3 December 2002


Mission Highlights

  • The late onset of the rainy season and subsequent erratic and unevenly distributed rainfall harmed the maize crop, the only cereal grown in Cape Verde.
  • Maize production in 2002/03 is put at only 5 067 tonnes, against 19 500 tonnes in the previous year and 24 300 tonnes in 2000/01, thus a sharp 74 percent reduction from 2001/02 and one of the lowest levels in the past ten years.
  • The cereal market is well supplied and prices are below the ceiling set by the Government. Labour-intensive infrastructural works have been introduced to create employment for rural populations and thus facilitate their access to food. With the poor harvests of 2002/03, the most affected populations are requesting an early start to such works this year. The number of jobs involved also needs to be increased in view if the large number of people affected.
  • Imports of 108 518 tonnes of cereals will be needed to ensure adequate food supply. With anticipated commercial imports of 33 250 tonnes and pledged food aid of 37 380 tonnes, the remaining deficit requiring additional food assistance amounts to 37 880 tonnes.
  • The population groups most affected by the drop in production are the poor, who predominate in Santa Cruz and Tarrafal on the island of Santiago and in Porto Novo in Santo Antao. Farmers in the semi-arid zones of all the islands are also in a critical situation, especially on the islands of Boa Vista and Maio, where there will be no harvest. WFP envisages assisting 28 000 people between 1 April and 30 September 2003.
  • The Mission recommends that assistance with agricultural inputs, especially seeds, be given to affected farmers to enable them to resume activities in the next planting season.


A joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Cape Verde from 19 to 26 October 2002. The Mission worked closely with the services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries which is responsible for monitoring the agricultural season, with the members of the National Food Security Commission (CNASA) and with the Directorate of International Cooperation. It collected information from food marketing companies and met officials from cooperation agencies working in the field of food security. The Mission made a field visit on the island of Santiago, the main agricultural island, to assess the state of crops and to discuss the agricultural season and harvest prospects with farmers and extension agents.

The Mission learned that the production of maize (the only cereal grown in the country) in the 2001/02 season had been evaluated at 19 500 tonnes, 20 percent down from 2000/01, which was itself down 33 percent from the record 36 400 tonnes registered in 1999/2000. These successive falls in production have resulted in tighter supply, especially in rural areas. However, regular food supplies and the creation of thousands of jobs through the FAIMO labour-intensive infrastructural programmes, funded from food aid counterpart funds, have enabled the population to maintain a generally adequate level of nutrition. Food aid was also distributed to the elderly and handicapped unable to work on the FAIMO sites. Assistance in the form of maize and bean seeds was required at the beginning of the 2002/03 season to enable many farmers to resume their activities.

The significant delay to the start of the 2002/03 cropping season and the erratic and uneven distribution of subsequent rains has again compromised harvests. The mission estimates that the maize harvest for 2002/03 will amount to 5 067 tonnes, which is sharply down by 74 percent from last year, and one of the lowest levels recorded in the past ten years. Production of maize is mainly on the islands of Santiago (54 percent) and Fogo (35 percent). Some 34 percent of the cropped area will not be harvested, as there will be no production. The bean and sweet potato harvests will vary from low to average, depending on the region. By contrast, irrigated crops and especially market garden produce could perform well in 2002/03 as the rains of September and October replenished groundwaters.

Domestic cereal supplies for the 2002/03 marketing year are estimated at 16 949 tonnes against 125 467 tonnes needed, which means an import requirement of 108 518 tonnes. Anticipated commercial imports amount to 33 250 tonnes and pledged food aid to 37 380 tonnes, which leaves a cereal deficit of 37 888 tonnes requiring additional food assistance.

Despite the drop in production in 2001/02, the food situation remained relatively good thanks to the regularity of supplies and the work opportunities made available by the FAIMO, which enabled a large number of rural inhabitants to purchase food. Demand for such work will be even greater this year and many people are already urging an earlier start so that they can feed their families.

The Government should open these works as soon as possible and take immediate steps to ensure the regularity of food supplies. It should revise its commercial imports programme upwards or engage in immediate negotiations with partners to obtain additional aid. WFP already envisages helping 28 000 most affected people for six months from 1 April to 30 September 2003.

Support in the form of seeds will also be needed for the next planting season, especially in the semi-arid regions and on the islands of Boa Vista and Maio where this year's harvests will be nil.


2.1 Population

The population census of June 2000 indicates that Cape Verde had an estimated 434 812 inhabitants at the time and the annual rate of population growth of 2.4 percent. Some 55 percent of the population lives on the island of Santiago and 25 percent in Praia, the country’s capital. Cape Verde has a long tradition of emigration, and at least 500 000 Cape Verdeans live abroad, mainly in the US, Europe and other African countries. The emigrant community is larger than the resident population and plays a key role in the country's economic growth.

2.2 Selected macroeconomic indicators1

In spite of its difficult climate and lack of natural resources, Cape Verde has had regular economic growth since independence in 1974 thanks to official development aid and remittances from its emigrants. The World Bank estimates average real growth in GDP of 8 percent between 1974 and 1985, and 4 percent between 1986 and 1992. This was much higher than the population growth of about 2.5 percent in these periods. Annual GDP growth then averaged 7.1 percent from 1993 but fell to 3 percent in 2001 because of low tax receipts (cf. Table 1). Economic revival is expected for 2002-2004, with 4 percent growth in 2002 and 5 percent in 2003 and 2004.

Per capita GDP was estimated at US$1 290 in 2000, one of the highest in Africa.

The economy is dominated by the services sector, which is comprised mainly of transport, emigrant-funded commerce and public services. In 2000, the services sector accounted for 71.6 percent of GDP, including 14.9 percent from emigrant remittances, industry for 17.6 percent, and agriculture and fisheries for only 10.9 percent.

Inflation has been kept under control, dropping from 4.4 percent in 1998 and 1999 to 3 percent in 2001. Monetary agreement with Portugal in July 1998 pegged the Cape Verdean Escudo (CVEsc) to the Portuguese Escudo, an arrangement that was maintained when Portugal entered the Euro zone. In October 2002 the Euro was exchanged at 110 CVEsc.

Budgetary balance is partly based on official development aid, where 90 percent is non-reimbursable. Such aid represented 21.5 percent of government resources in 2000. The country's structural food deficit makes food aid the second major component of official development aid, after investment. Such aid played a significant role in reducing the budget deficit from more than 10 percent of GDP in 1990 to about 4.3 percent in 1998. In 2001, it had risen back to 6.1 percent of GDP.

The country has a chronic trade deficit, which rose from US$100 million in 1989 to US$217 million in 1995, representing 44 percent of GDP. However, import restriction cut this to 15.8 percent of GDP in 2000. The main imports in order of importance are capital goods, foodstuffs and fuels. The country has to use the international market for virtually all its food needs, importing some US$78.3 million of foodstuffs in 2000. Its exports are essentially textiles, leather and fishery products. In 2000, textiles, leather and footwear accounted for 87 percent of export earnings and fisheries only 7 percent.

Table 1: Changes in selected economic indicators (US$ million)

  1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Nominal GDP (US$ million) 539.7 588.1 558.2 553.3 639.6
Real rate of growth (%) 7.6 7.9 6.8 3.0 4.0
Inflation (%) 4.4 4.4 -2.5 3.0 3.0
Exports fob (US$ million) 32.7 35.0 23.9 27.3 30.0
Imports fob (US$ million) 218.3 223.0 217.6 218.0 220.0
External debt (US$ million) 246.5 327.4 327.2 344.0 325.0
Foreign currency reserves (excluding gold) 8.3 43.5 28.2 27.2 63.2
Average exchange rate (CVEsc: US$) 98.2 102.7 115.9 122.9 114.9
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Report, July 2002.

2.3 Agriculture and fisheries

Although 53 percent of the active population is employed in agriculture and fisheries, these sectors only accounted for 10.9 percent of GDP in 1998. Agriculture is hampered by arid climatic conditions and erratic rainfall. Production fluctuates widely and rarely covers more than 15 percent of the country's needs. The main crops are maize, beans, vegetables and fruit, especially banana, some of which is exported. The country is heavily dependent on imports for food supplies. Since 1990, food aid has been a primary instrument of food security management. The country receives between 30 000 to 40 000 tonnes of food aid each year from the international community.

Data on livestock are relatively old, with 1995 figures giving an estimated animal population of 143 370, comprised of 21 823 head of cattle, 112 331 goats and 9 216 sheep.

Fisheries contribute about one percent of GDP. Fish exports, mainly tuna, are estimated at 35 000 tonnes per year.


3.1 Rainfall

Cape Verde's rainy season generally begins in July, but July was dry this year except for the “hidden rains" at high altitude. Cumulative rainfall was lower than last year and the average for 1981-1990.

Significant rainfall only started on 8 and 9 August, in parts of the island of Santiago (Assomada, Curralinho, Ribeirao Manuel, S. Jorge Orgaos, Serra Malagueta), the island of Fogo (Galinheiro, Ponta Verde), the island of Santo Antao (Agua Das Caldeiras, Faja Domingos Benta, Passagem, PeroDias, Pico Da Cruz) and the island of S. Nicolau (Cachaço, Cabecalinho (Baixo)).

There was then low to no rainfall during the second dekad of August, except in parts of the island of Fogo where it was abundant (40 mm in Cocho and 48 mm in Ribeira Ilheu on 20 August). On the whole, cumulative rainfall was far lower than last year and the average for 1981-1990.

There was localized heavy rainfall in late August in parts of the islands of Santiago and Fogo: on 30 August 21.2 mm in Mato Limao, on 31 August 24.5 mm and 34.8 mm in Galinheiro and Ponta Verde respectively.

There was then relatively widespread rainfall in early September throughout the archipelago, particularly on the island of Santo Antao. There were abundant rains at high altitude, especially in Coa which had over 90 mm on 2 September. There were even more abundant rains in the middle of the month with 130 mm and 180 mm falling on 15 September in Ribeira Prata on the island of S. Nicolau and in Cocho on the island of Fogo. There was also significant rain towards the end of September over virtually the whole of the archipelago, with 152.5 mm and 146.5 mm on 21 September in Pombas on the island of S. Nicolau and in Ribeira Ilheu on the island of Fogo, respectively. The 22 September saw rainfall of 157.0 mm in Cha de Arroz on the island of S. Antao and 120 mm in Monte Velha on the island of Fogo.

There was limited rainfall in early October on the Island of Santiago and none whatsoever on the other agricultural islands of Santo Antao, S. Nicolau and Fogo. There were then heavy rains on 11, 12 and 13 October on all the agricultural islands, especially Santo Antao and S. Nicolau. The rainfall for the different agricultural islands is charted on Graph 1 below.

Graph 1: Rainfall 2002 on selected islands

Graph 2: Comparative rainfall 2002, 2001 and average 1981-1990

On 20 October, cumulative seasonal rainfall at monitoring stations on the islands of Santiago and Fogo was lower than in 2001 and the average for 1981-1990. By contrast, it was higher on both counts on the islands of Santo Antao and S. Nicolau.

Reflecting the pattern of rainfall, the hydrological situation was equally worrying at the beginning of the season. There was no significant water flow in July or August. Significant flow only occurred with the abundant rains of September and October, helping replenish dams and raise groundwater levels. This will benefit irrigated crops (off-season vegetables and fruit) and provide water supplies to people and livestock.

Regarding agriculture, the late and then insufficient rains only permitted rainfed planting from early August, notably at high altitude on the Islands of Fogo, Santo Antao, Santiago and Brava. Graph 1 illustrates this situation. Replanting was required in virtually all the semi-arid zones, sometimes until early September.

The improvement in rainfall in the last two dekads of September and until mid-October provided all the islands with sufficient water for crops in the humid and sub-humid zones. However, the rain was less beneficial to crops in the semi-arid strata as these were in a state of irreversible water stress following the long dry spell.

Taking into account the phenological state of the crops and the level of residual soil moisture at the end of October, the production prospects for each stratum would appear as follows:

In the humid strata2 the crops are in the advanced grain formation stage and production prospects look average given the possibilities of benefiting from "hidden rains".

In the sub-humid strata, the crops are in the grain formation stage but risk having no further rainfall. Their growth is irregular and production levels will be low to average.

In the semi-arid strata, the crops are in the growth stage and have no chance of completing their cycle. Production will be mediocre to nil.

3.2 Agricultural input supply

There is an open market for agricultural inputs in Cape Verde, with producers dealing directly with local traders. Government intervention is mainly for plant protection in the case of serious infestation.

Little fertilizer is used for rainfed crops, in part because of the steep terrain and heavy erosion, and in part because of unreliable production due to the irregularity and insufficiency of rainfall. Farmers generally keep some of their harvest as seed stock.

This year, under FAO project TCP/CVI/2801 "Emergency Assistance to Populations Affected by Drought", 60.3 tonnes of maize seed, 41 tonnes of bean and groundnut seed and 960 kg of pesticides were distributed to more than 7 300 families.

Fertilizer and improved seeds are, however, commonly used for irrigated crops. An estimated 2.1 tonnes of improved vegetable seed were used in the 2000/01 agricultural season and 2.55 tonnes in 2001/02. An estimated 279 tonnes of fertilizer were used for fruit and vegetables in the 2001/02 season.

3.3 Cereal production 2002/03

The only cereal grown in Cape Verde is maize. Evaluating the production of maize and other crops (bean and vegetables) is based on the annual agricultural survey, which began very late this year because of the delayed onset of the rains. The agricultural statistics service was still collecting survey data at the time of the Mission's visit so these were not available for harvest projections. The Mission and the members of the agricultural technical monitoring group therefore based their estimates of cropped area on previous figures. Their estimate of yields was based on a combined methodology involving field observation (vegetative state of crops, soil moisture, etc.), information gathered from farmers and extension agents during field visits and examination of previous data.

This led the Mission to the following conclusions:

Planted area

The estimated area planted to maize in 2001/02 (30 674 ha) was used again for 2002/03, as historical data indicate little change in area over time. The area is similar to that of 2000/01 (30 626 ha) and only 2 percent down from 1999/2000 (31 358 ha). In terms of agro-climatic strata, the aggregate area breaks down as follows: humid 5 381 ha, sub-humid 14 352 ha, semi-arid 10 941 ha (see Table 2).


Estimated yields vary from one agro-climatic stratum to another and from one island to another. They range from 200 to 800 kg/ha in the humid zone and from 150 to 370 kg/ha in the sub-humid zone (see Table 2). They will however be much lower than last year. There is no prospect of a harvest in the semi-arid zones, where yields will be nil. The same applies to the humid zones of Santo Antao and Praia. There will be no harvests in Boa Vista or Maio. A total of 10 445 ha (34 percent of the cropped area) will not be harvested, although the crops will serve as forage.


Total production for the 2002/03 agricultural season is evaluated at 5 067 tonnes of maize (see Table 2 and 3). This is down a sharp 74 percent from last year's production of 19 549 tonnes, which was itself 19 percent down from 2000/01. It is close to the level of 1997 and 1998 (4 900 and 4 883 tonnes respectively) but higher than those of 1994 (3 163 tonnes) and 1996 (1 300 tonnes). The 2002/03 harvest will therefore be among the worst in the last ten years. (see Graph 3).

Production is mainly from the islands of Santiago (54 percent) and Fogo (35 percent), with very little on the islands of San Nicolau and Brava and none on the islands of Maio and Boa Vista.

Table 2: Estimates of area, yield and production for the 2002/03 cropping season

Area (ha)   Total
Humid Sub-
  Humid Sub-
Humid Sub-
Fogo 840 3 438 2 319 6 597       511 1 272   1 782
S. Filipe 538 2 452 2319 5 309 500 370 0 269 907 0 1 176
Mosteiros 302 986 0 1 288 800 370 0 241 365 0 606
S. Nicolau 214 240 556 1 009 400 0 0 86 0 0 86
Sto. Antão 493 2 106 1 475 4 074       0 376 0 376
Porto Novo 295 173 976 1 444 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Paúl 111 54 203 367 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rra. Grande 88 1 879 296 2 263 0 200 0 0 376 0 376
Santiago 3 603 8 353 5 983 17 939       1 653 1 170 0 2 759
Praia 0 0 839 839 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S.Cruz 2 046 180 2 000 4 226 350 300 0 716 54 0 770
Tarrafal 97 1 687 109 1 893 200 150 0 19 253 0 272
S.Catarina 1 146 4 316 1 437 6 899 600 200 0 688 863 0 1 551
S. Domingos 201 1 119 164 1 484 600 0 0 121 0 0 121
S. Miguel 113 1 052 1 434 2 599 400 0 0 45 0 0 45
Brava 230 215 87 532 280 0 0 64 0 0 64
Maio 0 0 362 362 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Boa Vista 0 0 160 160 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 5381 1 4352 1 0941 30 674       2 249 2 818 0 5 067

Table 3: Maize area and production in 2002/03 in Cape Verde

  Fogo S.Nicolau S. Antao Santiago Brava Maio Boa Vista Total
Area (ha) 6 597 1 009 4 074 17 939 532 362 160 30 674
Production (tonnes) 1 782 86 376 2 759 64 0 0 5 067

Graph 3: Changes in maize production in Cape Verde from 1992 to 2002 (tonnes)

3.4 Other crops

Other crops are principally beans, vegetables and fruit. Beans are grown in association with maize and are the second staple food in rural areas, after maize. Like maize, bean production varies widely from one year to another, moving in the past ten years from 3 297 tonnes in 1992 to 137 tonnes in 1994, to 3 008 tonnes in 1996, 7 832 tonnes in 1998 and 7 768 tonnes in 1999. Last year, production amounted to 5 340 tonnes. As for maize, this large fluctuation means that a production average has little meaning in the case of Cape Verde. Given the rainfall in 2002/03 and its impact on maize, bean production is very unlikely to reach last year's level.

By contrast, vegetable and fruit production will be average to good with good cropping conditions as the rains of late September/early October replenished the dams and groundwaters.

3.5 Animal production

The absence of pasture in the arid and semi-arid areas until August seriously affected livestock, who had to be given maize-based concentrated feed. The situation improved considerably towards the end of the agricultural season, especially in the humid and sub-humid areas, which saw relatively good pasture growth. However, the semi-arid and arid areas will not have enough pasture for the agricultural season and feed supplements will be needed again this year to ensure a good level of animal production.

3.6 Fishery production

While representing a significant source of foreign currency, fishery products (fish and crustaceans) are also the population’s main source of animal protein. Some 53 000 tonnes of fish are exported each year.


4.1 Access to food

Until 1998, market food supplies were essentially handled by the Government, through two parastatal companies: EMPA for maize, rice and other major items (bean, sugar, milk) and MOAVE for wheat. These two companies supplied the market through commercial imports and saw to domestic distribution. They were also responsible for food aid sold for counterpart funds and Government financing of food security activities, in agreement with donors.

A price ceiling exists for basic foodstuffs. The fixed prices also help gauge market supply, triggering imports in the case of insufficient supplies and ensuring regularity of supply.

A gradual reform of the whole food security mechanism was initiated in 1998 with the support of donors, especially the European Union. This reform should result in the complete liberalization of the sector in the coming years. The privatization of MOAVE is complete and of EMPA well advanced. The private Cereal Investment Company has also been set up and the Government has created the National Food Security Agency (ANSA) to regulate the market. This agency has already received one million Euros from the European Union to enable it to intervene in the event of market difficulties. It will also be responsible for monitoring food aid and advising the Government on price ceilings, this system still being in effect.

The market was regularly supplied in 2001/02 and access to foodstuffs was judged good. Prices throughout the country remained considerably below their ceilings. Commercial imports amounted to 37 370 tonnes of cereal and food aid to 36 607 tonnes. As the country has a structural deficit (producing barely 15 percent of its cereal requirements), food aid has always been an important component of its food security mechanism and the volume of food aid is often higher than commercial imports. Food aid was distributed last year to the elderly and handicapped unable to work. There is a labour-intensive infrastructure programme financed by food aid counterpart funds to enable people affected by insufficient production to work and thus purchase food. The programme creates an estimated 15 000–20 000 temporary jobs each year.

Graph 4: Cape Verde cereal imports 1991 to 2002 ('000 tonnes)

4.2 The cereal balance for 2002/03

The cereal balance for 2002/03 (seeTable 4) is based on the following assumptions:

The cereal balance indicates a total import requirement of 108 518 tonnes of cereals. Anticipated commercial imports amount to 33 250 tonnes and pledged food aid to 37 380 tonnes, leaving an additional requirement of 37 888 tonnes.

Table 4: Cereal balance 2002/03

  Rice Wheat Maize Total
DOMESTIC AVAILABILITY 3 847 2 682 10 420 16 949
Production - - 5 067 5 067
Opening stocks 3 847 2 682 5 353 11 882
TOTAL UTILIZATION 35 084 26 925 63 458 125 467
Food 31 237 24 243 57 345 112 825
Seed use, loss and other - - 760 760
Closing stocks 3 847 2 682 5 353 11 882
IMPORT REQUIREMENTS 31 237 24 243 53 038 108 518
Commercial 17 400 4 600 11 250 33 250
Pledged aid 6 500 10 000 20 880 37 380
UNCOVERED DEFICIT 7 337 9 643 20 908 37 888


The expected reduction in maize production in 2002/03 should induce the Government to employ its traditional mechanisms (notable FAIMO, its labour-intensive infrastructural works programme) with the help of the international community. However, the scale of the reduction in production and the rural poverty situation call for more precise targeting of the affected population.

WFP envisages providing a targeted response if approached by the Government. Through its regular development activities, WFP is already supporting a school canteen project covering 350 primary schools (basic education) and 280 nursery schools (pre-school education), reaching a total of some 120 000 children aged between 3 to 12 for nine months of each year. Close to 3 000 tonnes of food have been distributed to children as hot lunches or snacks during classroom breaks. The project is scheduled to last four years from 2000/01 to 2003/04 and encompasses the whole country.

In response to a Government appeal during the 2001/02 season, WFP also implemented an emergency intervention project amounting to 2 700 tonnes of food for 30 000 beneficiaries, 82 percent of whom are women heads of household or other vulnerable groups affected by the fall in maize production or living in extremely precarious conditions. The project is scheduled to last from July to December 2002. Sixty percent of resources have been pledged and food is already being distributed on six of the country's ten islands.

In a more comprehensive operation covering the West Sahel region and prompted by the chaotic 2002/03 rainy season in Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia and Cape Verde, WFP plans to focus on the vulnerable groups most affected by the reduction in agricultural production. There will be careful targeting of beneficiaries. This mission was preceded by a Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) survey and a nutritional survey of children aged 5 to 59 months. The regional emergency operation will run from January to September 2003 and will thus include the 2003 lean season which is when affected populations suffer most from food insecurity.

In Cape Verde, the intention is to focus primarily on women heads of rural household who have large families under their care. Other vulnerable groups could also be included after careful identification. The intervention areas will be mainly on the four agricultural islands of Santiago, Fogo, San Antao and S. Nicolau.

The Government has requested assistance for 80 000 people. Using the results of the vulnerability survey, WFP aid could target 28 000 people.

Implementation modalities will include food-based support to grassroots activities and to educational and literacy activities for food-insecure populations. Partnerships will be sought with local and international NGOs, community associations, technical partners and the Government for the delivery of foodstuffs to the beneficiaries.

The VAM survey has revealed that Santa Cruz and Tarrafal on the island of Santiago have a high proportion of poor families. On Santa Antao, only Porto Novo has a high number of poor families (13 percent). On the other two agricultural islands of San Nicolau and Fogo, the proportion of poor families is around 7 percent.

Areas Poor families
Santa Cruz 7 313
Tarrafal 3 393
Porto Novo 3 377
San Nicolau 1 544
Fogo 3 685
Total 19 312

WFP assistance to Cape Verde will target 28 000 beneficiaries on the islands of Santiago, Fogo, Santo Antao and San Nicolau, featuring a daily individual ration of 1 800 kcal made up of cereals (400 g), pulses (60 g) and vegetable oil (30 g). These rations will be distributed free for 6 months from 1 April to 30 September 2003, a total of 180 days.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

Henri Josserand
Fax: 0039-06-5705-4495
E-mail: giews1@fao.org
M. Aranda da Silva
Regional Director, ODD, WFP
Fax: 00221-8223798
E-mail: Manuel.ArandadaSilva@wfp.org

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1. This information is taken from: The Economist Intelligence Unit; Country Report, July 2002.

2. Cropping zones are divided into three main groups according to altitude above sea level which conditions their respective climates. The humid stratum groups the high-altitude zones. It receives more water than the others and also benefits from higher relative humidity, especially with the abundant formation of dew, commonly referred to as "hidden rains". This stratum is the best suited to agricultural production. The second is the sub-humid stratum which comes between the humid stratum and the semi-arid stratum. The latter stratum is the driest and least suited to cropping and is in fact more a zone of pasture than of agricultural production.