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Reference Date: 25-April-2016


  1. Uncertain prospects for 2016 main spring season crops

  2. Cereal production in 2015 declined for second consecutive year

  3. Cereal imports forecast at record high in 2015/16 marketing year

  4. Prices of cereals at high levels in April

Uncertain prospects for 2016 main spring season crops

Planting of the 2016 main spring season crops is well advanced. Prospects for the season remain uncertain as a result of prolonged dryness since the beginning of the season associated with the ongoing El Niño phenomenon. The drought conditions may negatively impact seed germination and crop emergence, despite improved rainfall in the first 20 days of April that partly alleviated early seasonal moisture deficits. Latest remote sensing data, in particular the Vegetation Health Index, points to significant areas in main producing departments of Artibonite and Centre, which together account for some 40 percent of cereal output, being affected by drought conditions. Even if the latest consensus forecast from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society of Columbia University (IRI), which gives a 76 percent probability that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) will reach neutral conditions during the May‑July period should materialize, it is likely that precipitation during the coming few weeks may be below average and follow an irregular distribution.

Cereal production in 2015 fell for second consecutive year

FAO estimates the 2015 cereal production at 279 000 tonnes, 26 percent down from the 2014 drought‑reduced level and significantly below the five‑year average. This is the result of severe and prolonged dry weather associated with the prevailing strong El Niño episode. Official estimates point to a significant reduction in the area planted to cereals, largely in the main producing regions of the Central Plateau and South-East. In the low‑producing regions of North‑West and North‑East, total losses of crops and livestock have also been reported.

Cereal imports forecast at record in 2015/16

Cereal imports in the 2015/16 marketing year are forecast at a record level of 684 000 tonnes, largely driven up by an expected significant increase in wheat and rice imports. Imports of maize are also forecast to increase, and although maize accounts for a relatively small amount of overall cereal imports, maintaining supplies in rural areas, where it is an important food staple, is critical. Attaining the necessary quantities of additional maize imports in the current marketing year will be made difficult by the drought‑reduced availability in the Dominican Republic, the country’s main supplier.

Prices of cereals and beans at high levels

Prices of imported rice, the main food staple and mostly sourced from the United States of America, remained generally stable in most markets of the country in April but increased sharply in Port au Prince and were overall above their year‑earlier levels reflecting the strong depreciation of the local currency. Prices of domestically‑produced maize meal were generally stable in April but well above a year earlier, particularly in the northern departments, due to overall tight domestic availabilities and currency depreciation. Black bean prices in April were higher than a year earlier, underpinned by tight market supplies following the drought‑reduced 2015 production.

Relevant links:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2016, 2010, 2005
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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