GIEWS Country Brief: Benin 13-February-2018


  • Above-average 2017 cereal crop harvested due to favourable rainfall during cropping season

  • About 60 000 people in need of urgent assistance for food

Above-average harvest gathered in 2017

Harvesting of the 2017 second season maize crop was completed in January in the South. In the North, which has only one rainy season, harvesting of coarse grains was completed in November last year.
The 2017 cropping season was characterized by well-distributed rains in time and space in most parts of the country. However, a series of prolonged dry spells in May led to the re-sowing of crops in some areas, including Djidja, Zangnanado, Zakpota and Zogbodomey communes.

According to preliminary reports, despite some Fall Armyworm outbreaks, the 2017 aggregate cereal production is estimated at about 2 million tonnes, 14 percent above the previous year’s output and almost 23 percent above the five-year average.

Production of maize, the main staple cereal, is estimated at about 1.6 million tonnes, 18 percent above the 2016 production as well as the five-year average. Owing to favourable rainfall, natural pasture and watering conditions are currently favourable but are likely to seasonally deteriorate until the onset of the next rainy season in April.

On average, less than 400 000 tonnes of cereals (mostly rice and wheat) are imported every year, corresponding to about 25 percent of the domestic cereal consumption requirements.
Small quantities of maize (less than 200 000 tonnes) are annually exported. Small pockets of food insecurity prevail Over 70 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural activities, contributing to about one-fourth of the total GDP.

Cotton is the main export crop, contributing to over 10 percent of the GDP and over one-third of the export earnings, exposing the country to changes in world cotton prices.

In December 2017, the annual food inflation in the country reached 5 percent, down from the almost 10 percent recorded in August 2017, but well above the negative rates of the food inflation reached in the first half of 2017. Rice imports represent about one-third of the import bill, transferring changes in world prices into the domestic markets.

Small pockets of food insecurity prevail due to localized production shortfalls. According to the last analysis of the “Cadre Harmonisé” (Harmonized Framework) conducted in November 2017, about 60 000 people (less than 0.5 percent of the total population) were estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above between October and December 2017, with a substantial increase if compared to about 18 000 food insecure people between March and May 2017.