Reference Date: 07-August-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Early prospects for 2015 cereal production are favourable
After several years of steady growth, rice production is estimated to have dropped by 4 percent in 2014 due to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak
Cereal import requirements in 2015 are, therefore, estimated to increase slightly compared to last year's level
Number of food insecure people estimated at about 393 000 between June and August
Overall crop prospects are favourable
Planting of maize, millet and sorghum was completed in June, while planting operations of rice, the most important crop produced in the country, are about to conclude.
Data obtained from satellite images shows that the crops benefited from favourable climatic conditions in most of the regions during the sowing season and the vegetation period. Moreover, the EVD, which significantly affected farming activities last year, has been largely controlled. There was only one confirmed case of EVD reported in the week of 2 August 2015. Harvesting of rice and coarse grains will begin in October.
Last year, the EVD outbreak resulted in a serious shock to the agriculture and food sectors in 2014. The epidemic started to spread when crops were being planted and grew during the crop maintenance period and expanded rapidly during the critical harvesting period for the staple crops: rice, maize and cassava. Various farming activities, including crop maintenance (such as weeding, fencing and application of chemicals) and harvesting have been disrupted mostly through labour shortages. The aggregate food crop production in 2014 was estimated at 3.04 million tonnes (including cassava in cereal equivalent and rice in milled terms), 3 percent lower than the record harvest of 2013. Of this total, milled rice production was estimated at 1.315 million tonnes, 4 percent lower than the year before and accounts for the bulk of the cereal production. The relatively low level of impact at the national level masks the sub-national production and food security impacts. For example, impact on rice production is estimated as high as -8.5 percent in N’zérékore.
Cereal import requirements are estimated to increase in 2015
Guinea, in a normal year, relies on imports for about 20 percent of its cereal consumption requirements (mostly rice and wheat). Cereal import requirements in 2015 are estimated at 444 000 tonnes, slightly up from last year. Rice import requirements account for about 320 000 tonnes of the total. The commercial imports of rice (at 300 000 tonnes) and wheat (at 100 000 tonnes) are anticipated to remain at the level of 2013. The uncovered gap is estimated at about 44 000 tonnes for which additional resources and international assistance is required. The significant impact of Ebola on export earnings is expected to have compromised the country’s ability to import more.
All neighbouring countries have reopened their borders with Guinea, which led to a significant increase in trade flows. Last year, the border closures with neighbouring Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau had negatively impacted on cross-border trade of agricultural commodities. Prices of local and imported rice remained mostly stable in recent months.
Food security severely affected by the EVD outbreak
Beyond its impact on the agriculture and food sector, the EVD has seriously affected all other sectors of the economy. According to the Economic Intelligence Unit estimates, 2014 GDP growth fell drastically to 1.1 percent from 4.5 percent expected before the Ebola crisis. National output is forecast to contract by 1.5 percent in 2015, with serious impacts on livelihoods, income and access to food. Overall, according to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 393 000 people are currently estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above and are in need of urgent assistance across the country. Boke, Faranah, Kankan, Kindia, Labe and Nzerekore are most affected by the effects of EVD. More than half of all food insecure people are in Labe and Nzerekore.