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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 12-March-2014


  1. Rice production in 2013 decreased for the second consecutive year

  2. Cereal imports forecast to increase in 2013/14 marketing year (July/June)

  3. Cereal were at high levels in February

Rice production in 2013 decreased for a second consecutive year

Harvesting of the 2013 rice crop was completed in October and production is estimated 7 percent lower than last year and well below the five year average at 230 000 tonnes. The decline is mainly a result of a decrease in plantings from the already reduced level of 2012 due to increased production costs and credit constraints. In the main producing province of Chiriquí, the reduction in this year’s output also reflects lower yields following the mite outbreak, which according to official reports has affected 30 percent of the area planted to rice as the spread of the plague was facilitated by excessive humidity in the soil. In response to the situation, the Government provided subsidies to rice growers to increase their area planted for the smaller second season crop (August/January) which is currently is being harvested.

Cereal imports forecast to increase in 2013/14 marketing year (July/June)

Cereal imports in 2013/14 marketing year (July/June) are forecast to increase by 3 percent from last year’s already high level and reach 610 000 tonnes. The increase reflects larger rice imports from the United States and Brazil, expected to grow by almost 9 percent and reach 98 000 tonnes, due lower domestic availabilities. Wheat and maize imports are also anticipated slightly up from 2012 in order to satisfy human consumption and the steady demand for animal feed.

Cereal prices at high levels in February

Retail prices of rice, the country’s main staple, increased slightly in February and were 9 percent higher than a year earlier, reflecting two consecutive years of reduced production. Red bean prices remained stable but 5 percent above their year‑earlier levels, supported by a reduced subregional output. Maize prices were also unchanged but at the same levels of February 2013.