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Sahel Report , No. 3, September 2007









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    SAHEL WEATHER AND CROP SITUATION - September 1998 1998
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    Following widespread rains in July over most producing areas of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, precipitation was generally regular and well distributed in August, although decreasing during the last dekad of the month, notably in Burkina Faso and western Niger. Precipitation remained also regular over Senegal and The Gambia, thus improving growing conditions following late and reduced rains in July. In Mauritania, decreased rains in late August have been compensated by improved and widespre ad rains in early September. In Cape Verde, good rains were registered on the main islands in mid or late August. In Guinea-Bissau, satellite imagery indicates that abundant and widespread rains covered the entire country in August and early September. The impact, however, of civil strife on farming activities remains unclear. The latest Meteosat satellite image for the first dekad of September indicates that clouds remained present over most producing areas of the Sahel. Precipitation should ha ve decreased in southern Mali and eastern Chad but should have been widespread or even have increased in northern areas of Senegal, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger. Reflecting generally good rainfall since late July, crops are developing satisfactorily in most producing areas of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad. Crop prospects improved in Senegal and The Gambia but rains need to last until October to cover the crop growing cycle, following the late start of the rainy season a nd subsequent reduced rains.
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    SAHEL WEATHER AND CROP SITUATION - September 1999 1999
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    Following generally above normal rains in July over most agricultural zones, growing conditions remained favourable in August in the Sahelian countries. During the three dekads of August, rainfall was generally above normal and cumulative rainfall in August exceeds 100 mm everywhere in the main producing zones of the Sahel and in most cases in northern desert areas (see map on page 4). Unusually heavy rains were registered in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal, causi ng substantial flooding. These abundant rains benefited crop and pasture development particularly in Mauritania, northern Senegal and Mali, although excess water may reduce yield potential in flooded fields in low-lying areas. Crop prospects are generally favourable. However, the outcome for long cycle varieties in the Sudanian zones (Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad) will depend on the continuation of the rains in September. Pastures are abundant in the region. Satellite imagery for the first days of September indicates that precipitation decreased somewhat over the Sahel but remained widespread and still above average over most parts of Burkina Faso and Chad. Pest infestations (mostly grasshoppers and army worms) are reported in Cape Verde, Niger and Senegal, and treatments have been undertaken in some areas. Stemborers caused damage on millet in northern Burkina Faso. Although no Desert Locusts have been reported from any country in the region, small-scale breeding may occur. No si gnificant developments are expected.
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    SAHEL WEATHER AND CROP SITUATION - October 1998 1998
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    The rainy season is nearing its end after abundant rainfall in September. Following decreased rains in late August, precipitation was generally widespread and above normal over most producing areas of the Sahel during the first dekad of September. Torrential rains were again registered in several areas of Niger where they caused flooding. Rains remained abundant during the second dekad, except in southern Mauritania, but they decreased significantly during the last dekad. Rains became abundant o n southern islands of Cape Verde in mid to late September. Rainfall was particularly abundant in Guinea-Bissau. The latest Meteosat satellite image for the first few days of October indicates that cloud cover is clearly moving southwards, marking the end of the rainy season in most northern areas. Reflecting good rainfall, crop prospects are generally favourable in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and in Chad except in the Sudanian zone affected by extensive flooding. In The Gambia and Senegal, c rop prospects improved following regular rains since August but in northern Senegal additional rains are needed in October as the rainy season started late this year. In Mauritania, growing conditions were mostly favourable for rainfed crops in September. Crop prospects have improved in Cape Verde following increased rains in September. They are uncertain in Guinea-Bissau as the impact of civil disturbances on plantings and other agricultural activities is not clear. Joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessm ent Missions are scheduled from mid-October to estimate with national services the 1998 cereal production. FAO's tentative assessment of yield forecast for cereals in the Sahelian countries is shown in Annex I.

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