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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 13-March-2019


  1. Timely onset of rains favours 2019 planting activities in south

  2. Above-average cereal production in 2018

  3. Prices of coarse grains remained overall stable

  4. Strong economic growth projected, declining food inflation

  5. Small pockets of chronic food insecurity persist

Timely onset of 2019 cropping season in south

Following a timely onset of seasonal rains in the south, planting of maize and yams is ongoing, while most of the northern parts of the country remains out of season. Harvesting operations are expected to start in August. Weeding activities are normally taking place in most cropping areas.

Above-average harvest gathered in 2018

Despite localized flooding, favourable weather conditions in 2018 resulted in an above-average cereal crop production of about 1.3 million tonnes. Production of maize, the main staple cereal, is estimated at about 900 000 tonnes, nearly 4 percent above the previous year’s level and 11 percent above the five-year average.

On average, the country imports every year about 300 000 tonnes of cereals, mostly rice for human consumption. Despite an above-average harvest, import requirements in 2019 are estimated to remain stable due to high demand for human consumption.

Stable food prices following adequate supplies

Markets are generally well supplied, supported by newly harvested crops, regular internal trade flows and imports from the international market. Prices of maize and sorghum remained stable in December 2018 on account of adequate supplies from the 2018 harvests.

Strong economic growth projected, declining food inflation

According to the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), the economic growth is forecast to remain strong at about 5.3 percent in 2019, up from 2 percent recorded in 2018 due to large public investments, improved transport networks (new roads and an expanded port and airport) and growth of agricultural output. The year-on-year inflation rate in 2019 is expected to remain low at 0.5 percent due to stable domestic prices.

Pockets of chronic food insecurity persist, mostly in north

Despite the overall favourable food security conditions, some vulnerable households still need external food assistance. According to the November 2018 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 4 000 people were estimated to be in need of food assistance from October to December 2018, with a decrease from 5 000 food insecure people in March-May 2018. This number is expected to increase to 6 000 during the June to August 2019, if no mitigation actions are taken.

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