GIEWS Country Brief: Bolivia 07-November-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Cereal production in 2019 estimated near average, despite sharp drop year on year

  • Planting of 2020 summer cereal crops ongoing amid soil moisture deficits

  • Import requirements of cereals in 2019/20 forecast at average level

  • Prices of yellow maize higher year on year due to yearly reduction in maize outputs

Cereal production in 2019 estimated near average, despite sharp drop year on year

The aggregate 2019 cereal production is estimated at a near‑average level of 2.8 million tonnes. The production is expected to have decreased by 11 percent, year on year, from the bumper level of the previous year, when yields benefitted from good weather conditions.

The harvest of the 2019 winter crops, manly maize, sorghum and wheat, is nearing completion and outputs are expected to have declined year on year and remain near average. The decline reflects the reduced yields, mainly of maize and sorghum, due to dry weather conditions during the critical crop establishment stages. Plantings of wheat increased due to the higher producer prices set by the Government, but strong winds in August damaged standing crops and lowered yields.

Production of the 2019 summer crops, harvested in the second quarter of the year, is also estimated to have declined due to a contraction in plantings of the maize crops due to low prices and moisture deficits during the planting period.

Planting of 2020 summer cereal crops ongoing amid soil moisture deficits

Land preparation and planting operations of the 2020 summer crops, to be harvested from March next year, are underway. The key cereal producing departments of Santa Cruz and Beni are experiencing soil moisture deficits due to the below‑average rainfall amounts since September. If dry conditions continue in the remaining of 2019, as forecast by the National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology (SENAMHI), yields of summer crops are likely to be adversely affected.

Import requirements of cereals in 2019/20 forecast at average level

Cereal import requirements in the 2019/20 marketing year (July/June), mainly wheat, are forecast at a near‑average level of 558 000 tonnes. The forecast reflects the sustained demand for wheat grain and flour for human consumption and the average cereal harvest in 2019. Prices of yellow maize higher year on year due to yearly reduction in maize outputs

In 2019, prices of yellow maize declined seasonally between March and May and started to increase in June due to concerns over the impact of unfavourable weather conditions on maize output and, in September, they were well above year on year.

In the same month, prices of locally produced rice were similar to their values a year earlier, reflecting adequate supplies. Prices of wheat flour, mostly imported from Argentina, have been declining since the beginning of 2019 and, in September, were below their year‑earlier values, owing to adequate imports.