GIEWS COUNTRY UPDATES

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AFRICA

ASIA

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

NORTH AMERICA, EUROPE AND OCEANIA

AFRICA

NORTHERN AFRICA

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Algeria (2007-05-29)

 
Erratic rains since the beginning of the cropping season have resulted in significantly lower plantings compared to last year. Yields are also anticipated to be slightly below average. Prospects for the 2006/07 winter cereal crops, to be harvested from June, are therefore unfavourable and outputs of wheat and barley, the main cereals, are expected to be below the average of the past 5 years.
 
Imports of wheat in marketing year 2007/08 (July/June) are forecast at 4.7 million tonnes, some 100 000 tonnes more than in 2006/07 (July/June).
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Les précipitations irrégulières enregistrées depuis le début de la campagne agricole ont entraîné une diminution considérable de la superficie ensemencée par rapport à l’an dernier. Les rendements devraient aussi être légèrement inférieurs à la moyenne. Les perspectives concernant les céréales d’hiver de la campagne 2006/2007, à récolter à partir de juin, sont donc mauvaises et la production de blé  et d’orge - les principales cultures céréalières - devrait se situer au-dessous de la moyenne des cinq dernières années.
 
Selon les prévisions, les importations de blé pour la campagne commerciale 2007/2008 (juillet/juin) atteindraient 4,7 millions de tonnes, soit quelque 100 000 tonnes de plus qu’en 2006/2007 (juillet/juin).
 

Egypt (2007-05-29)

 
Growing conditions are satisfactory for the largely irrigated wheat and barley crops planted in October/November for harvest from June. The area planted to cereal is estimated at about 2.9 million hectares, similar to the previous year, and yields are anticipated to increase only slightly. As a result, the 2007 cereal output estimated at about 22.5 million tonnes is similar to the previous year but above average. This includes 7.9 million tonnes of wheat, 8 million tonnes of coarse grains and 6.6 million tonnes of rice. Nonetheless, the country will need to import about 12 million tonnes of cereals in 2007/08 (July/June) to meet needs. This includes an estimated 7 million tonnes of wheat.
 

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (2007-05-29)

 
Prospects for current winter crops are favourable, following overall adequate meteorological conditions during the growing season. However, environmental constraints place a severe limit on Libya’s agricultural potential. The country is over 90 percent desert, with most agriculturally productive land limited to a strip abutting the Mediterranean Sea. Arable land is only 1.7 percent of Libya’s total area and agriculture employs around 6 percent of the workforce. The two main areas of natural farmland are the high coastal plateau of Jebel Akhdar in the north-east and the fertile coastal plain in the north-west. Wheat and barley are the major cereals grown in the country. Other important crops include olives, grapes, dates, almonds and oranges. The country imports about 80 percent of its consumption requirement. The livestock sector also relies heavily on subsidized imports of animal feed.
 
 

Morocco (2007-05-29)

 
Harvesting of the 2006/07 cereal crops is due to start from May/June and below-average outputs are forecast. Insufficient soil moisture at planting and subsequent erratic rains in the main growing areas have resulted in a smaller planted area, particularly for wheat, while yields are also anticipated to be lower than normal.
 
Wheat imports in marketing year 2007/08 (July/June) are forecast to increase considerably and may reach 2.5 million tonnes, compared to only 1 million tonnes in 2006/07.
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La récolte des céréales de la campagne 2006/07 doit commencer à partir de mai/juin, et l’on prévoit des résultats inférieurs à la moyenne. Des réserves d’humidité insuffisantes à l’époque des semis et les pluies irrégulières tombées ensuite dans les principales régions productrices ont entraîné une diminution de la superficie ensemencée, notamment en blé, tandis que les rendements devraient aussi être inférieurs à la normale.
 
Les importations de blé pour la campagne de commercialisation 2007/08 (juillet/juin) devraient s’accroître considérablement et pourraient atteindre 2,5 millions de tonnes, contre seulement 1 million de tonnes en 2006/07.
 

Tunisia (2007-05-29)

 
Erratic rains at the beginning of the cropping season have delayed plantings and resulted in significantly lower area planted compared to last year. However, precipitation resumed in April and remained adequate in May, improving soil moisture conditions and crop prospects, notably in the major producing areas located in the northern part of the country.
 
Initial indications are that this year’s cereal harvest could be above the 2006 cereal crop estimated at 1.6 million tonnes and close to average.
 
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Les précipitations irrégulières enregistrées au début de la campagne agricole ont retardé les semis et entraîné une diminution considérable de la superficie ensemencée par rapport à l’an dernier. Toutefois, les pluies ont repris en avril et sont restées adéquates en mai, ce qui a amélioré les réserves d’humidité des sols et les perspectives de récolte, notamment dans les principales régions productrices situées au nord du pays.
 
Selon les premières indications, la récolte de céréales de cette année pourrait dépasser celle de 2006, estimée à 1,6 million de tonnes et proche de la moyenne.
 

WESTERN AFRICA

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Benin (2007-05-29)

 
Planting of the 2007 main maize crop is nearly complete in the South. Planting of coarse grains will progress northwards following the onset of rains.
 
The 2006 aggregate cereal output – mostly maize – is estimated by the Government at some 1.1 million tonnes, which is slightly below last year’s crop and close to the five years average. Production of roots and tubers is also reported to have decreased slightly. In spite of the reduced output, the overall food supply situation remains satisfactory, reflecting the bumper crops gathered in most neighbouring countries, notably in Nigeria.
 
However, low cotton prices combined with a disruption of input and output markets in the cotton sector have negatively affected farmers’ incomes in recent years, significantly increasing the vulnerability of the estimated 2 million people who depend on cotton for their livelihood, mostly in the North of the country. This, along with Nigeria’s protectionist policy and the tightening of controls against re-export trade, is making access to food increasingly difficult for a large section of the population.
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Les semis du maïs de la campagne principale de 2007 sont pratiquement terminés dans le sud. Les semis de céréales secondaires progresseront vers le nord dès l’arrivée des pluies.
 
Selon les estimations du gouvernement, la production céréalière - maïs principalement - de 2006 s’élève au total à quelque 1,1 million de tonnes, volume légèrement inférieur à la récolte de l’an dernier et proche de la moyenne quinquennale. La production de plantes-racines et de tubercules serait aussi en légère régression. En dépit de la diminution de la production, la situation globale des approvisionnements alimentaires reste satisfaisante en raison des récoltes abondantes rentrées dans la plupart des pays voisins, notamment au Nigéria.
 
Toutefois, la faiblesse des prix du coton, à laquelle il faut ajouter la perturbation des marchés des intrants et des extrants dans le secteur cotonnier, a eu des effets négatifs sur les revenus des exploitants ces dernières années, ce qui a accru considérablement la vulnérabilité des 2 millions de personnes environ dont la subsistance dépend du coton, principalement dans le nord du pays. Cette situation, associée à la politique protectionniste adoptée par le Nigéria et au resserrement des contrôles visant à empêcher les réexportations, rend l’accès à la nourriture de plus en plus difficile pour une grande partie de la population.
 

Burkina Faso (2007-05-29)

 
Seasonal rains commenced in May in the southern part of the country, allowing land preparation and planting to start.
 
Following release of the final 2006 cereal production figures, the aggregate cereal production is estimated at 3.68 million tonnes, which is similar to the bumper crop of 2005 and 13 percent over the average of past five years. This, in addition to adequate food supply in neighbouring countries, should result in a satisfactory food supply situation throughout commercial year 2006/07. However, increasingly tight food situation is reported in several areas were 2006 crop yields were sharply reduced because of delayed rains or floods. These include some departments of the provinces of Komandjari and Gnagna (East), Bam and Sanmentenga (Centre North), Lorum and Passoré (North) as well as Sahel region. In these areas, vulnerable groups need to be continuously monitored and assisted as necessary.
 
Cereal import requirement in 2006/07 (November/October), mostly rice and wheat for which the country has a structural deficit, is forecast at about 348 000 tonnes, including some 22 000 tonnes of food aid.
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Les précipitations saisonnières ont démarré en mai dans la partie méridionale du pays, ce qui a permis de procéder à la préparation des sols et aux semis.
 
Suite à la diffusion des chiffres définitifs pour 2006, la production céréalière totale est estimée à 3,68 millions de tonnes, soit un volume identique à la récolte exceptionnelle rentrée en 2005 et 13 pour cent de plus que la moyenne des cinq dernières années. Cela, ajouté aux disponibilités vivrières adéquates dans les pays voisins, devrait se traduire par une situation des approvisionnements alimentaires satisfaisante tout au long de la campagne commerciale 2006/2007. Toutefois, on signale que la situation alimentaire devient de plus en plus précaire dans plusieurs régions qui ont enregistré des rendements très réduits en 2006 en raison de l’arrivée tardive des pluies ou des inondations. Il s’agit notamment de certains départements des provinces de Komandjari et Gnagna (à l’est), de Bam et Sanmentenga (au centre-nord), de Lorum et Passoré (au nord) ainsi que de la zone sahélienne. Dans ces zones, les groupes vulnérables doivent faire l’objet d’un suivi constant et recevoir une assistance si nécessaire.
Les besoins d’importations céréalières pour 2006/2007 (novembre/octobre), qui concernent principalement le riz et le blé pour lesquels le pays enregistre un déficit structurel, devraient se monter à 348 000 tonnes, dont quelque 22 000 tonnes au titre de l’aide alimentaire.

  

 

Cape Verde (2007-05-29)

 
Seasonably dry conditions prevail. 2006 maize production has been estimated by a joint CILSS/Government Crop Assessment Mission at 11 800 tonnes, which is three times the drought-affected crop harvested of last year and significantly above average. However, in a normal year, domestic production covers only one-fifth of the country’s cereal utilization requirement and the balance has to be imported.
 
For the marketing year 2006/07 (November/October), imports of cereals are forecast at some 80 000 tonnes, including about 8 000 tonnes of food aid. Available figures show that about 34 percent of forecasted imports (about 26 869 tonnes) have been received as of late January.
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Il règne un temps sec de saison. Une mission conjointe CILSS/gouvernement d’évaluation des récoltes a estimé la production de maïs à 11 800 tonnes, soit le triple du volume touché par la sécheresse rentré l’an dernier et nettement plus que la moyenne. Toutefois, dans les années normales, la production intérieure couvre un cinquième seulement des besoins d’utilisation céréalière du pays et le solde doit être importé.
 
Pour la campagne commerciale 2006/2007 (novembre/octobre), les importations de céréales devraient être de l’ordre de 80 000 tonnes, dont 8 000 tonnes environ au titre de l’aide alimentaire. Selon les chiffres disponibles, environ 34 pour cent des importations prévues (26 869 tonnes environ) avaient été reçues à la fin janvier.
 
 

Chad (2007-05-29)

 
Significant rains fell in the extreme south, where land preparation and planting of coarse grains have started.
 
Following release of the final production estimates by the national statistical services, the aggregate 2006 cereal production is put at a record 1.99 million tonnes (including rice in paddy terms), some 39 percent higher than the average for the preceding five years. Sorghum and millet accounted for the bulk of the crop with 1.15 million tonnes and 0.54 million tonnes, respectively.
 
However, access to food continues to be very difficult for large segments of the population, notably in the eastern part of the country where poor security situation continues to disrupt marketing activities, limiting flows of commodities between regions and leading to food price spikes in some areas. The IDPs, whose number was estimated to reach over 115 000 as of late January, are among the most vulnerable populations. Moreover, and estimated 86,100 people may be at risk of food shortages and may require assistance in Manddoul, Moyen Chari and Mayo Kebbi Departments, as a result of severely reduced yields due to floods. Population displacement may also affect land preparation for the 2007 cropping season. The situation will continue to be closely monitored.
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Des pluies importantes sont tombées dans l’extrême sud, où la préparation des sols et les semis de céréales secondaires ont commencé.
 
Les services statistiques nationaux viennent de publier des estimations définitives qui établissent la production céréalière totale de 2006 à 1,99 million de tonnes (y compris le riz paddy), soit un chiffre record qui se situe à 39 pour cent au-dessus de la moyenne des cinq années précédentes. Le sorgho et le mil représentent l’essentiel de la récolte, avec respectivement 1,15 million de tonnes et 0,54 million de tonnes.
 
Toutefois, l’accès à la nourriture reste très difficile pour de vastes segments de la population, notamment dans l’est du pays où les mauvaises conditions de sécurité continuent de perturber les activités commerciales, en limitant la circulation de produits entre régions et en causant de fortes hausses de prix en certains endroits. Les PDI, qui selon les estimations étaient de plus de 115 000 à la fin janvier, comptent parmi les plus vulnérables. En outre, environ 86 100 personnes pourraient connaître des pénuries alimentaires et avoir besoin d’une aide dans les départements de Manddoul, Moyen Chari et Mayo Kebbi, suite à la forte réduction des rendements due aux inondations. Le déplacement de la population, qui se poursuit, pourrait aussi compromettre la préparation des sols pour la campagne agricole 2007, qui doit commencer en mai. La situation continuera d’être suivie de près.
 

Côte d'Ivoire (2007-05-29)

 
Planting of the first maize crop is underway in the South. Agricultural production has been severely affected by conflict-induced problems, especially labour shortages arising from population displacements, lack of agricultural support services in parts of the country, notably in the northern half of the country, market segmentation, disruptions by insecurity, and excessive transport costs. Notwithstanding the continuing negative impact of the civil strife on the agricultural sector, 2006 cereal production is estimated to be well above previous year’s crop due to favourable weather conditions, according to the results of a crop assessment organized by the Government jointly with FAO and WFP in November-December 2006. The positive turn taken by the political situation is also grounds for optimism.
 
A satisfactory food supply situation is anticipated for the commercial year 2006/07. However, access to food for many households continues to be hampered by disruption of livelihoods. In the North, smallholder cotton producers are experiencing a significant loss of income due to low cotton prices combined with the continued disruption of input and output markets in the cotton sector. Farmers have been reportedly shifting from cotton to cashews and food crops.
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Les semis du maïs de la première campagne sont en cours dans le sud. La production agricole a été gravement touchée par des problèmes dus au conflit, notamment pénuries de main-d’oeuvre du fait des déplacements de population, manque de services d’appui à l’agriculture en certains endroits du pays - en particulier dans le nord -, fragmentation des marchés, perturbations dues à l’insécurité et coûts de transport excessifs. En dépit de l’impact négatif persistant des troubles civils sur le secteur agricole, la production céréalière de 2006 est estimée en nette hausse par rapport à la récolte de l’année précédente, en raison des bonnes conditions météorologiques, à en juger par les résultats d’une évaluation des récoltes organisée par le gouvernement avec le concours de la FAO et du PAM en novembre-décembre 2006. En outre, l’évolution positive de la situation politique suscite un certain optimisme.
 
La situation des disponibilités vivrières devrait être satisfaisante pendant la campagne commerciale 2006/2007. Toutefois, de nombreux ménages ont toujours du mal à accéder à la nourriture en raison du bouleversement de leurs moyens de subsistance. Dans le nord, les petits producteurs de coton subissent de lourdes pertes de revenus en raison de la faiblesse des prix du coton, à laquelle à laquelle il faut ajouter la perturbation des marchés des intrants et des extrants dans le secteur cotonnier. Il semble que les agriculteurs se détournent de la production de coton pour se consacrer à la noix de cajou et aux cultures vivrières.
 

Gambia (2007-05-29)

 
The rains have not yet started and farmers are currently preparing their fields. Planting is expected to start in the weeks ahead with the onset of the rains.
 
Good rains last year have benefited agricultural production. Aggregate 2006 cereal production has been estimated at a record 256 400 tonnes, an increase of nearly 12 percent over the previous year’s crop and about 31 percent above the average of the previous five years. Groundnut production, the main source of cash income for rural households, was also estimated to have risen significantly. An improved food security situation is, therefore, expected in 2007. However, domestic cereal production in the Gambia covers less than half of the country’s utilisation requirement in a normal year, and food prices are strongly affected by the exchange rate of the Dalasi. Although the rate of decline of the currency is forecast to be moderate in 2007, it remains very vulnerable to exogenous chocks because of the country’s limited sources of foreign reserves.
 

Guinea (2007-05-29)

 
Planting of the 2007 crops has started in most areas of the country, after significant rains were received in April.
 
Crops benefited from favourable climatic conditions in most areas of the country during the 2006 growing season and production of rice - the staple food for Guineans- is estimated by the Government at about 1.3 million tonnes, similar to the bumper level achieved last year.
 
However, access to food continues to be negatively affected by high price inflation. Following a strong depreciation of the Guinea Franc, the price of rice more than doubled over the past two years, fuelling inflation and seriously eroding the purchasing power and access to food of both urban and rural populations. Prices remain high in spite of the ban on food exports imposed by the government in February 2007. The restoration of peace in Sierra Leone and improved situation in Liberia have resulted in a decrease of the number of refugees, but about 40 000 of them are still in Guinea, depending on humanitarian assistance.
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Les semis de la campagne 2007 ont commencé dans la plupart du pays, des pluies importantes étant tombées en avril.
 
Les cultures ont bénéficié de conditions climatiques favorables dans la plupart des régions pendant la campagne de végétation 2006 et le gouvernement estime la production de riz - qui est l’aliment de base des Guinéens - à environ 1,3 million de tonnes, soit un volume identique à la récolte exceptionnelle de l’an dernier.
Toutefois, l’accès à la nourriture continue de se ressentir de la forte inflation et des prix élevés. Suite à la forte dévalorisation du franc guinéen, le prix du riz a plus que doublé au cours des deux dernières années, ce qui a attisé l’inflation et considérablement amenuisé le pouvoir d’achat et l’accès à la nourriture des populations tant dans les villes que dans les campagnes. Les prix restent élevés, bien que le gouvernement ait interdit les exportations de produits alimentaires depuis février 2007. Le retour de la paix en Sierra Leone et l’amélioration de la situation au Libéria ont entraîné une diminution du nombre de réfugiés, mais environ 40 000 d’entre eux se trouvent toujours en Guinée et sont tributaires de l’aide humanitaire.
 

Guinea-Bissau (2007-05-29)

 
Currently there is little agricultural activity. Planting is expected to start in the weeks ahead with the onset of the rains. 2006 aggregate cereal production was provisionally estimated in November 2006 by a joint CILSS/Government Mission at a record 225 000 tonnes, an increase of about 6 percent over previous year’s bumper crop, and about 37 percent above the average of the previous five years.
 
However, persisting marketing problems in the cashew sector, the main source of cash income for rural households, continues to threaten food security of the most vulnerable population. Domestic production of foodcrops does not meet the country’s consumption needs and farmers have to buy imported rice to supplement their own production using revenue derived from the sale of cashew. Traders did not buy the 2006 cashew production from farmers due to high prices set by the Government, leaving farmers without income and triggering localized severe food insecurity in several areas, notably the southern regions of Quinara and Tombali. There is a risk that marketing problems may persist in the cashew sector, with further negative impact on producers’ food security.
 
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Les activités agricoles sont actuellement quasi-inexistantes. Les semis devraient commencer dans les prochaines semaines, dès l’arrivée des pluies. Selon les estimations provisoires d’une mission conjointe CILSS/gouvernement effectuée en novembre 2006, la production céréalière totale de 2006 s’élève à 225 000 tonnes, chiffre record en hausse d’environ 6 pour cent par rapport au volume exceptionnel récolté l’année précédente et qui représente 37 pour cent de plus que la moyenne des cinq années précédentes.
 
Toutefois, des problèmes de commercialisation de la noix de cajou, qui est la principale source de revenus en espèces des ménages ruraux, continuent de compromettre la sécurité alimentaire de la catégorie de population la plus vulnérable. La production intérieure de cultures vivrières ne couvre pas les besoins de consommation nationaux et les agriculteurs doivent acheter du riz importé pour compléter leur propre production, en utilisant pour cela les recettes tirées de la vente des noix de cajou. Du fait des prix élevés fixés par le gouvernement, les négociants n’ont pas acheté la production de noix de cajou de 2006 aux agriculteurs, ce qui a privé ceux-ci de revenus et provoqué une grave insécurité alimentaire localisée en plusieurs endroits, notamment dans les régions de Quinara et Tombali au sud du pays. Les problèmes de commercialisation risquent de subsister dans la secteur de la noix de cajou, ce qui pourrait avoir de nouveaux effets négatifs sur la sécurité alimentaire des producteurs.
 

Liberia (2007-05-29)

 

Planting of the 2007 paddy crop, virtually the only cereal grown in the country is underway. No official production estimates for the 2006 food crop are available, yet. However, food production is expected to have recovered in spite of the below average rains recorded last year, due mainly to the pest control measures undertaken with the assistance of FAO. Plant disease was the major cause of low yields in 2005. The improved security situation is also expected to have boosted plantings by returning refugees and former displaced farmers.

The repatriation of refugees and resettlement of IDPs started in October and November 2004 respectively. Since then, over 86 000 returnees have been repatriated by UNHCR, and about 326 000 persons de-registered from IDP camps.
 
 

Mali (2007-05-29)

 
Final 2006 production figures have been released by the government and are significantly higher than the estimates of the CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in October 2006. The aggregate output of cereals is now estimated at 3.69 million tonnes, which is 9 percent above last year bumper crop and 25 percent higher than the average of the previous 5 years. Output of millet, the most important cereal crop, is estimated at about 1.13 million tonnes.
 
The food supply position in commercial year 2006/07 is anticipated to remain satisfactory, reflecting the record cereal harvest in the country and across the region. The food situation should also improve in the structurally food-deficit areas of the north.
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Le gouvernement vient de publier les chiffres définitifs concernant la production de 2006, qui sont nettement supérieurs aux estimations faites en octobre 2006 par la mission d’évaluation des récoltes du CILSS. La production céréalière totale est désormais estimée à 3,69 millions de tonnes, soit une augmentation de 9 pour cent par rapport à la récolte abondante de l’an dernier et 25 pour cent au-dessus de la moyenne des cinq années précédentes. Selon les estimations, la production de mil, qui est la culture céréalière la plus importante, s’établirait à 1,13 million de tonnes environ.
 
La situation des disponibilités alimentaires pendant la campagne de commercialisation 2006/2007 devrait rester satisfaisante du fait de la récolte céréalière record rentrée dans le pays et dans toute la région. La situation alimentaire devrait aussi s’améliorer dans les zones à déficit vivrier structurel du nord du pays.
 

Mauritania (2007-05-29)

 
Seasonably dry conditions prevail. Plantings of coarse grains will start following the onset of rains, which normally begins in July.
 
Estimated aggregate cereal production in 2006 has been revised down to about 145 000 tonnes compared to 173 000 estimated by the CILSS/FAO mission late last year, mainly reflecting lower yields following pest damage and erratic precipitation. At this level, production is 27 percent lower than previous year’s level and below average. Mauritania is a food-deficit country whose domestic production covers only one-third of the country’s cereal utilization requirement. The country relies heavily on coarse grain (millet and sorghum) imports from neighbouring Senegal and Mali, and wheat imports from the international market. Consequently, food prices are a key determinant of access to food for the majority of Mauritanians. A recent joint CILSS/FAO/FewsNet Assessment Mission to the country observed that the prices of both coarse grains and wheat were at relatively high levels, reflecting poor harvest in Senegal and increasing wheat price on the international market. However, relatively high livestock prices were also reported, limiting the negative impact of high food prices on pastoralists, who are among the most vulnerable populations. Grain supplies are also relatively abundant in neighbouring Mali. This, along with ongoing safety net programs for households by WFP and the Commissariat à la sécurité alimentaire (CSA), is helping to mitigate the negative impact on food security of several consecutive years of crop failure. Market conditions and the situation of vulnerable groups need to be continuously monitored in order to provide necessary assistance.
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Il règne un temps sec de saison. Les semis de céréales secondaires commenceront dès l’arrivée des pluies, qui se matérialisent habituellement en juillet.
 
Les estimations concernant la production céréalière totale de 2006 ont été révisées à la baisse, passant à environ 145 000 tonnes, contre 173 000 tonnes selon la mission CILSS/FAO à la fin de l’an dernier, ce qui s’explique essentiellement par la réduction des rendements due aux infestations de ravageurs et aux précipitations irrégulières. Ainsi, la production est en baisse de 27 pour cent par rapport au niveau de l’an dernier et au-dessous de la moyenne. La Mauritanie est un pays à déficit vivrier dont la production intérieure ne couvre qu’un tiers des besoins d’utilisation nationaux. Elle est largement tributaire des importations de céréales secondaires (mil et sorgho) en provenance du Sénégal et du Mali voisins, ainsi que des achats de blé sur le marché international. Par conséquent, les prix des denrées alimentaires sont un facteur clé pour l’accès à la nourriture de la majorité des Mauritaniens. Une mission d’évaluation conjointe CILSS/FAO/FewsNet qui s’est rendue récemment dans le pays a constaté que les prix tant des céréales secondaires que du blé étaient relativement élevés, en raison d’une mauvaise récolte au Sénégal et de la hausse des prix du blé sur le marché international. Toutefois, les prix du bétail étaient eux aussi relativement élevés, ce qui a limité l’incidence négative de la cherté des denrées alimentaires sur les pasteurs, qui comptent parmi les plus vulnérables. Les disponibilités céréalières sont également assez abondantes au Mali voisin. Cela, ainsi que les programmes de protection sociale destinés aux ménages qui sont menés actuellement par le PAM et le Commissariat à la sécurité alimentaire (CSA), contribue à mitiger l’incidence négative de plusieurs années consécutives de mauvaises récoltes sur la sécurité alimentaire. Les conditions du marché et la situation des groupes vulnérables doivent faire l’objet d’un suivi constant, afin de fournir une aide si nécessaire.
 
 
 

Niger (2007-05-29)

 
Land preparation is underway and first planting has started in the extreme south, following early rains in May. Planting will progress northwards with the onset of the rains.
 
A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in October 2006 gave a provisional estimate of the aggregate output of cereals at a record 4 million tonnes. Output of millet, the most important cereal crop, is estimated to have increased by 12 percent to about 3.1 million tonnes. The good crop, together with the good harvest prospects in neighbouring countries which usually export cereals to Niger, notably Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso, presages a satisfactory food supply situation and reasonable prices during marketing year 2006/07. Farmers will be able to replenish their grain stocks. The Government is also encouraged to replenish national food reserves depleted by food relief distributions or subsidized sales during the 2005 food crisis.
 
However, about 30 percent of the population remain food insecure in spite of last year’s record crop, according to the latest Joint Vulnerability Assessment Survey carried out by the Government of Niger, FAO, FEWSNet and WFP, as a result of localized crop failures and widespread poverty. The departments with the highest proportion of food insecure people include Tahoua (38 percent), Tillabéri (34 percent) and Zinder (31 percent). Although this represents an important improvement compared to last year, the survey reveals the structural nature of food insecurity in Niger.
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La préparation des sols est en cours et les premiers semis ont commencé dans l’extrême sud, les premières précipitations étant tombées en mai. Les semis progresseront vers le nord dès l’arrivée des pluies.
 
Une mission conjointe FAO/CILSS d’évaluation des récoltes qui s’est rendue dans le pays en octobre 2006 a estimé provisoirement la production céréalière totale à 4 millions de tonnes, soit un niveau record. Selon les estimations, la production de mil - qui est la culture céréalière la plus importante - aurait progressé de 12 pour cent pour s’établir à 3,1 millions de tonnes environ. Cette bonne récolte, ainsi que les résultats positifs auxquels l’on s’attend dans les pays voisins qui exportent généralement des céréales à destination du Niger, notamment le Nigéria, le Mali et le Burkina Faso, laisse entrevoir une situation des approvisionnements alimentaires satisfaisante et des prix raisonnables pendant la campagne commerciale 2006/07. Les agriculteurs seront en mesure de reconstituer leurs stocks de céréales. Le gouvernement est aussi encouragé à regarnir les réserves vivrières nationales, qui sont réduites après les distributions de secours alimentaires ou les ventes subventionnées effectuées pendant la crise alimentaire de 2005.
                                                
Toutefois, environ 30 pour cent de la population reste en proie à l’insécurité alimentaire en dépit de la récolte record enregistrée l’an dernier, selon la toute dernière évaluation de la vulnérabilité menée conjointement par le gouvernement nigérien, la FAO, FEWSNet et le PAM, du fait des mauvaises récoltes en certains endroits et de la pauvreté généralisée. Parmi les départements qui comprennent le plus grand nombre de personnes exposées à l’insécurité alimentaire figurent Tahoua (38 pour cent), Tillabéri (34 pour cent) et Zinder (31 pour cent). Même si les chiffres suggèrent une nette amélioration par rapport à l’an dernier, l’enquête fait apparaître le caractère structurel de l’insécurité alimentaire au Niger.
 

Nigeria (2007-05-29)

 
Aggregate cereal production in 2006 has been estimated at about 29 million tonnes, some 27 percent above the average for the previous five years, reflecting generally favourable growing conditions during the cropping season and increased efforts by both the Federal and some State Governments to make fertilizer available to farmers at subsidized rates.
 
Markets are well supplied and cereal prices reportedly remain low, reflecting the bumper crop harvested in 2006. In addition to the good harvest, the low prices are due to the devastating effects avian flu has had last year on the Nigerian poultry sector, which absorbs an important share of domestic maize production. The re-emergence of avian flu this year in the northern part of the country has dampened hope for a strong recovery of the poultry sector in the near future. In spite of a government plan to buy 150 000 tonnes of maize in 2007 in order to support declining producer prices, a sustainable recovery of the cereal sector will depend largely on the evolution of the avian flu epidemics in Nigeria and the subregion.
 
Cereal imports have trended upwards in recent years, due mainly to high urban population growth, changing consumption pattern, increased feed use in the rapidly growing poultry sector and the continuous expansion of the country’s milling capacity. In spite of the tightening of controls on illegal rice and wheat inflows, and the negative effects of the avian flu epidemic on the poultry sector, imports of cereals are forecast to remain above 5 million tonnes in 2007.
 

Senegal (2007-05-29)

 
The estimate of aggregate cereal production in 2006 has been revised downward by national statistics services to about 988 000 tonnes, a decrease of about 33 percent compared to 2005 and about 16 percent compared to the average of the past five years. The reduction results from the impact of erratic rains and inadequate supply of inputs in 2006. Groundnut production, the main source of cash income for rural households, is estimated to have decreased by 34 percent to 461 578 tonnes. Production of beans, sesame and watermelon also dropped significantly.
 
Low supply and increasing prices of millet and sorghum continue to be reported in most regions. However, in areas with high consumer population such as Dakar, Saint-Louis, Thiès and Kaolack, higher purchasing power and effective demand have meant that markets are better supplied both with domestic production and imports. Since prices are increasing more rapidly in rural areas, vulnerable groups in areas that have experienced sharp declines in production, or were affected by other shocks, need to be continuously monitored and assisted as necessary. These include:
- Matam region, where limited rainfall has reduced opportunity for recession crops, a major source of income in the area;
- the rural communities of Koulor in Tambacounda region, Maka Yopp in Kaolack region, as well as Keur Samba Kane, Réfane and Gawane in Bambey region, where adverse weather and lack of inputs have resulted in severe crop losses;
- parts of Podor region where the dieri crop failed; and
- Casamance region where insecurity has led to the displacement of thousands of people.
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Les estimations concernant la production céréalière totale de 2006 ont été revues à la baisse par les services de statistiques nationaux, passant à environ 988 000 tonnes, soit une diminution d’environ 33 pour cent par rapport à 2005 et d’environ 16 pour cent par rapport à la moyenne des cinq dernières années. Ce recul est dû aux précipitations irrégulières et à l’insuffisance des disponibilités d’intrants en 2006. Selon les estimations, la production d’arachides, principale source de revenu en espèces des ménages ruraux, aurait diminué de 34 pour cent, pour passer à 461 578 tonnes. La production de haricots, de sésame et de pastèque a aussi accusé un recul significatif.
 
De faibles disponibilités et un renchérissement du mil et du sorgho continuent d’être signalés dans la plupart des régions. Toutefois, dans les zones où le niveau de consommation est élevé, telles que Dakar, Saint-Louis, Thiès et Kaolack, les marchés sont mieux approvisionnés tant en produits locaux qu’en produits d’importation, car le pouvoir d’achat est élevé et la demande bien réelle. Étant donné que les prix augmentent plus rapidement dans les zones rurales, les groupes vulnérables des zones où la production a fortement reculé ou qui ont été touchées par d’autres chocs doivent faire l’objet d’un suivi constant et recevoir une assistance si nécessaire. Il s’agit notamment:
- de Matam, où la faible pluviosité a réduit les possibilités en ce qui concerne les cultures de récession, importante source de revenus dans la région;
- des communautés rurales de Koulor dans le Tambacounda et Maka Yopp dans le Kaolack, ainsi que Keur Samba Kane, Réfane et Gawane dans la région de Bambey, où les mauvaises conditions météorologiques et la pénurie d’intrants ont entraîné d’importantes pertes de récoltes;
- de certains endroits de Podor, où la récolte diéri a été perdue; et
- de la Casamance, où l’insécurité a entraîné le déplacement de milliers de personnes.
 

Sierra Leone (2007-05-29)

 
Planting of the 2007 paddy crop, virtually the only cereal grown in the country has just started. Agriculture has been recovering steadily since the end of the civil war in 2002, with increasing plantings by returning refugees and previously displaced farmers, as well as improved conditions for the distribution of agricultural inputs.
 
Reflecting the significant improvement in the food supply situation, inflation has been dropping steady since the end of the war. Food prices are the biggest factor in Sierra Leone’s rate of inflation and have a 54 percent weight in the consumer price index. In 2006, the year-on-year rate of inflation declined from 13.8 percent in January to 6.7 percent in November (over 50 percent decrease), according to the Bank of Sierra Leone. As a result of stable and relatively low prices, overall access to food has improved significantly.
 

Togo (2007-05-29)

 
The first rains started in the south in April, allowing planting of the main maize crop due for harvest from July. The 2006 aggregate cereal output – mostly maize – is provisionally estimated by the Government at some 866 000 tonnes, which is 12 percent above the average of the previous five years. Production of root crops, estimated at about 1.4 million tonnes, was also good.
Cereal imports for domestic use and re-exports during the 2007 marketing year are estimated at about 185 000 tonnes; it has been anticipated that this will be covered mainly through commercial sources.
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Les premières pluies sont tombées en avril dans le sud, ce qui a permis de procéder aux semis du maïs de la campagne principale, à récolter à partir de juillet. Selon des estimations provisoires du gouvernement, la production céréalière totale de 2006 - maïs principalement - se situerait à quelque 866 000 tonnes, soit 12 pour cent de plus que la moyenne des cinq années précédentes La production de plantes-racines, qui est estimée à 1,4 million de tonnes, a elle aussi été bonne.
 
Les importations de céréales destinées à la consommation intérieure et aux réexportations au cours de la campagne commerciale 2007 sont estimées à 185 000 tonnes environ; il est prévu qu’elles seront assurées pour l’essentiel par des voies commerciales.
 
 

CENTRAL AFRICA

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Cameroon (2007-05-29)

 
Satellite imagery indicates that the rainy season started on time in the south, allowing land preparation and sowing of the first 2007 maize crop, due for harvest from July. Planting of coarse grains will progress northwards following the onset of rains.
 
The 2006/07 cropping season was marked by favourable weather conditions and an increase in area planted, according to the estimates of a joint Mission of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) and World Food Programme (WFP), which recently visited the northern provinces of Adamaoua, North and Extreme-North. Aggregate cereal production in the three provinces (accounting for 60 percent of national production) was estimated at about 1.38 million tonnes which is 13 percent higher than the previous year’s good crop. Following the good harvest in Cameroon and in neighbouring countries, notably in Nigeria, cereal markets are well supplied and prices were mostly stable and lower than those during the previous year. A satisfactory food supply situation is expected for 2007, including the Chari and Logone regions in the extreme north of the country, which were struck by a serious food crisis in 2005.
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Les images satellite montrent que la saison des pluies a commencé à temps dans le sud, ce qui a permis de procéder à la préparation des sols et aux semis de maïs de la première campagne de 2007, à récolter à partir de juillet. Les semis de céréales secondaires progresseront vers le nord dès l’arrivée des pluies.
 
La campagne agricole 2006/2007 a été marquée par de bonnes conditions météorologiques et une progression de la superficie ensemencée, selon les estimations d’une mission conjointe Ministère de l’agriculture et du développement rural (MINADER) et Programme alimentaire mondial qui s’est rendue dans les provinces septentrionales d’Adamaoua, Nord et Extrême-Nord. La production céréalière totale de ces trois provinces (qui assurent 60 pour cent de la production nationale) a été estimée à environ 1,38 million de tonnes, ce qui représente une augmentation de 13 pour cent par rapport à la bonne récolte de l’année précédente. Suite à la bonne récolte rentrée au Cameroun et dans les pays voisins, notamment au Nigéria, les marchés céréaliers sont bien approvisionnés et les prix étaient généralement stables et inférieurs à ceux pratiqués l’année précédente. La situation des approvisionnements vivriers devrait être satisfaisante en 2007, y compris dans les régions de Chari et Logone à l’extrême-nord du pays, qui ont connu une grave crise alimentaire en 2005.
 
 

Central African Republic (2007-05-29)

 

Satellite imagery indicates that the rainy season started in April, allowing land preparation and sowing of the first 2007 maize crop, due for harvest from July. However, persistent insecurity continues to hamper farming activities and large-scale population movements both within the country and to neighbouring countries are reported, notably in the north.
 
A WFP Mission that visited the country in February 2007 estimated that 70 000 additional people have been displaced since September 2006, bringing the total number of IDPs in the country to about 220 000. The Mission recommended the distribution of emergency food aid to about 190 000 people.
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Les images satellite montrent que la saison des pluies a commencé en avril, ce qui a permis de procéder à la préparation des sols et aux semis du maïs de la première campagne de 2007, à récolter à partir de juillet. Toutefois, l’insécurité persistante continue de perturber les travaux agricoles et des déplacements de population à grande échelle sont signalés, tant à l’intérieur du pays que vers des pays voisins, notamment dans le nord.
 
Une mission du PAM qui s’est rendue dans le pays en février 2007 a estimé que 70 000 personnes supplémentaires ont été déplacées depuis septembre 2006, ce qui porte le nombre total de PDI à 220 000 environ. La Mission a recommandé que des secours alimentaires d’urgence soient distribués à 190 000 personnes environ.
 

Congo (2007-05-29)

 
Cassava is the major staple food and accounts for over 80 percent of total calorie intake. Domestic cereal production covers about 3 percent of total cereal requirements; the balance is imported, mostly on commercial terms. Cereal import requirements for marketing year 2007 are projected at about 300 000 tonnes.
 
The effects of the 1997-99 civil war continue to be felt in the agricultural sector due to the disruption of production and marketing activities across the country. The Government has been implementing a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme for former militiamen since October 2005. About 30 000 former combatants are to benefit from reintegration under the DDR, but the volatile security situation, notably in the Pool region, is affecting the programme and disrupting delivery of humanitarian assistance. According to the UNHCR, the country hosts a large number of refugees from conflicts in neighbouring countries, including DRC Congolese, Angolans and Rwandans.
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Le manioc représente la principale denrée de base et assure plus de 80 pour cent de l’apport calorique total. La production céréalière intérieure couvre environ 3 pour cent de la totalité des besoins; le solde est importé, principalement par des voies commerciales. Les besoins d’importations céréalières pour la campagne commerciale de 2007 devraient avoisiner 300 000 tonnes.
 
Les effets de la guerre civile de 1997-1999 continuent de se faire sentir dans le secteur agricole, du fait de la perturbation des activités de production et de commercialisation dans tout le pays. Le gouvernement met en oeuvre un programme de désarmement, de démobilisation et de réintégration à l’intention des anciennes milices depuis octobre 2005. Environ 30 000 anciens combattants doivent bénéficier d’une aide à la réintégration en vertu de ce programme, mais la précarité de la sécurité, notamment dans la région de Pool, perturbe les activités et entrave la livraison de l’aide humanitaire. Selon le HCR, le pays accueille un grand nombre de réfugiés qui ont fui les conflits dans les pays voisins, notamment des Congolais de la RDC, des Angolais et des Rwandais.
 

Democratic Republic of the Congo (2007-06-03)

 

Harvesting of the 2007 secondary maize crop is underway. Rains in the month of April and the first two dekades of May were relatively good. This should also help the sorghum crops planted in April and May. Harvesting of main season maize starts in October in the north and continues until February in the south.  The forecast for total cereal production, consisting mainly of maize and rice paddy, is put at 1.58 million tonnes for 2007, more or less at the average level of the past few years.  

Total cereal import requirements for 2007 (January/December) are estimated to be about 550 000 tonnes, slightly lower than for 2006. Most of them, with the exception of some 60 000 tonnes of food aid, are expected to be covered by commercial imports. Typically, the majority of commercial imports consist of wheat and rice and most of the food aid consists of maize. Although the general security situation has improved over the last two years, more security-related problems have been reported in recent months, especially in the north-eastern parts of the country, potentially disrupting farming activities and causing localized food insecurity. Recently, UNHCR reported that some 140 000 Congolese refugees remain in neighbouring countries – Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda and the Republic of Congo. Some 103 000 refugees have returned so far since 2004. According to WFP, up to 1.6 million internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable people nationwide need assistance. 

 

Equatorial Guinea (2007-05-29)

 
The country does not produce a significant quantity of cereals. The staple foods are sweet potatoes, cassava and plantains. It imports on average 14 000 tonnes of wheat and 7 000 tonnes of rice.
 
In recent years inflation in Equatorial Guinea has been higher than in other countries of the Franc Zone, due to rapidly rising domestic demand since the oil boom began in the mid-1990s. Annual inflation is forecast to slow down in 2007, to 4.5 percent, from an estimated 5 percent in 2005 and 5.2 percent in 2006, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
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El país no produce una cantidad significativa de cereales. Los alimentos básicos son la batata, la yuca y los plátanos. Por término medio, se importan 14 000 toneladas de trigo y 7 000 toneladas de arroz.

En los últimos años, la inflación ha sido mayor en Guinea Ecuatorial que en los otros países de la zona del franco, debido al rápido aumento de la demanda interna debido al auge del petróleo a mediados de los años noventa. Según los pronósticos de la Economist Intelligence Unit, la inflación anual descenderá a 4,5 por ciento en 2007, desde un valor estimado de 5 por ciento en 2005 y 5,2 por ciento en 2006.

 

 

Gabon (2007-05-29)

 

The contribution of agriculture to GDP is about 8 percent, reflecting the dominance of the oil sector. The country imports commercially the bulk of its cereal requirement. The main foodcrops are cassava and plantains but some maize is also produced (around 30 000 tonnes).
 
Imports of cereals in 2007, mainly wheat and rice, are estimated at some 175 000 tonnes. Economic growth which has trended downwards recently, due to declining oil production, is forecasted by the Economist Intelligence Unit at just 1.5 percent in 2007.
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L’agriculture représente 8 pour cent environ du PIB, ce qui reflète la prédominance du secteur du pétrole. Le pays importe par des voies commerciales le gros des céréales dont il a besoin. Les principales cultures vivrières sont le manioc et les plantains, mais le pays produit aussi un peu de maïs (30 000 tonnes environ).
 
Les importations céréalières pour 2007, blé et riz principalement, sont estimées à 175 000 tonnes environ. La croissance économique, qui a accusé une tendance à la baisse dernièrement du fait du recul de la production de pétrole, devrait se maintenir à tout juste 1,5 pour cent en 2007, selon les prévisions du centre d’information de l’Economist. 
 

Sao Tome and Principe (2007-05-29)

 

 

The staple food crops are roots, plantains and tubers. Annual imports of cereals are estimated at some 12 000 tonnes. Agriculture accounts for about 19 percent of GDP and about 86 percent of exports, but the structure of the economy will be significantly transformed by oil production which is expected to begin by 2010.
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Les cultures vivrières de base sont les plantes-racines, les plantains et les tubercules. Les importations de céréales sont estimées à quelque 12 000 tonnes par an. L’agriculture représente 19 pour cent du PIB et environ 86 pour cent des exportations, mais la structure de l’économie sera radicalement transformée par la production pétrolière qui devrait commencer en 2010.
 

EASTERN AFRICA

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Burundi (2007-06-03)

 

Harvesting of the 2007 main season foodcrops, beans, maize and sorghum, begins in June and will continue through July. Reduced precipitation in late March-early April put some strain on standing crops, but rains resumed from the second decade of April, which should have helped to improve yields. Cereals of the secondary season (2007A), mainly maize and sorghum, were harvested during January-February. Its output was estimated to be about normal. The preliminary forecast for total cereal production for 2007 is set at 287 000 tonnes, about the same as in 2006. On average the main season (B) accounts for about 55 percent of annual output of cereals, while seasons A and C add about 40 and 5 percent, respectively. However, the contribution of season B has been increasing over the years and amounted to about 67 percent in 2006.

Cereal import requirements for 2007 (January/December) are estimated at about 119 000 tonnes, slightly higher than the 101 000 tonnes imported in 2006, of which 57 000 tonnes were as food aid. According to the National Early Warning System, in Bujumbura, the average market price of rice in January 2007 was about 7 percent above the levels of a year ago. The price of cassava had climbed and was some 77 percent higher in January 2007 as compared to the same period a year earlier due to a reduced harvest of this crop. Food price inflation has crept up as the cost of a food basket increased by 32 percent in January 2007 compared to the same time in 2006, primarily due to poor harvests of roots and tubers, banana and sweet potatoes.  Currently, however, main foodcrop prices are following a seasonal downward trend. Burundi and Rwanda were admitted to the East African Community in November 2006. This is expected to improve trade in the region and help reduce generally high prices of maize in these two countries compared to the neighbouring market centres.

 The security situation is improving with the signing of cease-fire between the Government and the country’s last remaining rebel group on 7 September 2006, potentially ending a 13-year civil conflict. Food insecurity for the vulnerable groups (IDPs, returnees, and those affected by the drought earlier in the year) is of concern. During the month of April WFP distributed about 10 000 tonnes of food to 1.8 million beneficiaries.

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Les cultures de la campagne principale, maïs et sorgho, sont récoltées à partir de juin et tout au long de juillet. La récolte de haricots est également en cours. L’insuffisance des précipitations fin mars-début avril a eu une incidente quelque peu néfaste sur les cultures sur pied. Les pluies ont repris à partir de la deuxième décade d’avril, ce qui devrait contribuer à améliorer les rendements. Les céréales de la campagne secondaire (campagne A de 2007), essentiellement maïs et sorgho, ont été récoltées en janvier-février. La production est jugée proche de la normale. Selon les prévisions préliminaires, la production céréalière totale pour 2007 atteindrait 287 000 tonnes, volume identique à celui de 2006. En moyenne, la campagne principale (campagne B) assure environ 55 pour cent de la production annuelle de céréales, tandis que les campagnes A et C y contribuent à raison d’environ 40 et 5 pour cent respectivement. Toutefois, la part de la campagne B a progressé au fil des années et s’est élevée à environ 67 pour cent en 2006.
 
Selon les estimations, les besoins d’importations céréalières pour 2007 avoisineraient 119 000 tonnes, en légère hausse par rapport à 2006 (101 000 tonnes). En 2006, environ 57 000 tonnes de céréales ont été importées au titre de l’aide alimentaire. Selon le système national d’alerte rapide, le prix moyen du riz sur les marchés à Bujumbura avait gagné en janvier 2007 environ 7 pour cent par rapport au niveau d’un an auparavant. Le prix du manioc avait grimpé, et était de quelque 77 pour cent plus élevé en janvier 2007 qu’à la même époque un an auparavant, la récolte de cette céréale ayant été réduite. Les prix des denrées alimentaires ont grimpé et le coût d’un assortiment alimentaire étant en augmentation de 32 pour cent en janvier 2007 par rapport à la même époque l’année dernière, principalement du fait des mauvais récoltes de plantes-racines et de tubercules, de bananes et de patates douces.  Actuellement, les prix des principaux produits agricoles accusent une tendance saisonnière à la baisse. Le Burundi et le Rwanda sont entrés dans la Communauté d’Afrique de l’Est en novembre 2006, ce qui devrait améliorer les perspectives commerciales dans la région et contribuer à faire baisser les prix du maïs, qui sont en général élevés dans ces deux pays par rapport à ceux pratiqués sur les marchés voisins.
 
La situation de la sécurité s’améliore suite à la signature, le 7 septembre 2006, d’un cessez-le-feu entre le gouvernement et le dernier groupe de rebelles restant dans le pays, accord qui pourrait mettre fin à treize ans de guerre civile. L’insécurité alimentaire des groupes vulnérables (PDI, rapatriés et populations touchées par la sécheresse au début de l’année) est préoccupante. En avril, le PAM a distribué environ 10 000 tonnes de vivres à 1,8 million de bénéficiaires.
 

Djibouti (2007-06-01)

 

Le secteur agricole représente moins de 3 pourcent du Produit Intérieur Brut. La population est essentiellement urbaine et est concentrée dans la capitale. La production agricole est marginale et la plupart des denrées alimentaires sont importées. L’économie du pays est dominée par les activités commerciales basées sur un port et les infrastructures aéroportuaires.

Des conditions de sécheresse sévère ces dernières années ont soumis plus de 100,000 personnes, un septième de la population du pays, au risque de faim.

 

Eritrea (2007-05-15)

 
 
Satellite based imagery indicate that, during the 2007 “azmera” rains (March to May), which are important for land preparation, are generally favourable in most parts of the country. However, in South Red Sea, less than half of the average rainfall has occurred so far, stressing pasture and water supplies for the mainly pastoralists inhabitants.
 
Official estimates of the 2006/07 main season crops have not yet been provided but the crop is generally expected to be above average. Rainfall amounts during both cropping seasons, the main “kiremti” (June to September) and the smaller “bahri” seasons (October to February) were average to above average in most parts of the country. The Kiremti rains are important for agricultural production in Maekel, Debub, Anseba and Gash Barka areas which normally account for about 80 percent of agriculture production. The bahri rains are important in the lowland areas of Northern Red Sea, mainly for pasture but also for crop production using spate irrigation.
 
Crop production in Eritrea varied considerably over the years, depending largely on rainfall performance. The average cereal crop production from 1994 to 2004 is about 187 000 tonnes, ranging between a low of 64 000 tonnes in 2002 to a high of 472 000 tonnes in 1998. However, even in good years, Eritrea produces only a fraction of its total food requirements, and largely depends on imports.
 
Prices of main cereals in major urban centres remain high, notwithstanding some fall in prices during October 2006 to January 2007. Since January, however, most prices started to go up again. For instance, the average sorghum price in Asmara dropped to about Nakfa 800/100kg in January 2007 compared with about Nakfa 1 200/100kg in October 2006. However, in February and March 2007, the average price rose again to about Nakfa 900/100kg.
 

Ethiopia (2007-05-15)

 
 
In Ethiopia, where the “belg” crop is scheduled to be harvested from June, the outlook is generally favourable following beneficial rains during the season. However, some concern is raised in belg crop producing areas of eastern Ahmara due to scant rainfall in recent weeks which resulted in crop stress. The belg crop normally accounts for around 10 percent of annual cereal and pulse production but in some of the northern parts of the country it provides important amounts of the annual grain production. Good rains have also improved the availability of pasture and water in southern and south-eastern pastoral areas of the country but Ethiopia’s Afar region, received well below average rains resulting in water and pasture shortages.
 
The 2006/07 main "Meher" season grain crop, harvested from late last year, was estimated by an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission last November/December at a record 20.1 million tonnes, some 10 percent above the previous year’s outturn and 53 percent higher than the average for the previous five years. This represents a third consecutive bumper harvest. Generally well-distributed and timely rainfall, increased use of fertiliser and improved seeds, and very low pressure from pests and diseases, together with expansion in cultivated area, accounted for the bumper crops.
 
Despite the bumper crop, the Food Security Bureau (FSB) tentatively estimates that about 7.3 million chronically food insecure people need cash or food assistance through the Productive Safety Net Programme, and a further 1.3 million people require emergency food assistance. Throughout the country, grain and livestock prices remain firm or rising, boosted by a combination of economic growth and effective demand, formal and informal trade, higher oil prices, local purchases by cooperatives and relief agencies, and expectations of further price hikes. Despite a bumper harvest and favourable macro-economic situation, the steady increase and relatively high levels of food prices mean that poorer households will find it more difficult to secure access to adequate food supplies. Currently, the Government is considering several options to ease the price hike, including the release of about 20 000 tonnes of cereals from the national food reserve on the market.
 

Kenya (2007-05-15)

 
The 2007 long-rains season is well advanced in the main growing areas. Planting prospects have improved with a significant increase in precipitation in past weeks. Delayed onset of the long rains, coupled with late harvesting of the previous short rains crop due to the continuation of unseasonable rains well into February, resulted in reduced planting in March and April. The recent good rains have also benefited north-eastern pastoral areas but moisture deficits are reported in south-eastern parts
 
The aggregate 2006/07 cereal production has, therefore, been revised upwards to about 3.6 million tonnes, including nearly 3 million tonnes of maize. At this level, the cereal crop is about 4 percent up on the previous year.
 
Despite the good prospects, food insecurity in arid and semi-arid areas of Eastern and North-eastern provinces, which were hit by drought and floods in 2006 and by livestock diseases at the beginning of 2007, could be aggravated by low rainfall. Floods after the excessive October-December 2006 short rains led to the outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF). The North-easternProvince was the worst affected, with large livestock losses.
 

Rwanda (2007-06-03)

 

Harvesting of the 2007 main season foodcrops, beans, maize and sorghum, begins in June and will continue through July. Reduced rainfall in late March-early April put some strain on standing crops. Rains resumed from the second decade of April, which should have helped to improve yields. The cereal harvest of the secondary season, 2007A, completed in January-February, was estimated at below normal levels due to late and poor rains during the early part of the season. Total cereal output for 2007 is forecast at 355 000 tonnes, similar to last year’s harvest. On average, the main season (B) accounts for about 60 percent of the annual output of cereals; but the relative contribution of the secondary season (A) has been decreasing over the years, and amounted to about 32 percent in 2006.

Total cereal import requirements in 2007(January/December)are estimated to increase from the estimated 200 000 tonnes in 2006 to a level 210 000 tonnes, including a food aid requirement of 36 000 tonnes, slightly higher than the aid received in the previous year. Prices of maize have steadily come down from its levels of a year ago. For example, the monthly average wholesale maize price inKigali was US$226/tonne during the 3rd week of May 2007 as opposed to US$265 in March 2006. Maize prices had reached a high of US$329 in May 2006. By contrast, prices of beans have fluctuated wildly reflecting seasonal harvest prospects and are currently at US$ 412/tonne, slightly above the level the year before.Burundi andRwanda were admitted to the East African Community in November 2006. This is expected to improve trade in the region and help reduce generally high prices of maize in these two countries. Food security among the pastoralists in eastern provinces of Umutara and Kibungo has been affected by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease earlier and the subsequent total quarantine and ban on the sale of livestock and animal products.

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Les cultures de la campagne principale de 2007 - maïs et sorgho - sont récoltées à partir de juin et tout au long de juillet. La récolte de haricots est également en cours. L’insuffisance des précipitations fin mars-début avril a eu une incidence quelque peu néfaste sur les cultures sur pied. Les pluies ont repris à partir de la deuxième décade d’avril, ce qui devrait contribuer à améliorer les rendements. La récolte céréalière de la campagne secondaire (campagne A de 2007) s’est achevée en janvier-février avec des résultats inférieurs à la normale, les précipitations ayant été tardives et insuffisantes au cours de la première partie de la campagne. La production céréalière totale pour 2007 devrait s’élever à 355 000 tonnes, soit un volume identique à celui récolté l’an dernier. En moyenne, la campagne principale (campagne B) assure environ 60 pour cent de la production annuelle de céréales; toutefois, la contribution relative de la campagne secondaire (campagne A) n’a cessé de reculer au fil des ans, et elle était d’environ 32 pour cent en 2006.
 
Selon les estimations, les besoins d’importations céréalières en 2007 (janvier/décembre) devraient passer de 200 000 tonnes (chiffre estimatif pour 2006) à 210 000 tonnes, dont 36 000 tonnes requise au titre de l’aide alimentaire, soit un peu plus que l’aide reçue l’an dernier. Les prix du maïs n’ont cessé de baisser par rapport aux niveaux de l’an dernier. Par exemple, la moyenne mensuelle des prix de gros du maïs à Kigali était de 226 dollars EU la tonne au cours de la troisième semaine de mai 2007, contre 265 dollars EU en mars 2006. Les prix du maïs ont atteint le sommet de 329 dollars EU en mai 2006. Le prix des haricots, en revanche, a subi de fortes fluctuations en raison des perspectives saisonnières de récolte, et il se situe actuellement à 412 dollars EU la tonne, ce qui est légèrement plus qu’un an auparavant. Le Burundi et le Rwanda sont entrés dans la Communauté d’Afrique de l’Est en novembre 2006, ce qui devrait améliorer les perspectives commerciales dans la région et contribuer à faire baisser les prix du maïs, qui sont en général élevés dans ces deux pays. La sécurité alimentaire des pasteurs des provinces orientales d’Umutara et de Kibungo a aussi été compromise par la récente flambée de fièvre aphteuse, qui a conduit à prendre des mesures de quarantaine et à interdire totalement les ventes de bétail et de produits animaux.
 
 

Seychelles (2007-06-01)

 

Agriculture (mainly fisheries) is one of the traditional activities in Seychelles. However, its contribution to GDP remains small and declining. Agriculture, forestry and fisheries (excluding Tuna canning) account for about 3 percent of GDP. The services sector – including tourism, transport, communications and commerce – dominates the economy and has accounted for just under 70 percent of GDP in recent years. With a GDP per head of US$8 795 in 2003, Seychelles is classified as an "upper middle-income" country. The population of Seychelles is estimated at about 84 000 (2003) and the annual population growth rate for 2000–2005 is 0.88 percent, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 88 000. Most of the country’s food needs are met through imports.

 

Somalia (2007-05-15)

 
The escalation of the conflict since January, mainly in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, has dramatically increased the number of displaced people. Fighting in Mogadishu during March and April has resulted in the displacement of up to 365 000 people, or roughly one third of the city’s population of almost 1 million. In addition, another 30-40 percent of the population of Mogadishu is estimated to be displaced within the city. Most of the population who have fled Mogadishu are concentrated in central region (51 percent) and Shabelle region (39 percent). The magnitude and concentration of newly displaced people is leading to a humanitarian crisis in which basic amenities of shelter, clean water, safe sanitation, health care, medicines and food are severely constrained. In areas of concentrated and high population displacement, prices for rental properties, transportation, water, and basic food and non-food items have increased sharply, between 30-70 percent in the last four weeks. These sharp price increases are compounding problems related to the loss of livelihoods and income. In addition to this already critical situation, there is an ongoing and increasing outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD), which is most severe in the areas where there are large concentrations of displaced populations.
 
In other developments, good rains in the second decade of April benefited planting of the 2007 main “Gu” crops, for harvest from August. However, total monthly rainfall in April remained below average in large parts of the country.
 
According to the Somalia’s Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU), the 2006/07 deyr season cereal crop is estimated at about 111 000 tonnes, 13 percent above the post-war (1995-2005) average. Above normal rainfall contributed to the good production in many regions. In north-western Somalia (Somaliland), the gu/karan cereal production harvested in November 2006 is estimated at 25 000 tonnes, about 47 percent above the post war average but 3 percent below the previous year’s crop. Overall, total cereal production in 2006/07 is estimated at about 272 000 tonnes, slightly higher than the post war average.
 
Further information and analysis can be accessed at: www.fsausomali.org
 

Sudan (2007-05-15)

 
 
Harvesting of the 2006/07 wheat crop is complete. The latest forecast puts wheat output at an above-average 642 000 tonnes, more than 50 percent higher than last year. Similarly, output of the main coarse grain crop in 2006, harvested late last year, was estimated at a record 6 million tonnes by an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM), 16 percent above the previous year’s level.
 
Despite the bumper harvest, problems of physical and financial access to food due to war, displacement, poor infrastructure, weak marketing system and economic isolation continue to render millions of vulnerable people dependent on food assistance. About 4.6 million people in Sudan will need emergency food assistance during 2007 mainly due to civil unrest. The recent escalation of conflict in Darfur region alone is estimated to have resulted in substantial losses of cropped areas and in the displacement of about 1.6 million people.
 

Uganda (2007-05-15)

 

Abundant rain in the second dekad of April improved prospects for planting of the 2007 first season in southern bi-modal areas, where field operations had been delayed by dry weather in March. Precipitation was also good in the main producing areas of the north, where sowing begins from April.

Total cereal production in 2006/07 is estimated at about 2.7 million tonnes, nearly 12 percent above average. Consequently, domestic supply of commodities to major markets is steady with prices remaining fairly stable over the last two months. According to the Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network (RATIN), the demand from Kenyan traders for Ugandan maize has increased in March 2007 which in turn started to create an upward pressure on wholesale commodity prices at the border. Rwanda has also continued to rely on Ugandan maize, importing on average 2 200 tonnes of maize every month.

The above notwithstanding, conflict coupled with a poor cropping season continues to affect the food security of thousands of people in the Karamoja region. In northern parts, better security conditions have improved access to productive resources for IDPs, but the slow progress of the peace process continues to hamper their return home. WFP still provides assistance for nearly 1.28 million people that remain trapped in squalid camps in the northern districts of Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum and Pader. In addition, WFP is providing drought relief assistance to 500 000 people in Karamoja region that is planned to last until June 2007 at a cost of over US$10 million. WFP also provides food aid to 182 000 refugees in Uganda. Constrained by a critical lack of funds, WFP has declared that it would be forced from the beginning of April to cut by half food rations for nearly 1.5 million displaced people and refugees.

 

United Republic of Tanzania (2007-05-15)

 

 

Well-distributed seasonal rains across much of the country provided favourable growing conditions for the 2007 maize crop. In the grain basket region of the southern highlands harvesting of the maize crop has just started, while in the bi-modal northern production areas it is developing. Pasture conditions and water levels in dams across the country have also improved significantly. Prospects for 2007 main season “msimiu” coarse grain crops, for harvest from May/June, in the uni-modal rainfall areas (central, southern and western parts of the country including the maize surplus growing south-western highlands), are favourable following abundant rainfall since the beginning of the season.
 
The heavy rains have improved pasture conditions, which has reduced pastoralist movement in search of pasture, increased the availability of milk and improved the overall food security of pastoralist households. However, an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever has been reported in the country and the death toll in March stood at 16. The first two deaths from the highly contagious disease were reported in northern Tanzania in January after spreading from neighbouring Kenya. It has since spread to other areas in central and north-western Tanzania.
 

SOUTHERN AFRICA

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Angola (2007-06-03)

 
Harvesting of the 2007 main season cereal crops is completed with an anticipation of a major improvement in the cereal harvest over the last year’s drought-affected output. FAO’s preliminary estimate puts maize production at 700 000 tonnes, an increase of almost one-third over 2006 due to a rise in the area cultivated and yields. As a result of the good outcome, the total cereal import requirement for the 2007/08 marketing year is estimated at 744 000 tonnes, about 4 percent lower than the year before.
In spite of the economic boom in the country, primarily due to high oil prices, food security for the vulnerable population remains a concern. Food security problems arise due to poor road conditions, underdeveloped marketing systems and due to currently rising maize prices following increased costs of imports. By contrast, in northern areas, where cassava and sweet potatoes are grown, food production and food security in general were found to be satisfactory.
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La récolte des céréales de la campagne principale est terminée, et l’on s’attend à une nette amélioration de la récolte céréalière par rapport au volume de l’an dernier, touché par la sécheresse. Les estimations préliminaires de la FAO établissent la production de maïs à 700 000 tonnes, soit une progression de près d’un tiers par rapport à l’an dernier qui s’explique par l’accroissement de la superficie cultivée et des rendements. Par conséquent, les besoins d’importations céréalières pour la campagne de commercialisation 2007/08 sont estimés à 744 000 tonnes, soit environ 4 pour cent de moins que l’année précédente.
Des problèmes de sécurité alimentaire apparaissent en Angola du fait du mauvais état des routes et de l’insuffisance des systèmes de commercialisation ainsi que de la hausse des prix du maïs constatée actuellement. Malgré l’essor économique que connaît le pays, principalement du fait de la hausse des prix du pétrole, la sécurité alimentaire des populations vulnérables reste préoccupante.  La production vivrière et la sécurité alimentaire ont été jugées satisfaisantes dans le nord, où l’on cultive le manioc et la patate douce.
 

Botswana (2007-06-03)

 

Harvesting of the 2007 main season cereal crops, mainly sorghum and maize, is completed. Below average rainfall with frequent dry spells this year have resulted in a poor outcome, preliminarily estimated at about 37 000 tonnes, some 18 percent below last year’s bumper harvest. The import requirements for the 2007/08 marketing year (April/March) have increased by 6 percent from the previous year to a level of 290 000 tonnes; these are expected to be covered through commercial imports. Drier than normal weather for pasture areas in the south and centre has affected livestock condition in the country. Livestock raising is an important agriculture activity throughout the country, but particularly in the central and southern areas. Repeated outbreaks of foot and mouth disease have also jeopardized the country’s beef exports and hurt the livestock industry.

 

 

 

Lesotho (2007-06-03)

 

A joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country from 22 April to 5 May 2007 and estimated the 2007 total maize production at 50 825 tonnes and sorghum at 11 182 tonnes, some 51 percent and 42 percent respectively lower than in 2006. The winter wheat (being planted now) was forecast at 5 411 tonnes, a drop of about 4 percent compared with the previous year. Overall, the 2007 cereal production is forecast at about 67 000 tonnes, and cereal import requirements for the 2007/08 marketing year (April/March) are estimated at 261 000 tonnes, of which 224 000 tonnes are expected to be imported commercially. With food aid stocks and pipeline at 7 000 tonnes, there remains an uncovered deficit of around 30 000 tonnes which would need to be covered by additional Government and/or international assistance to be targeted to the estimated 401 200 food insecure and vulnerable people.

While many households have exhausted their coping capacity, the escalation of grain prices, due to domestic shortages and rising maize prices in South Africa, the main supplier of maize in the region, will accentuate food insecurity overall, and especially among landless and urban populations limiting even more their access to available market supplies. While poverty in Lesotho is very closely associated with the absence of wage employment and income, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is increasingly undermining the economic resource base especially of those affected. This has resulted in visible lack of labour for essential agricultural activities and in some agricultural fields being left idle.

 

Madagascar (2007-06-01)

 

Harvest of the 2007 paddy crop is underway, while harvest of maize and other small grains is completed. FAO’s preliminary estimate of this year’s paddy production is 3.3 million tonnes, down from last year’s bumper harvest of 3.5 million tonnes. Maize production, affected by  a late start of the rains and significant dry spells in the south of the countryis expected  to decline by about a quarter to some 220 000 tonnes.  As a result, total cereal import requirements for the 2007/08 marketing year (April/March) are expected to increase over 400 000 tonnes from the average level of about 300 000 tonne and last year’s actual imports of about 200 000 tonnes. Heavy rains and four cyclones/storms during January-February caused serious flooding in several areas throughout the country resulting in loss of infrastructure and about 100 000 hectares of paddy land. The worst-affected areas were the capital region of Antananarivo, the north-western and western parts of the country and the south-east. Abundant rains, however, benefited developing crops elsewhere in the country.   

With reduced harvest prospects earlier in the season, the average national price of local rice escalated and peaked at 1 333 Ariary in March, up from about 1 000 Ariary in December 2006.  Since then they have come down to the current level of about 993 (mid-May 2007). Rice prices this year have been significantly higher than the corresponding periods last year.

According to official figures, about 1 million people in aggregate, were affected by floods and another 150 000 by drought. Appeals for emergency food and non-food assistance for the next season were launched, including FAO’s appeal for US$850 000 to provide emergency agricultural inputs to the most affected population.

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La récolte de paddy est en cours et celle de maïs et d’autres petites cultures céréalières est terminée. Les estimations préliminaires de la FAO établissent la récolte de paddy de cette année à 3,3 millions de tonnes, soit une baisse par rapport au volume abondant de l’an dernier (3,5 millions de tonnes). Toutefois, la production de maïs, qui a été touchée par des vagues de sécheresse dans le sud du pays, devrait reculer d’environ un quart, pour passer à quelque 220 000 tonnes. Par conséquent, les besoins d’importations céréalières pour la campagne commerciale 2007/2008 (avril/mars) devraient passer à plus de 400 000 tonnes, alors que le niveau moyen est d’environ 300 000 tonnes et que les importations effectives ont atteint l’an dernier environ 200 000 tonnes. Des pluies violentes et quatre cyclones/tempêtes en janvier-février ont provoqué de graves inondations dans plusieurs endroits du pays, entraînant la perte de l’infrastructure et d’environ 100 000 hectares de terres consacrées au paddy. Les zones les plus touchées sont les alentours d’Antananarivo, le nord-ouest et l’ouest du pays, ainsi que le sud-est. Dans le reste du pays, les pluies abondantes ont été bénéfiques. En revanche, le sud du pays a enregistré des semis tardifs à cause des pluies, ainsi que des vagues de sécheresse importantes.  
 
Du fait de la récolte réduite en perspective en début de campagne, le prix moyen du riz local dans le pays a grimpé, pour culminer à 1 333 ariary en mars, contre environ 1 000 ariary en décembre 2006. Il a depuis baissé pour se situer à environ 993 ariary (mi-mai 2007). Les prix du riz cette année se sont maintenus à un niveau beaucoup plus élevé qu’aux mêmes époques l’an dernier.
 
Selon les chiffres officiels, environ 1 million de personnes en tout ont été touchées par les inondations et 150 000 autres par la sécheresse. Des appels ont été lancés pour mobiliser des secours alimentaires d’urgence et autres en vue de la prochaine campagne; la FAO a notamment lancé un appel en vue de recueillir 850 000 dollars E.-U. pour faire face à la crise.

 

Malawi (2007-06-03)

 

The second round of official crop estimates show the 2007 maize harvest at 3.22 million tonnes, an increase of 25 percent above last year’s bumper crop. The rice harvest was also good and production is expected at 110 568 tonnes, an increase of 20 percent over 2006. Rainfall was above normal and generally well-distributed, in contrast to neighbouring countries in the region. This year again, the Government of Malawi has provided a 70 percent subsidy on 150 000 tonnes of fertilizer at a cost of almost US$60 million and close to US$6 million on improved seeds. The cassava crop is also expected to yield a good harvest of 3.2 million tonnes of fresh weight (roughly 1 million tonnes of cereal equivalent), representing a small increase over the previous year mainly due to an increase in area planted.

As a result of bumper harvests in 2006 and now 2007, an estimated potential surplus of about 1 million tonnes, to be used for exports and for grain reserves, is projected for the 2007/08 marketing year. Malawi recently signed a contract to supply 400 000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe. The national average price of maize, collected by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, has come down from a high of 50 Kwacha/kg in February 2006 to well below the fixed price of the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) of 30 Kwacha/kg in most markets.

The overall food security in Malawi is considered to be generally good.

 

Mauritius (2007-06-03)

 

Total cereal import requirements for 2007 (January/December) in Mauritius are expected to remain stable at about 320 000 tonnes. The country imports commercially virtually its entire cereal consumption requirements. Sugarcane, the main cash crop, is grown on about 90 percent of the cultivated land area and accounts for 25 percent of the country’s export earnings. The anticipated loss of preferential access to US and European markets this year is expected to have negative consequences for sugar and textiles exports, the most important exports of the country. This may result in a drop of about 37.5 percent in sugar prices. To deal with this situation, the World Bank has provided a US$16 million loan to help the country move into higher technology industries and services.

Although the country has sustained high annual growth rates for the last two decades, the unemployment rate has been relatively high, in excess of 10 percent since 2003.

 

Mozambique (2007-06-03)

 
 
The harvesting of the 2007 maize and other main season crops is nearly over. Early estimate by FAO puts maize production at about 1.5 million tonnes, similar to last year and some 10 percent over the average of the previous five years. Earlier in the season, heavy rains in the country and in neighbouring Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, caused serious flooding in the Zambezi river basin, including its tributaries, displacing roughly 163 000 people, submerging over 78 000 hectares of crops and causing damage to roads and other infrastructure. Cumulative rainfall in the north of the country has been normal to above normal, while in the south and centre regions, it has been below normal with significant dry weather in the extreme south of the country.
 
Total cereal import requirements (gross) for 2007/08 are estimated at 868 000 tonnes, higher than the actual imports of about 836 000 tonnes last year (740 000 tonnes commercial and 96 000 tonnes of food aid). Maize prices that had remained low and steady since January this year at about 6 000 Meticais/kg in Maputo wholesale market, declined to 5 190 Metikais/kg by the third week of May. In US dollar terms, white maize prices in Mozambique at about US$ 199/tonne are higher than in Malawi and in Zambia but lower than in South Africa
Unemployment, poverty and localized food insecurity remain primary concerns throughout the country, in spite of the impressive economic growth in recent years fuelled primarily by foreign investment (commercial, aid and debt relief). Following donor assistance and FDI flows, the national currency that had lost its value against the US dollar in 2005 has strengthened in 2007.
 

Namibia (2007-06-03)

 
 
The harvest of the 2007 main season cereals, namely millet, maize and sorghum, is nearly completed. Prolonged dry spells in January and February and generally below average rainfall this season is expected to have reduced harvest significantly. The Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit  forecast puts the country’s total cereal production at 119 300 tonnes, a drop of about 50 percent from the record harvest of 2006 (which was officially revised upwards to 181 100 tonnes from an earlier estimate of 110 000 tonnes). The main cause is reduced planted areas in Kavango, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto regions, due to irregular rainfall. Although plantings were up in Caprivi region by an estimated 10 percent, flooding from the Zambezi had waterlogged many crops there.
 
Cereal imports in Namibia typically outweigh domestic production. Total cereal import requirements for 2007/08 marketing year are estimated at 137 000 tonnes, considerably up over last year’s 110 000 tonnes. Maize prices in Namibia are rising as they follow very closely the price movements on the South Africa’s market. The overall food security in Namibia, however, is considered to be relatively good.
 

South Africa (2007-06-01)

 

Lack of adequate rainfall in the maize triangle during the critical January and February crop growth period is expected to have a serious negative impact on maize yields this year. Crops in Mpumulanga and Free State suffered  from severe moisture stress and high temperatures have reduced pollination.  The latest official estimate puts the total national maize production for 2007 close to 7. 3 million tonnes, about last year’s crop and some 25 percent below the average of the previous five years. The official estimate indicates that the area planted to maize, at 2.55 million hectares, is about 59 percent above last year’s level, primarily as a result of high maize prices at planting time. However, declining yields due to adverse weather during the season reduced overall production.

 

The final official estimate of the 2006 wheat crop indicates an output of about 2.1 million tonnes, about 10 percent higher than the previous year’s level, and above the average of the past five years. This reflects higher yields, as the area planted had declined by about 5 percent. In spite of  the current high prices of wheat, the area to be planted to the winter crops this year is expected to be slightly lower due to low water levels after a dry summer season.

Given the much reduced 2007 maize harvest, projected closing stocks, as of 30 April 2008, of white maize during 2007/08 marketing year, are about 600 000 tonnes (CEC April 2007 Bulletin) leaving very little, if any, exportable surplus.

With the expectation of a poor harvest earlier this year, maize prices shot up to a high of Rand 1 981/tonne in March 2007 on SAFEX futures up from R 1 408 in January but have come down since at a post harvest level of R 1 652 in May. Prices this year are generally much higher than the same periods last year. The futures prices on SAFEX currently climb steadily to a December price of R 1 794.

 

Swaziland (2007-06-03)

 
 
A joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country in late April and early May and estimated total maize production for 2007 at 26 170 tonnes, the lowest harvest on record and about 62 percent below the five-year average. Sorghum and millet production is very low in Swaziland, despite the suitability of these drought resistant crops for the Lowveld’s dry conditions. Prolonged dry spells and high temperature levels at critical stages of the maize crop development decimated Swaziland’s summer cereals this year. Consequently, the total cereal import requirement in the 2007/08 marketing year (April/March) is estimated at about 173 800 tonnes, of which 129 000 tonnes are expected to be imported commercially. Extended dry conditions and ensuing water shortages caused some stress on livestock, but late rains improved pasture and animal conditions in most parts of the country. Livestock production is expected to help offset, to some extent, the impact of crop failure.
 
Prices of major cereals have increased significantly in response to the shortages locally and as a result of significant maize price increases in South Africa, the main supplier of Swaziland’s import requirements. The upward trend in prices is expected to continue during the rest of this year as supplies from domestic and regional sources may be rather limited due to reduced crops in South Africa and other neighbouring countries. 
 
With about 4 800 tonnes of food aid in stock and in the pipeline, the uncovered deficit, for which international assistance is needed, is estimated at 40 000 tonnes for about 407 000 food-insecure and vulnerable people. A targeted approach for food aid is required, focused on mitigating adverse effects on the most vulnerable households, and on direct support to those with no access to sufficient food and agricultural inputs.
 
The Mission also recommended a timely support with agricultural inputs, including seeds, fertilizers, credit facilities, as well as tractor availability to revive production capacity in time for the 2007/08 cropping season.
 

Zambia (2007-06-01)

 
 
The harvest of the main summer crops is almost over and although official estimates are not yet available, it is expected that the total 2007 coarse grain harvest would be significantly reduced from last year’s bumper output. The expected harvest of summer cereals (maize, sorghum and millets) still remains slightly above the past five-year average level of 1.11 million tonnes. Heavy rains in January and February throughout the country had caused serious flooding in several areas; in all 21 out of a total of 72 districts in the west and the southwe-st suffered damage to infrastructure and crops. Ironically, dry spells later in the season were also experienced in Southern Province. The northern half of the country received stable and adequate rainfall after the flooding in February, but leaching of fertilizer nutrients, late application of basal fertilizers and strong weed growth following heavy rain reduced yields in many areas. Seed and fertilizer distribution for 182 000 selected poor farmers has had a positive effect on their production. The Food Reserve Agency is planning to procure about 400 000 tonnes at a price of ZK 38 000/50 kg bag.
 
Owing to a record maize harvest of 1.424 million tonnes in 2006, Zambia was estimated to have a sizeable surplus of about 380 000 tonnes for export and its own reserves. Reportedly the country haexported more than 200 000 tonnes during the last marketing year.  Average wholesale prices of maize in Lusaka peaked at about 43 000 ZK/50 kg bag in January this year but with the beginning of the harvest have come down and stabilized by mid-May at about 32 500. The current price of maize is slightly above last year’s price at the same time reflecting a less favourable harvest this year. Once the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) buying starts, the price is expected to move to or above the FRA price floor. 
The overall food security situation remains good, except for the vulnerable groups and farmers who lost their crops to floods or were adversely affected by dry spells.
 

Zimbabwe (2007-06-03)

 
 
A joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country from 25 April to 18 May 2007 and estimated total maize production for 2007 at 799 000 tonnes, some 46 percent lower than last year and 13 percent lower than the year before. Primary factors responsible for this decline were, adverse weather, severe economic constraints leading to shortages of key inputs, deteriorating infrastructure, especially for irrigation, and most importantly, financially uneconomical prices for most of the Government-controlled crops. Total national cereal production, including some 128 000 tonnes as a forecast of winter wheat currently being planted, is estimated to remain 44 percent below the official estimate of the 2006 production, resulting in a significant national import requirement of about 1.052 million tonnes, for the 2007/08 marketing year (April/March), of which the maize deficit accounts for 813 000 tonnes.
A structural decline in national agricultural production over the last 6-7 years is also due to the inability by newly-settled farmers to utilize all the prime land allocated to them. The settlement farmers were able to cultivate only about 30 to 55 percent of their total arable land owing to shortages of tractor/draught power, fuel and fertilizers, under-investment in infrastructure/ improvements, lack of incentive because of price controls and absenteeism on the part of settler beneficiaries. Following the land reform programme, based on the Central Statistics Office (CSO) data, the large-scale commercial sector now produces less than one-tenth of the maize that it produced in the 1990s, or less than 5 percent of the country’s total maize production. Hyperinflation which reached 3 714 percent in April has drastically reduced the purchasing power of households, greatly limiting access to available supplies for low- and middle-income and vulnerable people. In parallel, the ever-plummeting exchange rate of the local currency in parallel markets has caused shortages of foreign currency and reduced the country’s ability to import fuel, electricity and other capital goods.
 
Given the acute shortage of foreign exchange, the dwindling export base, and current very high prices for maize in the region, the Mission estimated that total commercial cereal imports will amount to 700 000 tonnes, leaving an uncovered deficit of 352 000 tonnes of maize. Commercial imports include 400 000 tonnes of maize which have already been contracted from Malawi, 217 000 tonnes of wheat, 22 000 tonnes of rice, and an additional 61 000 tonnes of maize is expected to be imported by individuals and petty traders through informal channels and in-kind remittances from South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia.
 
Along with its call for food assistance of 442 000 tonnes for some 4.1 million food-insecure and vulnerable people, the FAO/WFP Mission made recommendations to improve next year’s harvest and national food supply. These include an adequate and timely supply to farmers of good quality seeds and fertilizer ahead of the next cropping season. It also urges the Government and the international community to work jointly on improving food security by investing in farm mechanization and infrastructure.
 
Finally, the Mission supported the Government’s newly-stated goal of moving to a market-based economy. Specific measures could include a reassessment of producer price controls, allowing the free movement of grain within the country, lifting the ban on private sector imports, and removing restrictions on cross-border trade.
 

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