FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
• Abundant rains favoured early development of 2021 main season maize crop
• Cereal production in 2020 estimated record high
• Exports of cereals in 2020/21 marketing year forecast at average levels
• Government strengthened safety net programmes to vulnerable households
Abundant rains favoured early development of 2021 main season maize crop
Planting of the 2021 main season maize crop is nearing completion and germinating crops are currently in good condition in the key producing southeastern region (VCI map). Favourable precipitation levels since December 2020 improved soil moisture conditions and benefited planting operations. The area planted is expected to remain at an above-average level due to high international prices of maize. Weather forecasts indicate a high probability that drier-than-normal conditions prevail in the March-May 2021 period, which could have negative effects on crop development and yields.
The 2021 minor season maize crop was harvested between December 2020 and January 2021. Production is estimated at a below-average level, mainly reflecting low yields affected by reduced precipitation amounts in the September-November 2020 period, which is critical for crops at flowering and grain-filling stages.
Harvesting of the 2021 paddy crop is ongoing and production is anticipated at an above-average level. The favourable forecasts are mainly attributed to the trend in expansion of sowings during the past ten years and increased rainfall amounts since December 2020, which improved crop conditions.
Cereal production in 2020 estimated record high
Aggregate cereal production in 2020 is estimated at a record 8.4 million tonnes. According to official estimates, maize production in 2020 is set at 5.8 million tonnes, more than 10 percent above the five-year average, reflecting an expansion in the planted area and record yields. Production of paddy in 2020 is estimated at 1.2 million tonnes, nearly 30 percent above the five-year average, supported by high plantings and above-average yields. Areas sown with maize and paddy have been on the rise in recent years due to strong export demand.
Exports of cereals in 2020/21 forecast at average levels Cereal exports in the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June), mostly maize, are expected to decline from the high levels recorded in 2019/20 and are forecast at an average level of 3.5 million tonnes. The decline mainly reflects strong demand by the domestic bio-fuel sector.
Government strengthened safety net programmes to vulnerable households
According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) of the United Nations, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy has been less severe than other South American countries, with a decline of the Gross Domestic Product of only 1.6 percent. This reflects the country’s low COVID-19 infection rates in the subregion and the adequate containment measures put in place by the local authorities. In order to protect the socio-economic and food security situation of the vulnerable households, the cash transfer programme Tekoporã was scaled up to reach 600 000 vulnerable people. In addition, two new social protection schemes, Ñangareko and Pytyvo, were created in 2020 to target children and workers, respectively, in the informal sector whose income-generating activities were affected by the pandemic.