ANGOLA* (5 November)
Below-average precipitation during October, particularly in central parts, has delayed planting of 2002 maize and stressed earlier sown crops. Better rains are needed to avoid reductions in plantings and yields of maize and for the sowing of the millet and sorghum crops in southern parts. Agricultural activities are also hindered by renewed fighting in most of the provinces, mainly in the unstable areas of Bié, northeastern parts of Huila, Moxico, Malange, Huambo and Uige, and the resulting displacement of rural people from their farms. The flare up of military activity has also further limited the distribution of humanitarian assistance outside the provincial capitals.
Aggregate cereal production in 2001 rose by 5 percent from the previous year to 535 000 tonnes due to an increase in the area sown and generally favourable weather. However, despite the improvement in domestic production, the food supply situation remains difficult for 2.7 million IDPs and other vulnerable sections of the population. An FAO/WFP Mission in May 2001 estimated that about 1.34 million people were still in need of emergency food aid.
The cereal import requirement in the 2001/02 marketing year (April/March)
is estimated at 581 000 tonnes of cereals, including 176 000 tonnes of food
aid. Due to resource constraints, WFP is not reaching all the target beneficiaries
and has frequently reduced food rations. The currently assisted population amounts
to 820 000 beneficiaries. WFP estimates that there will be a critical shortfall
of sugar in December and that maize and pulses will be exhausted by February
2002. There is also a shortfall in the funding of transport logistics and non-food
items. This funding is crucial for the transport of seeds and tools to support
food production during the current cropping season.
BOTSWANA (5 November)
Abundant rains in western crop growing areas in the second and third dekads of October improved soil conditions for planting of the 2002 maize and sorghum crops about to start. The rains also improved pasture and livestock conditions throughout the country.
Production of cereals in 2001, mainly sorghum, is estimated at 10 000 tonnes,
only half of last year's crop and well below average, as a result of a mid-season
dry spell. However, even in normal years, the country imports the bulk of its
cereal consumption requirements. Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02
(April/March) are estimated at 263 000 tonnes, including 197 000 tonnes of coarse
grains and 66 000 tonnes of wheat. While these requirements are expected to
be covered on commercial basis, food difficulties are anticipated at household
level in areas affected by crop loss.
LESOTHO (5 November)
Above-average rains in the second and third dekads of October improved soil moisture for planting of the 2002 maize and sorghum crops, currently underway. The early outlook is promising. The 2001 cereal harvest was poor due to unfavourable weather conditions. The output was estimated by an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission at 80 000 tonnes, 47 percent lower than in the previous year and 60 percent below the average of the past five years. The cereal import requirement has increased sharply to 332 000 tonnes of cereals, mostly maize. While most of this requirement is expected to be covered on commercial basis, assistance is needed in the worst affected districts of Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, Mohale's Hoek and Quthing, where farmers lost their crops and a significant number do not have adequate means to access food.
MADAGASCAR (1 November)
Planting of the 2002 paddy and coarse grain crops has started. Normal rains in October benefited land preparation for sowing. However, the outlook is uncertain reflecting an expected decline in the area planted in response to a sharp decline in domestic prices.
The 2001 paddy output is estimated 10 to 15 percent higher than in the previous year at around 2.6 million tonnes, the highest in ten years. This is the result of generally favourable growing conditions and the absence of locusts during the growing season. The bumper crop, coupled with large carry-over stocks, have resulted in a decrease of 50 percent in the price of paddy from its level prior to the harvest.
The overall food supply situation in the 2001/02 marketing year (April/March)
is anticipated to remain satisfactory, including in the drought-prone southern
areas. Prices of food staples, rice, maize, cassava and Irish potato, declined
in July in southern areas and the number of people in need of food assistance
has declined to 117 150. Food aid requirements for these areas are estimated
at 3 163 tonnes of maize.
MALAWI (5 November)
Planting of the 2002 cereal crops, to be harvested from April next year, is well advanced. Normal rains in October, which were above average in northern and southern parts, favoured sowing operations and benefited earlier planted crops. The Government's programme of free inputs to vulnerable farmers is underway in southern parts. One million households are expected to receive agricultural inputs under the programme.
Reflecting widespread excessive rains during the growing season, the 2001 cereal
production was sharply reduced. The maize crops was estimated at 1.7 million
tonnes, 32 percent below the bumper crops of the previous two years, when an
export surplus was available. As a result, the food supply situation is extremely
tight. Official stocks, which were low at the beginning of the 2001/02 marketing
year (April/March) have been depleted. Prices of maize in local markets have
increased some 400 percent from theirs levels of a year ago. By October, a kilogram
of maize was quoted at 18 Kawacha, against 2 to 5 Kawacha at the same time last
year. Food shortages are being experienced in localized parts, particularly
in the southern districts worst affected by floods. The Government has made
arrangements to import 150 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa, but only 10
000 tonnes had arrived in the country by mid-October. However, most of these
imports will be sold on the open market where prices have increased beyond the
reach of large sections of the population. The Government is considering free
distribution of maize to the most vulnerable people. Emergency food assistance
distributed by WFP to 208 500 people worst affected by the floods until October,
will be extended for further two months until the end of December in view of
the serious food supply situation.
MOZAMBIQUE (6 November)
Planting of the 2002 cereal crops, to be harvested from April next year, has just started. Generally normal rains during October, which were above average in southern parts, favoured land preparation and early planting of crops.
The 2001 cereal production increased by 7 percent on last year's level mainly due to higher plantings. Despite severe floods in central provinces and dry weather in southern provinces, abundant rains in the main growing areas of the north benefited the maize crop, estimated 12 percent up at 1.14 million tonnes. At this level of production, the country will have an exportable surplus of 100 000 tonnes of maize in marketing year 2001/02 (April/March).
However, real prices of maize are well above their levels of a year ago, particularly in the Beira, Tete and Nampula provinces. In Tete, prices by the end of September were over 200 percent higher than a year ago in real terms. This reflects strong demand from neighbouring Malawi where production decreased significantly. In the capital Maputo, maize prices are about one-third higher. Prices of other food staples such as rice and beans have also increased markedly during October.
Despite a satisfactory food supply situation at national level, the increased
prices are restricting access to food for the most vulnerable sections of the
population. There have been reports of food shortages in the southern provinces
of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane. Recent assessments undertaken by the Government
and international agencies in the country indicate that 80 000 to 100 000 most
vulnerable people are in need of emergency food aid until the next harvest.
NAMIBIA (6 November)
Harvesting of the 2001 irrigated wheat crop is well advanced. An average output of 5 000 tonnes is anticipated. The aggregate cereal output is estimated one-quarter lower than in the previous year at 106 000 tonnes. Production was affected by dry weather followed by excessive rains. As a result, the overall food supply situation in marketing year 2001/02 is tight. Imports of cereals are expected to rise sharply up at 125 000 tonnes (50 000 tonnes of wheat and 75 000 tonnes of maize). While most of this requirement is expected to be covered commercially, food supply difficulties are reported in communities where the harvest was poor and for vulnerable people in urban areas without adequate purchasing power.
Planting of the 2002 coarse grain crops is scheduled from next month.
SOUTH AFRICA (6 November)
Planting of the 2002 maize crop is underway in the main maize growing areas of the east. Below average rains in the first dekad of October were followed by abundant precipitation in the second and third dekads. The above-average rains provided good soil moisture for planting the 2002 maize crop and benefited earlier sowed crops. Planting prospects are favourable reflecting also expectations of a 6 percent rise in the area planted to 2.878 million hectares. This is in response to increasing prices of maize due to this year's reduced harvest and higher exports to neighbouring countries. The 2001 maize output was estimated at 7.5 million tonnes, a substantial decline from the previous year's good output of 10.6 million tonnes, due to a decrease of 17 percent in the area planted and a prolonged mid-season dry spell that reduced yields.
Harvesting of the 2001 wheat crop is advanced. Production forecasts have been
revised upwards to 2.3 million tonnes. At this level, the output is 4 percent
higher than the average of the past five years. The outcome reflects an increase
of 4 percent in the area planted and adequate irrigation water supplies.
SWAZILAND (6 November)
Dry weather in the first dekad of October was followed by normal to above normal precipitation in the remainder of the month, which provided adequate soil moisture for planting of the 2002 cereal crops, mainly maize.
Cereal production in 2001 was estimated at 77 000 tonnes, close to last year's
poor harvest, but some 33 percent below the previous five year average, due
mainly to a mid-season dry spell and a heat wave. As a result, the food supply
situation is expected to remain tight until the end of the 2001/02 marketing
year (April/March). The import requirement is estimated at 123 000 tonnes, and
is expected to be covered entirely by commercial imports. However, food assistance
may be needed by the most affected households, particularly in the Middle and
ZAMBIA (5 November)
Planting of the 2002 maize crop, to be harvested from April next year, is underway. Above-average rains in October, particularly in southern areas, benefited sowing operations and earlier planted crops. Availability of seeds and fertilizers for the new season is reported to be adequate to meet requirements.
Harvesting of the 2001 irrigated wheat crop is well advanced. The output is forecast at 75 000 tonnes, 17 percent lower than the previous year's level.
The 2001 maize harvest was sharply reduced by excessive rains, coupled with dry weather in southern parts. A final official production estimate has not been released. FAO's preliminary estimates point to a maize crop of 950 000 tonnes, some 28 percent lower than last year. At this level, and taking into account available stocks, there is an estimated deficit of 300 000 tonnes of maize in marketing year 2001/02 (May/April) to be covered through commercial imports and food aid. The Government's Food Reserve Agency has announced tenders for purchase of 150 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa, to be supplied from November 2001 to March 2002. It has also announced a ban on maize exports.
Following reports of emerging food shortages in parts, the Government launched
an appeal to the international community in mid-July for 98 000 tonnes of food
aid to assist 2 million people in the 42 districts out of the 73 in the country,
that had been declared to be in a state of emergency. It has also started distribution
of maize in eastern parts of the country. WFP plans to distribute about 42 000
tonnes of food aid to 1.28 million most affected people in 23 districts.
ZIMBABWE* (5 November)
Generally normal rains in October, which were above average in eastern parts, allowed land preparation for planting of the 2002 cereal crops and improved pastures for livestock.
Harvesting of the 2001 irrigated wheat crop is well advanced. Preliminary estimates point to a crop of 275 000 tonnes, some 10 percent higher than last year's reduced crop but still below the average of the past five years. The higher production mainly reflects a rise of 14 percent in the area planted. At the estimated production level, the import requirement of wheat until the next harvest in October 2002 is projected at 80 000 tonnes.
The 2001 coarse grains harvest was sharply reduced. The maize crop, accounting for over 90 percent of the total cereal production, was estimated at 1.5 million tonnes, 28 below last year's level and well below average. This decrease mainly reflected a decline of 54 percent in the area planted on the large-scale commercial farms, due to disruption by land acquisitions activities. In the communal areas, plantings were affected by payment delays by the Grain Marketing Board, while yields were negatively affected by a severe mid-season dry spell followed by excessive rains, particularly in southern areas.
As a result of the sharp decline in production and severe shortage of foreign
exchange, the food supply situation is increasingly tight. The Grain Marketing
Board has announced tenders to import 150 000 tonnes of maize. Prices of basic
food staples, which had increased more than 300 percent from June to August,
stabilized or declined after the Government ordered on 12 October price cuts
of 5 to 20 percent for maize meal - the basic staple - and bread, meat, vegetables,
milk, cooking oil and salt. However, many of the products were unavailable on
the markets in the second half of the month. The food supply position is particularly
critical in areas where farmers gathered a poor harvest and localized food shortages
have been reported. A recent WFP food needs assessment estimated that 706 000
people are in need of assistance in some districts of Midlands, Matebeleland
North, Matebeleland South, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and
Manicaland Provinces. WFP plans to distribute food aid to over 500 000 people