Reference Date: 06-July-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable weather conditions except in northern Woleu-Ntem Province, where crops have been affected by erratic rainfall
Prices of wheat volatile and at high levels since mid-2014
Favourable weather conditions except in northern parts
Planting of cassava, the main crop grown in the country is underway. The main season maize harvest was completed in January, while that of the second crop has been completed recently.
According to satellite-based analysis, average to above-average rainfall was received by most cropping areas throughout the growing period. However, in Northern Woleu-Ntem Province, although cumulative rainfall was about 15 percent higher than the long-term average, it was very erratic thus negatively affecting yields (see map).
Average import requirement levels forecast in 2015
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, with cereal imports accounting for about 80 percent of the total consumption requirement.
In the 2015 marketing year (January/December), the cereal import requirement, mainly wheat and rice, is forecast at around 177 000 tonnes, similar to the previous year.
High and volatile wheat prices
Prices of imported wheat, the most important staple, started to increase in the capital, Libreville, since early 2014 after the removal or price control measures. Prices surged by 56 percent between January and June 2014, when they reached record levels. Subsequently, despite some declines, prices remained high and more volatile. In May 2015, at CFA 1 377 per kg, prices of wheat flour were 27 percent higher than 12 months earlier and 41 percent higher than in January 2014, when they started to increase.
By contrast, prices of rice were stable at low levels in recent months. In May 2015, at CFA 551 per kg, prices were around the same levels of 12 months earlier.
The average inflation rate, which increased from a low 0.5 percent in 2013 to 4.7 percent in 2014, mainly reflecting increasing food prices, is forecast to decline to 2.5 percent in 2015, due to lower oil prices and a reduction in Government spending.
In the last several years, rates of inflation were volatile, varying from the low levels of ‑1.4 percent and ‑1 percent in 2006 and 2007 to about 5 percent in 2008, declining to 1.3‑1.9 percent in 2009-2011, and rising again to 2.7 percent in 2012.