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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 26-May-2023


  1. Maize production in 2023 expected at below‑average level

  2. Imports of cereals in 2022/23 anticipated at low levels

  3. Despite recent declines, prices of wheat flour remained well above year‑earlier levels

Maize production in 2023 expected at below‑average level

Harvesting of the 2023 main maize crop, which accounts for about 75 percent of the annual production, is ongoing. Production is anticipated to be below the average, as moisture deficits at the start of the season caused a reduction in sowings. Adverse weather conditions also affected crop yields. Excessive rainfall amounts and some cold snaps affected crops at flowering and grainfilling stages. In addition, the lack of diesel hampered harvesting operations in the key cereal producing department of Santa Cruz.

Aggregate maize production in 2023, including the drynessaffected minor season crops harvested during the third quarter of 2022, is expected to remain at belowaverage levels for the second consecutive year.

Planting operations of the 2023 main wheat crop are underway. Lack of diesel, together with saturated soils due to recent heavy rains, are expected to reduce the extent of sowings. Weather forecasts indicate aboveaverage precipitation amounts between June and August, which could exacerbate the saturation of soils and constrain yield potential.

Imports of cereals in 2022/23 anticipated at low levels

Cereal imports in the 2022/23 marketing year (July/June), mostly wheat, are anticipated at a belowaverage level of 270 000 tonnes. The low level mainly reflects carryover stocks from the aboveaverage production of wheat harvested in 2021/22, together with a shift in consumption to locally produced cereals, amid high international prices of wheat.

Despite recent declines, prices of wheat flour remained well above year‑earlier levels

Wholesale prices of yellow maize declined seasonally in April 2023 with the ongoing main harvest and were higher yearonyear, due to tight supplies from the belowaverage harvest in 2022. Prices of rice also decreased in recent months as the 2023 harvest increased market supplies. By contrast, prices of wheat flour have declined since December 2022, following the recent downward pressure in international markets. However, prices in April remained nearly 20 percent above their yearearlier levels, after the sharp increases that occurred by end2022.

In April 2023, food prices were generally higher yearonyear, with the annual food inflation rate estimated at 5.6 percent. The price increases were partially controlled through subsidies on fuel and bread prices. Prices of gasoline and diesel have been fixed at BOB 3.7/litre (equivalent to USD 0.5/litre) since 2010. Prices of a loaf of bread (pan de batalla) have been also pegged at BOB 0.5 since 2016. Considering the higher yearonyear domestic prices of wheat flour and the elevated international oil quotations, the subsidy system could be very costly, widening the country’s fiscal deficit.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

This brief was prepared using the following data/tools:
FAO/GIEWS Country Cereal Balance Sheet (CCBS)

FAO/GIEWS Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) Tool

FAO/GIEWS Earth Observations for Crop Monitoring

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC)