FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 4/01 - Eritrea

Harvesting of the 2001 cereal and pulse crops will start in the coming few weeks. Cumulative main season rains from June have been normal to above normal in main cereal growing areas. Output from the current agricultural season is anticipated to be better than last year's well-below-average crop. However, with a large proportion of the war displaced farming population still unable to return and large tracts of land being inaccessible due to landmines, optimal use of current favourable rains was not possible. Since April 2001, about 170 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned to their original homes in Debub and Gash-Barka regions while about 70 000 still remain in camps.
The food situation remains tight as a result of the war with Ethiopia and last year's drought. The 2000 cereal crop was sharply reduced due mainly to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of farmers from the agriculturally rich regions of Gash Barka and Debub, which account for more than 70 percent of cereal production.

Two Emergency Operations were jointly approved in April and May 2001 by FAO and WFP for food assistance to about 1.8 million people affected by war and drought, worth a total sum of US$77 million for a period of 10 months (May 2001 to February 2002). The slow response to the Government's appeal in February 2001 is a major concern with only a small fraction of the appeal of about US$224 million to assist nearly 2 million people for a period of twelve months received so far.