Africa Report 05/96



"Normal" production:

"Normal" production of cereals is defined as that level of production which would be harvested in the current year assuming no abnormal climatic conditions and no reductions in area planted or supply of inputs caused by civil disorders or other man-made causes. A substantial deviation of current production from "normal" is one of the main signals used to indicate the need for exceptional food assistance.

Two main methods have been utilized in this report to estimate the level of "normal" production for the current year. One is based on the calculation of linear trends of production for each cereal for the previous ten years. For countries where no statistically significant trends could be established, the level of "normal" production has been established on the basis of the average for a recent period of years when growing conditions were normal.

"Normal" imports:

"Normal" imports of cereals are defined as those quantities needed to meet domestic requirements in a year of "normal" production, including both commercial imports and food aid.

For countries which are self-sufficient in domestically grown cereals in a normal year the estimate of "normal" cereal imports for those cereals not produced domestically (mainly wheat and rice) has been calculated on the basis of trends which have been fitted to historical import data for these cereals. In general these imports have grown in line with increases in urban population numbers. For other countries, an average of imports during recent "normal" production years, brought forward by applying a trend factor, has been used. If the sum of anticipated commercial imports and structural food aid in the current year falls below estimated "normal" imports because of balance of payments difficulties, the country is considered to need exceptional food assistance.


All elements of utilization for wheat and coarse grains are expressed in grain equivalent. For rice, all elements are expressed in milled form. Non-food use includes post-harvest losses, seed use, feed use, industrial use for all cereals.

"Unfavourable Crop Prospects":

Refer to prospects of a shortfall in production of current crops as a result of a reduction of the area planted and/or adverse weather conditions, plant pests, diseases and other calamities which indicate a need for close monitoring of the crops for the remainder of the growing season.

"Shortfalls in Food Supplies Requiring Exceptional External Assistance":

Refer to an exceptional shortfall in aggregate supplies or a localized deficit as a result of crop failures, natural disasters, interruption of imports, disruption of distribution, excessive post-harvest losses, other supply bottlenecks and/or an increased demand for food arising from population movements within the country or an influx of refugees. In the case of an exceptional shortfall in aggregate food supplies, exceptional and/or emergency food aid may be required to cover all or part of the deficit.

"Local and/or Exportable Surpluses Requiring External Assistance":

Refers to a situation of an exceptional surplus existing in a particular area of a country which needs to be transported to deficit areas in the same country or the neighbouring countries for which purpose external assistance is required.

"Low-income food deficit countries" (LIFDCs):

Includes all food deficit countries with per caput income below the level used by the World Bank to determine eligibility for IDA assistance (i.e. U.S.$ 1 395 in 1994), which in accordance with guidelines and criteria agreed to by the CFA should be given priority in the allocation of food aid.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this bulletin do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.