GIEWS Country Briefs: Gabon 23-January-2012

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  • Adequate rainfall during 2011 benefited crops
  • Moderate increase in consumer price inflation in 2011

Favourable weather conditions benefited current crops

Agriculture contributes about 8 percent to GDP, reflecting the predominance of the petroleum industry. The main food crops are cassava and plantain, and the country also produces a small amount of maize (on average, approximately 33 000 tonnes per annum).

Harvesting of the main maize crop is nearly complete. Adequate and well distributed rainfall benefited crops in most producing regions during 2011.

Moderate inflation despite high international food prices

Gabon imports the bulk of the cereal requirement through commercial channels. Cereals imports in 2011, mainly wheat and rice, are estimated to reach about 177 000 tonnes, about 80 percent of total requirement.

The country suffered from high inflation in 2007 and 2008 (when annual inflation rate reached 5 percent) because of its high dependence on imported cereals, which greatly eroded purchasing power and access to food of a large number of people in both urban and rural areas. Food prices remained mostly stable in 2009 and the first half of 2010. In spite of renewed increase in international prices in 2010 and 2011, inflationary pressure on the domestic food market was limited due to a stronger currency, subsidies and cuts in the value-added tax rate in 2011. Average annual consumer price inflation is estimated to have accelerated only marginally to 1.9 percent in 2011 compared to 2010.
In November 2011, prices of imported wheat and rice were, respectively, 6 and 4 percent below the levels of November 2010.