FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.3, June 2001

WESTERN AFRICA

BENIN (11 June)

The first rains started in mid-March in the south, allowing planting of the first maize crop. Rains covered the entire country from mid-April and remained widespread and above average during May, benefiting planting and emergence of millet and sorghum crops in the north. They decreased somewhat in early June.

Following well above average cereal harvest in 2000, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Markets are well supplied and prices of cereals remain generally stable. Cereal imports for domestic use and re-exports during the 2001 marketing year are estimated at 143 000 tonnes and food aid requirements at 11 000 tonnes. <

BURKINA FASO (18 June)

The rainy season has started on time in the south and the centre. First showers were recorded in late March in the south-east but significant rains came during the second dekad of April in the south-west and the centre-south. Precipitation decreased in late April but improved and became widespread in May. However, the north remained dry. Land preparation and planting of millet and sorghum is now underway in the south, west and centre. The availability of seeds may be limited in some areas following poor harvests in several provinces last year. No pest activity is reported.

Off-season crops have been harvested. Final 2000 production figures and the 2000/01 cereal balance sheet were revised in late April by the government, and the aggregate output of cereals is now estimated at 2 286 300 tonnes, which is 15 percent below the 1999 level and 6 percent below the last five years average.

Following this reduced crop, the overall food supply situation is tight in several deficit areas, notably in the north, the centre and the east. The return of Burkinabé from Côte d’Ivoire to their villages has also put additional pressure on food supply. Prices of cereals increased sharply in the north, east and centre in February and March. However, in April and May, prices eased slightly in the north but remained much higher than at this time last year. The Government plans to distribute 34 000 tonnes of food aid to 527 000 vulnerable people in 25 affected provinces, of which 18 000 tonnes will be taken from the National Security Stock.

CAPE VERDE (4 June)

Seasonably dry conditions prevail. Planting of maize normally starts in July with the onset of the rains on the main islands. Following two successive good harvests in 1999 and 2000, the availability of seeds is adequate. The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. However, domestic production covers only about a quarter of consumption requirement and the country relies on imports and food aid to cover its needs. With available stocks and planned commercial imports and food aid for the coming months, markets should remain well supplied with stable prices. The cereal import requirement for the 2000/01 marketing year (November/October) is estimated at 88 000 tonnes and the food aid requirement at 53 000 tonnes.

CHAD (4 June)

Above-normal first rains were registered in early April in the extreme south, reaching the south-west in late April/early May, while no rains were registered in the south-east. During the second dekad of May, precipitation increased in the south and Sudanian zone, but decreased significantly during the third dekad. Satellite imagery does not indicate improved rains during the first dekad of June. As a result, planting of coarse grains is delayed in the south-east and resowing is likely to be needed. Land preparation is starting in the Sahelian zone.

Following a below average harvest in 2000, the food supply situation is tight in the chronically deficit areas of the Sahelian zone. Unusual population movements were reported from several cantons of Lac Department to major urban centres, southern Chad or the Lake Chad area. In the Sudanian Zone, the food situation is also tight in the rice producing areas in Tandjilé and parts of Kabia, notably in Mayo Beneye area. Prices of millet have increased sharply. A locally-organized joint CILSS/FAO/WFP/FEWS-NET assessment of the food supply situation in the at-risk zones in January estimated the at-risk population at 800 000 persons for whom about 40 000 tonnes of cereals are needed. An additional 700 000 people are considered moderately vulnerable. The sale of 20 000 tonnes of cereals at subsidised prices has been recommended. A WFP Emergency Operation is underway to provide 27 000 tonnes of food aid to 375 000 beneficiaries in eight departments of the Sahelian zone.

COTE D'IVOIRE (11 June)

Following the start of rains in late February, planting of the first maize crop is underway. Abundant precipitation covered the entire country during April and May, benefiting planting and emergence of millet and sorghum crops in the north.

Following an above-average cereal harvest in 2000, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Some 110 000 Liberian refugees and 2 000 Sierra Leoneans remain in the west.

THE GAMBIA (18 June)

First rains have been registered in the east and parts of the centre in early June where they permitted land preparation and first early plantings. However, the weather remained mostly dry in mid-June. Planting will progress to the centre and the west in the weeks ahead following the onset of the rains. Following a record harvest in 2000, seed availability is adequate for cereals.

With two successive bumper crops in 1999 and 2000, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Markets are well supplied. Prices of cereals remained low and stable. However, the Central River Division (CRD) North gathered poor crops due to blister beetles and striga infestations in early millet fields. About 250 tonnes of cereals are needed for about 9 300 affected persons. More than 2 000 people fled to The Gambia from Casamance in southern Senegal, following heavy fighting between the Senegalese army and rebel fighters. WFP will provide food in the border villages or in the Kanilai transit camp. <

GHANA (11 June)

First rains in the south in late February/early March permitted planting of the first maize crop. Precipitation was well above average from mid-March to mid-April. Rains decreased in late April and early May but improved in mid and late May. They remained below average in early June, except in the north. Planting of coarse grains is underway in the north.

Reflecting poor harvests in several regions in 2000, the food supply situation is tight in some areas. The government announced its plans to halve its rice imports in 2001 by developing more than one million hectares of inland valleys for rice production. About 10 000 Liberian and up to 2 500 Sierra Leoneans refugees remain in the country.

GUINEA (11 June)

First rains were registered in the south in late March, and subsequently covered the entire country in May, allowing land preparation and first plantings. Reflecting a good harvest in 1999 and a record crop in 2000, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory and markets are generally well supplied, except in the south-east where rebel incursions from Sierra Leone have severely affected agriculture and marketing activities.

There are more than 400 000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone and about 150 000 IDPs in the country. About 57 000 Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees have been relocated from the Parrot's Beak, a stretch of Guinean territory which has been and is likely to remain the scene of military operations by various armed groups. New refugee camps have been established in the Dabola and Albadaria prefectures to relocate refugees.

At the same time, the voluntary repatriation of those who wish to return to Sierra Leone is facilitated. A transit camp has been established in Conakry to organise repatriation of refugees by boat to Freetown where reception facilities are available. Since September 2000, more than 55 000 Sierra Leoneans have returned from Guinea.

GUINEA-BISSAU (18 June)

First rains were registered in mid-May in the east but the weather remained mostly dry in late May. Abundant precipitation covered almost the entire country in early and mid-June. Land preparation and plantings of coarse grains and rainfed rice are underway in the east and the north. Planting of rice in seedbeds has also started. Transplanting will take place in July/August after desalination of swamp rice fields by more rains.

The pest situation is calm. Insect attacks have been reported on Bolama Island. Seed availability problems are likely in some areas, notably for groundnut.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Markets remain generally well supplied countrywide. However, some population groups with low purchase power are facing food difficulties, notably in urban areas and in Pirada, Fulacunda, Tite, S. Domingos and Ingoré areas, due to insecurity in border areas with Senegal.

LIBERIA* (11 June)

Planting of rice, the staple crop, is underway. Precipitation has been generally widespread and abundant since mid-April. With the exception of Lofa County, relative peace in most areas has exerted a positive influence on farming activities. The cultivated area and rice production should increase if climatic conditions are favourable. Input distribution has been undertaken by several NGOs in various areas. However, transport infrastructure is very poor, and hampers distributions as well as the marketing of local produce. Post-harvest losses are also reported to be high.

It is estimated that there are a total of about 80 000 Sierra Leonean refugees and 360 000 Liberian returnees, mainly in Lofa county, one of Liberia’s main rice producing areas, where rebel incursions have disrupted farming and displaced thousands of people.

The cereal import requirement in 2001 is estimated at 200 000 tonnes, with commercial imports at 160 000 tonnes and 40 000 tonnes needed as food aid. WFP is seeking a total of 21 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses and 3 800 tonnes of other commodities to meet the food needs of about 145 000 refugees and other war affected people, as well as 140 000 children attending primary schools during the year 2001. The Government has lifted the travel restriction imposed on 30 April on UN staff which seriously affected WFP’s operations. Bi-monthly food distribution are undertaken to all registered IDPs in Bong and Grand Cape Mount Counties, in collaboration with the National Red Cross Society and ACF. More IDPs are arriving in these counties from Lofa County with the relaxation of restrictions on crossing the Lofa Bridge.

MALI (18 June)

The first significant rains were registered in the extreme south in mid-April. They progressed northwards and were above normal during the first and second dekads of May but they decreased during the third dekad. Precipitation was generally adequate in early and mid-June. Land preparation is underway and first plantings of millet and sorghum have started in the south. They will progress northwards with the onset of the rains.

As recommended by the National Early Warning System, distribution of seeds has been undertaken in various areas. The pest situation is calm. Low numbers of Desert Locusts are likely to be present and will persist in a few areas of Timetrine and the Adrar des Iforas. Limited breeding could start in these areas if rainfall occurs.

Following an average harvest and two successive bumper crops in 1998 and 1999, farmers’ stocks are still available for the lean season. The national security stock is also at its recommended level of 35 000 tonnes (plus 25 000 tonnes in the form of “financial” security stock). Therefore, the overall food situation is satisfactory. However, cereal prices increased significantly in April. In Ségou region, the average price of millet in mid-April was 26 percent higher than in March, 56 percent higher than the price in April last year and 30 percent higher than the previous five-year average price. The SAP (national early warning system) classified almost 400 000 persons as at risk of “food difficulties” in the “cercles” of Douentza, Mopti, Bandiagara and Youvarou in Mopti region; Niafunké and Gourma-Rharous in Tombouctou region; Gao, Ansongo, Bourem and Ménaka in Gao region and Kidal and Abéïbara in Kidal region. It recommended the distribution of 10 790 tonnes of millet and sorghum to these populations for 3 months.

MAURITANIA (18 June)

Seasonably dry conditions prevail. Planting will start following the onset of the rains in late June or July. Dry plantings may already have started in some areas in the extreme south and the south-east.

Seed availability is generally adequate following good rainfed crop harvests in 2000 in most areas. Desert Locusts have been observed mid-April north of Aïoun. They may move towards the summer breeding areas in the south where they are expected to mature and lay with the onset of the rainy season.

Desert Locusts have been observed mid-April north of Aïoun. They may move towards the summer breeding areas in the south where they are expected to mature and lay with the onset of the rainy season.

The food situation improved in rural areas following a good rainfed crops harvest in 2000. Although markets are generally well supplied, sorghum prices have increased sharply in Brakna, Gorgol and Trarza following poor recession crops. Several populations remain vulnerable, notably in various areas of Trarza, Brakna and western Gorgol, where imports of cereals from Mali decreased. The Government launched an appeal for 25 000 tonnes of emergency food aid.

NIGER (18 June)

Generally, seasonably dry conditions prevail. Scattered showers may have been received in the extreme south but plantings will start in the weeks ahead following the onset of the rains. Seeds availability is generally adequate as 2 000 tonnes of seeds have been distributed in the areas affected by poor crops in 2000.

Following a below-average crop in 2000, estimated at 2 143 000 tonnes, which was 25 percent below the 1999 level and about 10 percent below the average of the previous five years, the food supply situation is tight in the traditionally food deficit areas. Prices of cereals increased significantly in March and April, and have remained higher than average. The most at-risk zones are in Tchirozérine, Mainé-Sorea, N’Guigmi, Filingué and Ouallam arrondissements. The Government launched an appeal for international food assistance and seeds for the next growing season. The government and donors have bought cereals for sale at subsidized prices in the areas that experienced production shortfalls. The cereals, mainly millet and sorghum, are being sold at 10 000 F.CFA (about US $14) per 100-kg bag instead of the market price of 18 000 to 20 000 F.CFA. More than 1 billion F.CFA francs has been made available from the National Food Security Fund and the Donor Common Fund to buy cereals. In addition, 2 000 tonnes of seeds have been distributed in the affected areas. Financial assistance has also been given for off-season irrigated crops.

NIGERIA (11 June)

Rains started in the south-east in early March and progressed to the south-west in mid-March, allowing land preparation and plantings of the first maize crop. Precipitation was generally above average in April and May. Rains reached northern areas in late April/early May where they permitted planting of coarse grains. The Government has re-introduced the 25 percent subsidy on fertilizers.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Some population groups, however, remain vulnerable following flooding last year in Sokoto in the north-west.

SENEGAL (18 June)

Seasonably dry conditions prevail in most parts. Early limited rains were registered in the extreme south-east in May. Rains improved significantly in the south-east in early June. Elsewhere seasonably dry conditions prevail. Rains will start and progress towards the centre and the north in June. Land preparation and plantings of coarse grains are underway in the south.

Seed availability is generally adequate following 2000 above average harvest. No significant pest activity has been reported.

The aggregate output of cereals in 2000 has been estimated at 1 073 000 tonnes which is about 14 percent above average. Renewed fighting in May in Casamance in southern Senegal may hamper agriculture activities at the critical planting period for paddy.

Following two successive good harvests in 1999 and 2000, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Markets are well supplied. The price of millet and sorghum seasonably increased, while the price of rice remained mostly stable.

SIERRA LEONE* (4 June)

Planting of the rice crop is underway with the onset of rains in mid-April. Rice production should increase this year reflecting increased planted areas by returning farmers and improved conditions for distribution of inputs.

As a result of low food production in 2000 and transport problems, the food supply situation will remain tight in 2001.

WFP plans to distribute more than 50 000 tonnes of food aid to an estimated 544 000 beneficiaries during 2001, including IDPs, recent returnees from Guinea and 200 000 beneficiaries of special programmes for vulnerable groups such as schooling and malnourished children. NGOs also plan to distribute around 37 000 tonnes during 2001. The Government has launched a resettlement programme in Freetown, Port Loko, Kenema and Pejehun districts, which have been declared safe. A Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme also started in May for ex-combatants who return their arms. Between 58 000 and 60 000 Sierra Leonean refugees have recently returned following fighting in Guinea, 2 000 to 2 500 are returning to Sierra Leone each week.

TOGO (11 June)

Reflecting above-normal rains in May, the first maize crop is developing satisfactorily in the south and the centre. Coarse grains are emerging in the north. However, precipitation decreased in early June.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. However, some populations affected by floods in various areas remain vulnerable.