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Reference Date: 17-December-2015


  1. Low prices and adverse weather conditions negatively affect plantings of 2016 maize crop

  2. Cereal production in 2015 to recover from last year’s reduced level

  3. Lower year-on-year cereal imports in 2015/16 marketing year (April/March)

  4. Wheat and maize prices stable in November and lower compared to a year earlier

Plantings of 2016 maize crop anticipated to decline

Planting of the maize crop for harvest in 2016 is ongoing and preliminary official forecasts point to a sharp decline in area, as a result of low prices prevailing in the international market and increased production costs, mainly due to a weaker national currency. Furthermore, planting delays due to adverse weather conditions in key-growing areas may negatively impact yields in the affected parts.

Cereal production in 2015 to recover from last year’s reduced level

Harvesting of the 2015 wheat crop is currently underway and production is forecast at nearly 1.5 million tonnes, 9 percent up from last year’s reduced level. This reflects a recovery in yields from the weather-reduced levels of last year coupled with an expansion in the area planted, as a result of favourable weather conditions at planting time and reflecting a shift to wheat from alternative crops, such as barley and oats. The 2015 maize crop, harvested earlier in the year, is estimated at a record level of more than 1.5 million tonnes. The bumper output is attributed to an increase in the area planted due to attractive prices at sowing time and well above-average yields. Overall, cereal production in 2015 is anticipated at a bumper level of nearly 3.9 million tonnes.

Lower year-on-year cereal imports in 2015/16 marketing year (April/March)

The country imports significant volumes of yellow maize for animal feed and of wheat to meet growing domestic demand from the milling industry. Following the good cereal output in 2015, total cereal imports in the 2015/16 marketing year (April/March) are forecast at around 2.7 million tonnes, 8 percent below the high level of 2014, but still above average, also due to an expected increase in rice purchases despite the good paddy crop gathered this year.

Wheat and maize prices relatively stable in November and lower than a year earlier

Maize prices remained virtually unchanged in November compared to October, after sustained increases in the previous months, mainly as a result of the depreciation of the local currency. Wheat prices declined slightly in November and were lower than a year earlier, reflecting increased supplies from the 2015 harvest. Overall, the general year-on-year inflation rate fell to 3.9 percent in November, dipping below 4 percent for the first time in 19 months, with zero monthly variation, the first time that the Price Index has not risen since December 2014.

Relevant links:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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