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Harvest Prospects In West Africa Improve Greatly

Harvest prospects improve significantly in parts of West Africa after August rains - UN

Harvest prospects have improved significantly in parts of Africa's Sahel region bordering the Sahara with good rains falling in August after below-normal levels in June and July, according to an update issued today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

August rainfall over the main producing areas reconstituted soil water reserves, providing relief to stressed crops and improving crop prospects in most countries.

But heavy rains and floods caused considerable human casualties and damage to crops in several countries, notably Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

In the areas affected by earlier dry conditions, yield potential will be reduced and late plantings or replanting will need rains late in the season to cover their entire growing cycle. Cape Verde is the only country where persistent dry conditions continued to be experienced in most producing areas through late August.

From West to East, crop prospects are unfavourable in Cape Verde due to delayed rains. In Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania satellite imagery indicates that increased precipitation in August benefited crops and pastures but good rains need to continue through October to allow them to reach full maturity.

In Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger harvest prospects improved significantly after the scant rains of June. Satellite imagery for early September indicates that good rains continued to fall over most of the Sahel region.

The food supply remains generally satisfactory in most parts of the sub-region, but thousands of people have been made homeless by the floods and are in urgent need of food and non-food aid.


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