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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 02-August-2018


  1. Planting of 2018 cereal crops started on time under favourable weather conditions

  2. Above-average cereal production gathered in 2017

  3. Continued assistance needed for vulnerable people

Timely start of cereal planting in the country

Planting operations of the 2018 rice and coarse grains crops (maize, millet and sorghum), to be harvested from October, started on time in February-March in the southern part of the country and continued in the northern cropping areas where they are almost complete. Favourable moisture conditions are benefiting crop development in most cropping areas.

Pasture supply and quality are currently favourable, allowing animals to maintain good body conditions and enhance their market value. The animal health situation is also relatively satisfactory. No major disease outbreaks have been recorded yet.

Average harvest gathered in 2017 due to good weather conditions

The 2017 agricultural season was characterized by near-average rainfall. Despite some localized weather shocks such as prolonged dry spells or floods and some Fall Armyworm outbreaks, the national cereal production was estimated at 3.7 million tonnes, about 2 percent higher than the previous season’s output and 10 percent above the five-year average. Paddy production, which accounts for the bulk of the cereal production, is estimated at 2.2 million tonnes, similar to the previous year.

On average, about 700 000 tonnes of cereals (mostly rice and wheat) are imported every year, corresponding to about 20 percent of the domestic cereal consumption requirements. Following an above-average harvest, import requirements in 2018 are expected to decrease.

Continued assistance needed for vulnerable people

There has been a significant recovery of marketing activities (movement restrictions and limited trade flows) since the Ebola outbreak impacted the local economy in June August 2014. According to the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), the economy grew at about 8.1 percent in 2017, driven mostly by agriculture. Although it is expected to slow down at 6.4 percent in 2018, the growth will remain sustained due to public investment in infrastructure and mining, in particular bauxite and gold. In 2018, the food price inflation year-on-year is forecast at 9.5 percent, up from the 8.9 percent reported in 2017, due to higher global oil and food prices. This will continue to erode the purchasing power of the most vulnerable households.

Despite the overall favourable food security conditions, some vulnerable households still need external food assistance. According to the March 2018 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 5 000 people are estimated to be in need of food assistance from March to May 2018, with a significant decrease from 110 000 food insecure people in March-May 2017 due to the increase in the efforts by the Government and its partners to improve agricultural production. This number is expected to increase to 21 000 people during the June to August period, if no mitigation actions are taken.

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