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Western Africa

Prices of coarse grains generally stable or increasing seasonally but down from a year earlier

10/05/2019

In most countries of the subregion, prices of coarse grains remained stable or began to increase in April in line with seasonal trends. However, good domestic availabilities across the subregion contributed to keep prices generally below their year-earlier levels. Atypical trends due to insecurity persisted in the Great Lake Chad Basin, the Tibesti Region of Chad, northern and central Mali as well as the Liptako-Gourma Region. In Niger and Mali, prices of sorghum and millet were stable or began to increase in April due to the seasonal tightening of supplies and stronger household demand with the approach of the lean season. However, good domestic availabilities from the 2018 harvests and imports contributed to maintain prices below their year-earlier levels. In Burkina Faso, prices of millet and sorghum remained stable or continued to decline in April and were generally well below their year-earlier levels as a result of good domestic availabilities and relatively low household demand. Similarly, in Chad, prices of coarse grains declined in several markets in March and were well below their year-earlier levels as a result of the good output in 2018. However, the civil conflict and the total closure of the borders with Libya continued to disrupt markets and lead to unusual price rises in northern Tibesti. In Senegal, prices of rice held relatively steady in March as a result of adequate market supplies and average prices of coarse grains remained stable or began to rise seasonally. In coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, prices of coarse grains generally increased, reflecting seasonal trends, with stronger demand for seeds for the 2019 cropping season. In Ghana, prices of coarse grains increased in April due to tightening supplies and increasing demand for human consumption and seeds. Similarly, in Benin, prices of maize generally strengthened in April, supported by seasonal demand for human consumption and seeds as well as by export sales to neighbouring Sahelian countries, while they remained stable in Togo in March. In Nigeria, prices of coarse grains generally strengthened in March in line with seasonal trends. Prices were well below the high levels of one and two years earlier reflecting the good level of market availabilities from the 2018 harvests, completed earlier in the year. In the northeast of the country, however, food prices were relatively higher due to the negative impact of the Boko Haram conflict on market and livelihood activities.