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Prices of coarse grains remained stable or increased in May

10/06/2020

In Sahelian countries, prices of coarse grains remained broadly stable in May despite movement restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic or they increased on account of stronger buying linked to the Ramadan festive period. In some parts of the subregion, persisting civil conflicts continue to hamper market activities and also access to land, constraining the 2020 agricultural production prospects. In Burkina Faso, despite satisfactory domestic availabilities, prices of coarse grains generally increased in May mainly due to stronger demand for the Ramadan festive period. Market availabilities remain low in the conflict-affected areas of the Sahel and northcentral regions. Despite movement restrictions related to the COVID-19 lockdown and stronger demand due to Ramadan, prices of millet and sorghum in Mali remained broadly stable in May as a result of adequate market supplies and Government measures, including price ceilings and trade regulations. However, insecurity in the central and northern parts of the country continued to hamper market functioning. Also in Niger, despite stronger demand for Ramadan and movement restrictions linked to COVID-19, prices of coarse grains remained overall stable in May on account of good market supplies. Market access remains affected by insecurity in the Diffa, Tahoua and Tillabery regions. In Chad, prices of coarse grains generally increased in April as a result of reduced trade flows and market availabilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic containment measures and persisting civil insecurity. However, authorities allowed the reopening of the markets from 21 May 2020. In Senegal, prices of millet increased slightly in April after declining in the past few months, with domestic availabilities reported to be reduced mainly reflecting a decline in the 2019 output. In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, in Ghana, prices of maize were stable in April mostly as a result of the lifting of restriction measures related to COVID-19, which allowed the resumption of market activities and increased availabilities. In Benin, prices of maize increased in May in line with seasonal trends, while they remained stable or increased in Togo. In both countries, strong domestic demand for seeds and food amid movement restrictions, coupled with export demand from neighbouring countries, contributed to the upward trend in prices. In Nigeria, prices of locally-produced cereals rose further in April and at a steep rate, underpinned by strong buying amid movement restrictions related to COVID-19 and the Ramadan festive period. The lockdown measures worsened the situation in the northeast of the country, already affected by the prolonged conflict. Prices in April were overall well above their levels a year earlier.