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East Africa Annual Market and Trade Update, 2020

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Situation Report
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During 2020, staple food prices generally followed normal seasonal trends except in Sudan where steep rise in prices continued throughout the year. Prices of staple cereals were most elevated in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Burundi, while they were relatively lower in Uganda and Kenya. 2020 was particularly a difficult year for market dependent households in the region, due to multiple shocks that disrupted food supply chains and impacted livelihoods. Even before the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, food prices were already very high in most markets due to a combination of macro-economic & climatic shocks and effects of localized and protracted conflicts. Despite a generally improved regional annual grain production and surplus, COVID-19 control measures disrupted domestic and cross-border trade and markets resulting in increased food prices and reduced incomes. By close of the year, maize prices were more than 50% higher than the long-term average in most markets, this was particularly true for markets across Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia & Burundi (Map1).

Context Following the COVID-19 related control measures, the regional cross-border trade reduced significantly in the second quarter, which then gradually picked up and slightly surpassed the five-year average level in the last quarter. The recovery in the last two quarters may be attributed to increased exportable regional food surplus and also traders’ adaptations to operating under COVID-19 measures.

Livestock prices across the region in 2020 have generally been higher than 2019 and the five-year average, supported by enhanced body conditions following favourable seasonal performance. This has enhanced the purchasing power of livestock keepers