- After two years of drought and poor harvests, causing increased malnutrition, Cape Verde in the 2003-04 agricultural season finally has had a close to average production of cereals. The current harvest however is far from a record year and only presents a temporary relief in food security.
According to the newest data presented in a preliminary report presented by the UN agricultural agency FAO and the Inter-State Council for the Mitigation of Drought and Desertification in the Sahel (CILLS), some 15,810 tons of cereals were produced in Cape Verde in the 2003-04 agricultural season.
This, according to FAO and CILLS, represents a 79 percent increase from last year's poor production. Compared to the very poor cereals production two years ago - set by FAO at only 5,067 tons - this year's harvest even represents a growth of 212 percent.
According to FAO and CILLS, this year's harvest in Cape Verde is "satisfactory" but represents less than half of the potential cereal harvest on the archipelago, when weather conditions are perfect.
Cape Verde, a semiarid archipelago firmly placed in Sahelian climate zone, is prone to experience very strong fluctuations in rainfall and therefore bio-production from year to year. As irrigation is not widespread and natural water stocks are small on the islands, this naturally leads to great fluctuations in agricultural output.
According to the statistical database of FAO, the total production of cereals in Cape Verde has fluctuated by several hundred percents only during the last decade. The last "super harvest" experienced in Cape Verde was in 1999, with a production of over 36,000 tons. For comparison, the two previous years had both seen cereal harvests of less than 5,000 tons.
The preliminary harvest results for this agricultural year further show that the Island of Santiago, where the capital Praia is located, had experienced a relatively good season and remains the main cereal producer of the archipelago. Cereal production on Santiago was at 11,967 tons during the 2003/04 season, representing a 170 percent increase from last year.
Also the harvest on the small Island of Brava, set at 266 tons, was considered "acceptable" by FAO and CILLS and harvests on Fogo were moderate. On the larger islands of São Nicolau and Santo Antão, on the other hand, harvest had been very poor also this year. These two islands belong to the northern, driest part of the archipelago.
Specialists on various occasions have highlighted the need for Cape Verde's agriculture to invest in improved irrigation and horticulture to enhance food security. On average, Cape Verde produces only 10 percent of its own food requirements but many Cape Verdean families depend on agricultural production for their livelihood.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.