El Salvador

GIEWS Country Brief: El Salvador 28-October-2019

News and Press Release
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  • Maize production in 2019 expected at near-average level

  • Cereal import requirements in 2018/19 forecast to increase

  • In October, prices of maize and beans higher than year-earlier levels

Maize production in 2019 expected at near-average level

Harvesting of the 2019 main season maize crop, which accounts for about 80 percent of the annual production, finalized in late September. The season was characterized by heavy rains that were more than 50 percent above the long-term average at the planting period in May, followed by dry weather conditions in the June-July period, which corresponds to crop development and flowering stages. The eastern region experienced some soil moisture deficits, but the impact of reduced rainfall on the main season crops is expected to have a limited impact at the national aggregate level, as maize production in the east is concentrated in the second season. Production of the 2019 main maize crop is estimated at a near-average level as the negative effects of unfavourable rain on yields have been offset by enlarged plantings, instigated by higher prices at the planting period.

Planting of the 2019 minor season maize crop has recently completed, in early October, with some delay, due to above-average rainfalls in the key producing departments of San Miguel and La Unión. Given favourable weather forecasts until early 2020 and the low probability of an El Niño phenomenon occurrence, production of the minor season maize crop, to be harvested in January, is anticipated to be slightly above the average.

The aggregate 2019 maize production is anticipated at an average level of 835 000 tonnes.
The 2019 sorghum production is anticipated at the below-average level of 100 000 tonnes as torrential rains in September and October negatively affected yields. In addition, plantings of sorghum have declined as the feed industry is shifting to imported yellow maize, lowering demand for locally-produced sorghum.

Cereal import requirements in 2019/20 forecast at above-average level

Reflecting a sustained demand for yellow maize from the poultry sector, cereal import requirements in the 2019/20 marketing year (September/August) are forecast at an above-average level of 1 million tonnes, 70 percent of which corresponds to maize. The country entirely depends on imports to cover the domestic demand of wheat for human consumption and imports in 2019/20 are anticipated to remain at an above-average level, reflecting the increasing demand.

Prices of maize and beans higher than year-earlier levels in October

Prices of white maize started declining last August, with the commercialization of the main season crops and they were 15 percent lower than last year’s high levels, strengthened by high fuel and input prices in 2018. In addition, the increase in imports during the first half of 2019 improved supplies in most markets, pressuring down the price levels. Prices of red beans were generally up in September 2019 when they increased sharply due to concerns over the adverse impact of torrential rainfalls on the output of the main season crops.