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Country Briefs

  Cabo Verde

Reference Date: 18-January-2018


  1. Late and poorly-distributed rain lead to reduced harvest

  2. Restricted production outlook to result in worsening food security situation

Late and poorly-distributed rain to lead to reduced harvest

Harvesting of the 2017 cereal and pulses crops was completed in December. The late onset of the rains delayed the start of the cropping season and irregular precipitation throughout the agricultural season was insufficient to replenish the deficit. In September 2017, typically the wettest month on the archipelago, very little rain was recorded aside from a number of areas in Santo Antão and Fogo. Virtually no rain was observed in October 2017, creating pockets of dryness across the country, which severely impeded crop development.

Pests, including Senegalese grasshoppers and southern green stinkbugs, aggravated unfavourable weather conditions. A major and widespread attack of Fall Armyworms was reported at the national level, but had a particularly severe impact in on Santiago, Fogo and Santo Antão regions. The Fall Armyworm attacks have affected maize crops in Santiago and Fogo, the two islands that together account for about 85 percent of the maize production.

Poor rainfall also impeded the production of pastures and the replenishment of groundwater reserves, especially in the sub-humid, semi-arid and arid strata of the archipelago. The widespread shortage of grazing and the poor condition of the animals have put an additional downward pressure on the sale price of animals that were already 50 percent below their average price.

The combined impact of poor weather conditions and phytosanitary situation had a catastrophic impact on the production of beans, which is forecasted at 6.5 tonnes in 2017, a considerable reduction compared to around 4 000 tonnes in the previous year. Aggregate cereal production in 2017, consisting largely of maize, is estimated at about 4 000 tonnes, 30 percent below the previous year’s level and 20 percent below the five-year average.

With a little over 10 percent of the land arable, Cabo Verde is highly dependent on cereal imports, especially of rice and wheat for human consumption, which are not grown in the country. With the limited harvest outlook, well over 80 percent of the domestic cereal demand is expected to be met through imports in the 2017/18 marketing year (November/October).

Poor production outlook to result in deteriorating food security situation

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country’s real GDP growth in 2017 is expected to reach around 4.6 percent, more than twice the previous five-year average, supported by relatively robust tourism, investment and remittance inflows from Europe. Food inflation remains very low, and decreased to 0.80 percent in October 2017, over the same month in the previous year. Despite a broad macro-economic stability, overall food availability is expected to deteriorate reflecting the poor harvest prospects. The rural families, dependent on rainfed agriculture or ruminant livestock, will be most adversely impacted. The results of the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis conducted in November 2017 indicate that about 28 500 people are estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above between October and December 2017, an increase compared to around 8 000 during the same period in the previous year.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.