Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture
FAO Rome, December 2002

NB: This document is also available in French.

For further information, please contact Henri Josserand, 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 2002 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 2002 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 and the CILSS/Agrhymet Centre in Niamey. FEWS (Famine Early Warning System) Programme of USAID and World Food Programme (WFP) were also associated with some of 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, national early warning systems (SAP), market information systems (SIM) and food security monitoring systems (CT-CCI in Burkina Faso, CASAGC in Chad, SAP-GC in Niger, 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 28 to 30 October 2002 in Ouagadougou 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 from 9 to 11 December in Brussels, Belgium.

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.


Cereal production will be significantly lower in the west of the Sahel this year. Following the first rains in June, a long dry spell from early July through August severely affected crops in Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal, although rainfall in August reduced crop losses somewhat. In the eastern and central parts of the Sahel (the main producing countries) by contrast, growing conditions were more favourable, despite an erratic start of the rainy season which necessitated replantings.

The FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions estimated aggregate 2002 cereal production at 11.3 million tonnes, 3 percent lower than 2001 but 11 percent above the last five years' average. Below-average harvests are anticipated in Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania; while near average production is expected in Chad, The Gambia, Mali and Senegal. Above-average outputs are foreseen in Burkina Faso and Niger.

In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, harvest prospects are generally favourable in Benin, Nigeria and Togo but less favourable in Ghana, following below normal rains in September and October. In Liberia, agricultural activities have been disrupted by renewed civil strife, pointing to reduced rice production this year. In Côte d'Ivoire, a reduction in rice and other cereal production is forecast as a result of unfavourable weather and conflicts that forced many farmers to leave their land.


(i) Factors Affecting 2002 Production

(a) Rainfall

Seasonal rains were recorded at the beginning of May in the south of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and the extreme south-east of Senegal, reaching the rest of Senegal, The Gambia and the south of Mauritania in June. In Guinea Bissau, the rainy season began in mid-June after a month's delay.

In most of Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania there was a one-month dry spell from July to August which adversely affected developing crops. Rains resumed in the first dekad of August and some crops that had been affected were able to recover. In Cape Verde, the first rains only arrived in August while the agricultural season effectively began in September.

In the east and centre of the Sahel, following erratic and below average rains until mid-June, precipitation improved from July onwards. This irregular rainfall necessitated replanting in all countries and the developmental stages of crops varied considerably from region to region.

In September, rainfall was generally good in most producing regions but was less in the second and third dekads over a significant part of Chad, the Gambia, Mali and Senegal. In October, abundant rainfall was recorded in almost all countries

Despite the fact that the rains continued into October, cumulative rainfall from 1 May to 31 October is below average in most countries, especially in the west of the Sahel.

(b) Area Planted and Seed Availability

Overall, seed availability was adequate in most of the countries, with the exception of Cape Verde and Mauritania owing to poor harvests in 2001 and to the exceptionally heavy rainfall in January 2002 which caused a lot of damage. Seeds were distributed by the Cape Verde Government with the assistance of FAO. The irregularity of rainfall and dry spells necessitated considerable replanting in almost the whole of the Sahel. This resulted in a shortage of seeds and a reduction in area planted, especially in the west.

According to reports, the area planted fell considerably (in relation to 2001) in several countries in the west of the Sahel, particularly in Mauritania, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau. In Mauritania, the country most affected, there was a 52 per cent reduction in area planted.

(c) Pest situation

Pest infestation was fairly limited during the agricultural season. Grasshopper infestations were reported in Mali, Niger, Senegal and Chad while armyworms were noted in Mali and Chad. Attacks from grain eating birds were reported in Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. Spraying was successfully undertaken, although localised damage was noted in Mali, Niger and Chad.

No large desert locust swarms were reported in West Africa. Only a few isolated adults were seen in some zones in the south of Mauritania and the north of Mali and Niger where small-scale breeding was observed in some places in September/October.

Map 1

Map 2

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


(ii) Weather Performance and Monitoring of Crop Development in 2002

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 the Environment and Natural Resources Service of 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 2002. It shows that CCD - and thus the implied rainfall - was highest during July and August. Compared to the centre and the east, a marked reduction in rainfall can be noted in July in the west of the Sahel, notably in Mauritania, the Gambia and northern Senegal. The improvement in these countries from August can also be noted.

The map and graph (click here) give an assessment of the 2002 cropping season, based on a classification of the evolution of the NDVI during the season compared to the 1982-2001 average. The CILSS area has been divided into five classes. Each class, identified by a colour, indicates one type of behaviour during the 2002 season as compared to the average.

The graphics (click here) show the rainfall pattern of different zones of the Sahel for the 2002 season as compared to the average calculated over the period 1961-90. The data are from 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 Member Countries for 2002

As indicated in the introduction, this report presents a preliminary FAO/CILSS assessment of the 2002 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 2002 and on production estimates provided by the national services and reviewed by Crop Assessment Missions between 8 and 26 October 2002 in the nine countries.

Total cereal output for 2002 in the nine CILSS member countries was estimated by the joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions at 11.3 million tonnes which is three per cent down on 2001 but 11 per cent higher than the average output of the last five years. Output is expected to be above average in Burkina Faso and Niger. It is likely to be about average in Gambia, Mali and Chad, but lower than average in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal.

Table 1. Sahelian Countries - Cereal Production 1992 to 2001 and Preliminary Forecast for 2002
in thousand tonnes gross basis, with rice in paddy)


Country Cereal Production Preliminary Forecast for 2002 2002/
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Burkina Faso
2 478
2 496
2 492
2 308
2 482
2 014
2 657
2 700
2 286
3 109 3 277
Cape Verde
20 5
Chad 1/
1 175
1 353
1 230
1 322 1 123
199 149
Guinea-Bissau 2/
164 147
1 809
2 228
2 457
2 189
2 219
2 138
2 548
2 894
2 380
2 583 2 527
122 100
2 548
1 787
2 440
2 093
2 261
1 721
2 979
2 861
2 122
3 094 3 090
Senegal 3/
1 134
1 093
1 023
1 009
1 061
962 901
8 800
8 700
10 000
9 100
9 200
8 100
10 800
11 200
9 300
11 574 11 320

Note: Record harvests are underlined.
1/ For 2001, the figure is based on estimates prepared by statistical services but not based on a survey
2/ A change in the methodology was introduced in 1997 and no survey was possible in 1998 and 1999.
3/ For 1993 and 1999, the figure is based on estimates prepared by statistical services but not based on a survey.
4/ 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 represent only 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.


(iv) Country-by-Country Summaries

Burkina Faso:

From April to May rainfall was irregular and insufficient for a good start to the season. Although there was an improvement in June, rainfall only became widespread across the country in July. There was little rainfall overall in August but well distributed in terms of time and space. In September, there were localised pockets of drought at the critical moment of crop reproduction, especially during the second dekad and in the north of the country. At the start of October, there was fairly regular rainfall throughout the country and this improved prospects for crops.

Crop planting was late in most regions compared with last year and the average. At the end of July, the progress of the season was fairly uniform across the regions and even among various places in the same region. There was a large proportion of late planting in regions in the north, the Sahel and the centre. This led to good crop development. However, the season was marked by differences in levels of crop development and phenological stages. Later, when the plants were at the reproduction stage, some pockets of drought affected millet. Sorghum was more resistant and renewed rainfall in October facilitated good development for this crop. Regions in the north and the Sahel were the most affected.

The pest situation was generally calm throughout the country and sporadic attacks by grasshoppers and cantharids did not hamper good crop development. Some chemical treatments were undertaken which stopped the attacks. In the regions of the north and the Sahel, development of the pastures was adversely affected.

In general, the outlook for the cereal harvests is satisfactory. The joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission, which visited Burkina Faso from 14 to 18 October, estimated 2002/2003 cereal production at 3 276 600 tonnes. This is a 5 per cent increase compared with 2001/2002 and 22 per cent higher than the average of the last five years. Compared with last year, food prospects are significantly better in most provinces.

Some base data on this country (in french)


Cape Verde:

The month of July usually signals the start of the growing season in Cape Verde but this year, July was dry. Rainfall only came at the beginning of August in some places on the islands of Santiago, Fogo, Santo Antão and S. Nicolau, but was generally limited and insufficient. At the start of the first dekad of September, rain was observed over a large part of the archipelago, especially on the island of Santo Antão. Precipitation was abundant on the high ground, particularly in Cova. Heavier rain fell in the middle of the second dekad and at the start of the third. Nevertheless, these rains tailed off considerably during the first dekad of October before picking up again in the second dekad.

The late arrival of the rainfall and low quantity meant that wet planting could only begin in the first dekad of August, in particular on the high ground on the islands of Fogo, Santo Antão, Santiago and Brava. Replanting was necessary in almost all the semi-arid zones and in some cases continued until the beginning of September.

The pest situation in the archipelago as a whole was calm.

The joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission, which visited Cape Verde from 19 to 26 October, estimated the 2002/03 maize production at 5 067 tonnes. This was 74 per cent down compared to the previous year which was estimated at 19 549 tonnes and which was already down on 2000/01 by 19 per cent. The 2002/03 harvest is one of the worst in the last ten years.

  Some base data on this country (in french)


The first significant rains came in April in the far south of the country. They then spread across the whole Sudanian zone in May but were irregular and below average in June. From mid-July to the end of the second dekad of September, most of the country's agricultural zones recorded abundant rainfall with a period of slightly lower intensity towards the end of August. The levels recorded for each dekad were sometimes higher than those observed in the corresponding period in 2001. This trend continued during the last dekad of September when there was heavy rainfall across most of the country. Temporal distribution was quite good during the period overall. The rains continued into the month of October, but on the 10th of the month the seasonal total was still below average.

In almost all the Sudanian zone of the country, the irregular and low rainfall at the beginning of the season led to delays in planting of between two and six weeks. Widespread planting did not get under way until the end of June/beginning of July. In contrast, in the Sahelian zone, widespread planting was observed in most departments during the second dekad of July, almost similar to that in 2001. By mid-October, crop development was satisfactory in the Sudanian zone, and in the east of the Sahelian zone, with harvesting starting up in some places. By contrast, in the western part of the Sahel, some places had received too little rain adversely affecting cereal crops.

The pest situation was marked by massive infestations of grasshoppers in August and September with significant damage to millet, especially in the south of the department of Ouaddaï, the north of Hadjer Lamis and Guéra. About 30 000 ha of crops were infested and only 900 ha were sprayed. A proliferation of army worms and attacks from birds were also reported. Pastures regenerated and watering points were replenished . Although livestock suffered from insufficient grazing in July, the general state of pastures was satisfactory in most of the pastoral zones in mid-October.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission visited Chad from 14 to 20 October and estimated 2002/03 cereal production at 1 123 460 tonnes, a fall of 15 per cent compared to 2001/02 and of 4 percent compared with the average for the last five years.

Some base data on this country (in french)

The Gambia:

The rainy season started in May when some rains were registered nationwide. However, they were not sufficient for seeding but allowed land preparation. In the eastern part, the first rains were late by three weeks. The first measurable rains of the season arrived in early June in the eastern half of the country. By the end of the first dekad, the entire country had recorded measurable rainfall, and in some places the rains were significant for the commencement of agricultural activities. During the second dekad, a storm traversed the entire country, bringing significant rainfall. The single rainy day during this dekad was followed by almost 10 rainless days countrywide. In July, rainfall increased in the early and middle part of the dekad, but ceased during the later part throughout the country. This dry spell seriously affected agricultural activities in the country. Rains resumed in the middle of the first dekad of August, marking an end of the long dry spell, which had lasted 2-3 weeks, depending on regions. In September, significant rains were recorded during the first dekad, and the distribution shows that the coastal zone recorded more rains. During the second dekad, rains were still being recorded countrywide, but mostly in the western third of the country, with areas in the middle and eastern parts receiving low amounts. Rains were still being recorded in most regions in the third week of October during the time of the Mission. However, cumulative rainfall was still below the 2001 level as of late October.

Planting began in June after significant rainfall had spread across the whole country. However, following the long dry spell in July, crops failed in some regions, necessitating replanting. Rice transplantation was delayed in the centre and west. The maize, rice and groundnut crops were affected whilst a good part of the millet and sorghum crop recovered.

The pest situation was calm. Pastures did not regenerate well because of the limited rainfall.

At the start of October 2002, cereal production was estimated by a joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission at 149 000 tonnes, 9 per cent down on 2001 but close to the average for the last five years.

Some base data on this country (in french)


Even though the first rains were recorded in mid-May, the rainy season only began during the second dekad of June. This late start to the season led to unsuccessful planting and some replanting was necessary, in particular in the regions of Bafata and Gabu where there had been early planting of maize, sorghum and millet. Average rainfall was below the 2001 level in most of the rainfall stations. In July, rainfall was irregular and poorly distributed which adversely affected crops, particularly in the regions Gabu and Oio, on the northern border with Senegal. Monthly rainfall was down in most of the stations. Preparation of the nurseries and transplanting of swamp and lowland rice was delayed. During the months of August and September, there was a considerable improvement in rainfall in most regions, although some stations recorded low levels, especially on the north-eastern border with Senegal. It continued to rain in most agricultural regions during the visit of the FAO/CILSS mission in October. However, total rainfall this year is generally down compared to normal.

Improved rainfall in August allowed cereal crops to recover, although their full potential was compromised in some zones. Rice transplanting also resumed and continued in most regions until October, during the Mission's visit. This was fairly late for this activity and means that swamp and lowlands rice yields are likely to decline.

Generally, the pest situation was calm across the country as a whole. Pastures were well developed in general, except for the regions bordering on Senegal in the north.

The joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission estimated 2002 cereal production at 147 358 tonnes. This is down 11 per cent on the 2001 figure and 5 per cent less than the average for the last five years. Lowland and swamp rice production fell by 14 and 9 per cent respectively.

Some base data on this country (in french)


Following the first rainfall in the far south in the month of April, precipitation moved northwards but was still irregular in most regions until the end of June when growing conditions increased significantly in the regions of the centre, east and north. During the last dekad of July, very stormy wet weather caused flooding in some places. Good rainfall conditions followed in August but the monthly totals were down on the previous year and in relation to the long-term average. During September, appreciable quantities of rainfall were registered especially during the first two dekads. There was less rainfall during the third dekad. In the first dekad of October, rainfall was average to above-average over the country as a whole.

Widespread planting only began in the first dekad of July with the general improvement of the weather, which was late. Rainstorms led to a uniformity of the overall agricultural season which is radically different from previous years. The staggering of plantings, frequent replanting and even complete restarts in the north resulted in very uneven levels of crop development. Furthermore, the downpours recorded during the month of July in Goundam (in the Tombouctou region) led to flooding of 4 480 ha of recession sorghum, the submersion of 1 546 ha of niébé crops and 200 ha of groundnuts in the area of Lakes Télé and Takara. The season was also affected by insufficient chemical fertilisers for cereals (cereals complex, DAP) which led to the substitution of other types of fertilisers, resulting in incorrect dose per hectare.

The pest situation was generally calm.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in October estimated 2002 cereal production at 2 527 001 tonnes. This is 2.2 per cent lower than the previous year, but 0.7 per cent higher than the average for the last five years.

Some base data on this country (in french)


In general the 2002 growing season in Mauritania was marked by a very late start and a lack of sufficient, well distributed rainfall in terms of both time and space. The first useful rains were recorded at the beginning of June in the Guidimaka wilaya2/ and south-east Gorgol. Nevertheless, rainfall only became heavy in the third dekad of the month and then only in Guidimaka. During the first dekad of July, the rains spread to the wilayas of Hodh El Chargui and Assaba but the levels recorded were generally low. On the other hand, there was a good amount of rainfall in the wilayas of Guidimaka and Gorgol. This dekad was followed by a lengthy dry spell causing the loss of crops planted at the beginning of June. The first dekad of August saw some rather limited rainfall, but this signalled the start of the season in several localities in the agripastural zones. However, in the wilayas in the south-west (North Gorgol, Brakna and Trarza) and the centre (Tagant) a good amount of rainfall did not arrive until the second dekad of September.

The very late start to the growing season and the poor distribution of the rains in terms of space and time upset the agricultural calendar considerably and in particular compromised the development of rainfed crops such as diéri and the development of the pastures. Generally diéri is planted in June and early July at the latest. This year this was only possible in localities in the wilayas of Guidimaka, Hodh El Chargui and Gorgol. However, most of these crops were lost following the long dry spell at the start of the second dekad of July. The rains only became more widespread after the start of the second dekad of August and then continued until September or until the start of October in Brakna, the west of Gorgol and Tagant.

There were some attacks from birds in the wilaya of Trarza where control teams sprayed about 3 000 hectares. The desert locust situation was generally calm. Pastures will not provide more than 3 months grazing for livestock, and cross-border transhumance will be early and on a larger scale this year.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in October estimated 2002/03 cereal production at 99 705 tonnes, which is 18 per cent lower than the 2001/02 season which was already 32 per cent down on 2000/01. Compared with the average for the last five years, there has been a fall of 41 per cent. Diéri production has plunged by 80 per cent compared to 2001.

Some base data on this country (in french)


The first rains were recorded in April in some of the localities in the south. In May, low-to-moderate rainfall was received in some localities in the regions of Tillaberi, Dosso, Tahoua and Zinder. In June, low-to-moderate rainfall was mainly recorded in the west and centre of the agricultural belt. At the end of June/beginning of July, the rains were generally irregular and below average. Starting in the second dekad of July, rainstorms occurred and heavy rain was recorded in some localities in the departments of Dosso, Tahoua and south Zinder. A slight drop in intensity was noted at the start of August but then the rainfall situation for the month improved noticeably over most of the agricultural zone. These heavy rains caused some localised flooding in the departments of Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder. The month of September saw some moderate rainfall over the whole country reaching quite high levels in some areas. Heavy rainfall was recorded in the first dekad of October in most of the country which is unusual for this period.

Planting began in April. However, irregular rainfall caused plant losses and slowed their growth in the regions of Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillabéri and Zinder. At the end of June, 60 per cent of farming villages had completed planting. The last crops were planted in August when the rains were more regular.

The pest situation was relatively calm overall. Some grasshopper and floral insect infestations were observed in millet crops in almost all regions. Furthermore, localised damage from floral insects was noted in the regions of Tillabéri, Dosso and Maradi. At the end of September, a total of 318 000 hectares of crops had been infested. Spraying was carried out over 142 000 hectares. During the third dekad of September, some solitary desert locusts were observed in the Tamesna sector (5 to 10 insects per hectare), and in the sectors of Aïr and Tadress over more than 500 hectares. Overall, the vegetation situation is satisfactory with the exception of the regions Agadez and Diffa where the situation is average.

Satisfactory harvests are expected for the 2002/03 season. The joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission estimated 2002 cereal production at 3 090 300 tonnes. This is similar to the 2001/02 results and 21 per cent above the average for the last five years.

Some base data on this country (in french)


The first useful rains in the 2002 growing season were recorded after mid-May in the south-east. Rainfall then spread and grew in importance during the first half of June in the south, east and centre-south. In the second half of June, rain spread to the centre and north. In July, the Sahelian zone received its first rains. A dry spell began at the end of June/beginning of July, lasting from three to five weeks depending on the region. It lasted longer in the far north (Saint Louis, Podor) and the centre-west (Dakar, the west of the Thiès department, and the departments of Mbour and Fatick). At the end of the first dekad of August, precipitation began again and good weather conditions for crop development prevailed until the second dekad of September. A second dry spell took hold in the third dekad of September and the first half of the first dekad of October. At the end of the first dekad of October, there was more rain across the whole country. The regions most affected by lack of rain were Saint Louis, Matam, Louga and Thièst.

Planting was carried out using various strategies to compensate for crops which were unable to withstand the prolonged water stress and to substitute crops whose growth cycles could probably not be completed before the end of the rainy season. Millet crops resisted the best the lack of water. Maize crops suffered the greatest losses to the extent that some producers decided to grow different crops (watermelons, fonio, sesame, pulses, sorghum).

Overall, the pest situation was calm. Some infestations of grasshoppers and other pests (army worms, floral insects, birds and rats) were reported in several zones but their effect on crops was limited. Pastures have developed much later this year, especially in the northern and central zones of the country.

A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in October estimated total 2002/03 cereal production at 901 500 tonnes (including forecasts for recession and off-season crops), which was 6 per cent lower than the 2001/02 figure and 3 per cent lower than the average for the last five years.

Some base data on this country (in french)


As a result of unfavourable weather conditions and civil strife in several countries, the prospects for the 2002 cereal harvest are mixed. Production is likely to be below last year's levels in many countries.

The rainy season began in March in the south of the countries in the Gulf of Guinea, allowing the main maize crop to be planted. In general, rain reached the north towards mid-April and Nigeria at the end of April, allowing the fields to be prepared and millet and sorghum to be planted. Precipitation was in general below average in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In Ghana, there was considerably less rain in August and September in the south of the country. The same was true for the south of Côte d'Ivoire which experienced mainly dry weather in September and October.

Estimates of total cereal production for 2002 are not yet available. Following generally favourable agricultural and weather conditions in Benin, Nigeria, Togo and Cameroon, agricultural production is likely to be above average. In Guinea, there was inadequate precipitation but the rain was well distributed in terms of time and space which makes an average harvest likely. In contrast, reduced rainfall in August and September might have affected cereal production in Ghana.

In Sierra Leone, despite lower than average rainfall, rice production is likely to increase once again this year, thanks to an improvement in security conditions, an expansion of planting following the return of refugees and previously displaced farmers, as well as due to a better distribution of agricultural inputs. In Liberia, fighting started up again in January in the regions of the north, north-east and centre, provoking further displacement of the population and upsetting the agricultural season. The net result is likely to be a reduction in rice production this year. In Côte d'Ivoire, in addition to the dry period in September and October which may have affected second season maize in the south, civil strife has caused population displacements which will certainly affect the cereal harvest this year. The regions most affected by the conflict in the north (Bouaké, Katiola, Bouna and Korhogo) usually provide about 80 per cent of national production of yams, 40 pour cent of rice production, and most of the millet, sorghum and fonio.

Preliminary FAO estimates of the aggregate cereal production in the nine coastal countries point to a total of about 31.1 million tonnes, which is similar to the 2001 level and close to average. These estimates, presented in Table 2, are very tentative, since crop production forecasts by local administrations are not available to date for all countries.

Table 2: Western African Coastal Countries - Cereal Production 1992-2001 and preliminary forecast for 2002
(thousand tonnes, gross basis with rice in paddy)

Country Cereal Production Preliminary forecast
for 2002
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Benin 612 628 742 686 717 879 870 972 1 006 904 938 101.3
Cameroon 906 970 920 1 228 1 314 1 180 1 240 1 350 1 263 1 269 1 296 102.8
Côte d’Ivoire 1 340 1 536 1 678 1 754 1 903 1 602 1 712 1 769 1 848 1 785 1 404 80.5
Ghana 1 255 1 623 1 594 1 825 1 770 1 700 1 767 1 686 1 750 1 636 1 624 95.1
Guinea 964 953 760 823 872 922 978 1 042 1 100 1 026 990 97.7
Liberia 102 50 23 56 94 100 110 128 144 145 109 86.9
Nigeria 19 989 18 509 20 338 20 711 21 636 21 833 22 553 22 211 22 714 23,164 23 577 104.8
Sierra Leone 479 503 507 402 444 467 375 271 221 345 414 123.3
Togo 495 634 420 443 687 680 589 759 711 712 727 105.3
Total 26 100 25 400 27 000 27 900 29 400 29 400 30 200 30 200 30 800 31 000 31 100 102.6

Source: FAO

- Record harvests are underlined.
- Preliminary FAO 2002 production estimates based only on a qualitative assessment of the growing season.
- Totals have been rounded.

Some base data on these countries (in french)

1/ 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.

2/ A wilaya is the largest administrative unit in the country ; it corresponds to a region in some other countries.

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