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Country Briefs

  El Salvador

Reference Date: 27-April-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Sowings of main 2017 cereal season expected to remain at last year’s level

  2. Cereal production in 2016 recovered from last year’s drought‑reduced level

  3. Cereal imports forecast to decline in 2016/17 marketing year (September/August)

  4. Prices of cereals and beans remained at low levels in March

Sowings of main 2017 cereal season anticipated to remain at last year’s level

Planting of the main 2017 cereal season is expected to start in mid‑May, with the beginning of the rainy season. Continued provisions of agricultural inputs by the Government and an anticipation that rainfall levels will be normal should maintain plantings at last year’s high level. However, the high probability of an El Niño event during the June-August period has added some uncertainty for 2017 cereal outputs.

Cereal production in 2016 strongly recovered from last year’s drought-reduced level

Cereal production in 2016 has been preliminarily estimated at about 1.1 million tonnes, some 27 percent above the 2015 drought‑reduced level and close to its record 2012 level. The increase in cereal output mainly reflects the recovery in rainfall levels in 2016 after two years of reduced precipitations due to the El Niño phenomena and strong support from the Government as it continued to facilitate access to main inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers. A strong recovery in maize and sorghum output, estimated at 900 000 tonnes and 141 000 tonnes, respectively, accounted for almost all of the increase in cereal production.

Cereal imports forecast to decline in 2016/17 marketing year

Cereal imports in the 2016/17 marketing year (September/August) are forecast to decline sharply from last year’s record level, reflecting the positive outlook for the 2016 cereal production. The bulk of the decline stems from lower maize imports, which are anticipated at 430 000 tonnes, down 38 percent year‑on‑year.

Prices of cereals and beans remained at low levels in March

White maize prices eased further in March, although at a slower pace than in the previous month, reflecting adequate market supplies, which kept prices more than 30 percent below their year‑earlier levels. Prices of red beans, a main staple, remained unchanged in March, but still lower than a year earlier, also as a result of imports. Rice prices continued to decline for a second month in March and from a year earlier, reflecting adequate carryover supplies from the good 2016 harvests.