ALGERIA (19 September)
Normal dry weather prevails. Harvesting of the 2006 cereal crops has been completed and aggregate cereal production
is provisionally estimated at about 4 million tonnes, a significant recovery from the 2005 drought-affected crop levels of 3.49
million tonnes. About 2.7 million tonnes of wheat have been harvested, compared to 2.35 million tonnes the year before and the
five-year average of 2.29 million tonnes. Barley output, used mainly for feed, also increased by 200 000 tonnes to about 1.3
Wheat imports for the marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are expected to decrease over last year’s volume of 5.6 million
tonnes to some 4.6 million tonnes, reflecting production increases. Maize imports should decrease by 100 000 tonnes from the 2
million tonnes volume imported in marketing year 2005/06 (July/June).
EGYPT (19 September)
Harvesting of the 2006 irrigated wheat crop was completed in July, and output has provisionally been estimated at 8.3 million tonnes, which compares to 8.18 million
tonnes in 2005 and the five-year average of 7 million tonnes. The increase is due to the combination of a modest increase in wheat plantings in 2006 with respect to
2005 and the normal to abundant rains that have benefited the crops throughout the season.
Harvesting of the maize crop is well advanced, while that of paddy has recently started. The outlook is good and early forecasts for maize production stand at about
an average 7 million tonnes, while paddy output should be a tentative 6.2 million tonnes, some 224 000 tonnes above the past five-year average.
Reflecting the anticipated good wheat output, wheat imports in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are expected to decrease from 7.6 million tonnes last year to
about 7 million tonnes.
MOROCCO (19 September)
Wheat production in 2006 has been estimated at a record high of 6.3 million tonnes, 54 percent above the average of the past five years and twice the level of the
2005 drought-affected crop. Production of barley, the main coarse grain grown in the country, has also increased substantially from last year’s 1.1 million tonnes to
2.5 million tonnes. The increase in production has been the result of the favourable rainfall pattern at planting and throughout the developing period. Government policy
to encourage investment in agriculture, in particular, increased subsidies to farmers to expand mechanization and use of high quality seeds, has also contributed to crop success.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June) are forecast to decline from 2.8 million tonnes last year to about 1 million tonnes. Maize imports are also anticipated
to decrease by 7 percent to about 1.3 million tonnes in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June).
TUNISIA (19 September)
Harvesting of the 2006 winter crops has been completed; the wheat and barley crops are estimated at a below-average 1.2 million tonnes and 395 000 tonnes, respectively. These compare to 1.6 million tonnes and 465 000 tonnes collected in 2005, when the crops benefited from more favourable weather conditions. The drop in production is due to a 50-day dry spell through late April that has resulted in crop failure in many parts of the country.
Wheat imports are forecast to increase by 100 000 tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes in marketing year 2006/07 (July/June).
BENIN (19 September)
Precipitation has been generally widespread and abundant in the north according to remote sensing rainfall estimates.
Although rains were below average in July in the south, overall crop prospects are favourable. Harvesting of the first maize crop is underway in the south.
Millet and sorghum crops are developing satisfactorily in the north.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. 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 the 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.
BURKINA FASO (19 September)
Harvest prospects improved significantly following widespread and above-normal rains in August. After erratic and below average rains until late June,
which necessitated replanting in most regions and shortened the growing season, precipitation has increased significantly from mid-July, and remained abundant
in August. Substantial flooding was reported in the Mouhoun, Cascades and Sahel regions. However, due to the erratic start of the rainy season, stages of crop
development vary by regions and are generally late compared to normal years, except in the West and South-West, where cereals are at heading stage and harvesting
of beans crops has started. Elsewhere in the country, millet and sorghum are generally in the elongating stage and maize is flowering. Crop development is particularly
late in the north-eastern province of Gnagna. Due to the delayed rains and initial dry conditions, rains will need to continue through October to allow crops to reach full maturity.
Pastures have regenerated significantly countrywide. The overall pest situation is reported to be calm.
The overall food supply situation has remained satisfactory. Cereal prices, stable since the beginning of the year, have started decreasing in the south, mainly due to increased
cereal imports from neighbouring coastal countries where harvesting of the main crops is underway. The downward trend is expected to continue with the start of harvesting in the country.
CAPE VERDE (19 September)
The onset of regular rains in late July permitted widespread maize plantings on the agricultural islands. Rains continued in early August and became more abundant during the
second dekad of the month. Soil moisture reserves are adequate in most areas. Crops are emerging satisfactorily and pastures are regenerating well. Cereal bugs and grasshopper
infestations are reported in Santiago Island, where treatments are underway.
Following the poor harvest in 2005, cereal import requirements for the marketing year 2005/06 (November/October) were estimated at 105 000 tonnes, including 32 000 tonnes of food aid.
CHAD (19 September)
Rains in August were abundant and widespread after irregular and below average precipitation delayed plantings in the Sahelian zone through mid-July.
Due to the late and erratic start of the rainy season, stages of development vary greatly in the regions and are generally late compared
to normal years. In the Sudanian zone, millet, sorghum and maize are generally ripening, while rainfed rice crops are elongating.
In the Sahelian zone, coarse grains are elongating. Pastures are abundant countrywide. The overall pest situation is calm. Grasshopper
infestations were reported on cereal crops only in Pala region.
The security situation in eastern Chad remains unstable and volatile, constraining
humanitarian access to the Sudanese refugees living in the eastern
part of the country.
CÔTE D'IVOIRE (19 September)
In the South, harvesting of the main maize crop and sowing of the second maize
crop are underway, while in the North millet and sorghum crops are
developing satisfactorily reflecting overall adequate growing conditions
since the beginning of the cropping season. However, agricultural
activities continue to be affected by conflict-induced problems,
especially labour shortages arising from population displacements,
lack of agricultural support services in parts of the country, market
segmentation and disruptions by insecurity. Food security 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 the disruption of marketing services.
GAMBIA, REPUBLIC OF (19 September)
The start of the cropping season was late and rains have been irregular in
most regions according to remote sensing rainfall estimates. Crops
and pastures will need rains late in the season to cover their entire
A record cereal production combined with a good groundnut output in 2005 has
resulted in improved household access to food in marketing year
2005/06 (November/October). However, the country imports nearly
half of its cereal consumption requirements (mostly rice and wheat)
in a normal year and cereal prices are strongly affected by the
exchange rate of the Dalassi, the national currency, which is very
vulnerable to exogenous shocks due to the country's limited source
of foreign exchange. Moreover, in districts affected by floods,
a number of households may experience food difficulties during the
GHANA (19 September)
Rains have been regular and widespread since the beginning of the major season
in April in the South, where harvesting of the first maize crop
is underway. In the North, millet and sorghum crops are developing
satisfactorily and harvest prospects are good, provided favourable
weather conditions persist.
In spite of two consecutive years of relatively low crops, the food supply
situation in the country has been satisfactory and prices relatively
stable, due to limited exports to neighbouring food-deficit countries
where good crops have been harvested in 2005.
GUINEA (19 September)
Following irregular and insufficient rains in several parts of the country
at the beginning of the cropping season, precipitation increased
significantly from July over the main producing areas, thus improving
prospects for the 2006 rice crop, to be harvested from October.
Following a strong depreciation of the Guinea Franc, the price of rice - the
staple food for Guineans- more than doubled over the past two years.
Petrol prices also increased steeply in recent months fuelling inflation
and seriously eroding the purchasing power and access to food of
both urban and rural populations. Moreover, about 40 000 refugees
are still dependent on humanitarian assistance in the country, although
the restoration of peace in Sierra Leone and the improved situation
in Liberia have resulted in a relative decrease of the number of
GUINEA-BISSAU (19 September)
According to remote sensing rainfall estimates, precipitation and soil moisture
have been generally adequate since the beginning of the growing
season, allowing satisfactory development of crops. Transplanting
of swamp rice is underway after desalinisation of swamp rice fields.
Harvesting of early maturity varieties of maize should have started.
Severe localized food insecurity and seed shortages were reported in parts
of the country, notably in the southern regions of Quinara and Tombali,
where heavy rains, floods and salination of irrigation channels
resulted in a serious decline in rice output in 2005. The beginning
of harvesting is expected to improve the food situation in these
areas. However, the majority of the Guinea-Bissau population is
facing chronic food insecurity, with a stagnant economy and 65 percent
of the population living below the poverty line.
LIBERIA (19 September)
Harvesting of the 2006 paddy crop, virtually the only cereal grown in the country
is underway. In spite of the below average rains recorded this year,
food production is expected to recover, due mainly to the pest control
measures undertaken with the assistance of FAO. Plant disease was
the major cause of low yields last year. The improved security situation
is also expected to boost plantings by returning refugees and former
The repatriation of refugees and resettlement of IDPs started in October and
November 2004 respectively. As of late July, some 73 000 returnees
have been repatriated by UNHCR, and 321 634 persons de-registered
from IDP camps.
MALI (19 September)
After erratic and below average rains until late June, which necessitated replanting
in most regions and shortened the growing season, precipitation
has increased significantly from mid-July, and remained abundant
in August and crops are developing satisfactorily. However, stages
of development vary greatly, due to the late and erratic start of
the rainy season. For millet and sorghum crops, stages of development
vary from emerging to heading, while harvesting of early maize crops
has started in some regions and transplanting of irrigated rice
is still underway. According to the results of the mid-term assessment
carried out by the Commissariat à la Sécurité
Alimentaire, the area planted with cotton decreased by about 8 percent
compared to last year, while millet area is likely to increase significantly.
In the areas affected by earlier dry conditions, yield potential
will be reduced and late plantings and replanting will need rains
until October to cover their entire growing cycle.
Pastures are generally good. Grain-eating birds are reported in several regions,
notably in Mopti, Tombouctou, Koulikoro, Dioila. Grasshopper infestations
are reported, notably in the pastures of Kayes, Ségou, Mopti,
Koulikoro. Army worms and rodents are also reported in a few places.
The desert locust situation is calm but scattered adults are likely
to be present in the north with small-scale breeding expected
MAURITANIA (19 September)
Following the start of the rainy season in July, crop growing conditions have
been favourable in most parts of Trarza and Brakana regions with
sufficient and well distributed precipitation. By contrast rains
were mostly erratic and below normal in the south-centre and south-east
(eastern Ghorgol, Guidimakha and the two Hodhs), where crops were
stressed and re-plantings carried-out in several areas. Yield potential
of rainfed crops may be compromised if the situation does not improve
in September. Seed shortage is reported in most regions, which may
also affect area planted.
Pastures have improved significantly in Trarza and Brakna regions but their
regeneration has been hindered by the dry spells in Ghorgol, Guidimakha
and the two Hodhs. Scattered solitary mature adults of Desert Locusts
are reported in the centre (Tagant, northern Brakana) and in the
south (Trarza, the two Hodhs). Small-scale breeding is underway
and locust numbers are expected to increase during September.
NIGER (19 September)
Good rains from late July through August remained widespread over the main
producing areas in early September. Crops are developing satisfactorily.
However, heavy rains and floods caused considerable casualties and
damaged crops in several localities, notably in Agadez (Bilma, Tabelot,
In Gall), Dosso, Tahoua, Tillabéri and Zinder. As regards
the pest situation, infestations of injurious insects are reported
on millet in all agricultural regions and treatments have been undertaken.
By contrast, grain eating birds are reportedly posing a serious
threat to crops in Dosso, Tahoua, Tillabéri, Zinder and Diffa.
The Desert Locusts situation is calm but scattered solitary immature
and mature adults are reported on the Tamesna Plains and in parts
of the central Aïr Mountains, where small-scale breeding is
expected to occur, causing locust numbers to increase slightly.
Due to the erratic start of the rainy season, stages of development vary in
most regions from elongating to flowering, but millet crops have
reached maturity in Dosso, and harvesting of beans has started in
Maradi and Zinder. Due to the delayed rains and initial dry conditions,
rains will need to continue through October to allow crops to reach
full maturity countrywide.
The beginning of harvesting in the country along with increased cereal imports
from neighbouring coastal countries are expected to improve food
supply and lower prices on markets. However, due to the lingering
effects of the 2005 food crisis (1.8 million people are estimated
to be in severe food insecurity and 2.1 million in moderate food
insecurity), WFP and the Niger Government have begun targeted free
food distribution to 650 000 people on 25 August 2006. 200 000 people
not covered by targeted distributions but who live in areas poorly
served by rural markets are reportedly benefiting from the restocking
or creation of village cereal banks.
NIGERIA (19 September)
In the South, rains have been adequate since the beginning of the major season
in April and prospects for the first maize crop are favourable.
In the north, millet and sorghum crops are developing satisfactorily
and a good harvest is expected, provided favourable weather conditions
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 tightening of controls
on illegal rice and wheat inflows, and the potential negative effects
of the avian flu epidemic on the poultry sector, imports of cereals
are forecast to increase to over 5 million tonnes in 2006.
SENEGAL (19 September)
Following irregular and insufficient rains in most parts of the country at
the beginning of the cropping season, precipitation increased significantly
in August over the main producing areas, thus reconstituting soil
water reserves, and improving crop prospects. Matam received its
first rains in August. Satellite imagery for late August/early September
indicated that crops continued to benefit from good rains, notably
in the South. However, as plantings were delayed and replanting
carried out in several regions including Kolda, Tamba, Bakel, Kaolak,
Diourbel and Matam, crops and pastures will need rains late in the
season to cover their entire growing cycle.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. However, localised food
insecurity was reported in several regions of the country due mainly
to marketing problems in the groundnut sector which is the main
source of cash income for most rural households.
SIERRA LEONE (19 September)
Harvesting of the 2006 paddy crop, virtually the only cereal grown in the country,
Agriculture, which has been recovering steadily since the end of the civil war in 2002, is expected to improve further this year,
reflecting increasing plantings by returning refugees and farmers previously
displaced, as well as improved conditions for the distribution of agricultural inputs.
TOGO (19 September)
Harvesting of the first maize crop is underway in the south. Millet and sorghum
crops are developing satisfactorily in the north, following favourable
Following generally favourable growing conditions during the 2005 rainy season,
food production (including cereals, cassava, beans and plantains)
is estimated to have risen by 5.5 percent compared to 2004, according
to official sources. The overall food supply situation is satisfactory.
Cereal imports for domestic use and re-exports during the 2006 marketing
year are estimated at 165 000 tonnes, to be covered through commercial
CAMEROON (19 September)
Prospects for the current main-season crops are generally favourable, reflecting
abundant and widespread rains.
The country experienced adequate agro-climatic conditions in 2005, and crop
production was estimated to be above normal. This has contributed
to an improved food supply situation in the northern part of the
country which experienced severe localised food insecurity in 2005,
notably the Chari and Logone Divisions of the extreme north.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (19 September)
Harvesting of the first 2006 maize crop is nearly complete. Satellite imagery
indicates that rains have been abundant and widespread since the
beginning of the cropping season in April. However, a strong agricultural
recovery is not expected due to persistent insecurity notably in
the north and inadequate availability of agricultural inputs. About
20 000 people have fled the country to southern Chad over the past
year, bringing the number of Central African refugees in the latter
country to over 45 000. Another 50 000 people have been internally
displaced. The bulk of the Central African Republic population is
facing chronic food insecurity, with approximately 73 percent of
the population living in deep poverty, surviving on less than one
US dollar a day. Chronic malnutrition affects 39 percent of the
population, with some 10 percent of children suffering from severe
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (20 September)
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), harvesting of main
season maize follows from September starting in the north and continues
until February in the south. Remote sensing images show estimated
rainfall more or less near average. No accurate estimates of total
harvest in 2006 are available at this stage, but a normal to above
normal harvest is expected. Total cereal production consisting mainly
of maize is estimated at 1.58 million tonnes for 2006, unchanged
Total cereal import requirements for 2006 are anticipated to be about 530 000 tonnes, slightly higher than for 2005.
Most of them with the exception of some 50 000 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 the last few months, especially in the north-eastern parts of the country, potentially disrupting farming
activities and localized food security. According to WFP an estimated 220 000 people have been uprooted by fighting between
the Government and Mayi-Mayi rebels in Katanga and another 80 000 displaced in North Kivu Province, and up to 1.6 million
internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable people nationwide need assistance. Recent fighting has displaced at
least 10 000 people in the northeastern district of Ituri.
CONGO, REP OF (19 September)
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
2006 are projected at about 295 000 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
EQUATORIAL GUINEA (19 Septembre)
The country does not produce a significant quantity of cereals. The staple
foods are sweet potatoes, cassava and plantains. It imports on average
12 000 tonnes of wheat and 8 000 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 2006/07, to 5.9 percent, from
an estimated 6.1 percent in 2005, according to the Economist Intelligence
GABON (19 September)
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 2006, mainly wheat and rice, are estimated
at some 165 000 tonnes. Economic growth, which has trended downwards
in recent years due to declining oil production, recovered significantly
in 2005, and is expected to remain relatively high, with continued
high oil prices.
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE (19 September)
The staple food crops are roots, plantains and tubers. Annual imports of cereals
are estimated at some 14 000 tonnes. In 2003 agriculture accounted
for 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.
BURUNDI (20 September)
In Burundi, the Joint FAO/WFP/Government/UNICEF/OCHA crop and food assessment
carried out in May-June 2006, estimated the 2006B total food production
in cereal equivalent slightly better (by 1.7 percent) than in 2005B
season. Total cereals at 193 000 tonnes were about 3 percent higher
than the year before. Above average rains during this season, following
dry weather of the 2006A helped but, this increase was not enough
to compensate for the drought affected decline in 2006A season.
As a result, total cereal production for 2006 is estimated at 287
000 tonnes, about 1 percent below the level achieved in 2005. On
average the main season (B) accounts for about 55 percent of the
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
Cereal import requirements for 2006 are estimated at about 119 000 tonnes,
higher than 96 000 tonnes in 2005, reflecting the drought-affected
output of 2006A season earlier this year and the increase in population.
In 2005 food aid amounted to a little more than half of total imports.
Higher amount of food aid is foreseen for this year. According to
the national Early Warning System, in Bujumbura, market prices of
rice and maize in August 2006 were about 7 and 11 percent above
the levels a year ago, respectively. The price of cassava in May
2006 was 120 percent higher and in August 90 percent higher than
the corresponding months a year ago due to reduced harvest of this
crop. Food price inflation, following the poor harvest in 2006A
early in the year, crept up as the cost of a food basket increased
by 31 percent in May 2006 compared to the same time last year. This
has now (in August) come down to about 10 percent level. The security
situation is expected to improve significantly 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 war. Food insecurity for the vulnerable groups (IDPs,
returnees, and those affected by the drought earlier in the year)
is of concern. The international community response so far included
food aid pledges/deliveries of 51 000 tonnes.
ERITREA (18 September)
Harvesting of the 2006 cereal and pulse crops will start in the coming few
weeks. Following a below average rainfall in June and July, which
raised some concern, the August rains were above normal allowing
for improved prospects for developing crops. Satellite images indicate
that, despite certain delay, crop conditions in the mechanized areas
of Gash Barka are slowly improving. Traditional agriculture areas
are generally similar to last year and in some areas above average.
In August, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicated
profiles that are better (greener) than last year and similar to
the last seven year average. The August rains have also impacted
positively on the pastoral areas of Habero, Nakfa and Asmat compared
to the average, but still slightly below last year’s conditions.
Eritrea generally produces only a fraction of its total food requirements,
even in good rainfall years, and largely depends on imports.
ETHIOPIA (18 September)
Prospects for the 2006 main “meher” season cereal crop, to be harvested
from late October, are favourable. Abundant rains since June benefited
developing crops in major producing regions. Some of the worst flooding
on record has occurred throughout the country, resulting in hundreds
of deaths, displacement, and widespread loss of property, crops
and livestock. In addition, water borne diseases including diarrhea
have increased and present a significant risk. While the full impact
of the flooding is still being assessed, urgent food and non-food
assistance is needed for about 200 000 people who have lost property,
crops and livestock. More flooding is expected in the southeastern
and northwestern parts of the country in the coming weeks.
Latest reports of the 2006 secondary “belg” season
foodcrops, harvested from June, indicate a good crop. The belg crop
accounts for some 7 to 10 percent of the aggregate cereal production
of the country, but it is important in several areas, where it provides
the bulk of the annual food supplies. By contrast, in the pastoral
areas of south-eastern Ethiopia, rainfall was inadequate meaning
that recovery in sites of last year’s severe food shortages
will be delayed.
FAO and WFP will jointly field a mission to the country in November
2006 to assess the outcome of this year’s harvest and the
food supply outlook for 2007.
KENYA (18 September)
Harvesting of the 2006 long-rains season maize is almost over in most parts
of the country and prospects are generally favourable due to good
rains in main agricultural areas. The maize crop, for harvest from
October, in the Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza Provinces is reported
to be good condition. The long rains cropping season normally accounts
for 80 percent of total annual food production. Revised official
forecasts indicate a long-season maize output of 2.52 million tonnes,
about 15 percent above average. The stocks, estimated at 131 000
tonnes, at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) together
with private stocks and anticipated cross-border trade are expected
to cover consumption needs through early next year. Over 50 percent
of maize crop has already been harvested, from the lowlands of Nyanza,
western, southern areas of the Rift Valley, coastal and south-eastern
areas as well as in the lowlands of the Rift Valley Province.
The 2006 long-rains season and the emergency operation have provided
considerable relief to pastoralists avoiding a major catastrophe.
Improvements in child malnutrition rates are being reported in pastoral
and marginal agricultural areas of the country. The number of emergency
food aid beneficiaries have been reduced from 3.1 to 2.4 million.
However, sustained improvement will require a normal to above-normal
short rains season between October and December. Considerable livestock
losses experienced between December and March, coupled with a shortened
long-rains season in parts, suggests that pastoral lives and livelihoods
remain vulnerable to a further shock. An upsurge in disease has
also compounded poor nutrition, reducing effectiveness of interventions
in some areas. Meanwhile, an increase in the incidence of conflict
in the pastoral Turkana, Marsabit and Samburu districts is disrupting
normal seasonal migrations.
RWANDA (25 September)
In Rwanda, the Joint FAO/WFP/Government/FEWS-Net crop and food assessment carried
out in June 2006, estimated the 2006B total food production in cereal
equivalent slightly better (by 1 percent) than in 2005B season.
Total cereal harvest of 2006B season, however, estimated at 246
000 tonnes is about 15 percent lower than the same season the year
before. Below average rains during this season, following the dry
weather of the 2006A, was the main reason for the decline of total
cereal output for 2006 to a level of 355 000 tonnes, about 14 percent
lower than the final output of 2005 (season A plus season B). Cereal
crops seem to have been affected more by the dry weather. Some of
the decline has been offset by a bumper crop of beans during this
year. On average the main season (B) accounts for about 60 percent
of the annual output of cereals. However, the contribution of season
B has been increasing over the years and amounted to about 68 percent
Total cereal import requirements for 2006 are projected to increase from the
estimated 189 000 tonnes in 2005 to 216 000 tonnes. Given the reduced
crop harvest in 2006, food aid requirement is expected to double
that of 2005, to about 45 000 tonnes.
Currently, staple food prices are higher than at the same period last year.
For example, wholesale maize price in Kigali currently (18 September 2006) is US$ 220/tonne
as compared to US$207 in September 2005. However, maize price had reached a high of US$320 on 28 June 2006.
Similarly bean prices currently are at US$314/tonne as compared to US$299 a year ago. Prices in June 2006 had
reached a high of US$365. Price fluctuations are caused by the timing and the expectations about new harvest given
the country’s two season pattern. Food security among the pastoralists in eastern provinces of Umutara and Kibungo has
also been affected by the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the subsequent total quarantine and ban on the sale of
livestock and animal products.
SOMALIA (18 September)
Recent heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands during the month of August caused
localized flooding around Jowhar that affected an estimated 30 000
people and 14 000 hectares of farmland. Additional flooding was
recorded elsewhere in the Upper and Lower Shabelle and Upper and
Lower Juba regions. The expected onset of Deyr rains and the high
level of continuing rain in catchment areas indicate a potential
for further flooding in the Middle and Lower Shabelle Regions.
The Somalia Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) estimated the
2006 main "gu" season cereal crop in Somalia at about
113 000 tonnes, 29 percent less than average. The decline is due
to the poor rainfall performance in the main crop producing areas.
The gu cereal crop normally accounts for some 70 to 80 percent of
The overall food security situation in Somalia continues to be
alarming. The gu Assessment confirmed that a severe food crisis
will persist throughout the country for the rest of 2006, affecting
at least 1.8 million people. The situation is further aggravated
by the intermittent hostilities and insecurity. Cereal prices peaked
in May – June ‘06 in response to low cereal supplies
following the poor crop performance in the previous crop seasons.
However, prices have started to decline in some regions as the current
gu harvest started to enter the market. In Bay region where gu production
was near average, sorghum prices fell 17 percent between May and
July, while maize prices in Shabelle valley dropped by 28 percent
in same time period. Given the overall low cereal stocks, combined
with poor cereal production, cereal prices are not expected to continue
to decline, and could very likely begin to increase again within
the next two-three months. In Lower and Middle Juba, which experienced
a gu crop failure, cereal prices also declined in the last two months
due to food aid distributions in the region.
Global acute malnutrition rates also remain high at over 20 percent
and have continued to deteriorate since January 2006. Despite the
serious nature of the humanitarian situation in Somalia, only half
of the US$326 million requested in the current Consolidated Appeal
for Somalia have been committed so far. Any further escalation of
conflict in the current standoff could trigger a significant and
rapid deterioration in food security. Further information and analysis
can be accessed from the Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) at:
SUDAN (18 September)
The continued crisis in Darfur remains the most pressing humanitarian problem.
The humanitarian community in Sudan fears hundreds of thousands
of people could be displaced again should Darfur face an upsurge
in conflict. A realistic scenario could see as many as 350 000 people
displaced, loss of basic services such as clean water and healthcare,
and an increased dependence on helicopters and planes to deliver
aid as road travel becomes too dangerous.
Food security prospects in Darfur are especially worrisome as the
deteriorating security situation may disrupt the harvesting of current
crops, about to start in the coming few weeks. Killing of civilians
and other violations of human rights are also feared, especially
in areas that become inaccessible to human rights and protection
officers. Humanitarian access, already at its lowest in August since
operations in Darfur began in 2004, is predicted to deteriorate
dramatically, with travel outside urban centres becoming impossible
due to attacks on vehicles. This would necessitate an urgent increase
in helicopters and airplanes to distribute aid where possible by
air. In addition, a return to conflict would also jeopardize the
humanitarian gains made over the last two years, leading to serious
long term consequences. Between 2004 and 2006, the efforts of aid
agencies halved malnutrition, increased access to primary healthcare
by over 600 percent, and provided nearly two million with access
to clean water. But since April, lack of access to suffering populations
has meant loss of these essential services to thousands. In North
Darfur alone, 355 000 people have gone without food aid for two
months, and a recent UN survey in the area suggests that malnutrition
is rising. Medical agencies believe that many are vulnerable to
diseases because they cannot reach medical care. Cholera is an ongoing
problem and the malaria season is just beginning. The growing conflict
is already inflicting additional suffering on the civilian population:
Medical agencies report increasing numbers of patients with weapon-related
injuries – 42 percent of surgical interventions are now conflict
related. Fighting since May has displaced as many as 100 000 IDPs,
many for the second or third time.
In southern Sudan, conflict arising from this year’s disarmament
process and the ongoing cattle raiding in Jonglei continues to exacerbate
food insecurity. Fighting disrupted wild food collection, fishing
and traditional livestock/grain exchange mechanisms during the dry
season (January to April), forcing households and cattle to return
from dry season grazing areas earlier than normal. A UN-led interagency
assessment conducted in June found that food shortages have increased
due to conflict. Local defence and security forces lost their food
to looting, and this overburdened the community as they had to feed
the forces at a time when food is most scarce. In addition, insufficient
access to seeds and tools reportedly caused by the conflict affected
the ability of households to take full advantage of this year’s
cropping season, despite an earlier than normal season onset and
improved rains when compared to last year. The assessment also reported
that heavy rains have affected maize and sorghum crops in some areas.
Elsewhere in Sudan, extensive floods in parts of Sudan have displaced
tens of thousands of people, and destroyed crops and property. Heavy
rains in the Blue Nile catchment areas in Ethiopian highlands caused
an overflow of the Nile river and submerged many villages and settlements.
Despite reports of a respite, water levels in the Nile surpassed
those of earlier years. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment
Mission is visiting southern Sudan in October and is planned to
visit northern Sudan in November to assess the main season production
and estimate food assistance requirements, if any, in 2007.
TANZANIA, UNITED REPUBLIC OF (18 September)
Harvesting of the 2006 main season cereal crops is almost complete. This has
improved cereal availability in all markets. Preliminary reports
indicate an above average cereal crop, mainly maize, of about 5.30
million tonnes. There has also been an increase in non-cereal crop
availability, mainly root crops and pulses.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. The completed
harvests in the bimodal rainfall areas and the almost complete harvests
in unimodal rainfall regions have generally increased on-farm stocks
and access. The prices of maize and all other food crops in many
markets have continued to decline from the peak reached in May 2006
but still remain higher than average.
Despite the overall improved food situation, Shinyanga, Singida,
and Mwanza regions have overall food deficits due to low local production.
These regions are expected to face continued food shortages and
high food prices affecting severely limiting access of mainly poor
households. The prevailing seasonal dry conditions have also decreased
green vegetation cover. The central areas (Dodoma and Singida regions,
northern parts of Iringa), eastern zone, Shinyanga region and lowlands
of the northeastern areas all have below average levels of vegetation.
The deterioration of pasture may impact negatively on livestock
UGANDA (18 September)
Harvesting of the 2006 main season cereal crop is complete. The rainy season
has been delayed in most bimodal areas. In the north, the on-going
peace process and improved security conditions have encouraged resettlement
and improved household access to land, but the poor performance
of the rains has limited extensive planting and cultivation. A recent
survey indicated that many IDPs have increased their agricultural
production, assisted by inputs provided by humanitarian organizations
as access to land has improved. However, off-farm income earning
opportunities remain limited. Current estimates indicate that more
than 75 percent of IDPs now consume near normal amounts of food,
but 25 percent of IDP households are unable to access adequate food.
IDPs’ main source of food remains food aid, while the remainder
is grown or purchased with income from casual labor, crop sales
and petty trade.
The food situation in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of Karamoja
is precarious. Large number of poor households now depend on seasonal
labour for cash or food, as well as hunting and gathering. Some
households have migrated westwards toward to the agriculture zone
in search of food. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry
and Fisheries (MAAIF) has recently reported that there is an increased
incidence of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in about 20 districts
in the "cattle corridor" of central, southern and western
Uganda. Vaccinations and quarantine measure were undertaken to limit
and minimize the impact.
ANGOLA (20 September)
In Angola according to the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission
the 2006 total cereal production was 749 000 tonnes, some 15 percent
lower than the record harvest of 2005, but still 9 percent higher
than the average of the previous five years. Following the peace
accord and settlement of returnees, the area under cereal crops
has increased by almost 50 percent since 2001. Return of 5 133 670
displaced people by December 2005 to their areas of origin (according
to the Technical Unit for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance,
UTCAH), and distribution of seeds and hand tools to about 600 000
families, were responsible for the increase in area planted. This
notwithstanding, the erratic rains and long dry spells during 2005-06
agricultural season particularly affected the central and southwestern
provinces, which include some of the main maize and cereal growing
areas of the country. Food production and food security in general
in the northern areas, where cassava and sweet potatoes are grown,
were found to be satisfactory. However, processing of cassava into
flour and then marketing is not widely practiced in Angola. Heavy
rains received late in the season during March and April throughout
the country helped improve pasture and water availability for livestock
but were too late for much of the cereal production.
As result of the reduced harvest, total cereal import requirements for the
2006/07 marketing year (April/March) are estimated at 847 000 tonnes,
some 21 percent higher than the year before. With the exception
of severely affected districts, prices of maize in general have
remained fairly stable during these post harvest months from April
2006. Information on cereal imports is not complete but the available
data shows that cereals imports have been slow recording only about
40 000 tonnes by early September. Food security problems arise due
to poor road conditions and underdeveloped marketing systems and
due to currently rising maize prices. In spite of the economic boom
in the country primarily due to high oil prices, food security for
the vulnerable population is of concern. The vulnerability analysis
by the FAO/WFP Mission has established a figure of about 800 000
people as food insecure and requiring about 58 000 tonnes of cereals
as food aid.
BOTSWANA (20 September)
In Botswana, the 2006 main season cereal harvest estimated at 45 000 tonnes
represented a significant improvement over the drought-stricken
output of the previous year. Consequently, the import requirements
for the 2006/07 marketing year (April/March) have been reduced by
about 13 percent from the previous year to a level of 291 000 tonnes;
these are expected to be covered through commercial imports. So
far (by 8/09/2006) about 86 000 tonnes have been received. Pasture
conditions during the agricultural season were also reported to
be good helping livestock raising which forms an important part
of agriculture through out the country, but particularly in the
central and southern areas. Repeated outbreaks of foot and mouth
disease, however, have jeopardized the country's beef exports hurting
the livestock industry.
LESOTHO (20 September)
Final production figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture put the 2006
total cereal harvest at 126 400 tonnes, slight recovery from the
two previous drought affected years but still about 3 percent below
the average of the previous five years. Total cereal import requirements
for the new marketing year 2006/07, which started in April, are
almost the same as the last year's imports estimated at little over
200 000 tonnes. All of these, except for about 15 000 tonnes of
food aid, are expected to be commercial imports. In the month of
August WFP and Cooperating Partners distributed food aid to 75 778
MADAGASCAR (21 September)
In Madagascar, 2006 marks a fourth consecutive year of recovery in rice and
total cereal production. National rice paddy harvest this year is
estimated at 3.5 million tonnes, about 3 percent higher than the
last year. However, due to the unfavorably dry weather, especially
in the south reduced the coarse grain harvest from 350 000 tonnes
in 2005 to 301 000 tonnes this year. The average price of local
rice has gradually come down from over 1 100 Ariary/kg in July 2005
to a post harvest low of about 700 by mid-June 2006. The price of
imported rice fell even more, partly due to the appreciation of
the Malagasy currency against the US dollar. Since mid-June the
prices of local as well as imported rice have shown a slight positive
seasonal trend, reaching 800 and 900 Ariary, respectively. Relatively
high rice prices during the planting time (November-December 2005)
in the country probably had a positive impact on area planted to
paddy. Total cereal imports for the 2006/07 marketing year (April/March)
are forecast at 270 000 tonnes, slightly reduced from the estimated
imports the year before. Most of the imports (nearly 90 percent)
in 2005/06 were commercial imports. Reportedly, more than 70 percent
of Madagascar's 17 million people live below the poverty line of
US$1/day, and an increase in child malnutrition has been reported
by a recent survey in the south-eastern parts of the country. However,
Madagascar's entry into the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) in August 2005 is expected to improve trade and boost economic
MALAWI (21 September)
In Malawi, the official final estimate puts the 2006 maize harvest at 2.6 million
tonnes, more than double the devastated harvest during the drought
year of 2005. The principal reasons for this bumper harvest were
good weather and the Government's subsidized fertilizer distribution
program. Similar gains are also forecast for other cereals. In some
parts, dry spells during early to mid-December and late February
were experienced, causing localized reduction in household food
production. As a result of a bumper harvest at the national level,
the country is expected to turn from a net deficit of maize over
the last several years to a net surplus in 2006/07 with an estimated
potential surplus of nearly 200 000 tonnes in addition to a stock
build-up to about 250 000 tonnes. The actual commercial imports
of cereals in 2005/06 have been estimated at 289 000 tonnes, consisting
of mainly wheat, maize and rice. It is worth noting, however, that
during first three months of this new year (April to June 2006),
about 28 000 tonnes of maize have been imported through cross-border
trade into food deficit southern Malawi from surplus producing northern
provinces of Mozambique (FEWS-Net). This amount is slightly lower
than the corresponding months in 2005. Malawi would still import
wheat and rice due to insufficient domestic production of these
In spite of the national surplus in grain production, according to Malawi VAC
some 833 000 vulnerable people risk missing food entitlements during
the 2006/07 marketing year (April/March) and would require 57 300
tonnes of maize (or equivalent cash) as aid, redistributed from
local production. 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 below the purchase
price of 20 Kwacha/kg offered by ADMARC in majority of the markets.
However, due to financial constraints ADMARC was able to buy only
34 000 tonnes by the end of July.
MAURITIUS (25 September)
Total cereal import requirements for 2006 in Mauritius are expected to remain
stable at about 310 000 to 320 000 tonnes. Domestic production of
cereals amounts to less than 1 percent of total cereal needs; consequently
the country imports commercially virtually its entire cereal consumption
requirements. Sugarcane 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 by 2007 is expected to have negative consequences
for sugar and textiles, the two important exports of the country.
For the last three years Mauritius has been experiencing a relatively
high unemployment rate (in excess of 10 percent) according to the
Economist Intelligence Unit, nearly double the average of 5.9 percent
for 2000. A new government was elected in July 2006 which will face
challenges to tackle the problems of securing a new sugar deal,
dealing with textile imports from China and reducing unemployment.
MOZAMBIQUE (25 September)
In Mozambique, the final estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture put maize
and total cereal production at record levels of 1.534 million tonnes
and 2.096 million tonnes, respectively. This represents an increase
of 11 and 10 percent, respectively, from the corresponding levels
the year before. Cassava production, concentrated mainly in the
north, is estimated at 7.5 million tonnes, an increase of about
14 percent over the previous year; it is expected to improve household
food security in general. The country's Northern zone is estimated
to produce maize surplus of 431 000 tonnes while the central and
southern zones are estimated to have a combined deficit of 332 000
tonnes during 2006/07 marketing year (April/March).
Total cereal import requirements (gross) for 2006/07 are estimated at 809 000
tonnes, reduced from 990 000 tonnes from the year before. As of
18 September 2006, total cereal imports were estimated at about
190 000 tonnes. Most of the imports in 2005/06 were commercial transactions
except for about 93 000 tonnes of food aid. Exports of maize through
cross border trade from northern Mozambique mainly into Malawi for
the 2005/06 marketing year (Apr/Mar) accounted for a little over
71 000 tonnes, somewhat less than the year before. In spite of the
good harvest in Malawi this year, cross border exports from Mozambique
have continued more or less at the same pace during April and May,
and at a slightly reduced level in June 2006. However, new requirements
for all traders in Mozambique to obtain export licenses are expected
to hinder small trader activities (FEWS-Net). Reflecting the poor
harvest of last year in the south and high export demand in the
north from neighboring food deficit Malawi, the average price of
maize steadily climbed to a peak of 13 000 Metical/kg in March 2006
in Maputo from 7 000 Metical from the beginning of the year, and
remained substantially higher than for the same period in 2005.
However, the post-harvest period prices this year came down significantly
and were at 5 290 Metical/kg in Maputo during the week of 6 September
2006 (SIMA, Ministry of Agriculture).
Unemployment, poverty and localized food insecurity remain as primary concerns throughout the country in spite
of the impressive economic growth (7.7 percent in 2005 according to the OECD) fuelled primarily by foreign investment
(commercial, aid and debt relief). The national currency had lost its value against the US dollar from 18 500 Metical/USD
at the beginning of 2005 to 29 150 Metical in mid-November 2005. However, more donor assistance and FDI flows have brought
strength to the national currency as it currently stands at 25 190 Metical/USD.
NAMIBIA (25 September)
The 2006 estimates by the Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit,
put the maize harvest at a record level of 52 000 tonnes, some 27
percent above last year's and about 60 percent above the previous
five-year average. Total cereal production at 110 000 tonnes, however,
is only 10 percent above the 2005 level. Generally good rains since
the beginning of the season in late-November 2005 throughout the
country were the primary contributing factor for this. Over the
years, maize production in Namibia has steadily increased from a
low of 15 000 tonnes in 1999 to the current high level. In spite
of improved production, the total cereal import requirement is estimated
to rise slightly to 164 000 tonnes of cereals, expecting certain
stock adjustments to normal level. Commercial imports are expected
to cover most of the food deficit. Maize prices in Namibia follow
very closely the price movements on the South Africa’s SAFEX
(futures market). Currently, the September futures price for white
maize on SAFEX is R 1 334/t which is about 4.6 percent higher than
the Namibia Agronomic Board floor price equivalent of R 1275/t.
In spite of the high per capita income (per capita GDP at the Purchasing
Power Parity for 2003 was US$6 180 as per the UNDP's Human Development Report 2005),
extreme poverty and food insecurity persist in the country.
SOUTH AFRICA (25 September)
In South Africa, the eighth and final estimate by the official Crop Estimating
Committee for 2005/06 agricultural season shows maize production
at 6.6 million tonnes, significantly down from 11.7 million tonnes
the year before. Sorghum production, at 89 730 tonnes, is even harder
hit as it is estimated at only one-third of the level of the past
year. Much of the decline in these crops is due to substantial decreases
in area planted. These changes seem to be a result of choices made
by farmers faced with very low or unprofitable prices at planting
times and very high closing stocks of maize for the 2005/06 marketing
year (estimated at 4 million tonnes as of 30 April 2006). A small
part of this decline was compensated by other cash crops such as
soybeans, dry beans, sunflower seeds and groundnuts. The early forecast
(second estimate) of winter wheat production this year points to
about 15 percent increase over the previous year’s harvest.
Much of this is due to the anticipated increase in yields which
are expected to more than compensate the decline in area planted.
The plantings were down reflecting the weakening international price
of wheat from a peak of almost Rand 2 400/tonne in May 2002 to about
Rand 1 600 in May 2006. SAGIS total maize stocks as of 31 July 2006
were reported at 5.3 million tonnes. However, with the reduced production
next season and increased anticipated exports, the closing stock
at the end of the current marketing year (30 April 2007) is projected
to be a little over one million tonnes.
The results of an early survey on planting intentions for the next main season
crops (maize and sorghum) indicate a significant recovery in area
to be planted under these crops, reflecting current high prices
of these commodities. The SAFEX futures price of white maize steadily
rose since July 2005 from about Rand 700/tonne to Rand 1 390/tonne
in July 2006. Currently the September futures price is at Rand 1
334 and is projected to further firm up until next harvest beginning
in April 2007. This is partly due to the reduction in the current
harvest and partly due to weak Rand against the US dollar.
SWAZILAND (25 September)
In Swaziland, the final official 2006 season maize production is estimated
at 67 130 tonnes, indicating no change from the previous year’s
output. FAO’s estimate for total cereal is 68 200 tonnes.
With anticipated domestic utilization of 194 000 tonnes, there remains
an import requirement gap of about 127 000 tonnes for the current
marketing year 2006/07 (May/Apr). As of 18 September 2006, the estimated
cereal imports amount to about 35 000 tonnes, all as commercial
imports except for 2 500 tonnes of food aid. Since the arrival of
the new harvest, food availability and food security in general
have improved. However, chronic food insecurity persists throughout
the country owing to declining income-earning opportunities and
remittances, high levels of unemployment, and the impact of HIV/AIDS.
With a self-sufficiency rate for cereals of only about one-third,
the Swazi population is mostly dependent on food imports.
ZAMBIA (25 September)
In Zambia, the final official 2006 estimates put maize and total cereal production
at record levels of 1.424 and 1.599 million tonnes, respectively.
These represent increases in excess of 50 percent over the drought-affected
harvest of the previous year. Besides the good weather, the government's
subsidized fertilizer distribution program targeted to 125 000 small
farmers was a contributing factor. Consequently, Zambia is estimated
to have a potentially exportable surplus of about 180 000 tonnes
assuming about 200 000 tonnes of closing stocks. However, it should
be noted that exports of maize are being controlled by the Government
with a ban on private trader exports (FEWS-Net). Total cereal import
requirements mostly wheat and rice and food aid in the form of different
grains for the marketing year 2006/07 (May/April) are estimated
at about 105 000 tonnes, comprising of commercial imports and food
aid roughly half and half. This is less than half of the actual
imports of the last year.
Since the arrival of the new harvest, the average price of maize has come down
from about 58 000 kwacha/50 kg bag in Lusaka in March 2006 to the
current level of Kwacha 35 117 (CHC Commodities Ltd). In recent
months prices have firmed-up by about 4 000 kwacha since late June
however, the farm gate prices in many rural areas have not reached
the National Food Reserve Agency (FRA) announced buying price floor
of Kwacha 38 000 (US$232/tonne) valid for the period from 25 May
to the end of September 2006. As reported by FEWS-Net, FRA has purchased
locally about 70 000 tonnes of maize by first week of August. FRA
now has a procurement target of about 200 000 tonnes.
ZIMBABWE (25 September)
FAO’s final maize harvest estimate for Zimbabwe is 1.1 million tonnes,
with a further 400 000 tonnes of other grains such as millet, sorghum
and wheat, as total domestic supply for marketing year 2006/07 (April/March).
The overall harvest this year has been about double the last year's
drought-affected output. Crops such as millet and sorghum, which
normally receive no fertilizer applications in Zimbabwe, have reportedly
done very well this year. In spite of this improved harvest, given
the estimated total cereal requirement of 1.957 million tonnes,
FAO estimates import requirement for 2006/07 marketing year (April/March)
for the total Zimbabwean population of 11.79 million, at about 457
000 tonnes of total cereals including 350 000 tonnes of maize, roughly
less than third of the levels of the previous year. Of these, as
of 18 September 2006, about 161 000 tonnes of total cereal imports
have been recorded (118 000 tonnes commercial and 43 000 tonnes
of food aid). Commercial import capacity in Zimbabwe is limited
by the continuing downward trends in export earnings from main crops
such as tobacco and cotton, although this is offset by rising metal
export prices as well as official and unofficial remittances from
the large number of Zimbabweans (estimated at over 3 million) living
outside the country.
According to the country's Central Statistics Office (CSO), annual inflation
in July 2006 had reached an unprecedented level of 1 204.6 percent,
driven partly by liberal money supply policies resulting in higher
prices for housing, food, fuel and other necessities. The IMF recently
stated that inflation could reach 4 279 percent next year. According
to the findings of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee
1.4 million rural people will not be able to meet their minimum
cereal needs during the 2006/07 season. This represents about 17
percent of the total rural population , who will require a total
of 91 000 tonnes of cereals. In addition, unemployment, lack of
incomes and continually eroding purchasing power is increasing the
number of food insecure in the urban areas.
The country faces a number of challenges to facilitate access to grain by the
majority of the population, particularly in grain cereal deficit
areas including urban areas. Redistribution of grain at national
level will also be a challenge, over the years the amount of maize
intake by the Grain Marketing Board has declined from an average
of 34 percent of national production in the 90’s to around
18 percent in the past five years. Given the fact that GMB by law
is the only institution allowed to purchase and redistribute maize,
this poses a national challenge of redistributing the grain from
surplus areas to deficit areas.