Bolivia

GIEWS Country Brief: Bolivia 08-April-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Production prospects for 2020 summer cereal crops overall favourable

  • Cereal production in 2019 estimated slightly above five‑year average

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

  • Prices of yellow maize higher year on year due to reduced harvests in 2019

  • Production prospects for 2020 summer cereal crops overall favourable

Harvesting operations of the 2020 rice crop are underway and production is anticipated at a slightly above‑average level due to average plantings and good rainfall amounts during the crop development stage.

The summer season maize (main) and sorghum (minor) crops are at the maturation stage, under generally favourable conditions. According to the estimates of the main association of farmers (ANAPO in its Spanish acronym), the planted area of the main season maize crop declined for the third consecutive year. The decline mainly reflects farmers’ shift to the more remunerative soybean crop that is planted at the same time of maize. The output of the 2020 summer maize crop, to be harvested from April, is preliminarily projected at near‑average levels as the contraction in the sown area is expected to be offset by average to above‑average yields.

Planting of the 2020 winter crops (wheat, minor maize and main sorghum) is expected to take place between mid‑April and June. Weather forecasts for this period point to a higher likelihood of average to above‑average precipitations in most parts of the key producing departments Santa Cruz and Beni, which are expected to support planting operations.

Cereal production in 2019 estimated slightly above five‑year average

While the 2019 maize output is estimated at a near‑average level, production of other cereal crops (sorghum, rice and wheat) in 2019 was above average, reflecting an expansion in plantings. As a result, the aggregate 2019 cereal production is estimated at 2.9 million tonnes, slightly above the five‑year average, but about 9 percent below the previous year’s bumper level.

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

Cereal import requirements in the 2019/20 marketing year (July/June), mostly wheat, are forecast at a below‑average level of 518 000 tonnes. The low level of anticipated imports is due to the carryover stocks built after the surge of wheat imports in 2016 and the slightly above‑average production of wheat obtained in 2019.

Prices of yellow maize higher year on year due to reduced harvests in 2019

Prices of yellow maize reached record high levels in last December and January as the seasonality was exacerbated by the year‑on‑year decline in 2019 harvests. Despite a significant decline in February 2020, the average price of maize was still about 20 percent higher than its year‑earlier values.

Prices of locally produced rice have been generally stable in most markets since December 2019. Prices of wheat flour, mostly imported from Argentina, were generally stable in early 2020 and, in February 2020, they were below their year‑earlier values due to adequate import flows.

COVID-19 and measures adopted by the Government

Amidst the nationwide confinement put in place from 26 March to 15 April 2020, transportation of food and agricultural inputs, sales of food items and agricultural activities are allowed to operate normally. The State Enterprise for Support to Food Production (EMAPA by its Spanish acronym) assured the supply of staple ingredients (i.e. wheat flour to the bread industry). In order to guarantee access to food of the most vulnerable population, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to distribute BOB 400 in cash (about USD 60 at the exchange rate of 1 April 2020) and some municipalities are also distributing basic food items.