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Reference Date: 24-February-2014

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Early prospects for the 2014 main season maize crop favourable

  2. 2013 maize production estimated at record levels

  3. Cereal imports are projected to decrease in 2013/14 marketing year

  4. Maize prices surged in January but overall at relatively low levels

Early prospects for the 2014 main season maize crop favourable

Planting of the 2014 main (winter) maize was completed in December under favourable weather conditions. Official estimates of the area planted for the 2014 main (winter) maize season, which accounts for around two-thirds of the annual production, are not yet available. However, it is expected that plantings will remain at last year’s high levels since the Government continues its maize production support programme, begun in 2012, aiming to achieve self-sufficiency in maize. Under the programme farmers are receiving technology packages consisting of improved seeds and other agricultural inputs, as well as technical assistance and a guaranteed minimum price which at planting was almost double the world price. Good precipitation in January and first half of February benefited crop establishment and development of early planted crops. The early outlook for the harvest from late June is favourable.

2013 maize production estimated at record levels

As a result of good yields and larger plantings in the main and secondary seasons, the 2013 maize output is estimated at a new record high of 1.1 million tonnes, 12 percent up from the previous year’s bumper crop. The surge in maize production is primarily driven by the Government support program for maize and the strong demand from the feed sector.

Cereal imports are projected to decrease in 2013/14 marketing year

Forecasts for cereal imports in the 2013/14 marketing year (May/April), point to a 10 percent reduction. This mainly reflects the decrease in maize imports, projected at 420 000 tonnes or 16 percent below the previous year’s level following the bumper 2013 maize production and the import regulations in place. To sustain local prices of maize, import permits are only granted to cover domestic production shortfalls. Wheat imports are anticipated to remain relatively unchanged from their historical levels.

Maize prices surged in January but still at relatively low levels

Maize prices surged in January - particularly in Quito - supported by a significant reduction in imports, coupled with sustained demand from the feed industry, and an already high minimum support price. The authorization by the Government of 120 000 tonnes of maize imports in late December is expected to contribute to lower local prices. Despite the sharp increase last month, maize prices remained unchanged relative to January 2012.

By contrast, reflecting ample supplies in the market, prices of rice, the main staple in the country, remained unchanged in January and from a year earlier.











Relevant links:
From GIEWS:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Main Food-related Policy Measures (From 1 Jan 2008 to 11 Oct 2011)
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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