This is the second GIEWS report of the 2001 season on weather and crop conditions in the Sahelian countries of western Africa. Geographical coverage of these reports include the nine CILSS (Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) member states: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. Reports will be issued each month from June to November. The final report for 2001 with the first production estimates will be issued in late-November

These reports are prepared with data from, and in close collaboration with, out-posted FAO Representatives, the Agro-Meteorology Group and the Environmental Monitoring Group (SDRN), the Emergency Centre for Locust Operations (ECLO), the Special Relief Operations Service (TCOR), the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). In this report, satellite imagery provided by FAO/ARTEMIS, field data on rainfall, FAO agro-meteorological crop monitoring field reports and information provided by FAO Representatives up to 30 June have been utilized. Satellite images of the first week of June have also been utilized for final updating.


In these reports, reference will be made to four different eco-climatic zones based on the average annual precipitation and agricultural features, i.e. Sahelian zone, Sudano-Sahelian zone, Sudanian zone and Guinean zone. They are shown on the map and described below:

Sahelian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges between 250 and 500 mm. This zone is at the limit of perennial vegetation. In parts where precipitation is less than 350 mm, only pastures and occasional short-cycle drought-resistant cereal crops are grown; all cropping in this zone is subject to high risk.

Sudano-Sahelian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges from 500 to 900 mm. In those parts of this zone where precipitation is less than 700 mm, mostly crops with a short growing cycle of 90 days are generally cultivated predominantly sorghum and millet.

Sudanian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges from 900 to 1 100 mm. In this zone, most cereal crops have a growing cycle of 120 days or more. Most cereals, notably maize, root and cash crops are grown in this zone.

Guinean zone: Where average annual precipitation exceeds 1 100 mm. Guinea-Bissau and a small area of southern Burkina Faso belong to this zone, more suited to root crop cultivation.

Reference will also be made to the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), also known by its trace on the earth's surface, called the Intertropical Front. The ITCZ is a quasi-permanent zone between two air masses separating the northern and southern hemisphere trade winds. The ITCZ moves north and south of the equator and usually reaches its most northerly position in July. Its position defines the northern limits of possible precipitation in the Sahel; rain-bearing clouds are generally situated 150-200 km south of the Intertropical Front.

The report can also be received automatically by E-mail as soon as it is published, subscribing to the GIEWS/Sahel report ListServ. To do so, please send an E-mail to the FAO-Mail-Server at the following address :,  leaving the subject blank, with the following message :
       subscribe GIEWSSahel-L
To receive the report in french, do the same with the message :
       subscribe SMIARSahel-L
To be deleted from the list, send the message :
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This report is prepared under the responsibility of FAO/GIEWS with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, for further information, if required, please contact

Mr. Abdur Rashid, Chief, Global Information and Early Warning Service, FAO Headquarters - Rome
Fax No.: 0039-06-5705-4495, E-Mail address:

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