FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.1, February 2002


BURUNDI* (4 February)

The outcome of the recently harvested 2002 first season crops was good. Production of cereals and beans was estimated at almost the same as in the previous year, at 86 000 tonnes and 69 000 tonnes respectively. Roots and tubers increased by 9 percent to 527 000 tonnes and bananas and plantains by 3 percent to 477 000 tonnes. For the non-cereal crops, the increase reflects larger plantings in response to sufficient availability of planting material, stable security situation in most of the country, and adequate rains. However, plantings and yields of cereals and beans were constrained by shortages of seeds (despite large distributions of agricultural inputs by humanitarian organizations), early cessation of rains in some areas and excessive precipitation in parts. By December 2001, prices of food staples in the main provincial markets had declined significantly compared to their levels of a year ago.

However, despite the overall satisfactory harvest, production was constrained by insecurity in eastern provinces and parts of Bujumbura rural Province. The food situation of some 432 000 internally displaced people is of serious concern and food assistance continues to be required.

ERITREA* (1 February)

Harvesting of the 2001 cereal and pulse crops is complete. Expectations of a good cereal crop in 2001 were dampened by below-normal rains at flowering and seed setting stages. The Ministry of Agriculture is yet to release final production data for the 2001 harvest but recent estimates indicate a cereal output of between 150 000 to 200 000 tonnes. Even at this level, production is well above the previous year’s poor harvest. During 2001, WFP has distributed about 150 000 tonnes of food commodities to 1 million beneficiaries and expects to distribute about 130 000 tonnes to 800 000 people in 2002.

The overall food supply situation remains tight reflecting the displacement of farmers by the recent war with Ethiopia and lingering effects of drought. A UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for 2002 for US $120 million was launched in November 2001 and includes assistance for medium and long- term programmes, particularly those targeting the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Although the number of IDPs in camps is gradually declining (currently about 60 000), food assistance is also required for refugees returning from Sudan, demobilized soldiers, resettled IDPs in the TSZ and drought impacted people in the Sahel regions of the country.

ETHIOPIA* (1 February)

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to the country in late 2001 estimated cereal and pulse production from the 2001 main “Meher” season at 12.33 million tonnes, 4 percent below the 2000 post-harvest estimate but about 9 percent above the average of the previous five years. The increase was mainly due to favourable rains and a low incidence of pests and diseases. The bumper harvest has resulted in sharply falling grain prices in most markets, negatively impacting on farmers’ income. The price fall could negatively affect next year’s production. On the other hand, the low prices offer an opportunity for a significant build- up of stocks at all levels. Export possibilities to neighbouring countries will be restricted because of good harvests in neighbouring Kenya and Sudan.

The overall good harvest masks the existence of food deficient communities in most parts of the country due to localised drought, population displacement and limited purchasing power. Emergency food requirements in 2002 are projected at about 560 000 tonnes targeting some 5.2 million people. The Mission strongly recommended local purchases to the extent possible for donors wishing to give food aid to the country. (For more details, the Mission Report can be found at the address http://www.fao.org/giews/english/alertes/2002/SRETH202.htm)

KENYA (1 February)

Prospects for the 2001/02 secondary "short rains" cereal crop, which accounts for some 15 percent of annual production, are favourable. This crop provides the main source of food in parts of Central and Eastern provinces.

The 2001 main "long rains" cereal crop was significantly higher than in 2000, mainly reflecting abundant and well distributed rains in the main producing area of the Rift Valley Province. Maize production has been estimated at 2.31 million tonnes for the season, an increase of about 20 percent over the previous year. Assuming an average "short rains" crop, the aggregate 2001/02 maize production is projected at 2.7 million tonnes. Reflecting the good "long rains" maize crop and carryover stocks, prices have declined sharply in recent months, prompting the Government to appeal to donors to increase local purchases.

Despite an overall improvement in food supply, serious food supply difficulties persist in pastoral areas, particularly in Turkana, Mandera and parts of Marsabit Districts. In November/December 2001 WFP distributed about 27 000 tonnes of food to about 1.5 million people in 13 drought affected pastoral and agro-pastoral districts.

RWANDA* (1 February)

Harvesting of the 2002 first season foodcrops is complete. Abundant rains during the season, which resulted in localized floods and landslides, generally benefited developing crops. The results of a locally organized joint MINAGRI/FAO/FEWS NET/WFP crop assessment are not yet available, but a good output of rootcrops and banana/plantains is anticipated. By contrast, production of cereals and beans is likely to have been adversely affected by the excessive precipitation, particularly in lowlands.

The overall food supply situation remains satisfactory. Prices of the main food staples, which were at their lowest levels since 1994, have continued to decline with the arrival of the new harvest into the markets. This has improved access to food for most vulnerable groups.

SOMALIA* (1 February)

Harvesting of the 2001/02 secondary “Deyr” season cereal crop, which normally accounts for 25 to 30 percent of annual cereal production, is well advanced. Despite earlier uncertainty, the outlook has generally improved with good rains in major growing areas. Latest forecasts indicate a cereal crop of some 160 000 tonnes, comprising 90 000 tonnes of sorghum and 70 000 tonnes of maize, which is about 68 percent above the previous year’s harvest.

However, the food security situation in Gedo, East Sanag, Sool and parts of Bari regions gives cause for concern. Overall, more than 500 000 people are estimated to be facing severe food difficulties in Somalia, mainly due to poor 2001 main “Gu” season crops. Slow recovery from successive seasons of drought and long-term effects of insecurity coupled with reduced foreign exchange earnings due to the continuing ban on livestock imports from eastern Africa by countries along the Arabian Peninsula on account of Rift Valley Fever have seriously undermined household food security.

SUDAN* (1 February)

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to the country in October-December 2001 forecast the 2001/02 total cereal production at about 4.81 million tonnes, comprising 3.77 million tonnes of sorghum, about 579 000 tonnes of millet, 315 000 tonnes of wheat (to be harvested in April/May 2002) and about 146 000 tonnes of other cereals. At this level, cereal production is about 38 percent above last year’s crop and about 13 percent above the average of the last five years. Sorghum market prices have fallen below production costs in main producing areas, and this may depress planted area next year.

Nevertheless, several zones in southern Sudan will experience food shortages mainly due to population displacement and insecurity, while parts of northern Sudan have suffered crop failures due to erratic rainfall. Therefore, targeted emergency food assistance will be required in these areas. It is particularly important to facilitate the timely purchase and transfer of grains from surplus to deficit areas to support both producers and consumers.

For various interventions in the drought affected States of Kordofan, Darfur and the Red Sea, an estimated 78 000 tonnes of cereals are required. In southern Sudan, where insecurity is a major cause of food aid needs, the overall needs are estimated at 52 000 tonnes. In addition, food aid needs in the Nuba Mountains (both northern and southern sectors) amount to about 25 000 tonnes. In total, 155 000 tonnes of food aid will be required in 2002 to assist about 2 million IDPs, drought affected and vulnerable people.

TANZANIA (1 February)

Harvesting of the 2001/02 short “Vuli” season cereal crops in the bi-modal rainfall areas is well advanced. The overall outlook is mixed. A satisfactory crop is anticipated around the Lake Victoria Basin and western Tanzania, while a poor crop is expected in northern and eastern regions mainly due to dry weather. The aggregate 2001/02 cereal production is forecast at 4 million tonnes, about 14 percent above last year’s poor harvest but almost similar to the average for the previous five years.

Despite an overall stable food supply situation, recent reports indicate that nearly 120 000 people in 10 districts would need food assistance. Sharp increase in food prices have been noted in parts due to increased demand for cereals in neighbouring Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which have food deficits due to adverse weather or insecurity.

UGANDA (1 February)

Harvesting of the 2001 second season crop is almost complete and maize production is expected to decline by about 25 percent of normal levels due to reduced acreage following the bumper crop in the first season. Aggregate cereal production in 2001 is estimated at 9 percent and 3 percent above the 2000 and the previous five years average respectively.

However, despite an overall satisfactory food supply situation, some 700 000 refugees, displaced persons and victims of drought earlier remain dependent on food assistance.

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