GIEWS Country Brief: Mongolia 14-February-2013

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

• Record 2012 wheat harvest is officially estimated

• Wheat imports are forecast to reach the lowest level on record

• Livestock numbers have almost recovered but still remain below the pre-2009 natural disaster levels

• Prices of rice and wheat flour generally stable but the inflation rates remain high

Record 2012 wheat harvest is officially estimated

Harvesting of the main season crops, mainly wheat, barley and oats, was completed in September. The total wheat production is officially estimated at a record level of 465 294 tonnes, some 7 percent above the 2011 another record output, mainly reflecting favourable weather conditions throughout the growing period from April to August 2012.

Wheat and rice are the two major cereals imported, mainly from China and the Russian Federation. The country experiences an increase in wheat production for the fifth consecutive year (since 2008) and given the record harvest in 2012, wheat import requirements are forecast to reach the lowest level at 81 000 tonnes during the 2012/13 marketing year (October/September). Rice imports are estimated to remain similar to the last year’s level of 30 000 tonnes.

Livestock numbers have almost recovered but remain below the pre-2009 natural disaster levels

The total livestock and breeding animal numbers have recovered since the Dzud in 2009/10 but are still below the pre-disaster levels. At the end of 2012, the total number of animals was 40.9 million down from 44 million at the end of 2009. Similarly, breeding stock heads are currently estimated at 13.7 million down by 1.6 million from 2009. According to some sources, lower levels of animals per hectare of land are considered to be more ecologically desirable and sustainable.

Prices of rice and wheat flour generally stable but the inflation rates remain high

According to the Central Bank of Mongolia, the consumer price index (CPI) in December 2012 reached 14 percent on yearly basis.

The price for wheat flour, the main food staple in the country, has however remained relatively stable since November 2011. Similarly, prices of rice show comparatively stable trends in recent months. Bread prices, generally subsidized in the capital city Ulaanbaatar, are more stable and below the wheat flour prices.

Prices for beef and mutton decreased since their peaks in mid-2012 and have stabilized in recent months. They remain, nonetheless, 48 and 42 percent higher, respectively, than a year earlier, due to decreased supply as result of exceptional livestock losses from the past Dzud and continued strong growth of domestic demand. Meat prices in Ulaanbaatar capital city market follow the usual seasonal lows during October-December and highs during May-July.