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Country Briefs

  Ecuador

Reference Date: 23-February-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Maize crop in 2017 anticipated to recover

  2. Cereal imports in 2016/17 marketing year unchanged from last year

  3. Prices of yellow maize sustained by tight supplies

Maize crop in 2017 is anticipated to recover

Planting of the 2017 maize crop concluded in early January. Although, official estimates of the area sown are not yet available, early prospects are good as precipitation levels have recovered from the last year’s drought and pest infestations are reported to be minimal. However, the good level of precipitation has raised concerns of fungal diseases affecting the maize crop.

Total cereal production in 2016 was significantly affected by dry weather conditions due to the El Niño, lowering plantings and high pest infestations reaching its lowest levels in the last three years. Cereal output for 2016 is estimated at 2.5 million tonnes (paddy equivalent), 23 percent below the 2015 bumper output. The decline in cereal output mainly reflects lower 2016 maize production. By contrast, strong price support and the provision of inputs by the Government helped maintain rice output at average levels.

Cereal imports in 2016/17 marketing year unchanged from last year

Cereal imports in the 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) are forecast to remain relatively unchanged from last year’s level, mainly reflecting the Government policy of the past several years to strongly support domestic agricultural production, particularly rice and maize, in its goal to achieve self‑sufficiency. However, higher maize imports are anticipated, reflecting the low availabilities in the market.

Prices of yellow maize sustained by tight supplies

Wholesale prices of yellow maize increased significantly for a third month in January, with seasonal trends exacerbated by tight supplies from a reduced 2016 output. Prices were on average some 10 percent above their year-earlier levels in the main markets. By contrast, after several months of sustained increases, producer prices decreased by 2 percent in January, however, remained slightly above their level from a year earlier. To ease current price levels and cap any further increases, Ecuador has significantly increased yellow maize imports in recent months, particularly for feed.