FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable weather conditions benefited planting of secondary maize crops
Inflation rates at generally low levels (less than 3 percent) in recent years
Adequate rainfall benefited planting of 2019 secondary maize crops
The main food crops are cassava and plantains, but the country also produces also a small amount of maize. Harvesting of the 2018 main maize crop was completed in January. The main cropping season was characterized by mostly adequate and welldistributed rainfall contributing to normal crop development and performance. As a result, the 2018 output was at near average levels. Moreover, harvesting of cassava, the principal staple in the country, is currently underway.
Planting of the 2019 secondary season maize crop, for harvest in June, has concluded in February. According to satellite images, rainfall has been adequate in most areas benefitting planting operations.
Inflation at generally low levels 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 2019 marketing year (January/December), cereal import requirements, mainly wheat and rice, are forecast at about 188 000 tonnes, which is similar to the previous year and about 6 percent above average.
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 3 percent in 2017, 2.8 percent in 2018 and are forecast to fall slightly to 2.5 percent in 2019.