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Country Briefs

  Bolivia

Reference Date: 01-February-2021

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Dry weather conditions raise concerns on yield prospects for 2021 winter crops

  2. Cereal production in 2020 estimated at near‑record level

  3. Import requirements of cereals in 2020/21 forecast at high levels

  4. Retail prices of cereals near year‑earlier values reflecting adequate supplies

  5. Concerns on food security situation of most vulnerable households amid economic downturn

Dry weather conditions raise concerns on yield prospects for 2021 winter crops

The 2021 winter season maize, wheat and rice crops are currently at flowering to grain filling stages. Rainfall deficits between October and December 2020 caused delays to planting operations and affected the early development of crops. As at the first dekad of January (see VCI map), vegetation conditions in the main producing western areas of Santa Cruz Department were significantly stressed. The weather forecast for the February‑April 2021 period indicates a high likelihood of below‑average rainfall, lowering yield expectations.

Cereal production in 2020 estimated at near‑record level

Aggregate cereal production in 2020 is estimated at a near‑record level of 3 million tonnes, slightly higher than the previous year's already high level. The bumper output is mainly the result of above‑average yields of winter maize, sorghum and wheat crops, reflecting favourable weather conditions. Production of rice is estimated to be 10 percent above the previous five‑year average due to high yields, supported by adequate rainfall amounts in the main producing departments of Santa Cruz and Beni, which more than offset a slight contraction in the planted area.

Import requirements of cereals in 2020/21 forecast at high levels

Cereal import requirements in the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 670 000 tonnes, nearly 15 percent above the five‑year average. Imports of wheat, which account for about 90 percent of the total annual imports, are estimated at 600 000 tonnes, about 20 percent above the five‑year average. The high level of imports reflects the strong domestic demand as well as the suspension of tariffs on wheat imports for a period of two years starting from April 2020.

Retail prices of cereals near year‑earlier values reflecting adequate supplies

Prices of rice were near their year‑earlier values in most markets due to the above‑average harvest in 2020. However, prices of rice increased significantly in the key producing department of Santa Cruz in the October‑December period, mainly reflecting concerns over the impact of dryness on the 2021 paddy crop.

Prices of wheat flour generally decreased seasonally during the last quarter of 2020. The increased supplies from the larger imports in the September‑November period also contributed to the decline.

Concerns on food security situation of most vulnerable households amid economic downturn

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) of the United Nations, the Gross Domestic Product growth is expected to contract by 8 percent in 2020 due to the negative effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic. The economic downturn could result in a deterioration of the food security situation of the most vulnerable households, which are highly dependent on daily wages in the informal sector. In 2020, the Government delivered cash transfers and food aid to 13 million people through new programmes such as Canasta Familiar, Bono Familia and Bono Universal , which complemented the existing social protection policy. A new cash transfer programme, Bono contra el Hambre, will deliver a one‑off grant of BOB 1 000 (approximately USD 145) per beneficiary during the first quarter of 2021.

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