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Country Briefs

  Panama

Reference Date: 02-November-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Cereal production recovers in 2016

  2. Cereal imports forecast to remain high in 2016/17 marketing year (July/June)

  3. Cereal prices unchanged in October

Cereal production recovers in 2016

The harvest of the main cereal season crop concluded in October and early estimates point to a good outcome. Cereal production in 2016 is estimated at 425 000 tonnes or 9 percent above last year’s drought-reduced level and surpassing the five-year average. The recovery in cereal output mainly reflects an increase of 26 percent in maize output, which last year was significantly affected by drought caused by the 2015 El Niño phenomenon. While maize plantings remained close to the five-year average, this year’s increased precipitation benefited yields. Rice production, which accounts for more than two-thirds of cereal output, is estimated marginally higher than last year, as improved precipitations increased sowings, particularly of non-irrigated rice.

Cereal imports forecast to remain high in 2016/17 marketing year (July/June)

Cereal imports in the 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) are forecast to decline from last year’s record level and reach 527 000 tonnes, but remain above the five-year average. The decline mainly reflects an anticipated reduction in maize purchases, which constitute two-thirds of the cereal imports, as a result of this year’s recovery in production and ample carryover stocks from 2015. Wheat and rice imports are anticipated to remain close to last year’s level.

Cereal prices unchanged in October

Retail prices of rice, the country’s main staple, were unchanged in October, and almost 9 percent below their level a year earlier reflecting the entry into the market of supplies from the recent harvest. Maize prices in October were unchanged from the previous month and a year earlier, reflecting ample supplies from imports and the recent harvest. Prices of beans, a main staple, were also unchanged but were above year-earlier levels as the main season harvest will not start until the end of the year.