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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 07-October-2022


  1. Acute food insecurity in October 2022‑February 2023 period projected to worsen compared to previous year

  2. Prices of staple food items well above year‑earlier levels in September

  3. Production prospects for 2022 maize crops generally favourable

  4. Cereal import requirements forecast at high levels in 2022/23 marketing year

Acute food in security in October 2022‑February 2023 period projected to worsen compared to previous year

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, the population facing acute food insecurity (classified under IPC Phase 3 [Crisis] or above) is projected at 3.2 million people during the October 2022‑February 2023 period, up from the 2.5 million people in the September 2021‑Janaury 2022 period. The year‑on‑year deterioration is mainly due to high prices of food, transportation and agricultural inputs that are diminishing the purchasing power of the most vulnerable households and limiting their access to food. Food prices are at elevated levels, with the annual food inflation rate estimated at 13.3 percent in August 2022.

However, as the October 2022‑February 2023 period coincides with the harvest of the main maize crop, food stocks are expected to increase from the low level of the previous lean season. As of early September 2022, it was reported that reserves of white maize and black beans held by households for their own consumption were overall lower than the same period in 2021 and 2020 in eastern and western regions. In addition, harvesting operations of cash crops, such as coffee, cardamom and sugarcane, also take place during the last quarter of the year. This will generate income opportunities for agricultural labourers that rely on daily wages, improving their livelihoods.

Prices of staple food items well above year‑earlier levels in September

Wholesale prices of white maize weakened in August and September as the new harvest increased market supplies. However, prices in September were more than 40 percent higher year on year and at near‑record levels, following sustained increases since November 2021 due to the elevated costs of agricultural inputs and fuel.

High production and transportation costs also exerted upward pressure on prices of black beans throughout 2022, which were 25 percent above their year‑earlier levels in September. Prices are expected to ease in the coming months as the harvest of the main season bean crops starts in November.

Prices of rice have been generally on the rise in 2022, reflecting increasing international prices in the United States of America, the country’s main rice supplier. In September, rice prices were nearly 25 percent above their values a year earlier.

The domestic supply of wheat relies mainly on imports from the United States of America and Canada, plus some volumes from Mexico. High international wheat quotations contributed to rising domestic prices of wheat flour, which were 45 percent higher year on year in September. As the country imports mostly wheat grain and produces wheat flour, elevated processing and transportation costs provided additional upward pressure on prices of wheat flour.

Production prospects for 2022 maize crops generally favourable

Harvesting of the 2022 main season maize crops is ongoing, with favourable recent dry weather conditions aiding operations especially in the key producing northern region. Although an official production forecast is not yet available, the National Association of Basic Grains estimates the main maize output at an above‑average level. This is mainly due to an expansion of sowings, driven by high prices at planting time, which more than offset the negative effects of the elevated input costs. Weather conditions have been generally conducive and contributed to average yields.

Sowing operations of the 2022 minor season maize crops will take place after the completion of the main crop harvest. Weather forecasts point to average rainfall amounts in the October‑December period, boosting yield expectations for the minor crop. However, as the Atlantic hurricane season will last until the end of November, there is still risk that torrential rains and strong winds could negatively affect crops.

The country relies on imports to meet its domestic fertilizer requirements and, during the 2017‑2021 period, two‑thirds of fertilizers imports originated from China (mainland), the Russian Federation and Belarus. Imports of fertilizers during the first seven months of 2022 declined by nearly 15 percent compared to the previous three‑year average. The decline in imports as well as the high international prices of fertilizers have constrained domestic market availabilities and access.

Cereal import requirements expected at high levels in 2022/23 marketing year

Cereal import requirements in the 2022/23 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at an above‑average level of 2.28 million tonnes. Cereal import requirements have been increasing steadily over the last decade due to the strong demand for yellow maize by the feed industry, combined with the sustained demand of wheat‑based food products in line with an increasing population.

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