GIEWS Country Brief: Gabon 17-January-2018

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  • Average to above-average 2017 crop production expected due to favourable weather conditions

  • Inflation rates at generally low levels (less than 3 percent) in recent months

Favourable weather conditions benefited crops

The main food crops are cassava and plantain, but the country also produces a small amount of maize. Harvesting of the 2017 main maize crop will be completed in end-January, while that of cassava, the principal staple in the country, will be completed at the end of March. According to satellite images, the main cropping season was characterized by mostly adequate and well-distributed rainfall contributing to a normal crop development and performance. Planting of the 2018 secondary season maize crop, for harvest in June-July, is underway under generally favourable conditions.

Inflation stable in recent years

Agriculture contributes to only about 8 percent of the GDP reflecting the predominance of the petroleum industry, and the country imports the bulk of its cereal requirements through commercial channels, with cereal imports accounting for about 90 percent of the total consumption requirement. In the 2018 marketing year (January/December), cereal import requirements, mainly wheat and rice, are forecast at about 188 000 tonnes, showing a 6 percent increase from the previous year.

In recent years, the rates of inflation have been at generally low levels (less than 3 percent) due to Government subsidies on many basic goods (including food staples) and the relatively strong local currency which exerts downward pressure on prices of imported goods. According to the International Monetary Fund, the average inflation rates were about 2 percent in 2016, 2.5 percent in 2017, and are forecast to remain at 2.5 in 2018.

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