1 25.0 22.3 32.6 - - 174.0
Guinea-Bissau 21.1 12.3 26.7 104.1 - 3.9 168.1
Mali 3/ 802.5 591.7 222.7 745.1 10.3 14 2386.3
Mauritania 3/ 7.3 95.3 6.4 60.9 - - 169.9
Niger 1821.9 407.8 18.4 60.4 10.7 - 2319.2
Senegal 3/ 634.4 126.6 91.0 217.5 - 2.0 1071.5
TOTAL 2/ 4359.6 2664.4 895.4 1392.8 23.7 148.1 9484.0

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 first rains arrived in May in the south and then moved across the rest of the country in June and July. Rainfall was fairly abundant during the first dekad of August throughout almost all the country. Starting from the second dekad, some pockets of drought appeared in the central, eastern and northern regions. Rainfall in the months of August and September in these zones was below last year’s level and below average. Overall this year, rainfall has been light and poorly distributed in time and space, except for the farming areas in the "Haute Bassins" (Bobo Dioulasso), the south-west (Gaoua), the Comoe (Bandoro) and the centre-south which were well watered. The dams and water points have been well filled in the south-west, the Comoe and the Haute Bassins but less in the central, eastern and northern regions of the country which could compromise the off-season crops.

Until the end of July, planting proceeded normally despite some cases of late sowing due to pockets of drought in the centre and east of the country. Dry spells in August and September in many provinces caused water stress which affected crop development, particularly in the regions of the centre-west, centre, centre-east and east where the crops were at the flowering/grain formation stage.

The overall pest situation was calm despite some attacks from grasshoppers and cantharids, which were quickly controlled. The regeneration and development of pastures was not uniform. The situation is good in the south and west of the country but unsatisfactory in the north and the Sahel, which could lead to an early transhumance of livestock from the north to the south with the risk of conflicts arising between farmers and herders.

Good harvests are anticipated in the regions of the south-west, the High Basins and the Comoe. The situation is not so good in the regions of the centre-west, centre, centre-east and the east of the country where only the crops in the low-lying areas can yield a satisfactory output. Rainfed rice production will be low due to insufficient replenishment of the micro-dams and the low-lying areas. Cereal harvests will be disappointing in the Sahel and the north. The joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in mid-October estimated 2000 cereal production at 2 286 000 tonnes, which is 15 percent below 1999 record level and 6 percent below the last five years average.

Some base data on this country (in french)


Cape Verde:

The first significant rains were recorded during the third dekad of July on the islands of Santiago, Fogo, Santo Antão, São Nicolau and Brava. Rains continued regularly during the first dekad of August on the islands of Santiago and Fogo whilst there was no precipitation on the islands of Santo Antão and São Nicolau. In mid-August, rainfall decreased throughout the archipelago but picked up in late August notably on the islands of Santiago and Fogo. Generally, conditions were dry during the first and second dekads of September throughout the archipelago. A return of regular and abundant rainfall was recorded from the third dekad of September lasting up to the second dekad of October. Cumulative rainfall was generally higher than last year and above the 1981-1990 average. Abundant rain in October replenished soil water reserves on all the islands which will favour off-season irrigated market garden and fruit crops, although there has been damage to infrastructures and some plots.

The first rainfed maize seeds were planted at the end of July on the islands of Santiago, Fogo and Brava. Following the water stress experienced in August, some replanting took place in the arid and semi-arid zones of Fogo, Santiago and São Nicolau islands. Overall crop development was normal in the humid and sub-humid zones. In the arid, semi-arid and coastal zones, crops suffered prolonged water stress causing irreversible damage in some cases. Crops replanted in September and early October are unlikely to reach maturity.

The phytosanitary situation was calm in the archipelago. Some very localised outbreaks of grasshoppers were reported in the pastoral zones of the islands of Santiago, Boavista, Maio and São Nicolau. There were attacks from the Nezera Viridula insect on the island of Santiago which required treatment.

Overall, yields will be lower than last year, especially in the arid and semi-arid zones of the islands of Fogo, Santiago, São Nicolau and Santo Antão. For the other crops (sweet potatoes and beans) following the good October rainfall, good yields may be expected. The Joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited Cape Verde from 20 to 27 October estimated 2000 cereal production at 18 473 tonnes compared to 36 439 tonnes last year i.e. a drop of about 50 percent. After the 1999 record, this will be the second highest production in the last 12 years. Reductions in yields will be the largest on the islands of Santo Antão and São Nicolau and the semi-arid zone of the island of Santiago.

  Some base data on this country (in french)


The 2000 farming season has been characterised by the late arrival of rains which reduced the areas to be harvested and by a long dry spell in August which caused water stress and reduced cereal yields. At the end of September, despite the rise in water levels, the level of the Chari River in Sarh and N’Djaména was much lower than in 1998 and 1999. In addition, there was a fall in the level of the water courses compromising the recession crops (rice and berberé or recession sorghum).

Grasshopper infestations, grain-eating birds, rodents and disease (mildew and bactericidal withering) caused serious crop damage. The low rainfall in 2000, most noticeable in the Sahelian zone, has led to a reduction in vegetation cover and a drying out of the water reserves provoking an early transhumance of livestock from the north to the south of the country before the harvest in the Sudanian zone.

Together with the national authorities, the Joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission estimated aggregate 2000 cereal production at 890 200 tonnes, which is 28 percent below the 1999 level and 17 percent below the average for the years 1995-1999.

Some base data on this country (in french)

The Gambia:

The first rains were recorded during the second dekad of June. During the month of July, rainfall was regular and well distributed in time and space. However, cumulative rainfall was significantly lower than last year. The phytosanitary situation has been fairly calm and less problematic than in 1999. Pastures have been abundant.

The very regular rainfall allowed satisfactory crop development. Planted areas increased by 19 percent and 32 percent compared respectively to 1999 and to the average for the last five years. Late millet yields also increased while those of sorghum and upland rice decreased by 9 percent and 7 percent respectively in relation to 1999.

The 2000 cereal production has been estimated by the Joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission at 174 000 tonnes, compared to 151 000 tonnes in 1999, an increase of 15 percent. It should therefore reach a new record, exceeding the average production of the last five years by 46 percent. The share of coarse grains has gone up from 79 to 81 percent. The recent development of fonio production during this growing season should also be noted.

Some base data on this country (in french)


The first rains were recorded in the second dekad of May. But it was only during the second dekad of June that the rainy season really took hold over the entire country. Then rainfall was regular, abundant and well distributed in time and space. Cumulative rainfall exceeded 1 000 mm in most of the rainfall stations and sometimes reached 1 500 mm.

Cereal sowing generally took place in June although work normally begins in May. This delay was basically due to the dry spell experienced in May which followed the first rains. From June to October, crop development benefited from a good supply of water. Ground water reserves were well replenished throughout the growing season.

The phytosanitary situation has been calm. However, in August and September caterpillars infested the low-lying rice fields and swamps. Treatment was carried out. The pastures are abundant throughout the country. The water points have been well replenished and there are no problems for cattle watering.

Overall, the growing season has progressed satisfactorily except in the regions of Bafata and Gabu where a significant reduction in the millet and sorghum crops is expected, mainly due to excess rain in June and July which contributed to extensive weed growth. The Joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission estimated 2000 cereal production at 168 100 tonnes, 21 percent more than in 1999. This is about the same level reached prior to the armed conflict of 1998 (172 800 tonnes). In relation to this reference season, there has been a 5 percent increase in upland rice, a 5 percent decrease in low-lying rice, stagnation of swamp rice and maize production and a 25 percent reduction in millet and sorghum production.

Some base data on this country (in french)



Following an early start to the season in the south-east in the first dekad of May, rains spread over the southern half of the country at the end of the month. In June, rains covered the whole agricultural area but decreased during the first dekad of July. In August, a long dry period was experienced in the north and locally in the region of Koulikoro. In September, the rains gradually decreased and stopped abruptly in the agropastoral land in the north. The levels of the water courses were generally lower than last year and below the seasonal average.

Sowing began at the end of May and continued until the end of August. The farming calendar of this season has shifted due to hesitation of farmers in the CMDT zone following decisions regarding cotton sowing and lack of sufficient and regular rainfall.

The overall phytosanitary situation has been calm. Some Desert Locusts and swarms at the maturation stage were seen in September in the west of Adrar des Iforas, mainly between Tessalit and the Algerian border. Pastures were less abundant than in 1999.

Together with the national statistics service and on the basis of the national production survey, a Joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission estimated the total planted area at 2 636 800 hectares compared to 2 464 300 hectares in 1999, an increase of 7 percent. Cereal production was estimated at 2 386 300 tonnes, a fall of 17.5 percent compared to the record production of 2 893 600 tonnes in 1999 but similar to the average for the last five years. It should however be noted that the overall food situation will be satisfactory following the good stocks that have been built up over the last two years.

Some base data on this country (in french)



The first useful rains were recorded at the end of June in the south, in Guidimakha and Gorgol. The season progressed in July in all the farming areas of the country. Delays were noted in Hodh El Gharbi and Hodh Echarghi. Drought was widespread in the two Hodhs following the first rains recorded in July. Some dry periods were observed in August in the wilayas of Brakna and Gorgol. Cumulative rainfall was generally below that of 1999 but equal or above the average, except in Trarza and the two Hodhs. Rainfall was well distributed in time and space and unusually heavy rains continued to fall in mid- October. The flow of the River Senegal was clearly lower than in 1999 but at the end of the second dekad of October, an improvement was reported. The dams have been replenished to a level ranging between 70 and 90 percent.

The sowing of rainfed crops began at the end of June in Guidimakha and Gorgol and in July in the other regions. Some dry spells in the two Hodhs, in Brakna and in Gorgol led to some localised re-sowing which was carried out during the month of August. The adequate time and space distribution of the rains suggests that the growing season will be good for dieri (rainfed) crops. Rice sowing began in July but planted area is likely to decrease due to insufficient seeds, an increase in the price of inputs (notably fuel) and the difficulties encountered by farmers to obtain credit following the reduction in farm earnings after the harvest losses in 1999 season caused by flooding in the irrigated rice fields.

The phytosanitary situation has been calm throughout the season. However, there are worries over possible infestation of Sésamia pest and grain-eating bird attacks on the irrigated and walo recession crops. Furthermore, the threat of the Desert Locust also exists with the regrouping of solitary adults in Tagant and the report of swarms over Mali which could migrate to Mauritania. Pastures were good to excellent.

On the basis of estimates supplied by the Policy, Monitoring and Evaluation Department of the Ministry for Rural Development and Environment, the Joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission made a provisional estimate of 2000/01 cereal production of 169 900 tonnes, a reduction of 12 percent compared to the 1999/2000 season. Apart from dieri production which increased by 12 percent, there have been falls in production ranging between 5 and 27 percent for other crops (low-lying areas, walo and irrigated crops).

Some base data on this country (in french)


The season progressed in three stages: the first stage was characterised by generally light rain from the third dekad of April to the end of June; the second one, during the month of July, which registered moderate to heavy rain (88 percent of the rainfall stations recording monthly cumulative rainfall above 1999 and the 1961-90 average); then, in the months of August and September, dry spells lasting between 10 and 40 days according to the zone. Compared to 1999, cumulative rainfall was lower at almost all the rainfall stations. About two-thirds of the stations in the west of the country have recorded totals below the 1961-90 average.

Water levels observed in the main temporary water courses and in the Niger River were higher than average between June and the second dekad of August. The dry spells experienced in August caused the early drying out of the temporary water courses and reduced or no replenishment of several water reserves and dams, significantly reducing the possibilities for off-season crops in these areas. The bulk of sowing was done in June and July. At the end of the month of August, only the villages in the department of Agadez had not yet done their sowing. The dry spells from mid-August affected crop and pasture development. The worst affected departments were Tillabéry, Diffa and Agadez.

Grasshopper infestations, which started in June, spread during July as rainfall became heavier, especially in the departments of Zinder, Diffa and Tahoua. Attacks by other insects were reported in the departments of Dosso, Maradi, Zinder, Tahoua and the urban community of Niamey. Heavy insect attacks on the sorghum crop made aerial treatment necessary in the department of Tahoua. At the end of the season, bird attacks became more frequent especially in the departments of Diffa, Tahoua and Tillabéry. In the pastoral zone, insufficient rain resulted in poor pastures which led to a premature movement of stock from the north to the south, including Nigeria and Chad.

The Joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission, which visited Niger from 16-20 October 2000, provisionally estimated aggregate rainfed cereal production at 2 229 700 tonnes of millet and sorghum, 6 400 tonnes of rainfed rice and 3 400 tonnes of maize. Total production of irrigated crops in 2000/01 is estimated at 53 500 tonnes of rice and 750 tonnes of wheat. Rice production decreased from 1999/2000 level as a result of a reduction in sown areas, but also in yields following delays in transplanting. Forecasts for off-season production are 10 000 tonnes for wheat, 15 000 tonnes for maize and 500 tonnes for rice. Aggregate cereal production should therefore reach 2 319 200 tonnes, 19 percent less than in 1999 and 3 percent less than the average for the last five years.

Some base data on this country (in french)


The rains began at the end of May in the extreme south-east (Kédougou area) and then progressed towards the south-west and the north in June. Some localities in the departments of Podor and Dagana experienced dry spells of one to two weeks during the sowing period. From the end of July it rained regularly with a good distribution in time and space. Cumulative rainfall has been above normal in the north, except in Podor.

Sowing started in June in the eastern zone and towards mid-June in the south of the country. Sowing proceeded without any interruption over the whole territory except in part of the department of Touba (Missira, Dialocoto) where a dry spell lasting 17 days was reported. There were fewer pest attacks this year than in 1999. The pasture situation is satisfactory.

The aggregate output of cereals for the 2000/01 season is estimated at 1 071 500 tonnes of which 854 000 tonnes are coarse grains. This production is 14 percent higher than the average for the last five years.

Some base data on this country (in french)


Following generally favourable growing conditions during the 2000 crop season in most coastal countries, the prospects for the 2000 cereal output are good. Cereal production is likely to be above normal, except in Liberia and Sierra Leone where past or present civil strife hampered agricultural activities.

The rainy season started somewhat later than normal in mid-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 April, allowing land preparation for the sowing of millet and sorghum. Rains generally remained widespread and abundant until the end of October.

Production estimates are not yet available for most countries. Only Benin, Guinea and Togo provided figures for 2000 cereal production. A record crop is anticipated in Benin and Guinea while it is well above average in Togo. In Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon, reflecting generally adequate agro-climatic conditions, crop production should be close to or above normal.

In Sierra Leone, a reduced harvest is anticipated as planted areas are likely to be significantly below last year’s level due to a resurgence of civil strife in early May, during the critical planting period. Due to insecurity, input distribution and relief operations were suspended or seriously disrupted, notably in the north. The security situation improved from June/July but remained tense and fighting along the border with Guinea and Liberia recently intensified, resulting in new waves of population displacement.

In Liberia, current prospects point to a slight increase in production following slow agriculture sector recovery after several years of civil war. With the exception of Lofa County, relative peace in most areas has facilitated farming. The rice crop, the main staple, has been generally developing satisfactorily and cultivated areas are anticipated to have increased. A GIEWS Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country in late November/early December and estimated 2000 cereal production at 144 000 tonnes, which is 13 percent above 1999 level and almost half more than the average of the last five years.

Preliminary FAO estimates for the aggregate cereal production in the nine coastal countries point to a total of about 29,2 million tons. These estimates, presented in Table 3, are very tentative, since crop production forecasts by local administrations are not available to date for all countries.

Table 3: Western African Coastal Countries - Cereal Production 1991-1999 and preliminary forecast for 2000
(thousand tons, gross basis with rice in paddy)

Cereal production Preliminary
forecast for
  1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 (%)
Benin 611 628 647 612 719 892 817 927 1 162 146
Cameroon 905 980 920 1 200 1 161 1 160 1 121 1 100 1 150 100
Côte d’Ivoire 1 317 1 352 1 363 1 480 1 787 1 552 1 142 1 600 1 500 99
Ghana 1 255 1 644 1 594 1 834 1 770 1 790 1 711 1 600 1 700 98
Guinea 935 964 978 870 890 911 676 850 1 100 131
Liberia 102 50 23 56 94 100 110 127 144 148
Nigeria 19 597 19 329 20 358 20 943 21 636 21 833 20 815 21 300 21 500 101
Sierra Leone 478 499 465 337 399 480 299 300 250 69
Togo 494 633 420 442 687 679 589 759 711 113
Total 25 700 26 100 26 800 27 800 29 100 29 400 27 300 28 600 29 200 103

Note: Record harvests are underlined.
- Preliminary FAO estimates based only on a qualitative assessment of the growing season, except for Benin, Guinea and Togo.
- Totals have been rounded.
Some base data on these countries (in french)

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