Azerbaijan

GIEWS Country Brief: Azerbaijan 05-June-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Unfavourable prospects for 2020 wheat crop production in some areas

  • Cereal production in 2019 set at above‑average level

  • Wheat import requirements in 2019/20 marketing year forecast slightly below average

  • In April, prices of wheat flour remained stable, while prices of potatoes surged

Unfavourable prospects for 2020 wheat crop production in some areas

Harvesting of the 2020 winter cereals, mainly wheat, planted between November and December 2019, has just started. Well below‑average precipitation amounts in the season severely affected crops in key wheat producing northwestern district of Ganja Gazakh and central district of Aran, as shown by the Agricultural Stress Index in mid‑May (see ASI map).

Planting of the 2020 spring crops, to be harvested from July, finalized in April under overall favourable weather conditions.

Cereal production in 2019 set at above‑average level

Harvesting of 2019 cereals finalized in August 2019 and the output is estimated at 3.5 million tonnes, more than 15 percent above the five‑year average. The high outturn is mainly due to favourable weather conditions during the season and well above‑average area planted with wheat, output of which is estimated at 2.2 million tonnes, about 20 percent above the average level. Barley output is also estimated well above the average.

Wheat import requirements in 2019/20 forecast slightly below average

In the 2019/20 (July/June) marketing year, total cereal import requirements are forecast at about 1.3 million tonnes, 10 percent below the average level. Wheat import requirements, which account, on average, for more than 90 percent of total cereal imports, are forecast at 1.2 million tonnes, 5 percent below the average level, due to good domestic supplies following the large outputs obtained in the last two years. Maize imports are forecast at 60 000 tonnes, well below the five‑year average.

In April, prices of wheat flour remained stable, while prices of potatoes surged

Retail prices of wheat flour have remained generally stable between January and April 2020, amid the good domestic output obtained in 2019.

Prices of potatoes, another important staple in the country, have been increasing since February 2020, in line with seasonal trends, and increased particularly in April due to strong consumer demand amid worries over the pandemic.

COVID-19 and measures adopted by the Government

In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, the Government has taken a number of measures, including the implementation temperature screening procedures at all airports; closing borders to non‑nationals; imposing lockdown, quarantine and self‑isolation measures; restricting movements within the country; closing cinemas, museums, theatres, entertainment centres, restaurants and gyms; prohibiting entrance to all boulevards and parks.

The Government allocated AZN 2.5 billion (USD 1.5 billion) to mitigate the impact of COVID‑19 over the economy. In addition, AZN 97 million (USD 57 million) were allocated to the State Agency for Compulsory Medical Insurance for the supply of necessary medical equipment.