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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 13-July-2021


  1. Area sown with cereal crops expected at below‑average level in 2021

  2. Cereal import requirements forecast at low levels in 2021/22 marketing year

  3. Food insecurity likely to worsen in 2021 by effects of COVID 19 pandemic

Area sown with cereal crops expected at below‑average level in 2021

Planting of the 2021 main season paddy crop is nearing completion, supported by increased rainfall amounts since June. Abundant rains also benefitted early planted crops at development and flowering stages. Precipitation amounts in the July‑September period is forecast at average levels, boosting prospects for yields. However, there is a high likelihood of an above‑average Atlantic hurricane season between June and November 2021, which could have negative consequences on crops, if hurricanes make a landfall. Tropical storm “Elsa” passed through the country between 4 and 6 July, bringing torrential rains. Although localized losses of beans, maize and rice crops were reported, official estimates suggest that agricultural production was not severely affected. Rains brought by “Elsa” increased water levels in reservoirs to 66 percent on average, which is expected to guarantee the supply of irrigation water to paddy crops. The planted area with the main season paddy crop is expected at below‑average levels due to low availability of agricultural inputs and fuel, following the tightening of international sanctions. The area sown with the minor season paddy crop, harvested in the second quarter of 2021, was officially estimated also at a below‑average level and about 30 percent lower than the official target.

Harvesting of the 2021 main season maize crop is ongoing and production is forecast at a below‑average level. This is due to a reduction of the area sown, exacerbated by dry weather conditions in April and May that have affected late planted crops at critical flowering and grain filling stages.

Cereal import requirements forecast at low levels in 2021/22 marketing year

Cereal import requirements in the 2021/22 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 2 million tonnes, slightly below the average level mainly reflecting the decline of population since 2018. Imports of maize, which account for the largest share of imports, are forecast at 800 000 tonnes, more than 5 percent below the five‑year average. This also reflects the weak demand by the national feed industry due to a declining livestock production.

Food insecurity likely to worsen in 2021 by effects of COVID‑19 pandemic

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) of the United Nations estimates a negative Gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 8.5 percent in 2020 , reflecting the adverse effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the economy. The tourism sector was severely affected in 2020, when the number of tourists declined by 75 percent year on year , which reduced foreign exchange earnings. This also resulted in job and income losses and worsening of livelihoods. Although the GDP is forecast to increase by 3 percent in 2021, the negative impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic is likely to restrain the access to food of the most vulnerable households.

High food‑import dependency, together with elevated international food and shipping prices, are expected to reduce food availability, with negative consequences on the overall food security situation. In May 2021, the government announced that the availability of bread is expected to decline by one‑third in the capital, Havana, during the May‑July period compared to the first four months of the year.

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