Conditions have so far been generally favourable for crops in most parts of the country. Despite a slow start of the season with below normal rains in southern areas until December, widespread rains in January have significantly improved conditions for crops, particularly in cereal growing areas of the centre and the south. However, agricultural activities and the food supply situation continue to be hampered by security constraints in several parts of the country. The early planted crops have reached maturity, and a near normal harvest is expected.
The food supply situation remains tight in several parts of the country, largely due to the continuing tense security situation. Food aid pledges by donors amount so far to 273 000 tonnes, of which 167 000 tonnes have been delivered so far. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is scheduled to visit the country in April/May to review the harvest outcome and estimate the cereal import and food aid requirements for 1998/99.