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Country Briefs

  Panama

Reference Date: 05-June-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Dry conditions reduce production prospects for 2019 minor season crops

  2. Cereal imports anticipated to remain high in 2018/19 marketing year

  3. Prices of rice stable in April, while those of maize on the rise due to concerns over dryness

Dry conditions reduce production prospects for 2019 minor season crops

Planting operations of the 2019 minor season rice and maize crops are well advanced under dry conditions. According to remote sensing analysis (see VHI map), vegetation conditions were generally poor in the south and eastern regions. With a considerable proportion (about 80 percent) of the rice crop being rainfed, development of paddy is susceptible to water stress. Further, the subsidy mechanism (USD 7.5 for every 46 kg of paddy) for rice producers is foreseen to terminate in June 2019, which may discourage plantings of the main crop, expected to start in July.

Rice production in 2018 is estimated at an above average level of 320 000 tonnes, mostly reflecting sufficient rainfall during the critical development stage of the main season, in the October-November period.

With regards to maize, dry conditions are prevailing in the key producing provinces of Los Santos and Herrera (with about 80 percent of the total annual maize output) are raising concerns over the production prospects of the current minor season output. Some farmers reported that plantings have been disrupted and crops have failed to germinate properly. The official weather forecast for the May-July period indicates a high probability of below-average precipitation in key maize producing southern regions, which could intensify soil moisture deficits for the main maize planting, expected to start in August.

Cereal imports anticipated to remain high in 2018/19 marketing year

Cereal imports in the 2018/19 marketing year (September/August) are forecast at 707 000 tonnes, 9 percent above the previous five-year average, reflecting a strong demand of yellow maize by the feed industry.

Prices of rice stable in April, while those of maize on the rise due to concerns over dryness

In April, wholesale prices of rice were similar to last year’s level for the same period, reflecting adequate imports, while prices of maize increased seasonally and were higher year on year due to concerns over the 2019 output. Prices for red beans and poroto were below their levels from a year earlier reflecting good 2018 outputs.

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