Reference Date: 29-January-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Adequate rainfall during 2012 benefited crops
Food inflation stabilise in 2012 following policy interventions
Favourable weather conditions benefited crops
Harvesting of the main maize crop is about to be completed, while harvesting of cassava is still underway. Satellite based indexes indicate that adequate and well distributed rainfall benefited crop development in most of the producing regions during 2012.
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 a small amount 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.
Policy measures helped to contain food price rises
According to the IMF, the average inflation rate increased from 1.3 percent 2011 to 2.3 percent in 2012. 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 and 1.5 percent in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Prices of imported wheat, the main staple in the country, started to increase in January 2012, and by August were 35 percent higher and at record levels. However, prices declined by 23 percent in September and stabilised by October, at about the same level as a year earlier. Prices of rice, albeit more stable, similarly peaked in August and decreased in September. The price declines recorded in September can be partly be attributed to the policy measures (temporary reduction in the value-added tax rate, suspension of import duties, price controls on some food items) implemented in August by the Government to curb food price inflation.