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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 31-March-2023


  1. Planting of 2023 main maize crop nearing completion

  2. Above‑average cereal import requirements forecast in 2022/23 marketing year

  3. Annual food inflation rate estimated high at 5 percent in February 2023

Planting of 2023 main maize crop nearing completion

After a delayed start due to the late onset of seasonal rains, planting of the 2023 main season yellow maize crop is still ongoing. Torrential rains in March have affected seedlings in localized areas of the central coastal region, where some replanting may be required. Overall, emerging crops show good vegetative conditions in the key producing departments of Los Ríos, Manabí and Guayas. The planted area with the main maize crop is expected to rise to an above‑average level, reflecting farmgate prices that, in February, were officially estimated to be 5 percent higher than a year earlier mainly due to the strong demand by the domestic feed industry. The year‑on‑year decline of the price of urea, the most utilized fertilizer, also supported the expansion of sowings. In addition, the government is subsidizing prices of urea by half for 27 000 smallholder farmers from March to June 2023, with the total budget of USD 9 million.

The 2023 main paddy crop is at vegetative and flowering stages and shows overall favourable conditions. Weather forecasts point to above‑average rainfall amounts in the April to June period over the major cereal producing coastal areas. If heavy rains materialize, a close monitoring of pest infestations is required.

Above‑average cereal import requirements forecast in 2022/23 marketing year

Cereal import requirements, mostly wheat grain, are forecast at an above‑average level of 1.65 million tonnes in the 2022/23 marketing year (July/June). The high import needs mainly reflect strong domestic demand for wheat for food and feed use, especially by shrimp and poultry farming. Despite recent outbreaks of avian influenza, the poultry sector is forecast to remain stable in 2023.

Annual food inflation rate estimated high at 5 percent in February 2023

Although inflation has been declining since July 2022, the annual inflation rate of food items remained high at 5.2 percent in February 2023, compared to 2.7 percent a year earlier. As an effort to contain increases in living costs, the government lowered the fixed prices of regular gasoline and diesel from USD 2.55 and USD 1.9/gallon to USD 2.45 and USD 1.8/gallon , respectively, in June 2022.

Prices of wheat flour remained unchanged during the first two months of 2023 following the stabilization of international wheat quotations. However, prices in February 2023 were well above those a year earlier, as elevated international prices exerted strong upward pressure on domestic markets. With regard to rice, wholesale prices have been stable since June 2022, reflecting adequate market supplies. Prices of yellow maize have been generally stable after declining between August and October 2022 with the harvest of the minor crop. As of February 2023, maize prices were slightly above their year‑earlier levels, reflecting the decline in the 2022 harvest.

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 Observation for Crop Monitoring .

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) .