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Country Briefs

  Bolivia

Reference Date: 29-November-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Cereal output in 2016 estimated at sharply reduced level

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

  3. Cereal prices stable in November, but low availabilities maintained prices at high level

Cereal output in 2016 estimated at sharply reduced level

Cereal production in 2016 is estimated at a sharply reduced level, as the summer and winter cereal crops were severely affected by drought conditions 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. Although the official estimates of the losses to the agricultural sector are not yet available, early reports from producer organizations point to losses as high as USD 485 million, or 14 percent of the agricultural gross domestic product in 2015. On 21 November, the Government declared a national state of emergency as 162 000 families were affected by the drought and 607 000 hectares of crop land were impacted, including some 600 000 heads of cattle.

Planting of the 2017 summer crop is virtually concluded. 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 takes place. Latest remote sensing data still shows significant areas impacted by severe dryness during the second dekad of November, including parts of Santa Cruz, the country’s most productive province. The Government is assisting farmers by providing inputs, including seeds and fertilizers, as well as improving irrigation infrastructure such as wells.

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 November, but low availabilities maintained prices at high level

Yellow maize prices were relatively unchanged in November, but remained more than 70 percent above their year earlier levels across the main markets reflecting tight market supplies due to the drop in this year’s production. Wheat and wheat flour prices were also stable in November and relatively unchanged from a year ago as recent wheat imports are supplying the local markets. Rice prices trended slightly upwards in November as this year’s reduced output continues to sustain prices at relatively high levels.