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Country Briefs

  Cabo Verde

Reference Date: 06-May-2020


  1. National weather forecast points to above‑average cumulative rainfall in 2020

  2. Average maize production gathered in 2019

  3. Maize prices higher compared to post‑harvest period

  4. Food assistance needed for vulnerable households

National weather forecast points to above‑average cumulative rainfall in 2020

Seasonal dry weather conditions are prevailing in most areas of the country and planting of the 2020 maize crops is expected to begin in July with the normal onset of the rains.

In late April 2020, the Forum of the Agro‑Hydro‑Climatic Seasonal Forecast in Sudano-Sahelian Africa (PRESASS) released its forecast for the whole rainy season (June/October). Rainfall amounts are expected to be above average and to continue until October. If this forecast materializes, it will contribute to favourable agricultural production and adequate availability of pasture and water for livestock.

In most pastoral areas, seasonal rains are expected to start in July. The pastoral lean season is progressing in harsh conditions due to severe pasture deficits across the country, following erratic rainfall and a strong attack of locusts. The most affected areas include Maio, Boa Vista, Sao Vicente, Santiago Island and municipalities of Porto Novo, Ribeira Grande and Praia. The animal health situation is generally good and stable, with just some localized outbreaks of seasonal diseases, including endo and ectoparasites.

Significant decline in maize production recorded in 2019

Harvesting of the 2019 major crops, including maize and cowpeas, was completed last December. The 2019 agricultural season was characterized by a late onset of the rains (by about seven weeks) across the country and attacks by locusts and Fall Armyworm on the maize crop, the only economically significant cereal grown in the country. Maize plants were often attacked just after germination, resulting in significant losses of seedlings, leading to additional costs for farmers to purchase extra seeds. The 2019 national cereal production was estimated at about 1 000 tonnes, almost 70 percent below the average of the previous five years.

Arable land covers only about 10 percent of the total area and about 85 percent of the domestic cereal demand (mostly rice and wheat for human consumption) is covered by imports. The cereal import requirements in the 2019/20 marketing year (November/October) are forecast at an above‑average level of 87 000 tonnes as local traders are aiming to replenish their stocks.

Maize prices higher compared to post‑harvest period

Despite the significant decline in local production, markets are well stocked as a result of regular imports. Prices of maize grains in March 2020 were significantly high if compared to the post‑harvest period (October‑February), on account of the households’ strong demand.

Continued assistance needed for vulnerable people

The overall food security situation remains stable and favourable across the country. However, continued assistance is needed for the most vulnerable population. According to the March 2020 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 10 000 people were estimated to be in need of food assistance up to August 2020, with a slight decrease from the 11 000, food insecure in June‑August 2019. The main drivers of the food insecurity are the effects of dry weather events (drought) and pest attacks on cereal and fodder production. The most affected areas include Maio, Boa Vista, Sao Vicente, Santiago Island and municipalities of Porto Novo, Ribeira Grande and Praia.

COVID‑19 and measures adopted by the Government

In view of the evolving COVID‑19 situation, the Government has decreed a state of emergency extended until 14 May 2020 for Santiago and Boa Vista islands. The Government has taken some sanitary, social and economic measures.

In early April, the World Bank through the International Development Association (IDA) approved a USD 5 million grant to strengthen the preparedness of the national health system in terms of prevention, detection and response to the threat posed by the virus.

The mandatory restrictions on population movements, combined with heightened levels of fear, have led many people to remain at home. Although these measures have not affected access to food, further restrictions on population movements could hamper the access to land and have a negative impact on the 2020 agricultural production.

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