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Country Briefs

  Gabon

Reference Date: 23-November-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Main maize crop affected by early season dryness in parts

  2. Cereal prices increasing in September

Main maize crop affected by early season dryness in parts

Harvesting of cassava, the principal staple in the country, is currently underway. Planting of the main season maize crop, for harvest in early 2017, is normally completed in October, but has been delayed in western and central parts by a late onset of seasonal rains. Precipitation amounts and distribution in the coming weeks will be crucial for crop development and performance.

The secondary season maize crop was harvested late in July and output was below average. Crops were affected by an unfavourable rainy season that started with prolonged dry weather conditions in January/February, which delayed plantings, continued with above average amounts in March/April and had an early cessation in May.

Average import requirement levels forecast in 2016

Agriculture contributes only about 8 percent to the GDP, reflecting the predominance of the petroleum industry and the country imports the bulk of its cereal requirement through commercial channels, with cereal imports accounting for about 90 percent of the total consumption requirement.

In the 2016 marketing year (January/December), the cereal import requirement, mainly wheat and rice, is forecast at around 177 000 tonnes, similar to the previous year.

Cereal prices increasing in September

Prices of imported wheat, the most important staple for urban consumers, recorded a marked volatility in 2015 and 2016 in the capital Libreville. Wheat prices, after having peaked in June, sharply declined by about 22 percent in July, leveling off in August and subsequently increasing by about 4 percent in September, when, at CFA francs 1 066 per kg, they were 10 percent lower than 12 months earlier. Prices of imported rice, stable in recent months, also rose in September, increasing by about 9 percent, and at CFA francs 575, they were 15 percent higher than one year earlier.

The average annual inflation rate, which declined from 4.5 percent in 2014 to 0.1 percent in 2015, driven by lower oil prices and a reduction in Government expenditure, has increased to 2.5 percent in 2016. In the last several years, the rates of inflation were quite volatile, declining from 5.3 percent in 2008 to 1.9 percent in 2009, to 1.5 percent in 2010 and to 1.3 percent in 2011, rising to 2.7 percent in 2012 and declining again to 0.5 percent in 2013.