Reference Date: 06-February-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable weather conditions benefited crop development
Prices of wheat at low levels in the second semester of 2013
Favourable weather conditions benefited crops
Harvesting of cassava is underway, while the harvest of the main season maize crop has been recently completed.
Satellite based information and analysis indicate that crop growing conditions have been generally favourable in most regions following near average to average rainfall.
Agriculture contributes only about 8 percent to GDP, reflecting the predominance of the petroleum industry. The main food crops grown in the country are cassava and plantain, together with small amounts of maize (on average, approximately 33 000 tonnes per annum). Gabon imports the bulk of its cereal requirement through commercial channels. Cereal imports in 2013, mainly wheat and rice, are forecast to reach about 177 000 tonnes, accounting for about 80 percent of the total consumption requirement.
Prices of wheat declining in recent months
Prices of imported wheat, the most consumed staple, sharply declined between April and May 2013 (-30 percent), mainly due to the Government’s decision in May 2013 that expanded the number of food commodities subject to price control from 66 to 166, including wheat flour. Subsequently, despite some volatility, prices remained at low levels, and in December 2013 they were 27 percent below their levels of 12 month earlier.
Prices of rice, similarly, showed some variations in recent months, and in December they were around the same levels of 12 months earlier.
According to the IMF, the average inflation rate, which declined from 2.7 percent in 2012 to -1.5 percent in 2013, is forecast to increase again to 2.5 percent in 2014, due to a weakening national currency and the high share of government spending on the public sector payroll.
In the last several years, rates of inflation were highly volatile, varying from a low of -1.4 percent in 2006 to about 5 percent in 2007 and 2008, then declining to 1.9 percent in 2009, 1.5 percent in 2010 and 1.3 percent in 2011.