This year, a general failure of the BELG season, important for MEHER long cycle crop planting, has been observed. The onset of the MEHER season was also delayed to July. Despite a globally normal amount of rain for the total season, the rain distribution was quite erratic leading to dry spells in several administrative zones. The season ended quite early, end of September, and additional rains were received at harvest time, beginning of December, with potentially increasing harvest losses. Meteorological patterns are quite contrasted between the regions and between lowlands and highlands, the later having better conditions.
In conclusion, despite a positive trend, the analysis of 2009 rainfall patterns, of water satisfaction model outputs, of satellite vegetation profiles and a rapid field assessment mission, suggest a decrease of around 10 % of the national cereals production compared to 2008 bumper harvest. The decrease is clearly noticed for maize and sorghum production, less important for short cycle crops which could also benefit from an increase of planted areas due to BELG failure. The production decrease is also more important in the eastern part of the country and in the lowlands.