Ecuador

GIEWS Country Brief Ecuador 20-July-2021

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

Harvesting of main season maize crop ongoing under favourable conditions

Cereal import requirements in 2021/22 marketing year forecast at high levels

Prices of yellow maize and rice declined seasonally in second quarter of 2021

Rising concerns on food security conditions of most vulnerable households

Harvesting of main season maize crop ongoing under favourable conditions

Harvesting of the 2021 main season paddy crop has recently completed in June. Production is estimated slightly below the average, mainly reflecting reduced plantings that were driven by low prices due to ample carryover stocks.

The ongoing harvest of the main maize crop will finalize at the end of July and production is expected to be at an above‑average level. Favourable rains between March and June 2021 improved previous soil moisture deficits that slightly delayed planting operations. Yields of the already harvested crops in key producing provinces of Guayas, Manabí and Los Rios are reportedly above the average.

Planting of the minor season maize and paddy crops is underway under favourable weather conditions. Precipitation amounts are forecast at average levels in the August‑October period, which are likely to boost crop yields.

Cereal import requirements in 2021/22 marketing year forecast at high levels

Cereal import requirements, mostly wheat grain, are forecast at above‑average 1.55 million tonnes in the 2021/22 marketing year (July/June). The high import needs mainly reflect the strong domestic demand for wheat for food and feed use, especially by shrimp farming.

Prices of yellow maize and rice declined seasonally in second quarter of 2021

Prices of yellow maize declined seasonally between April and June due to the commercialization of the above‑average 2021 main season harvest. However, prices were still over 10 percent higher year on year in June 2021, following sharp gains during the first two months of 2021 driven by concerns over the impact of dryness on the main crop planting. Reduced market supplies from the below‑average production in 2020 also exerted upward pressure.

Wholesale prices of rice have followed a downward trend since mid‑2020 and, as of June 2021, they were about 15 percent lower year on year, reflecting an abundant supply in most markets.

Rising concerns on food security conditions of most vulnerable households

According to FAO’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2021 , the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the total population increased from 20.7 percent in 2014‑2016 to 32.7 percent in 2018‑2020. The worsening of food security took place amid a sharp contraction in GDP by 9 percent in 2020. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts an increase in GDP by 2 percent in 2021, and the slow economic recovery reflects the lingering effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic, including a significant decline in private investments, widespread job losses and large fiscal deficits.

Concerns arise on the food security conditions of most vulnerable households that are highly reliant on the informal economy. In order to improve the access to food, the Government delivered a subsidy of USD 120 to 480 000 households during the first semester of 2021 under the cash transfer programme Bono de protección familiar . In March 2021, the Government launched also a new programme ( Bono de alivio al desempleo ) with the aim to deliver a one-off grant of USD 500 to 550 000 people who lost their job in 2020.

Reduced economic activities amid the implementation of COVID‑19 containment measures negatively affected the food security situation of Venezuelan refugees and migrants hosted in the country. According to the survey conducted by World Food Programme (WFP) in early 2021 , about 60 percent of the Venezuelan migrants in the country are estimated to be severely and moderately food insecure.