Panama

GIEWS Country Brief: Panama 19-October-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

Paddy production in 2020 forecast at slightly above‑average level

Cereal import requirements anticipated at high levels in 2020/21 marketing year

Prices of beans stable in September and higher year on year

Paddy production in 2020 forecast at slightly above‑average level

Harvesting of the 2020 predominantly rainfed minor season paddy crop is nearing completion. Production is expected at an average level due to favourable rainfall during the second quarter of 2020 that bolstered crop yields.

Harvesting of the 2020 main season paddy crop will start in November and production prospects are favourable mainly reflecting above‑average plantings, instigated by agricultural credits provided to farmers. The Government provided USD 2.5 million of zero credit loans during the July‑September period in order to boost production of rice, maize and beans in the major producing provinces of Los Santos, Coclé and Chiriquí. According to satellite imagery, crop conditions are reportedly near average.

Cereal import requirements anticipated at high levels in 2020/21 marketing year

Cereal import requirements in the 2020/21 marketing year (September/August) are anticipated at an above‑average level of 820 000 tonnes due to the sustained demand of maize by the domestic feed industry. Maize imports account for about 70 percent of the total import requirements. In July 2020, the Government suspended tariffs on imports of yellow maize in order to lower production costs of poultry and porcine industries.

Prices of beans stable in September and higher year on year

Prices of rice have been stable throughout the year as they are regulated by the Government. Rice is one of the 14 basic food items whose maximum prices are fixed since mid‑2014 under the Executive Decree No. 165. Prices of beans have been stable since July, after the sharp increases during the March‑June period due to seasonally tight supplies and the upsurge of domestic demand amid the beginning of the COVID‑19 pandemic. As of September, prices of beans were about 7 percent higher year on year. Prices of maize were also stable in September after declining in July and August due to large import flows. In September, prices of maize were more than 10 percent lower year on year reflecting abundant market availabilities.