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Country Briefs

  Ecuador

Reference Date: 10-March-2021

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Unfavourable weather forecasts raise concerns on yields of 2021 main season crops

  2. Production of 2020 cereal estimated slightly below average

  3. Cereal import requirements in 2020/21 marketing year anticipated at average levels

  4. Prices of yellow maize soared in January and were higher year on year

  5. Food security conditions of vulnerable households expected to deteriorate

Unfavourable weather forecasts raise concerns on yields of 2021 main season crops

Following a delayed start and slightly below‑average rainfall amounts in early January, planting of the 2021 main season maize and paddy crops is nearing completion. The planted area with the main season maize crop is expected to increase from the low level recorded in 2020 due to the high prices of the grain during the planting period. By contrast, plantings of the main season paddy crop are anticipated at below‑average levels mainly reflecting the low prices of rice. The weather outlook for the March‑May 2021 period points to below‑average rainfall amounts in key growing coastal areas which could adversely affect yields of the crops at critical flowering and grain filling stages.

Production of 2020 cereal estimated slightly below average

Aggregate cereal production in 2020 is estimated at 2.5 million tonnes, higher than the low output in 2019 but slightly below the previous five‑year average. Production of maize in 2020 is estimated at an average level of 1.45 million tonnes as the contraction in planted area was nearly offset by above‑average yields. Production of paddy in 2020 is estimated at 1.1 million tonnes, with a significant recovery from the reduced level in 2019 driven by an expansion in planted area. However, the output remains below the average due to dry weather conditions during the first quarter of 2020 that reduced yields of the main winter season crop.

Cereal import requirements in 2020/21 marketing year anticipated at average levels

Cereal import requirements, mostly wheat grain, are forecast at a near‑average level of 1.3 million tonnes in the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June), a 13 percent yearly decrease mainly reflecting large carryover stocks from the 2019 record imports.

Prices of yellow maize soared in January and were higher year on year

Wholesale prices of yellow maize surged in January 2021, with seasonal trends exacerbated by concerns on the effects of dry weather conditions on the main season maize crop. Prices were, on average, about 10 percent above their year‑earlier levels in the main markets. By contrast, wholesale prices of rice weakened in January 2021 and were on average 7 percent below their levels a year ago as markets were well supplied following the commercialization of the 2020 minor season output harvested during the last quarter of 2020.

Food security conditions of vulnerable households expected to deteriorate

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) of the United Nations estimates a negative Gross Domestic Product growth of 9 percent in 2020, higher than the average of Latin America (7.7 percent). This reflects the adverse effects of the COVID19 pandemic on the economy, exacerbated by a decline in oil revenue in 2020. The economic downturn is likely to result in worsening food insecurity conditions of the most vulnerable households. In order to improve the access to food in 2021, the Government has extended the Bono de protección familiar, which delivers a oneoff grant of USD 120 to the 480 000 households during the first months of 2021.

The reduced economic activity and the implementation of COVID‑19 containment measures negatively affected the food security conditions of refugees and migrants from neighbouring countries. As of February 2021, an estimated 415 000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants were living in the country. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), more than 70 percent of the Venezuelan migrants in the country are estimated to be severely and moderately food insecure.

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