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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 August 2005, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Good harvests for hungry W Africa
Woman with millet in Niger
The crops are looking good even in Niger
While people across vast areas of West Africa are still struggling to survive food shortages, the outlook for next year is looking significantly better.

Good rains have fallen in nine countries from Mauritania in the west to Chad in the east, and should mean enough food where now there is hunger.

The conditions for planting are good, says the latest report from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation says.

The FAO says it is providing seeds to farmers, so they can plant crops.

Even in Niger, the worst-hit country, the rain clouds have swept in leaving enough water for crops to grow.

The UN reports that almost all villages have now completed their planting.

Millet and sorghum are looking good and pastures are recovering.

Vigorous spraying with insecticide by Morocco and Algeria has also reduced the locust threat.

But until then millions will have to subsist on handouts from aid agencies.

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