• Staple food commodity parity price trends (expressed in US dollars per MT) during the first quarter of 2020 were near or similar to five-year average levels.
• White maize remained the most traded commodity in the region followed by dry beans. The recent dry bean production performed well across most countries except in Uganda where heavy rains resulted in pre and post-harvest losses.
• Relative calm in South Sudan improved market functionality and extended trade routes pulling increasing supplies of staple food commodities including re-exports of wheat from Uganda.
• Livestock trade remained unseasonably stable in the first quarter (January-to-March) 2020 due to COVID-19 related reduced demand in the Middle East in preparation for the April-to-May Ramadan religious festivities.
• East Africa, as a region, is structurally surplus in terms of maize production. Planned imports of 360,000 MT of maize from international markets in 2020 will likely moderate price increases in the region, filling 48 percent of the estimated 757,000MT local import requirements.
• Prolonged COVID-19 related measures may strain the staple food commodity supply chain but also reduce demand due to increasing unemployment especially in the daily wage labor sector. Seasonal trends in staple food commodity prices will likely be elevated slightly.