Reference Date: 28-January-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
After several years of steady growth, rice production is estimated to have dropped by 4 percent in 2014 due to Ebola Virus Disease outbreak
Cereal import requirements in 2015 are, therefore, estimated to increase slightly compared to last year's level
Prices of imported rice, which normally covers about 25 percent of country's consumption requirements, remained stable and around their levels a year earlier
Number of food insecure people estimated at about 970 000 as of December 2014, projected to increase to 1.2 million by March 2015
Ebola Virus Disease outbreak caused agricultural production to fall in affected areas
Harvesting of maize, millet and sorghum was completed in November, while harvesting operations of rice, the most important crop produced in the country, are about to conclude. The Ebola Virus Disease (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. Based on the GIEWS Disease Impact on Agriculture – Simulation (DIAS) Model and the findings of Rapid Assessments carried out in the country, the aggregate food crop production in 2014 is estimated at 3.04 million tonnes (including cassava in cereal equivalent and rice in milled terms), which is 3 percent lower than the record harvest of 2013. Of this total, milled rice production is estimated at 1.315 million tonnes, 4 percent lower than the year before and accounts for the bulk of the cereal production. Total coarse grains (maize, sorghum, millets and other small grains) and cassava, in cereal equivalent, are estimated to have declined by 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively. 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.
The border closures with neighbouring Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau have led to a decline of trade volumes of agricultural commodities between Guinea and neighbouring countries. Prices of local rice fell in several markets in recent months with increased supplies from the new harvest and were below their levels of a year earlier. Similarly, prices of imported rice, which normally covers about 25 percent of the country’s consumption requirements, remained stable and around their levels of a year earlier.
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 World Bank’s revised estimates, 2014 GDP growth fell drastically to 0.5 percent from 4.5 percent expected before the Ebola crisis, with serious impact on livelihoods, income and access to food. According to remote surveys undertaken by WFP, Ebola appears to be a shock to an already precarious situation of chronic food insecurity, particularly in the severely EVD-affected Forest Guinea. Wage rates and terms of trade are lower in this region compared to the rest of the country. About 970 000 people, are estimated to be severely food insecure as of December 2014. The impact of EVD accounts for 230 000 people. The number of food insecure is projected to increase to 1.2 million by March 2015, 470 000 of which are attributed to EVD. Almost 90 percent of the Ebola-driven food-insecure live in rural areas. Among income groups, petty traders and unskilled labourers have the highest share of food insecure people.