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Western Africa

Prices of coarse grains generally down from a year earlier

12/03/2019

In Sahelian countries, prices of coarse grains showed mixed trends in February but remained generally well below their year-earlier levels as a result the good harvests in 2018 and regular trade flows. In Burkina Faso and Mali, prices of millet were stable or declined, while prices of sorghum increased in some markets in February. Despite good supplies from the recent harvests, demand for institutional purchases and for stock rebuilding provided some upward pressure. However, prices remained generally well below their year-earlier levels. Similarly, in Niger, prices of sorghum increased in most markets in February due to the pressure of commercial and institutional demand as well as higher seasonal purchases from households with depleted stocks. However, prices of coarse grains remained below their year-earlier levels, on account of the good crop last year and imports. In Chad, prices of coarse grains followed mixed trends but were in general lower than in January last year as a result of the good domestic supplies from the 2018 harvest and currently weak institutional and household demand. However, civil conflict continued to disrupt markets in Lake and Tibesti areas. In Senegal, prices of millet were stable or declined in January and were generally below their year-earlier values as a result of good market supplies from the recent harvests and regular internal trade flows. Prices of rice (staple food) remained stable or declined following the completion of the harvest. In coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, prices of coarse grains increased or remained stable in most markets. In Ghana, prices of maize increased seasonally in February due to strong demand for restocking. Similarly, prices of mostly imported rice remained stable in January despite good availabilities, due to high demand for human consumption. In Togo and Benin, prices of maize remained broadly stable in January, with demand from warehouse operators for stock rebuilding offsetting the downward pressure from the good harvests in 2018. In Nigeria, prices of coarse grains were generally stable or declined in January reflecting the good availabilities from the 2018 above-average cereal output and were well below the high levels of a year earlier. However, the conflict in the northeast of the country continued to disturb the normal functioning of markets, the main source of food for most vulnerable households, driving up food prices and keeping them relatively higher than in the rest of the country.