Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in southern Africa.
In the absence of consistent rains for the remainder of the season, dry conditions experienced in December to January will further diminish water supplies for domestic, agricultural and commercial use.
These conditions are likely to have far reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition and ability of farmers to produce in the 2018/19 consumption year.
Maize grain as usual was the most traded commodity in the region followed by dry beans, rice and then sorghum. See Figure 1.
Staple commodity prices especially for maize are expected to remain above last year and five year average prices despite near average harvest in the region with spatial pockets of deficit within and between countries because carryover stocks are low, tightening supplies available for trade.
- Tanzania’s ban on maize grain exports to assure the country’s food security and to encourage value addition through exports of flour, would likely move regional cross-border trade to informal channels because of porous borders, and increase the maize export prices because of additional of costs of circumventing the ban.
Maize grain was the most informally traded commodity in Eastern Africa in the first quarter of 2017 accounting for 33 percent of total trade, but volumes traded in the region were lower when compared to 2013-2016 average due to tight supplies following below average harvests across most countries.