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Country Briefs

  Benin

Reference Date: 20-May-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Planting of cereal crops ongoing under favourable weather conditions

  2. Above-average cereal production gathered in 2018

  3. Prices of coarse grains remained overall stable

  4. Strong economic growth projected, low food inflation

  5. Pockets of food insecurity persist in the country

Planting of cereal crops ongoing under favourable weather conditions

Following a timely onset of the seasonal rains in the south, planting of the 2019 main season maize crop started in February/March and it is about to be completed. Rainfed rice, to be harvested in August, was planted in April. Weeding activities are normally progressing in most cropped areas. Planting operations for millet, sorghum and irrigated rice, to be harvested from October, are underway.

Grazing conditions and availability of water for livestock have improved in May compared to previous months in the main natural reserves of the country. The animal health situation is generally stable, apart from some localized outbreaks of seasonal diseases.

Above-average 2018 cereal crop harvested

Despite localized flooding, favourable weather conditions in 2018 resulted in an above-average cereal crop production of about 2 million tonnes. Production of maize, the main staple cereal, is estimated at about 1.4 million tonnes, nearly 3 percent above the five-year average and 11 percent below the record of the previous year. A record production has been observed for rice, 26 percent above the 2017 harvest and 73 percent above the five-year average levels.

Cereal import requirements, mostly rice and wheat for human consumption, in 2019 (October 2018/September 2019) are estimated at a high level of 500 000 tonnes, about 16 percent below the previous year and 25 percent above the average due to higher demand for human and industrial use.

Stable food prices slightly increased

Prices of maize generally strengthened in April, supported by seasonal demand for human consumption and seeds as well as by export sales to neighbouring Sahelian countries.

Strong economic growth projected, low food inflation

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the country’s real GDP is expected to remain robust in 2019 at 6.5 percent, slightly up from the estimated 6 percent in 2018. This growth is supported by strong activity in agriculture (and particularly the cotton industry), high public investment in infrastructure, growing domestic demand and high private investments. The food inflation in 2019 is expected to slightly decline from 0.8 percent in 2018 to 0.7 percent in 2019 due to the good performance of the agricultural sector. Inflation is well below the UEMOA (Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine) convergence rate of 3 percent.

Pockets of food insecurity persist in the country

Despite the overall favourable food security conditions, some vulnerable households still need external food assistance. According to the March 2019 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 32 000 people (0.27 percent of the population) are estimated to be in need of food assistance from March to May 2019, showing an increase from 8 500 food insecure people in March-May 2018. The increase is explained mainly by the impacts of floods and Fall Armyworm on cultivated areas.

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