West Africa Seasonal Monitor August 21, 2013
Rainfall in parts of the Saharan zone create favorable conditions for locust development
April to July rains were below average over most of the bimodal zone, resulting in critical moisture deficits for maize and a significant drop in production levels during the July harvest. While a certain percentage of crop production from this harvest will be traded northwards to the Sahel, its impact on improving market supply during the peak of the Sahelian lean season will be weaker than usual.
In many areas north of the bi-modal zone, July rainfall levels were below average. This has been a source of concern, particularly in areas that have also experienced poor temporal rainfall distribution, such as the Batha region of Chad.
Parts of the Saharan zone where locust breeding grounds are located received above average rainfall in July. While FEWS NET is still assuming normal levels of locust-related crop losses this season, these recent rains will improve vegetation levels and provide favorable conditions for locust development in these areas.