FAO/GIEWS: Africa Report No.1 - May 2003 p.4

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Harvesting of the 2002/03 cereal crops has started in southern Africa. In eastern Africa, the main season crop is maturing in Tanzania, while elsewhere in the sub-region planting of the main season crops is underway except in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan, where sowing is not due to commence for one or two months. In central Africa and the coastal countries of western Africa planting has started, but in Sahelian countries it will not begin until June.

Table 1. Cereal Crop Calendar

Sub-RegionCereal Crops
Eastern Africa 1/March-JuneAugust-December
Southern AfricaOctober-DecemberApril-June
Western Africa  
- Coastal areas (first season)March-AprilJuly-September
- Sahel zoneJune-JulyOctober-November
Central Africa 1/April-JuneAugust-December
1/  Except Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo which have two main seasons and Tanzania whose main season follows the southern Africa planting calendar. For Sudan, the planting period for the staple coarse grain crop is June-July and the harvesting period is October-December.

In southern Africa, the overall harvest outlook for the 2003 cereal crops is generally favourable. Despite a delay to the start of the rains and erratic precipitation in the first half of the season, abundant rains since mid-February improved crop conditions. Preliminary FAO forecasts point to an aggregate maize output of 14.8 million tonnes, slightly higher than last year’s average level. This reflects improved production in most countries and despite a decline of almost 1 million tonnes in South Africa, the largest producer in the sub-region. The sub-region’s aggregate cereal import requirement for marketing year 2003/04 is estimated at 5.3 million tonnes, some 27 percent below last year. Commercial imports are estimated at 4.6 million tonnes, leaving a food aid requirement of 0.7 million tonnes.

In Zimbabwe, cereal production is anticipated to decline for the third consecutive year due to insufficient and erratic rains, coupled with further planting reductions in the commercial sector. In the main maize growing areas of the north, good rains in February and March provided relief to crops affected by prolonged dry spells but are likely to have arrived too late to prevent significant yield reductions. In southern and western areas, rains in February were insufficient to reverse the effects of severe drought conditions earlier, which resumed in March. The Government has declared a state of emergency in Matabeleland South Province, the worst-affected area. A serious shortage of agricultural inputs also contributed to the decline in production. In the smallholder sector, maize plantings are estimated to be 9 percent lower than last year, while in the commercial sector only 15 000 hectares of maize were planted compared to 62 000 hectares in the previous year.

The food situation remains extremely tight in both rural and urban areas, with an estimated 7.2 million people, or half of the population, in need of food assistance. Of the maize deficit of 1.7 million tonnes in marketing year 2002/03 (April/March) estimated by the FAO/WFP Mission in May 2002, the Government contracted 948 000 tonnes and by late February 2003 some 752 000 tonnes had been sold through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at a subsidized price of Z$12.5/kg against Z$130/kg on the parallel market. Emergency food aid distributions were stepped up from January with WFP reaching 3.4 million beneficiaries. Total distributions from the beginning of the marketing year to the end of February stood at 212 000 tonnes of cereals.

In Zambia, the overall food outlook for 2003/04 is favourable. Despite a delay to the start of the rains, precipitation was widespread and abundant from January, particularly in the main maize producing areas. In Southern Province and parts of Western and Lusaka provinces, where precipitation had been well below average and erratic, good rains in the second half of February resulted in remarkable improvement in crop conditions. While crops planted with the first rains in November were lost to dry weather, most farmers replanted in December and January. Heavy rains in March further improved crop conditions but localized floods caused crop losses, mainly in Gwenbe District in Southern Province.

Maize prices have fallen since January, reflecting the good harvest prospects and improved maize supply, and are now below their levels at the same time last year. Food aid distributions picked up in January 2003 and by late February a total of 103 000 tonnes of maize had been distributed from all sources. While formal commercial maize imports amounted to only 60 000 tonnes against an import requirement of 301 000 tonnes, a large part of the food gap appears to have been filled by informal imports from Tanzania and Mozambique, estimated in the range 60 000 to 300 000 tonnes.

In Malawi, the 2003 cereal harvest prospects are favourable, mainly due to good rains during the season, despite a late start and localized floods. Better input availability than last year has also been a major contributing factor. A considerable expansion of the Government’s free input distribution programme, which targeted close to 3 millions households against 1.8 million last year, has been complemented by distributions from NGOs and improved market supplies. Official production forecasts point to a maize crop of 1.9 million tonnes in 2003, higher than last year’s harvest of 1.55 million tonnes.

Substantial commercial and food aid imports prevented a food crisis from turning into a catastrophe. An FAO/WFP Mission in April/May 2002 estimated a maize import requirement for marketing year 2002/03 (April/March) at 433 000 tonnes, including 225 000 tonnes of commercial imports and 208 000 tonnes of food aid. The Government has imported 260 000 tonnes of maize, including 27 000 tonnes for the Strategic Grain Reserve. WFP distributions have been sustained since September and substantial amounts of unrecorded cross-border maize imports have also entered the country from Mozambique and Tanzania. Food aid pledges by late March totalled 250 000 tonnes, which is above requirements. These imports have stabilized maize prices but a serious problem of over-supply appears to have developed. Of the Government’s offering of 233 000 tonnes at a subsidized price, only 28 000 tonnes had been sold by late February. The Government plans to increased the Strategic Grain Reserve up to 100 000 tonnes. There is serious concern that large amounts of carry-over stocks, together with the expected good harvest, are likely to depress prices in 2003/04, adversely affecting plantings in the next season.

In Mozambique, despite favourable prospects at national level for the 2003 cereal crops, the harvest is estimated to be sharply reduced for the fourth consecutive year in the southern provinces of Gaza, Maputo and Inhambane and parts of the central region. Severe dry weather since the beginning of the cropping season resulted in a decline in the area planted and sharply curtailed yields. Protracted food assistance will be needed in these areas, where the number of vulnerable people requiring food assistance is already estimated at 660 000.

The overall outlook for the 2003 cereal harvest is favourable, reflecting abundant rains in the main growing areas of the north and centre-north. Preliminary forecasts point to a 6 percent increase in the 2003 cereal production over last year’s good harvest. An exportable surplus of maize is again anticipated.

In Lesotho, overall prospects for the 2003 cereal harvest are also favourable, with crops reported in good condition in most areas of the country. Despite late planting of the maize crop due to a delayed start of the rainy season and late availability of agricultural inputs, rains have been adequate in the second part of the season. However, possible frosts in the coming weeks could still affect the maturing maize crop. In the Mountain areas, where wheat is a main crop, most farmers have gathered a good harvest. In the southern districts of Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek and Quthing, however, the cereal harvest is likely to be reduced for the second consecutive year due to insufficient and erratic rains during the season.

In Swaziland, harvest prospects are favourable in the Highveld and satisfactory in the Middleveld and Plateau but very poor in the Lowveld where severe dry weather and high temperatures early in the season destroyed the maize crop on a large scale. It is estimated that up to 85 percent of the farmers in the Lowveld will not harvest any maize at all. Food assistance will be necessary in marketing year 2003/04 (April/March) for farm families in this region.

In Botswana, dry weather during March further stressed the 2003 cereal crops, mainly sorghum, previously affected by poor rains and a poor harvest is anticipated. The prolonged dry weather may also have affected pasture conditions for the important livestock sector.

In Namibia, abundant precipitation from February led to the recovery of the 2003 cereal crops, mainly millet, previously affected by below normal and erratic rains. The rains also improved grazing conditions for livestock. The overall harvest outlook is satisfactory with crops in the “maize triangle” reported in good condition. Preliminary official production forecasts point to a cereal crop of 119 000 tonnes, substantially higher than last year’s poor harvest of 74 000 tonnes and above the average of the past five years.

However, in the Caprivi region, the harvest is expected to be reduced again. Dry weather from October to December necessitated replantings of the maize crop up to four times, and shortages of seeds and the poor condition of oxen at the beginning season led to reductions in the planted area. The food supply situation is likely to remain difficult in the region in 2003/04 (May/April). Close monitoring of the food situation is, therefore, required in the worst affected areas, where food shortages may develop later in the year.

In Madagascar, a severe drought in southern areas has resulted in a sharply reduced harvest of the main maize crop. Reports indicate that around 600 000 persons in five districts are in immediate need of food assistance. WFP has targeted 175 000 people for assistance but due to insufficient contributions it is currently assisting only 55 000. A recent vulnerability assessment reported that in the worst affected areas 30 percent of children are showing signs of moderate to severe malnutrition and that the numbers are on the increase. Migration to other areas in search of food and water has also been reported. The Government plans to sell subsidized maize in the affected districts. Some 40 000 people affected by tropical storm Fari in southern Madagascar in late January still need food assistance.

There is urgent need for additional food aid pledges from the international community to avert a worsening of the nutritional situation in southern Madagascar, particularly in view of considerable delays in moving food to remote areas because of the poor conditions of infrastructure.

In Angola, the outlook for the 2003 cereal harvest is favourable reflecting adequate precipitation during the growing season and an increase in the area planted following the end of the civil war.

After 27 years of civil conflict, large numbers of vulnerable people still need emergency food assistance. These include internally displaced people and refugees returning to the places of origin, as well as former UNITA combatants and their families. It is estimated that some 1.8 million internally displaced persons and 130 000 Angolan refugees have returned to their areas since April last year, many of which lack basic infrastructure and services. Against WFP requirements of 137 000 tonnes of food to assist the most vulnerable until the end of 2003, pledges are only sufficient until July. There is thus urgent need of additional contributions. While the end of the war has improved access of humanitarian agencies to remote areas of the country, there are still inaccessible areas due to poor road conditions and landmines. It is estimated that at least 308 700 people in 24 pockets are in critical need of food assistance.

International assistance is also urgently required for the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector, demining of rural areas. The Government launched an appeal for international assistance in February 2003.

In eastern Africa, except for some early rains in parts of Ethiopia during March, the onset of the 2003 rainfall season has been delayed by more than 20 days over the main cereal producing areas of the sub-region. The abnormally dry conditions in Tanzania and reported severe water shortages in northern Somalia (Somaliland and Puntland) are of particular concern.

In Eritrea, food shortages are alarming as nearly two-thirds of the country’s population of 3.4 million people face severe food shortages due to last year’s drought. Of these, an estimated 1.4 million need emergency food assistance. The Government, which appealed for some 476 000 tonnes of emergency food assistance late last year, has repeatedly called for increased contributions from the international community. FAO and WFP jointly approved in March 2003 an Emergency Operation (EMOP) worth US$ 46.5 million to assist about 900 000 people for a period of ten months (May 2003 – February 2004).

The food crisis could escalate if food aid is not rapidly forthcoming. Recent reports indicate that global malnutrition rates have reached 15-26 percent. In addition, humanitarian assistance continues to be needed for large numbers of people internally displaced by the recent war with neighbouring Ethiopia, returning refugees from Sudan, and 80 000 children benefiting from WFP’s Emergency School Feeding Programme. The outcome of the 2003 cropping season will therefore be critical. Already, the October-March (Bahri) season has been poor, with most areas receiving less than 25 percent of normal rainfall. These rains are important for pasture regeneration in the Northern and Southern Red Sea Zones and for flood irrigation in the foothills of the eastern escarpment.

In Ethiopia, planting of the 2003 "belg" season crops has commenced in several locations following some rains in March. The "belg" crop accounts for around 8 to 10 percent of annual cereal and pulse production but in some areas it is the main harvest.

Pre-famine conditions continue to be reported in several parts of the country affected by drought. The nutritional situation among children in these areas remains poor and calls for improved general and supplementary food distributions. The food aid pipeline will be exhausted by the beginning of July unless additional pledges are received. Following a review of the food security situation in several key areas, the Government and UN Country Team have revised the food aid needs in 2003 from an earlier estimate of 1.44 million tonnes to 1.46 million tonnes. In addition, non-food assistance, including seeds, water and animal health supplies, has been increased from US$75 million to US$ 81 million. In response, an Emergency Operation worth about US$ 205.5 million was jointly approved by FAO and WFP in March 2003 to assist 4.6 million small scale farmers and pastoralists, for a period of twelve months (April 2003 – March 2004).

In Kenya, the 2003 main “long rains” cropping season has begun and forecasts point to normal rainfall from March to May in major producing areas. However, the outlook in pastoral areas remains bleak with forecasts of below normal rainfall. Harvesting of the 2002/03 secondary “short rains” cereal crop, which accounts for 15 to 20 percent of annual production, is complete and production (from the two seasons) is estimated at normal levels. Good rains late last year helped to improve yields. This crop provides the main source of food in parts of Central and Eastern provinces. The aggregate 2002/03 cereal production (from the two seasons) is provisionally estimated at 2.8 million tonnes, compared to 3.2 million tonnes in 2001/02.

Assessments by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) in February in the chronically food insecure districts of West Pokot, Turkana, Marakwet and Baringo identified conflict and successive poor seasons as the primary causes of food insecurity. The Group recommended immediate food assistance through Food for Work for the worst affected households. In addition, the Group emphasized that peace-building measures were central to successful interventions against of food insecurity in these areas.

In Somalia, the recently harvested secondary (“deyr”) cereal crop in the south is estimated at 164 624 tonnes, nearly 80 percent above the post-war (1995-2001) average. The Deyr season normally accounts for 25-30 percent of annual cereal production, but this year it contributed more than 43 percent. Latest estimates put the aggregate 2002/03 cereal production at 376 000 tonnes, about 46 percent above the previous year. The food supply situation in southern Somalia has generally improved with better “gu” and “deyr” harvests, but nutrition surveys indicate persistently high malnutrition rates.

In north-western Somalia (Somaliland) and north-eastern Somalia (Puntland), severe water and food shortages are reported. The shortages are most acute in the regions of Togdheer, Sool, Sanaag and the Hawd, as well as in several districts of Bari and parts of Nugal Region.

In Sudan, an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission late last year estimated coarse grain production to be well below average following late and poorly distributed rains. Total cereal production in 2002/03, estimated at 3.8 million tonnes, is about 30 percent below the previous year and 14 percent below the previous five years’ average.

Serious food shortages have emerged in several parts of the country and prices, particularly for sorghum, are higher than normal at this time of the year. Food security monitoring assessments conducted since January have confirmed that 1.9 million people in southern Sudan will need food assistance estimated at 101 000 tonnes until the next harvest in September 2003. About 700 000 of these were identified as highly food insecure and have been receiving food aid since January. In April 2003, an Emergency Operation was jointly approved by FAO and WFP worth about US$ 130.97 million, for food assistance to nearly 3.25 million people for a period of twelve months (April 2003 to March 2004).

In Tanzania, prospects for the main season coarse grains are uncertain mainly due to dry weather in eastern, central and southern parts between February and mid-March. Many areas experienced more than three weeks of dryness at a critical stage in crop development. Improved rainfall since mid-March may have come too late to prevent significant yield losses. Of particular concern are the central, southern and northern coastal areas. In addition, weather forecasts for the period March-May indicate below to near normal rainfall over most parts of the grain basket southern highlands regions (Iringa Mbeya, Rukwa and Ruvuma). On average, these regions produce nearly half of the total maize in the country and usually have exportable surpluses to neighbouring countries.

The overall national food situation, however, remains stable. Adequate availability of water and forage has also improved the food security of pastoralists.

In Uganda, below normal rains in February and March delayed land preparation and planting of the main season crops in several areas. The weather forecast for March to May 2003 indicates near normal to above normal rainfall for north-western, eastern and south-eastern Uganda and areas in the Lake Kyoga Basin. North-eastern, central, Lake Victoria Basin, northern and western Uganda are likely to receive normal to below normal rainfall.

The overall national food supply situation remains stable. However, the food situation is precarious in northern and eastern Uganda. Insurgency continues to displace hundreds of people mainly in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader in northern Uganda. A recent assessment of Pader District found that nearly three-quarters of the population were displaced. A nutritional survey in the main district hospital found that 14 percent of the children under five years old were acutely malnourished while 29 percent were at risk of acute malnutrition. These results are similar to those found by a separate assessment in Gulu District in January 2003. In eastern Uganda, an assessment in March 2003 found that new attacks by the Karamojong pastoralists have displaced about 89 000 people in Katakwi District. The IDPs are concentrated in camps with limited access to water, sanitation and health facilities. Furthermore, the food situation of many households in Kotido, Moroto and Nakapiripirit Districts in the northeast is precarious due to poor harvests in the previous season. WFP is distributing food to the most affected households.

The aggregate cereal import requirement of eastern Africa in 2002/03 is estimated at 6.4 million tonnes. With commercial imports anticipated at 4.0 million tonnes, the food aid requirement is estimated at 2.4 million tonnes. Against this requirement, pledges as of end-April amounted to 0.7 million tonnes of which 0.5 million tonnes have been delivered.

In western Africa, a severe drought last year seriously affected countries in the west of the Sahel, undermining the food security of nearly 600 000 people. In addition, population displacement by armed conflicts in several countries continues to disrupt food production and other economic activities, leading to persistent food insecurity.

In Mauritania, the 2002 aggregate cereal production is officially estimated at 116 000 tonnes, about 31 percent less than the average for the previous five years and 5 percent below the 2001 poor harvest. The ‘dieri’ (rainfed) crop, which represents more than 80 percent of planted area and about 60 percent of total cereal production in a normal year, decreased by 80 percent to some 8 000 tonnes due to drought. Cereal import requirements for the marketing year 2002/03 (November/October) are estimated at some 323 000 tonnes, of which commercial imports are estimated at 258 000 tonnes, leaving a food aid requirement of 65 000 tonnes. Approximately 420 000 people throughout Mauritania need food assistance. Emergency provision of agricultural inputs such as seeds will also be necessary to enable drought-affected farming families to resume agricultural production during the next main planting season starting in June 2003.

Near-famine conditions, which had been confined to Aftout area, have spread to the Senegal River Valley and the central plateau area of Hodh El Chargui and Hodh El Gharbi, affecting herders as well as farmers. High malnutrition rates and related diseases are reported to be widespread. An FAO/CILSS mission in January observed that cereal prices that had risen considerably last year remained high, while animal prices decreased steeply. In March 2002, WFP launched an EMOP valued at US$ 7.5 million (16 230 tonnes of food) to assist 250 000 people most threatened by serious food shortages. A Regional EMOP jointly approved by FAO and WFP in mid-December for five drought-affected countries in the west of the Sahel (Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal) included an allocation of 43 632 tonnes of food for Mauritania. However, donor response to this EMOP has been very low, with only 29 percent of the appeal covered by pledges as of late March.

In Senegal, aggregate cereal production in 2002 is estimated at about 851 300 tonnes, 11 percent less than the previous year, 8 percent less than the average of the previous five years. A joint FAO/CILSS mission that visited the country in January found that cereal prices which increased sharply last year were still at the same high levels, which makes access to food for many households very difficult.

In response to the tight food supply situation, the Government released CFA 15 billion (US$ 23 million) for purchase and distribution of about 54 000 tonnes of rice to the most affected rural households. Senegal is included in the Regional Emergency Operation with an allocation of 3 000 tonnes of food for 23 300 most affected people.

In Côte d'Ivoire, up to one million people have been displaced by the conflict that began with an attempted coup on 19 September 2002. The cities most affected include the capital Abidjan, Bouake and Korogho in the north and Man in the west. At least 800 000 people fled south from the north and centre and about 300 000 were displaced in the west around the city of Man. Another 200 000, mostly migrant workers from neighbouring Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia and Mali left the country.

A reduction in food and agricultural production is forecast this year due to the conflict coupled with unfavourable weather. The regions most affected by the conflict in the north usually provide about 80 percent of national production of yams, 40 pour cent of rice, and most of the millet, sorghum and fonio. Crops have reportedly been rotting in fields. Internally displaced people (IDPs) and people in the areas controlled by the rebels are said to be facing severe food shortages. In the rebel-held central city of Bouake, an estimated 60 percent of families do not have any income, while the remainder have lost up to 80 percent of their purchasing power. Access to medical facilities and other essential services is also very poor and expensive. WFP has launched a Regional Emergency Operation to assist some 175 000 people most affected by the conflict for a period of ten months (November 2002–August 2003). The bulk of this operation will be in Côte d’Ivoire but the neighbouring countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana will also benefit. However, safe access to IDPs in Côte d’Ivoire, particularly in the west, remains a major problem for humanitarian agencies.

In Liberia, persistent armed clashes that restrict access to most agriculturally productive areas and lead to mass population displacement are a major cause of food insecurity in the country. The current agricultural season is being disrupted by renewed fighting, pointing to a further drop in rice production this year. Some 200 000 internally displaced persons from the north, northwest, and central regions are living in camps in other parts of the country, while thousands have fled into Sierra Leone following an upsurge of civil strife since February. Moreover, the instability in Côte d’Ivoire has prompted a large number of the estimated 60 000 Liberian refugees to seek immediate repatriation. WFP is providing food assistance to some 117 600 people in the country.

In The Gambia, cereal production in 2002 is officially estimated at 139 000 tonnes, 30 percent lower than last year and 7 percent below the average of the last five years. Millet prices which increased steeply last year remain at high levels, reflecting the 2002/03 poor harvest not only in the Gambia but also in the whole of the western Sahel. The high millet prices make household access to this basic staple, particularly in rural areas, exceedingly difficult.

The Gambia is a beneficiary of WFP’s Regional EMOP launched in December 2002 with an allocation of 2 340 tonnes of cereals.

In Cape Verde, a joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission in October 2002 estimated maize production at some 5 000 tonnes, only one fourth of the good 2001 harvest and similar to the poor crops in 1997 and 1998. The Mission estimated cereal import requirements for the marketing year 2002/03 (November/October) at 108 518 tonnes, of which 33 250 tonnes were expected to be imported commercially, leaving a food aid requirement of 75 268 tonnes.

A follow-up joint FAO/CILSS mission in January 2003 found that the Government had launched food for work programmes to improve access to food for the poor. However, the programmes are under-funded. Cape Verde is a beneficiary of the Regional EMOP with an allocation of 2 400 tonnes of food.

In Guinea, seasonably dry conditions prevail. The first official estimate of 2002 cereal production, mostly rice, is about 1.04 million tonnes, which is average. The presence of a large refugee population and the persistent instability in the sub-region have exacted a heavy toll on the country, which currently hosts more than 100 000 Liberians refugees. The Ivorian armed conflict has also led to an influx of displaced persons including Guinean evacuees, refugees and foreign nationals in transit. As of late January, some 52 000 Guineans had arrived from Côte d’Ivoire. In addition, there are still some 82 000 IDPs in the country, displaced by the armed conflict over the period September 2000 to March 2001.

In Sierra Leone, cereal production in 2002 is estimated at some 417 000 tonnes, 20 percent above last year’s level. This increase reflects an improved security situation, increased plantings by returning refugees and farmers previously displaced, as well as relatively improved conditions for the distribution of agricultural inputs.

The humanitarian situation in the country has also improved significantly following the end of the war. In 2002, over 100 000 Sierra Leonean refugees and 124 000 IDPs returned to their home areas. However, renewed civil strife in Liberia has caused at least 40 000 Liberians to cross into the country.

In Ghana, planting of the first maize crop is underway in the south and progressing northwards with the arrival of the rains. The government has increased import duty on rice from 20 percent to 25 percent this year, in order to support domestic rice production and reduce reliance on imported rice.

The effects of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire on Ghana have mainly been an influx of third-country nationals in transit to their countries of origin, Ivorians seeking asylum and the return of Ghanaian nationals. An estimated 70 000 people have entered Ghana from Côte d’Ivoire since September 2002. The capacity of the government, the humanitarian community and host communities to respond to their needs is reported to be under heavy strain.

In Burkina Faso, final estimates of the 2002 cereal production indicate a record harvest of 3.12 million tonnes, which is 22 percent above the average of the last five years. As a result, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. However, the return of thousands of Burkinabé from Côte d’Ivoire and the closing of the border between the two countries since September 2002 will adversely affect the food situation.

In Guinea-Bissau, seasonably dry conditions prevail. The 2002 aggregate cereal production is officially estimated at about 151 400 tonnes, 8 percent lower than the previous year’s harvest and slightly below average.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. However, people living in the chronically food deficit areas along the northern border with Senegal continue to need food assistance.

In Mali, the final official estimate of 2002 cereal production is about 2.5 million tonnes, which is average. The overall food supply situation is satisfactory except in the west where it is tight, and the return of some 130 000 Malians from Côte d’Ivoire is putting considerable pressure on the available supply. Mali is included in the Regional EMOP with an allocation of 4 000 tonnes.

In Nigeria, sowing of the first maize crop is underway in the south. The overall food supply situation is stable. However, some population groups, estimated to number some 750 000 people in the states of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba remain food insecure following ethnic and religious conflicts in the last two years.

Elsewhere, seasonably dry conditions prevail in the Sahel, while sowing of the first maize crop is underway in the southern parts of the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea.

In Central Africa, civil strife and insecurity continue to undermine food security in several countries.

In Central African Republic, the food security situation is precarious as a result of civil strife that started in October 2002 and led to the overthrow of the president in mid-March. Widespread destruction of physical assets, looting, and population displacement have disrupted agricultural and economic activities, pointing to reduced food production this year. In mid-March WFP relaunched its appeal for USD 6.1 million, having received no pledges for its original appeal two months earlier. It is estimated that over 230 000 people have been displaced from their homes, including 30 000 who have taken refuge in Chad.

In the Republic ofCongo, a resurgence of fighting in the Pool region (surrounding the capital Brazzaville) in March 2002 led to the displacement of at least 84 000 people, but the exact number is unknown as most areas in the region are inaccessible to humanitarian agencies. WFP is facing a serious shortfall in resources and has stopped all rehabilitation programmes in order to concentrate on emergency assistance to the most vulnerable. Outbreak of Ebola in Cuvette region has aggravated the humanitarian situation.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), theescalation of fighting in eastern provinces in recent weeks resulted in fresh waves of population displacements, particularly in the Uvira area, and hampered distribution of humanitarian assistance. WFP food stocks in the area have been looted during clashes between various armed groups, while denial of access to beneficiaries by local authorities prevented large-scale food distribution. By contrast, delivery of relief assistance improved in the Katanga province where 48 000 internally displaced people are receiving food aid.

Shortages on the WFP pipeline are also hampering distributions of food aid. Since the beginning of the year all food distributed has been from carry-over stocks from 2002. Contributions in 2003 are expected to arrive only at the beginning of June and to cover needs until August. More pledges are urgently needed to avoid reductions in the food rations and interruption of the assistance to targeted beneficiaries.

In Burundi, the outlook for the 2003 B foodcrops, to be harvested from June, is uncertain. A delay of two to four weeks in the start of the rainy season, coupled with shortages of seeds and fertilizers, is likely to have resulted in reductions in the area planted, particularly in the worst affected Imbo region. Subsequently, precipitation in March and first half of April have been below normal and the yield potential could be affected if substantial rains are not received soon. Persistent insecurity in central and eastern provinces has also affected agricultural operations and harvest prospects in these areas.

The 2003 A season harvest was 6 percent below the average level of the previous year, with a decline of 18 percent in production of beans, the main source of proteins for the majority of population. While in the surplus growing areas of the north prices of beans have fallen sharply with the arrival of the new harvest into the markets, in other areas, mainly the capital city Bujumbura, prices have remained at high levels and are expected to increase in the coming months reflecting the reduced production of the last season.

Distribution of food assistance to vulnerable population continue to be hindered by escalation of the civil conflict in recent months in Bubanza, Bujumbura Rural, Gitega, Ruyigi and parts of the Ngozi province.

In Rwanda, mostly dry weather in February and below average rains in March delayed sowing of the 2003 second season foodcrops and may have caused reductions in plantings. Precipitation remained below average in April stressing the developing cereal and non cereal crops. More rains are urgently needed to avoid lower yields and production this season.

The 2003 first season crops were also affected by a delay in the start of the rains which resulted in reduced outputs in localized areas. A recent vulnerability assessment carried out jointly by WFP and FEWSNET in the Bugesera region, where the last harvest was poor, recommended targeted project food assistance in the area.

Elsewhere in central Africa the food supply situation is satisfactory.


Cereal import requirements in sub-Saharan Africa in 2003 are expected to remain high, reflecting mainly the effects of last year’s droughts in southern, eastern and western Africa. GIEWS latest estimates of 2002 production and 2002/03 import and food aid requirements are summarized in Table 2. Total food aid requirement is estimated at 4.6 million tonnes, against 2.0 million tonnes estimated in 2001/02. Cereal food aid pledges for 2002/03, including those carried over from 2001/02, amount to 2.1 million tonnes of which 1.7 million tonnes have so far been delivered.

For southern African countries which have entered their new marketing year, 2003/04 import requirements are summarized in Table. 3, while for the countries still in the 2002/03 marketing year, their cereal import and food aid requirements are summarized in Table 4.


The food supply situation in several countries of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mauritania and Zimbabwe remains grim mainly due to severe droughts in previous agricultural seasons. The escalation and/or continuing conflict in a number of countries, including Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Liberia, has aggravated food insecurity by disrupting agricultural activities. In Côte d’Ivoire, despite some progress on the political front, the food situation of more than one million displaced people remains critical.

The attention of the international community is drawn to the following areas requiring urgent action.

Table 2. Cereal Import and Food Aid Requirements by sub-Region - 2002/03 or 2003 (in '000 tonnes)

Sub-Region2002 Cereal Production 1/2002/03 or 2003
TotalAs % of
average of
5 years
Cereal import
Food aid
Eastern Africa20 370 926 4484 0172 431
Southern Africa20 411 967 5005 8951 605
Western Africa38 458 1069 3898 951 438
Central Africa2 889 100 981 894 87
TOTAL82 128 9924 31819 7574 561
1/ Including rice in milled equivalent.
2/ Excluding re-exports.

Table 3. Cereal Import and Food Aid Requirements in 2003/04 for sub-Saharan Africa: countries which have entered the 2003/04 marketing year (in '000 tonnes)

2003 Cereal Production 1/2003/04
TotalAs % of
average of
5 years
Cereal import
Food aid
Southern Africa 21 183 1025 2874 572 715
AngolaApril/March 605 108 656 476 180
BotswanaApril/March 13 72 281 281-
LesothoApril/March 155 122 238 235 3
MadagascarApril/March1 899 100 383 330 53
MalawiApril/March2 027 96 58 58-
MozambiqueApril/March1 808 111 723 609 114
NamibiaMay/April 119 132 108 108-
South AfricaMay/April12 078 1061 6661 666-
SwazilandMay/April 106 106 92 87 5
ZambiaMay/April1 160 120 150 150-
ZimbabweApril/March1 213 68 932 572 360
TOTAL 21 183 1025 2874 572 715
1/ Including rice in milled equivalent.
2/ Excluding re-exports.

Table 4. Cereal Import and Food Aid Requirements for sub-Saharan Africa:
countries still in 2002/03 or 2003 marketing year (in '000 tonnes)

2002 Cereal
production 1/
2001/02 or 2002 importsPosition for 2002/03 or 2003
TotalAs %of
5 years
As % of
5 years
Food aidCereal
Eastern Africa 20 370 924 412 95 9326 4484 0172 431 
Burundi Jan./Dec. 281 112 65 108 18 70 30 40 
ComorosJan./Dec. 6 100 46 102- 46 46
DjiboutiJan./Dec.-- 78 86 20 63 55
EritreaJan./Dec. 54 22 208 76 121 440 80 360 
Ethiopia 4/Jan./Dec.6 710 81 390 54 2921 645 3051 340 
KenyaOct./Sept.2 810 1011 180 78 1361 6401 340 300 
Rwanda Jan./Dec. 269 123 226 108 28 226 196 30 
SeychellesJan./Dec.-- 13 102- 13 13
SomaliaAug./July 375 145 270 99 18 320 275 45 
SudanNov./Oct.3 776 861 250 148 1021 3701 180 190 
TanzaniaJune/May4 290 115 500 109 116 470 417 53 
UgandaJan./Dec.1 799 89 186 159 80 145 80 65 
Southern Africa  2 100 302 109- 278 278- 
MauritiusJan./Dec. 2 100 302 109- 278 278
Western Africa 38 458 1069 815 137 4519 3898 951 438 
Coastal countries 27 458 1037 219 146 2716 7656 528 237 
BeninJan./Dec.1 026 113 115 88 19 115 100 15 
Côte d'IvoireJan./Dec.1 051 791 317 141 141 1771 155 22 
GhanaJan./Dec.1 549 95 542 112 79 520 460 60 
GuineaJan./Dec. 772 102 373 96 46 370 330 40 
LiberiaJan./Dec. 71 87 150 70 32 165 130 35 
NigeriaJan./Dec.22 000 1044 310 179 134 0104 010
Sierra LeoneJan./Dec. 268 124 313 125 69 308 243 65 
TogoJan./Dec. 721 107 100 83- 100 100
Sahelian countries 11 000 1132 596 116 1792 6242 423 201 
Burkina FasoNov./Oct.3 089 123 258 138 30 237 219 18 
Cape VerdeNov./Oct. 5 28 74 80 37 109 33 75 
ChadNov./Oct.1 170 104 88 108 4 98 91
GambiaNov./Oct. 132 94 149 117 6 142 137
Guinea-BissauNov./Oct. 122 98 51 66 6 69 65
MaliNov./Oct.2 296 101 245 219 7 279 261 18 
MauritaniaNov./Oct. 90 64 287 90 41 308 243 65 
NigerNov./Oct.3 310 131 386 90 30 377 375
SenegalNov./Oct. 786 921 060 130 181 006 999
Central Africa 2 889 100 972 115 92 981 894 87 
CameroonJan./Dec.1 269 104 368 125 2 368 366
Cent.Afr.Rep.Jan./Dec. 130 92 37 98 5 38 37
Congo, Dem. Rep ofJan./Dec.1 452 98 258 103 68 270 200 70 
Congo, Rep.ofJan./Dec. 5 125 190 129 11 190 180 10 
Equat.GuineaJan./Dec.-- 15 126- 15 15
GabonJan./Dec. 32 100 92 101- 88 88
Sao TomeJan./Dec. 1 100 12 113 6 12 8
TOTAL 61 719 10015 501 1201 47417 09614 1402 956 
Note: totals computed from unrounded data
1/ Including rice in milled equivalent.
2/ Excludes re-exports.
3/ Includes all pledges reported to the GIEWS , whether for free distribution or market sale. However, there may be some cases where governments count some food aid received for market sale against commercial import requirements.
4/ Includes refugee needs.

Table 5. Triangular Transactions within sub-Saharan Africa in 2002/03 or 2003

(in '000 tonnes) 1/

Donor Source of
Recipient CountryTotal by
ECSouth AfricaAngola (6.4), Congo, Dem.Rep. of (3.0), Mozambique (1.0), 10.8
 TanzaniaBurundi (0.4) 
USAKenyaSomalia (0.1)0.1
WFPKenyaSomalia (2.4)9.6
 South AfricaAngola (7.2) 
TOTAL  20.5
1/ Based on information reported by WFP to GIEWS as of end April 2003.

Table 6. Local Purchases within sub-Saharan Africa in 2002/03 or 2003
(in '000 tonnes) 1/

 Donor   Recipient Country  Total by
GermanyBurkina Faso (0.5), Burundi (2.2), Congo, Dem.Rep.of (1.5), Ethiopia (10.7),39.2
 Lesotho (0.4), Madagascar(0.3), Malawi (9.4), Mali (0.3), Sudan (12.0),  
 Zambia (1.9)  
NGOsKenya (0.1), Malawi (0.4), Mozambique (0.1), Zambia (3.4)4.0
WFPAngola (4.7), Benin (0.7), Burkina Faso (4.0), Cameroon (1.0), Chad (0.6), 175.0
 Côte d'Ivoire (2.5), Kenya (34.4), Ethiopia (36.7), Lesotho (10.3),  
 Madagascar (1.1), Malawi (4.0), Mali (0.6), Mozambique (9.7), Niger (2.6), 
 Rwanda (0.2), Senegal (1.7), Sudan (9.4), Tanzania (26.9), Uganda (20.7),  
 Zambia (3.2) 
TOTAL 218.2
1/ Based on information reported by WFP to GIEWS as of end April 2003.

Table 7. Cereal Food Aid Pledges and Percent Delivered for sub-Saharan African Countries in 2002/03 or 2003 (in '000 tonnes)

Donor/RecipientCanadaChinaECJapanLibyan Arab JamahiriyaNGOsU.S.A.WFPFood aid pledgesPercent
as of end
April 2/
Eastern Africa4.7-31.7--12.8169.3528.0 746.5 63
Burundi--0.4----23.7 24.1 15
Djibouti-------1.8 1.8 100
Eritrea-------42.9 42.9 83
Ethiopia 1/4.7-20.3--12.868.3253.1 359.2 60
Kenya------69.035.0 104.0 74
Rwanda------9.22.1 11.3 19
Somalia------4.62.4 7.0 90
Sudan--11.0---6.478.5 95.9 87
Tanzania------3.737.9 41.6 73
Uganda------8.150.6 58.7 26
Southern Africa--45.011.9-17.1171.8902.31 148.1 98
Angola--6.6--0.225.9195.3 228.0 100
Lesotho--1.0---15.026.0 42.0 100
Madagascar---11.9--27.27.0 46.1 100
Malawi--2.5--1.64.1238.9 247.1 89
Mozambique--32.4---41.520.8 94.7 100
Namibia------40.00.4 40.4 100
South Africa-----15.0----
Swaziland-------12.8 12.8 100
Zambia--1.4--0.3-137.0 138.7 100
Zimbabwe--1.1---18.1264.1 283.3 100
Western Africa- 177.2 48
Coastal countries------42.827.4 70.2 39
Benin------8.2- 8.2-
Côte d'Ivoire-------0.9 0.9 100
Ghana------34.61.0 35.6 3
Guinea-------4.3 4.3 100
Liberia-------14.2 14.2 100
Sierra Leone-------7.0 7.0 100
Sahelian countries- 107.0 54
Burkina Faso---7.8- 13.4 42
Cape Verde--16.24.3--18.81.0 40.3 28
Chad------4.12.9 7.0 100
Gambia-------2.2 2.2 100
Guinea-Bissau----2.7--5.7 8.4 92
Mali-------6.9 6.9 81
Mauritania-1.03.0---0.214.1 18.3 84
Niger------1.60.6 2.2 100
Senegal-------8.3 8.3 6
Central Africa--3.0----15.1 18.1 62
Cent.Afr.Rep.-------0.8 0.8 100
Congo, Dem.Rep.of--3.0----12.3 15.3 60
Congo, Rep.of-------2.0 2.0 60
Equat. Guinea----------
Sao Tome----------
TOTAL 517.32 089.9 81
1/ Includes refugee needs.
2/ Percentages calculated from unrounded data.

FAO/GIEWS - May 2003

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