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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 06-October-2020


  1. Total cereal output forecast above‑average in 2020 amid bumper maize production

  2. Bumper cereal exports forecast in 2020/21

  3. Export and wholesale prices of wheat increased in September

  4. About 3.2 million people estimated in need of humanitarian assistance as of October 2020

Total cereal output forecast above‑average in 2020 amid bumper maize production

The total 2020 cereal output (winter and spring crops), including maize crops to be harvested until mid‑November, is forecast at 71.5 million tonnes, 8 percent above the five‑year average. Wheat and barley outputs are estimated at 26.5 and 8.2 million tonnes, respectively, near the average levels. Although drier and warmer‑than‑average weather conditions in August and September likely affected maize yields, the 2020 output is expected at a well above‑average level of 35 million tonnes due to record high plantings.

Planting of the 2021 winter crops is ongoing under drier‑than‑average weather conditions and it is expected to finalize by end‑October. The area sown with winter wheat, the major winter crop, is officially planned at 6.1 million hectares, below the previous year’s level and the five‑year average due to unfavourable soil moisture levels in most croplands, amid scarce rains in August and September (see satellite images on soil moisture).

Bumper cereal exports forecast in 2020/21

Total cereal exports in the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at about 50 million tonnes, 8 percent above the five‑year average and the second highest level on record after the all‑time high volume exported in 2019/20. Maize exports are forecast at 28 million tonnes, 20 percent above average on account of the large domestic outputs obtained in 2019 and expected in 2020. Wheat exports, by contrast, are contained at a slightly below‑average level by a Government directive established on 17 August 2020. The directive sets the maximum quantities of wheat and rye shipments at 17.5 million tonnes and 1 000 tonnes, respectively, for the 2020/21 marketing year. On 23 September, the maximum quantity of rye exports was raised to 16 000 tonnes. These measures aim to ensure adequate domestic availabilities and preserve food security in the context of the ongoing COVID‑19 pandemic.

Export and wholesale prices of wheat increased in September

Export prices of milling quality wheat, after decreasing sharply in June 2020 with the start of the winter harvest and mirroring trends in the international market, declined slightly in the following two months and rose sharply in September. The recent increase is mainly due to strong demand for wheat from importing countries and regional concerns regarding the 2021 winter wheat planting campaign due to dry weather. In September 2020, export prices where about 20 percent above those a year before mainly due to the reduced domestic wheat output obtained in 2020 compared to a year earlier.

In the domestic market, wholesale prices of milling wheat remained overall stable or decreased slightly between May and August and increased sharply in September.

About 3.2 million people estimated in need of humanitarian assistance as of October 2020

The civil conflict, which began in the spring of 2014 in the eastern part of the country, has severely impacted the overall food security situation in the conflict‑affected areas and caused the displacement of about 1.4 million people. In addition, the measures adopted to contain the spread of COVID‑19 had strong socio‑economic impacts particularly on the most vulnerable people.

According to OCHA, as of October 2020, about 3.2 million people, nearly 8 percent of the total population, are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. About 1.62 million people in need reside in the non‑Government controlled area (NGCA), while 1.53 million live in the Government controlled area (GCA), including 340 000 IDPs.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.