Reference Date: 1-August-2016
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Early prospects mixed for 2016 cereal harvests
Coarse grain prices increased significantly over last few months
About 115 000 people in need of urgent assistance for food
Early crop prospects mixed due to rainfall deficits in parts of the country
Harvesting of the 2016 first maize crop is set to begin in August in southern parts of the country. According to remote sensing analysis, the onset of the cropping season was delayed and characterized by irregular precipitation, resulting in rainfall deficits in parts. Harvest prospects remain uncertain in the south in spite of increased precipitation in recent weeks.
In the north, which has only one rainy season, planting of coarse grains is expected to conclude in July. Weather conditions have been mostly favourable so far in northern regions, and coarse grains are developing satisfactorily.
Last year, cereal production declined by about 5 percent over the previous year’s harvest to 1.6 million tonnes. This level of production was about 6 percent above the average of the previous five years. Production of maize, the main staple cereal, was estimated at about 1.29 million tonnes, 5 percent below the 2014 production.
Maize prices on increase
Prices of maize, the main staple food, have showed significant increase in recent months, driven mostly by the reduced 2015 maize output and mixed prospects for the 2016 harvests. As a result, prices are significantly higher than a year earlier. Maize prices in Cotonou markets in May 2016 were 44 percent higher than in May 2015.
The number of people in need of food assistance is forecast to increase in the marketing year 2015/16, reflecting the impact of last year’s dry spells on agricultural production. About 114 998 people, located mostly in the northern part of the country, are estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above and require food assistance, compared to 51 000 in 2015, according to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis conducted in the country.