GIEWS Country Brief: Botswana 22-March-2021

News and Press Release
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• Cereal production forecast well above-average level in 2021

• Despite large output in 2020, cereal imports grew in 2020/21

• Prices of grains and cereal products higher year on year

• Pockets of food insecurity persist in early 2021 due to effects of COVID-19

Cereal production forecast well above-average in 2021

Planting of the 2021 cereal crops, mainly sorghum and maize, concluded in January and harvesting activities are expected to start in late April. Aggregate cereal production is forecast at 66 000 tonnes, about 40 percent above the five-year average.
The favourable production outlook mainly reflects an expansion in the planted area and expectations of above-average yields owing to generally conducive rainfall between November 2020 and early March 2021.

The favourable rainfall also benefited vegetation conditions in rangelands across the country. Good pasture conditions are expected to support an upturn in livestock production in 2021.

Notwithstanding the positive effects of beneficial weather on the agricultural outlook, infestations of African Migratory Locust (AML) remain a risk to the 2021 production. In 2021, country reports indicate that AML swarms have increased between January and March in northwestern and northeastern parts where abundant rainfall have been conducive for insect breeding.
However, assessments of the actual extent of the area affected and the damage caused to crops are not yet available.