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Country Briefs

  Cabo Verde

Reference Date: 27-June-2018


  1. Drought conditions and pest outbreaks resulted in failure of 2017 harvest

  2. Increased cereal import requirement forecast in 2018 to offset decline in domestic production

  3. Food assistance needs to be maintained for vulnerable households

Drought conditions and pest outbreaks resulted in failure of 2017 harvest

Harvesting of 2017 crops was completed in December 2017. The July-October 2017 rainy season was characterized by poor precipitation amounts, which resulted in prolonged drought conditions. In addition, yields were affected by pest outbreaks, including Fall Armyworm, which severely damaged the maize crops in key-producing areas of Santiago and Fogo, as well as Senegalese grasshoppers and southern green stinkbugs. As a result, the output of the main rainfed crops, including maize, groundnuts and beans, was recorded at well below-average levels, with several areas registering total crop failures.

Poor seasonal rains also prevented a full regeneration of pasture and the replenishment of ground water reserves, especially in the sub-humid, semi-arid and arid strata of the archipelago. The widespread shortage of grazing resources resulted in a deterioration of livestock body conditions, with an ensuing downward pressure on the commercial value of the animals.

Cereal import requirements increased to offset decrease in production

Arable land covers only about 10 percent of the total area and the country is highly dependent on cereal imports. Around 85 percent of the domestic cereal demand (mostly rice and wheat for human consumption) is covered by imports, averaging 80 000 tonnes per year. However, the cereal import requirements for 2018 are forecast at 92 600 tonnes, 24 percent higher than 2017 and about 15 percent above the average of the previous five years, to offset the decline in domestic maize production.

Prices of coarse grains are stable, but higher than previous year

Cereal prices in May 2018 remain generally stable compared to the previous month. However, some increases were recorded for maize of about 20 percent in Vincente and 6 percent in Santiago due to the decline in the supply on those markets. Compared to the previous year, prices are higher and reached 23 percent for maize in Vincente, 13 percent for maize and 66 percent for cassava in Santiago.

Continued assistance needed for vulnerable people

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country’s real GDP is expected to grow in 2018 by about 4 percent, similar to the previous year and the average, supported by relatively solid tourism, strong foreign direct investment from Europe and growing domestic demand. Although the food inflation remains low, it is expected to increase to an average of 1.8 percent in 2018 from 0.7 percent in 2017, driven by higher commodity prices and an appreciation of the local currency.

Despite the sharp decline in rainfed production, the food situation remains stable and favourable compared to last year. According to the Agency for the Regulation of Pharmaceuticals and Food Products (ARFA) no shortages of basic foodstuffs are expected. According to the March 2018 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 21 000 people (approximately 4 percent of the total population) were estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above between March and May 2018, compared to around 28 500 people between October and December 2017.

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