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Country Briefs

  Bolivia

Reference Date: 17-February-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Uncertain prospects for 2017 cereal output

  2. Locust infestation threaten crops in Santa Cruz

  3. Cereal imports in 2016/17 marketing year anticipated to increase

  4. Cereal prices stable in January, however, maize prices remained at high levels reflecting tight supply levels

Uncertain prospects for 2017 cereal output

Planting of the 2017 summer crop concluded in December. Official data on plantings are not yet available, but prospects are uncertain as precipitations were mostly below average during the September to October period, when the bulk of the planting took place. Below‑average precipitations have continued through January resulting in major areas being affected by severe dry weather, including the main department of Santa Cruz, which accounts for more than half of national output. Compounding the effects of the dry weather in early February, a severe locust infestation affected 1 000 ha in 5 of the 15 municipalities of Santa Cruz, with another 33 000 ha, or 3 percent of total available arable area in the department, under threat from a further advance of the pest. The Government has declared a state of emergency in the region and has begun to fumigate and provide farmers with access to pesticides, making immediately available USD 700 000 for this effort. FAO is assisting in this process, as well as developing a short term plan to manage the pest infestation and prevent a further expansion of the pest.

The current uncertainty for the 2017 cereal crop follows a severely reduced 2016 cereal output. The 2016 summer and winter cereal crops were impacted by prolonged dry weather and high pest infestations. FAO preliminary estimate points to a reduction in aggregate cereal output in 2016 to less than 2 million tonnes, its lowest level in more than five years.

Cereal imports in 2016/17 marketing year anticipated to increase

The latest FAO forecast for cereal import requirements in the 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) point to an increase of some 10 percent to 556 000 tonnes, reflecting this year’s reduced outputs. Most of the anticipated increase in imports reflects higher purchases of maize and wheat.

Cereal prices stable in January, however, maize prices remained at high levels reflecting tight supply levels

Prices of wheat flour eased further in January mainly as a result of imports, which eased the tight supply situation resulting from the drought‑reduced 2016 domestic crop. However, prices in the main producing region Santa Cruz remained some 9 percent above last year’s level reflecting the tight supply situation. Yellow maize prices also declined in most markets with the recently‑harvested 2016 secondary crop and imports, but remained at levels well above those a year earlier after the sharp increases in the first half of last year, due to the drought‑reduced main season harvest.