Crop failure? But Not As We Know It.

“Kenya faces crop failure in coming season, warns FAO”, proclaimed the headline in Business Daily and the piece was dutifully quoted and repeated across the world. But what did the FAO report in fact say? The relevant section of the report, dealing with Eastern Africa, bears the sub-head ‘Below average seasonal rains raise concerns’. It goes on as follows:

“In Kenya, insufficient rainfall during the initial stage of the main cropping season (March-April) is likely to have impeded crop growth, increasing the probability of yet another poor harvest. By contrast, production estimates are favourable in western maize growing regions, bordering Lake Victoria, which received near normal rainfall from March to June. Preliminary forecasts from the Ministry of Agriculture estimate maize production at 2.4 million tonnes for the long rains season, 16 percent below the average of the past five years. Harvesting is scheduled to begin in August. Kenya has imported approximately 1.1 million tonnes of white and yellow maize between November 2008 and mid-June 2009 in efforts to maintain domestic cereal supplies, following low production levels in 2008.”

So the news could be a lot better, but crisis? What crisis?

Additional Resources:

The Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) reviews the world food supply/demand, issues reports on the world food situation and provides early warnings of impending food crises in individual countries.

Monitoring and Predicting Agricultural Drought: A Global Study (Hardcover) by Boken, Cracknell and Heathcote, Oxford University Press, USA, 2005.