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Prices of coarse grains continued to increase and were at high levels in the Sudan and South Sudan

12/03/2019

Prices of coarse grains followed mixed trends in February, increasing in the Sudan and South Sudan due to the depreciation of the local currencies and, in Somalia, as a result of production shortfalls, while they declined further in Kenya reflecting good market availabilities. Elsewhere, prices remained relatively stable. In the Sudan, prices of sorghum increased in most markets in February, while those of millet decreased in the key producing areas with improved supplies from the 2018 harvest. Despite an above-average harvest, the strong depreciation of the national currency as well as high production and transports cost, limited or more than offset the downward pressure on prices and kept them at record or near-record levels. In South Sudan, prices of coarse grains increased in the capital, Juba, for the second consecutive month in February, mostly due to a further depreciation of the country’s currency on the parallel market. Although down from a year earlier, prices in February were still about 40 percent above the already exceptionally high levels of 2017, mainly reflecting the impact of insecurity and currency weakness. In Uganda, prices of maize rose significantly in February to levels above those a year earlier, with seasonal patterns amplified by the impact of weather-reduced harvests in central, eastern, and southwestern cropping areas. By contrast, in Kenya, prices of maize generally continued to decline in February on account of good market availabilities and were well below their year-earlier values. Similar price movements were observed in the United Republic of Tanzania, reflecting adequate domestic supplies from the above-average 2018 main season harvests. Prices of maize were also low in Rwanda, where they weakened further in February with the 2019 A season harvest. In Ethiopia, prices of maize changed little in February but were above their year-earlier levels. In Somalia, prices of locally produced maize and sorghum increased or remained firm in most markets in January, as the ongoing deyr harvest is forecast to be well below average. However, prices remained down from a year earlier, mainly on account of the above-average 2018 main season gu harvest and sustained food assistance operations.