ANGOLA * (4 June)
Harvesting of the 2002 cereal crops is underway. The output is forecast to increase for the second consecutive year, reflecting generally favourable rains in the main growing areas. However, production is still constrained by low levels of plantings due to insecurity at sowing time.
After 27 years of civil war, a cease-fire agreement has been signed between the Government and rebel groups in early April. The opening of roads previously closed due to the conflict has allowed improved access to populations which were cut off from relief aid before. Reports indicate that the food and nutritional situation of tens of thousands of people in “demobilization camps” is critical, with deaths by starvation. Humanitarian assistance is urgently required for at least 500 000 people in areas previously inaccessible.
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission has just completed its visit to the country and its report is expected in the next few weeks.
BOTSWANA (2 June)
Harvesting of the 2002 cereal crops, mainly sorghum, is completed. The harvest is estimated to be reduced for the second consecutive year. Despite a good start of the rainy season, a prolonged dry spell in January adversely affected yields, particularly for the maize crop.
The overall food supply situation remains satisfactory. The country imports most of the food it requires.
LESOTHO (2 June)
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment
Mission1/ visited the country from 25 April to 4 May 2002. The
mission estimated domestic cereal supply in
2002/03 at 74 000 tonnes, against total national consumption
requirement of 412 000 tonnes, resulting in an import
requirement of 338 000 tonnes. Commercial imports were
estimated at 191 000 tonnes and food aid at 147 000
tonnes which needs to be met by the Government and external
The mission also estimated that a total of 444 800 people throughout Lesotho will require emergency food assistance. The districts hardest hit by this year’s poor harvest are Qacha’s Nek, Quthing and Mohale’s Hoek. Overall, the Mission recommended targeted emergency assistance of approximately 68 955 tonnes of food, including maize, pulses, vegetable oil and iodized salt. Emergency provision of agricultural inputs such as seeds was also recommended to enable disaster-affected farming families to restart agricultural production during the next main planting season starting in October 2002.
MADAGASCAR (4 June)
Harvesting of the 2002 cereal crops, mainly rice, is well advanced. Some minor damages to crop have been reported due to the passage of cyclone “Keseny”in April. Assessment results have not yet been completed. However, damages are not expected to make a major dent in global crop production figures. Overall prospects are satisfactory reflecting generally adequate rains The aggregate paddy crop is forecast slightly above last year’s good level of 2.6 million tonnes. Maize is also expected to be around the 2001 crop.
The food supply situation continues to be affected by the current political crisis and it is likely to deteriorate in the coming months if a solution is not found soon. Shortages of rice, sugar, salt and essential non-food items, including fuel, are being experienced in Antananarivo, and to a lesser extent, in provincial capitals that depend on supply of vegetables and other agricultural produce from the highlands, due to disruption of transport (road blocks, damaged bridges, etc.). In urban areas, prices of food staples have increased, undermining access to food for increasing numbers of vulnerable people. In the rural areas, the current difficulties in marketing agricultural products have resulted in a decline in producer prices, adversely affecting the food security of farming households, particularly in remote areas.
Overall, the disruption of economic activities since the beginning of the crisis in February has resulted in increasing unemployment and poverty.
MALAWI (4 June)
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country from 21 April to 11 May 2002 and estimated maize production in 2002 at 1 539 000 tonnes, 10 percent below last year’s poor harvest. The major cause was erratic rainfall with long dry spells, but also reduced input supplies. Cereal supply in 2002/03 marketing year (April/March) was estimated at 1.7 million tonnes, while the national cereal requirement was estimated at 2.2 million tonnes, resulting in an import requirement of 485 000 tonnes. Commercial imports of cereals were forecast at 277 000 tonnes and food aid requirements at 208 000 tonnes, which will need to be covered by the Government and external assistance.
Approximately 3.2 million people seriously affected by the combined effects of reduced food availability and purchasing power need emergency food assistance estimated at approximately 207 689 tonnes of cereals, mainly maize. National production of roots and tubers has increased, and this will moderate the impact of the maize shortage in many areas. Emergency provision of agricultural inputs such as maize seed, bean seed, fertilizer and hand hoes was also recommended to assist affected farming households to carry out winter cultivation in wetlands and irrigated areas in May/June and for the main planting season in October/November.
MOZAMBIQUE (4 June)
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country from 21 April to 10 May 2002 and found that severe dry weather during the 2001/02 cropping season sharply reduced crop yields in southern and parts of central Mozambique. In the main cereal growing areas of the northern region and remaining parts of the central region, abundant and well distributed rains led to increased production of cereals. Overall, the 2002 cereal output was estimated by the mission at 1.71 million tonnes, 5 percent above last year, and maize output at 1.24 million tonnes, an increase of 8 percent. An exportable maize surplus in northern and central areas was projected at 100 000 tonnes.
Approximately 515 000 people in poor households in 43 districts of the Southern and Central regions are facing severe food insecurity due to drought-devastated agricultural production and exhaustion of their coping abilities over the last four years. These severely food insecure people require food aid totaling 70 050 tonnes between now and April 2003. Emergency provision of agricultural inputs such as seeds is also urgently required to enable drought affected farming families to restart agricultural production during the main planting season starting in October 2002.
NAMIBIA (3 June)
The output of the recently harvested 2002 coarse grains is estimated at 82 000 tonnes, 20 percent below the cereal crop of 2001. Insufficient rains at planting time sharply reduce the area sown to millet/sorghum and maize, while a dry spell in January adversely affected yields. Subsequent precipitation arrived too late to prevent yield reductions. The food supply situation is anticipated to remain tight in marketing year 2002/03 (May/April), particularly for farmers who gathered a poor harvest last year and for vulnerable groups in urban areas.
SOUTH AFRICA (4 June)
Harvesting of the 2002 coarse grains is underway. Latest official forecasts of the main maize crop have been revised upwards to about 9 million tonnes, an increase of 20 percent on last year’s reduced level. This is the result of an increase of 4 percent in the area planted and generally favourable weather conditions in the main growing areas. Sorghum is forecast at 192 000 tonnes, 9 percent higher than in 2001 despite a decline of 15 percent in the area planted.
Reflecting low levels of carry-over stocks following large exports of maize in marketing year 2001/02 (May/April), and increased import demand from neighbouring countries, domestic prices of maize remain high. The country is importing white maize from USA and Argentina to replenish stocks.
SWAZILAND (4 June)
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country from 15 to 24 April 2002 and estimated domestic cereal supply in 2002/03 at 77 000 tonnes, against total national consumption requirement of 188 000 tonnes. This resulted in an import requirement of 111 000 tonnes. Commercial imports were estimated at 96 000 tonnes and food aid at 15 200 tonnes which will need to be covered by the Government and external assistance.
The mission also estimated that a total of 144 000 people in Lowveld, Middleveld and Lubombo Plateau will need food assistance. Overall, the Mission recommended targeted assistance of approximately 17 720 tonnes of food, including such commodities as maize, pulses, vegetable oil and iodised salt. Emergency provision of agricultural inputs such as seeds was also recommended to enable drought-affected farming families to restart agricultural production during the next main planting season starting in October 2002.
ZAMBIA (4 June)
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country from 15 to 24 April 2002 and estimated the 2002 output of the main staple maize at 606 000 tonnes, 24 percent below last year’s poor harvest and 42 percent lower than the normal crop of 2000. Prolonged dry spells during the 2001/02 growing season in five of the nine provinces of Zambia sharply reduced yields and production of cereals. Cereal import requirements for marketing year 2002/03 (May/April) were estimated at 626 000 tonnes. Commercial imports were projected at 351 000 tonnes and emergency food aid requirements for 2.329 million most affected people at 174 000 tonnes. This leaves an uncovered deficit of 101 000 tonnes. Additional Government and external assistance is needed to cover the gap.
The most affected area is the Southern Province, where 60 percent of the population was estimated to be in need of relief food. Emergency supply of seeds (maize, sorghum, groundnuts) to drought affected farming families is urgently required for the main planting season starting in October 2002.
ZIMBABWE * (4 June)
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country from 21 April to 10 May 2002 and estimated cereal production at about 0.67 million tonnes, 57 percent down from last year’s poor harvest and 69 percent down from production in 1999/00. The production of maize, the main staple, was estimated at 0.48 million tonnes, down by 67 percent on last year and by 77 percent on 1999/00. The major cause was a severe prolonged drought between January and March, which wiped out crops in most parts of the country, coupled with land reform activities which disrupted agricultural production on large-scale commercial farms. Cereal import requirements for the marketing year 2002/03 are estimated at a staggering 1.869 million tonnes, of which maize accounts for 1.705 million tonnes or 91 percent. Taking into account an anticipated commercial cereal import of 312 000 tonnes and 60 000 tonnes of food aid pledges, the total uncovered cereal deficit for the year is 1.497 million tonnes with the maize deficit amounting to 1.345 million tonnes.
Zimbabwe is facing a serious food crisis, and unless international food assistance is provided urgently and adequately, there will be a serious famine and loss of life in the coming months. Approximately 6.074 million people were estimated to have insufficient production, income and other entitlements to be able to meet their minimum food requirements throughout the coming year. Emergency food assistance in the amount of 705 000 tonnes of cereals, in addition to other supplementary food items, is needed to support their minimum cereal consumption requirements. Millions of people who have the resources to purchase their cereal staple food are increasingly unable to do so because grain is not widely available in the markets, or is selling at very high prices. Emergency provision of agricultural inputs was also recommended to enable drought-affected farming families to restart agricultural production during the next main planting season starting in October 2002.
1/ Assessment reports for Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe can be found on the Internet at the following address: http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/faoinfo/economic/giews/english/alertes/sptoc.htm.