FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Prolonged drought in 2017 acutely affected crop production and livestock conditions
Wheat import requirements in 2017/18 forecast to sharply increase on reduced output
Prices of beef and mutton decreased seasonally in recent months
Crop production in 2017 acutely affected by severe drought
According to the joint FAO/WFP Crop and Livestock Assessment Mission report, released on 22 December, the 2017 wheat output, the country’s main staple, is estimated at 231 000 tonnes, half of the previous year’s high level and more than 40 percent lower than the average of the previous five years. The decrease is the result of a prolonged period of severe dry weather between mid-May and end-July, coupled with extreme high temperatures in June, which resulted in a considerable decrease in plantings, widespread crop losses and sharply reduced yields. Severe losses were registered in most wheat-growing areas, including the main producing provinces of Bulgan in Khangai Region and Selenge and Tuv in Central Region, which together account for more than two-thirds of the overall wheat extension. Other crops, including potatoes, barley, oats and buckwheat were also heavily damaged by the dry weather.
Cereal import requirements in 2017/18 forecast to rise sharply on reduced output
Wheat and rice are the two main imported cereals, mostly purchased from the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan. The cereal import requirement in the 2017/18 marketing year (October/September) are forecast at 261 000 tonnes, considerably above last year’s below-average level. Wheat import requirements in the 2017/18 marketing year are forecast at about 230 000 tonnes, considerably above the five-year average and considerably up from a mere 3 000 tonnes imported in 2016/17, when the national production was high. Imports of rice in 2018, which is not produced domestically, are anticipated to remain close to the previous year’s level of 25 000 tonnes.
Prolonged drought severely affected livestock conditions
Drought caused a severe deterioration of pasture conditions, which prevented livestock to gain fat and strengthen their core muscles, critical to overcome the normally harsh winter/spring months. According to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry data, as of November 2017, overall livestock body condition was 14 percent below average. Body conditions were reported to be particularly poor in Khangai and Central Regions’ provinces. Drought-reduced hay and fodder availabilities, coupled with weak livestock conditions, raise serious concerns over the impact of the winter/spring months on livestock.
Prices of beef and mutton meat decreased seasonally in recent months
Retail prices of wheat flour have remained stable in recent months, but are expected to increase in early 2018 due to the reduced availability of locally produced wheat grains.
In November 2017, prices of beef and mutton meat were lower than a year earlier due to poor livestock body conditions and the increase of distressed sales of animals in most markets. Most herders have decided to sell larger amounts of livestock, even at lower prices, prior to the further deterioration of body conditions and the high probability of increased mortality during the winter/spring months. By contrast, prices of dairy products are reportedly higher than in 2016, mainly due to reduced animal productivity due to drought.
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