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Reference Date: 02-August-2016


  1. Cereal production in 2016 anticipated to recover from last year’s drought‑reduced level

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

  3. Maize prices remained stable in May, while red bean prices fell

Cereal production in 2016 anticipated to recover from last year’s drought-reduced level

Planting of the main 2016 “de primera” season, mostly maize and rice, is underway, although somewhat later than normal. With rainfall levels below average in May, most likely still an impact of the recent strong El Niño event, which is now dissipating, the Government encouraged farmers to delay plantings until the beginning of June. Generally improved rainfall in the first dekad of June favoured planting activity, with the exception of southeast regions of the country where latest remote sensing data indicates that dry conditions still linger. Preliminary information points to a normal level of sowings should the favourable conditions continue.

Official forecasts, assuming a return to generally normal weather conditions throughout the growing season, point to a strong recovery in cereal production in 2016 compared to last year’s drought‑reduced level, resting entirely on an expected increase in maize production that would offset lower sorghum and rice outputs. The decline in sorghum production is due to farmers switching back to maize following an increase in plantings of the more drought‑resistant sorghum crop in 2015. The rice output is anticipated to remain at or slightly above‑average levels. Total cereal production is forecast to reach 978 000 tonnes, close to the five‑year average.

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

Cereal imports in the 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) 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 for the 2016/17 marketing year (August/July), which are forecast at 540 000 tonnes, down 11 percent year‑on‑year.

Maize prices remained stable in May, while red bean prices declined

Wholesale prices of white maize in May remained relatively stable for the second consecutive month. Import flows, which continued to supply markets following the reduced production last year, and improved prospects for the 2016 main season cereal crops, currently being planted, contributed to the stability of prices.

Prices of red beans generally declined in May to levels that were well below a year earlier as imports and supplies from the 2015 harvests continued to keep markets well supplied.

Relevant links:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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