GIEWS Country Brief: Haiti 09-November-2017



  • Uncertain prospects for 2017 cereal production

  • Cereal imports forecast at high level for 2017/18 marketing year

  • Prices for main staples mixed in September and higher than a year earlier

Uncertain prospects for 2017 cereal production

Cereal output for 2017 is uncertain. An abnormal distribution of precipitation levels characterized the 2017 spring season, concluded in August, which accounts for 60 percent of the cereal output. This is the fourth consecutive spring season since 2013, where rainfall levels deviate from their long-term average. The 2017 spring season had both excess rains as well as significant dry periods. Maize production for the 2017 spring season is anticipated at 15 percent below its level from the same season a year earlier. Sorghum output during the spring season is estimated at 18 percent below its 2016 level for the season. In September, Hurricane Irma, a category five event, caused excess precipitation in the Nord, Nord-Ouest, Nord-Est departments. According to official assessments, the area affected by excess precipitation for autumn season maize and rice, which is harvested from late November, ranges between 30 and 40 percent of the area sown. FAO is supporting the Government’s efforts in providing inputs, particularly seed and fertilizers, for replanting crops in the most affected areas.

FAO anticipates that 2017 maize and sorghum output may decline by 13 and 17 percent, respectively, compared to 2016. By contrast, 2017 rice output is expected to increase by about 10 percent as the spring crop is estimated at above last year’s level and the autumn crop, impacted by Hurricane Irma, represents less than 10 percent of the annual output. If output is close to 2016’s levels for the remaining seasons, the aggregate 2017 cereal output is anticipated to reach 430 000 tonnes, about 4 percent below the 2016 levels, but still above the average of the last five years that were significantly affected by the El Niño phenomena.

Cereal imports forecast at high levels for 2017/18 marketing year

Cereal import requirements for the 2017/18 marketing year (July/June), which include both commercial imports and food aid, are anticipated at 705 000 tonnes, slightly below their record levels in the previous marketing year, but still well above average. This forecast mainly reflects the moderate declines in maize and wheat imports. Imports of rice, which represent some two-thirds of domestic utilization, are also anticipated to remain high during the marketing year.

for main staples mixed in September and higher than a year earlier

Despite the impact of Hurricane Irma, prices of maize meal in September remained relatively stable, with the notable exception of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where they increased sharply. Prices of imported rice followed a similar trend, relatively stable in most markets and sharply increasing in the capital. By contrast, prices of beans followed mixed trends, with those of red beans increasing due to a reduced spring harvest and strong demand for seeds. In general, prices for all staples remained above their year-earlier levels reflecting the reduced 2017 spring production and some uncertainties for crops to be harvested during the rest of the year.