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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 20-May-2019


  1. Favourable moisture conditions allowed planting activities of 2019 main season crops across the country

  2. Above-average cereal production estimated in 2018

  3. Increasing maize prices following high institutional demand

  4. Strong economic growth and high food inflation

  5. Food assistance needed for vulnerable people

Sufficient cumulative rainfall since February/March favours planting activities in 2019

Following a timely onset of seasonal rains, planting of the 2019 main season maize crop was completed in April and harvesting operations are expected to start in August. Weeding activities are normally progressing in most cropped areas. Planting operations for millet, sorghum and rice, to be harvested from October, are underway.

Pastures and availability of water for livestock have improved in May compared to previous months in the main grazing areas of the north and centre of the country. The animal health situation is overall stable.

Above-average 2018 cereal crop harvested

The 2018 agricultural season (main and second cropping seasons) was characterized by timely and well-distributed rainfall. In addition, the Governmental programme “Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)” provided inputs (seeds and fertilizers) at subsidized prices and extension services to about 500 000 farmers, boosting production. As a result, the 2018 cereal output is estimated at 3.4 million tonnes, about 9 percent higher than the 2017 output and 21 percent above the five-year average.

Despite the above-average 2018 cereal production, import requirements for the 2018/19 (November/October) marketing year (mainly imported rice and wheat flour) are set at a slightly above-average level of 1.4 million tonnes. This is explained by the higher demand by traders to replenish their stocks.

Increasing maize prices following high institutional demand

Markets are generally well supplied since the beginning of 2019 due to stocks of the 2018 cropping season's harvests and good harvests in major seasons across the country. However, despite the good availabilities, prices of maize increased in April due to strong demand from traders and institutions for restocking, households for consumption and industries for animal feed production. Prices of mostly imported rice remained relatively stable in April.

Strong economic growth projected, high food inflation

According to the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), the economic growth is forecast to remain strong at about 6.5 percent in 2019, similar to 2018 due to increasing national oil production. The year on year inflation rate in 2019 is forecast to remain high at about 11 percent as a result of increasing consumer prices.

Food assistance needed for vulnerable people

Despite the overall favourable food security conditions, most vulnerable households still need external food assistance. According to the March 2019 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 42 000 people were estimated to be in need of food assistance from March to May 2019, with a significant decrease from the 99 000 food insecure people in March-May 2018. This number is expected to increase to 123 000 during the June to August 2019, if no mitigation actions are taken.

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