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West Africa

Prices of coarse grains generally stable in the subregion

11/03/2020

In Sahelian countries, overall good market supplies from the 2019 harvests contributed to keep prices of coarse grains relatively stable in February, with the exception of the conflict-affected areas where markets are disrupted and availabilities remain limited. The closure of Nigeria’s land borders since late August 2019 continued to have a significant impact on regional marketing activities, causing upward pressure on prices in neighbouring markets. In Burkina Faso, prices of millet and sorghum remained broadly unchanged in February and down from a year earlier on account of good domestic availabilities. In Mali, prices of millet held steady, while those of sorghum mostly increased in line with historical patterns. Prices, however, remained lower than their year-earlier values. In Niger, prices of millet and sorghum increased seasonally in February, with upward pressure exacerbated by trade flow disruptions because of the closure of Nigeria’s land borders. In these countries, demand for institutional purchases and stock rebuilding provided some upward pressure on prices. In addition, while domestic availabilities are overall satisfactory, persisting high level of insecurity continued to hamper normal market functioning and affect produce availabilities in some areas. In Chad, prices of coarse grains followed mixed trends in January; despite adequate cereal availabilities at the national level, the Libyan border closure and conflict continued to disrupt market activities and support prices in several markets. In Senegal, prices of millet began to decline in January in some markets with new supplies from the recent harvest and regular internal trade flows. Prices, however, remained higher than a year earlier mainly driven by the slight decline in the 2019 output. In coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, prices of maize in February increased seasonally in Ghana with demand for institutional purchases contributing to the upward pressure. Similarly, in Togo, prices increased seasonally in February. By contrast, prices of maize decreased in Benin in most markets in February, reflecting good domestic supplies from the recent second season harvest and reduced sales to Nigerian buyers following the border closure. In Nigeria, prices of locally produced cereals generally strengthened in January reflecting stronger demand for domestic produce after the decline in imports due to the land borders closure. By contrast, prices of imported rice showed signs of decline in January, after significant increases in the past months. Insecurity continued to hamper normal trade activities and affect market availabilities in the northeast.