Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture

SAHEL WEATHER AND CROP SITUATION REPORT

Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture
Report No 2 - 13 July 2005

 PLANTINGS ARE PROGRESSING NORTHWARDS FOLLOWING THE ONSET OF REGULAR RAINSL

Click on one country or its name to consult the situation of this country

Guine Bissau Cap-Vert Gambie Senegal Mauritanie Mali BKF Niger Tchad
Sensitive Map of the Sahel countries

SUMMARY

Rains reached Guinea-Bissau and the Gambia in June, after having started in May in southern Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Senegal. Precipitation has been generally regular and widespread over most producing areas of these countries. First rains were also registered in southern Mauritania. Seasonably dry conditions continue to prevail in Cape Verde, where rains are expected to start shortly. Land preparation and planting are in progress following the onset of the rains. Crops are generally emerging satisfactorily and pastures are starting to regenerate. However, locust numbers are expected to increase in the northern Sahel, as ecological conditions improve. Although FAO is not expecting a large scale invasion this year, intensive survey operations should be maintained on a regular basis in all areas throughout the summer.

The food situation remains critical in Niger, where cereal prices continue to climb and severe malnutrition is reported to be on the increase, in spite of actions taken by the Government and several humanitarian organizations. Pledges are reportedly still short of requirements following the appeal for funds by UN agencies, including FAO, UNICEF and WFP which is expanding its emergency operation to assist 713 913 additional people. Access to food and other determinants of food security among farmers and pastoralists need to be closely monitored until harvest time, in October.


SITUATION BY COUNTRY

 

BURKINA FASO  CAPE VERDE  CHAD  GAMBIA  GUINEA-BISSAU 
MALI  MAURITANIA  NIGER  SENEGAL

Undisplayed Graphic

BURKINA FASO :

Crops are generally developing satisfactorily. In June, rains were limited but widespread, and soil moisture was generally adequate to allow land preparation and planting to continue. Coarse grain crops are generally in the tillering/leafing stages in the Sudanian zone and emerging in the north.

The food situation remains tight, notably in the northern province of Oudalan, with high cereal prices and depleted households food stocks. The emergency measures (including free food distribution and subsidized sales in affected communities) taken by the Governement helped improve somewhat the food situation in affected communities, but the impact on cereal prices remains limited, and the food situation of the population at risk of food shortages needs to be closely monitored during the lean season.

CAPE VERDE

CAPE VERDE :

Land preparation is underway. Rains should start soon and allow planting of maize on the main islands, where seed distribution has been carried out by the government and FAO. Dry plantings have started in some areas on Santiago island.

No Desert Locusts have been reported. CHAD

CHAD :

The growing season is now well established in the agricultural zones. Rainfall has been adequate since the start of the growing season in May. Land preparation and sowing of coarse grains are in progress in the Sahelian zone, while in the Sudanian zone crops are emerging. Pastures are starting to regenerate, improving livestocks conditions. Desert locusts remain a potential threat with reports of swarms in several regions of the country. Although a large scale invasion is not expected this year, intensive survey operations should be carried out on a regular basis in all infested areas.

Cereal prices have started decreasing after subsidized sales of cereals begun in June, improving the food situation in affected communities. As of early July, the estimated number of Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad was 197 685. THE GAMBIA

GAMBIA :

Land preparation and plantings are well underway. Rains started in early June in the east and the centre and in late June in the west. Precipitation has been widespread, allowing land preparation and wet plantings to start. GUINEE-BISSAU

GUINEA-BISSAU :

Abundant rains in June benefited plantings and crop development. Precipitation became abundant countrywide after first rains were recorded in late May. Coarse grains are emerging/tillering, while land preparation and plantings of rainfed rice are underway. Transplanting of swamp rice from seedbeds will take place in July/August after desalination of swamp rice fields. Localised insect attacks have been reported, notably in the southern regions of Quinara and Tombali. MALI

MALI :

Adequate rains so far have facilitated plantings and crop development in most regions. Following an early start of the rainy season in May, precipitation remained generally widespread and regular in June and cumulative rainfall as of early July was above average in most meteorological stations. Land preparation and sowing of millet and sorghum are underway. First plantings of millet are emerging/tillering. Planting of rice in seedbeds is underway in the irrigated areas along the Niger river.

Pastures are improving, notably in the south. However, the pest situation is not very favourable. High populations of grain eating birds are reported in the Office du Niger zone, in Mopti and Gao, where aerial treatment operations are about to start. Grasshopper attacks were reported in Koulikoro and Sikasso areas, while swarms of desert locusts were reported in the North. Although a large scale invasion of desert locusts is not expected this year, intensive survey operations should be carried out on a regular basis in all infested areas. MAURITANIA

MAURITANIA :

First rains in June permitted plantings to start in the south. Significant rains were recorded in the south and the centre in June, allowing land preparation and planting to start. Desert locusts were reported in June in the summer breeding area between Nema and the Malian border, where hatching is likely to occur. However, no large scale invasion is expected.

The overall food situation has improved significantly across the country, following the implementation of various food aid and livelihood support programmes by FAO, WFP and the Government. NIGER

NIGER :

The rainy season is now well established but the food situation remains critical. Rainfall has been adequate since the start of the growing season, allowing land preparation and plantings to progress. Cumulative rainfall as of late June was above average in 69 percent of the meteorological stations, and it is estimated that 92 percent of villages had finished their plantings by late June, compared to about 77 percent last year. Crops are emerging and already tillering/leafing in Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder departments. Pastures should start regenerating as rains increase. However, desert locusts remain a threat with reports of small-scale breeding in the center.

The food situation remains critical in the country, with limited food supply and increasingly high food prices. Pledges are reportedly still short of requirements following the appeal for funds by UN agencies, including FAO, UNICEF and WFP which is expanding its emergency operation to assist 713 913 additional people. Access to food and other determinants of food security among farmers and pastoralists need to be closely monitored until harvest time, in October. SENEGAL

SENEGAL :

Rains reached the centre and the north in June. Following early rains in the extreme south-east in May, precipitation covered the centre and the north in June. Plantings of coarse grains are underway in the south and the centre, where crops are emerging satisfactorily.

Pastures are starting to regenerate in the south, but overall pasture availability is still very limited and livestock continues to be negatively affected by the high price of animal feeds. No desert locusts have been reported so far.

TOTAL RAINFALL AND PLANTING OPPORTUNITY MAPS

The first map indicates the total rainfall amount from 1st to 30th June. Data is extracted from FAO field reports and the Rainfall Estimate (RFE) Satellite Imagery as produced by NOAA/USGS/FEWS/USAID project. The RFE images are obtained by interpolating various parameters recorded on the ground and obtained through remote sensing measurements such as: rainfall, relative humidity, wind speed, elevation, cold cloud temperatures.

The map below shows the estimated planting time (opportunity) as defined by the dekad (10-day) satisfying the following requisites: during the first dekad, 25 mm of rainfall should be measured and a total rainfall of at least 20 mm should be recorded during the two next dekads. Data used for this analysis are from FAO field reports and RFE imagery.

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

SOURCES:

This is the second GIEWS report of the 2005 season on weather and crop conditions in the Sahelian countries of western Africa. Geographical coverage of these reports includes the nine CILSS (Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) member states: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. Reports are issued each month from June to November. The final report for 2005 with the first production estimates will be issued in late-November.

These reports are prepared with data from, and in close collaboration with, FAO Representatives, the Agro-Meteorology Group and the Environmental Monitoring Group (SDRN), the Emergency Centre for Locust Operations (ECLO), the Emergency Operations Service (TCEO), the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). In this report, satellite imagery provided by FAO/ARTEMIS, field data on rainfall, FAO agro-meteorological crop monitoring field reports and information provided by FAO Representatives up to 30 June have been utilized. The satellite images of the first dekad of June has also been utilized for final updating.

*SOME DEFINITIONS

In these reports, reference will be made to four different eco-climatic zones based on the average annual precipitation and agricultural features, i.e. Sahelian zone, Sudano-Sahelian zone, Sudanian zone and Guinean zone. They are shown in the map and described below:

Sahelian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges between 250 and 500 mm. This zone is at the limit of perennial vegetation. In parts where precipitation is less than 350 mm, only pastures and occasional short-cycle drought-resistant cereal crops are grown; all cropping in this zone is subject to high risk.

Sudano-Sahelian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges from 500 to 900 mm. In those parts of this zone where precipitation is less than 700 mm, mostly crops with a short growing cycle of 90 days are generally cultivated predominantly sorghum and millet.

Sudanian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges from 900 to 1 100 mm. In this zone, most cereal crops have a growing cycle of 120 days or more. Most cereals, notably maize, root and cash crops are grown in this zone.

Guinean zone: Where average annual precipitation exceeds 1 100 mm. Guinea-Bissau and a small area of southern Burkina Faso belong to this zone, more suited to root crop cultivation.

Reference will also be made to the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), also known by its trace on the earth's surface, called the Intertropical Front. The ITCZ is a quasi-permanent zone between two air masses separating the northern and southern hemisphere trade winds. The ITCZ moves north and south of the equator and usually reaches its most northernly position in July. Its position defines the northern limits of possible precipitation in the Sahel; rain-bearing clouds are generally situated 150-200 km south of the Intertropical Front.


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This report is prepared under the responsibility of FAO/GIEWS with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, for further information, please contact:

Henri Josserand
Chief, Global Information and Early Warning Service
FAO Headquarters- Rome
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