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Prices of coarse grains generally declined in June

14/07/2020

Prices of coarse grains declined in June where newly harvested first season crops and easing of the COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdown measures improved domestic availabilities. Prices of maize declined in June to levels below those a year earlier in Uganda, with the start of first season harvest and in Rwanda, with the secondary “2020B” harvest. Similarly, harvesting of the 2020 main “Msimu” season cereal crops in the United Republic of Tanzania and of the “2020B” crops in Burundi put downward pressure on the prices of maize, which, however, remained higher than their values in June last year, after the sharp increases in the second half of 2019. In Somalia, prices of sorghum and maize declined in June in the capital, Mogadishu, after the significant increases in the preceding two months, as the end of the Ramadan festivities eased demand pressure and the re-opening of the roads, previously interrupted by flooding, improved internal trade flows. Some states have started the gradual loosening of lockdown measures, including easing restrictions on inter-regional movements, contributing to lower pressure on prices. Prices of sorghum were below their values in June last year on account of adequate domestic availabilities, while those of maize were higher due to the below‑average 2019 output. In South Sudan, prices of locally-produced coarse grains levelled off or declined in June in the capital, Juba, as the start of the first season harvest and the easing of movement restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic improved market availabilities. However, prices remained at exceptionally high levels, due to the difficult macro-economic situation, inadequate domestic supplies and the lingering impact of the prolonged conflict. In the Sudan, prices of sorghum and millet continued to increase steeply in June and reached record highs. The exceptionally high level of prices is due to a poor 2019 harvest and a weak currency, coupled with disruptions in market supplies amid the pandemic, fuel shortages and high prices of agricultural inputs inflating production and transportation costs. Similarly, in Ethiopia and Kenya, COVID-19 containment measures, still in place, are hampering supply chains and affecting food prices.