Timor-Leste

GIEWS Country Brief: Timor-Leste 12-July-2021

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

• Near-average aggregate food crop production forecast in 2021

• African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks continue to severely affect domestic pig industry

• Cereal import requirements in 2020/21 estimated at average level

• Domestic rice prices follow mixed trends

Near‑average aggregate food crop production forecast in 2021

Sowing of the 2021 secondary minor season food crops was completed in June and harvesting is expected to start in August for maize and December for rice. Weather conditions have been overall favourable since April, facilitating planting activities and resulting in average to above‑average vegetation conditions as of late June (ASI map).

The harvest of the 2021 main season rice crop is nearing completion, while the maize harvest finalized by the end of June. Overall, weather conditions during the season were favourable, resulting in higher‑than‑average planted area and yields, which compensated for the crop losses due to floods at the end of March and beginning of April and to Fall Armyworm. According to the recent FAO Crop and Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) , the 2021 aggregate production of maize, rice and root crops (in cereal equivalent) is forecast at about 136 000 tonnes, nearly 8 percent above the past five‑year average. Maize production is estimated at 80 100 tonnes, 9 percent above the last five‑year average. Paddy production is estimated at 39 950 tonnes, 13 percent above the last five‑year average. The production of root crops is estimated at 16 400 tonnes (in cereal equivalent).

ASF outbreaks continue to severely affect domestic pig industry

Since its first outbreak in 2019, the ASF had a devastating impact on the pig value chain. Based on data collected during the 2021 CFSAM, the total death toll due to ASF as well as the Classical Swine Fever (CSF) is estimated at 129 000 animals, about 28 percent of the total pig population. However, the actual figures might be even higher than these estimates as official data had not been updated in some municipalities when the Mission was in the country.

Cereal import requirements in 2020/21 estimated at average level

The country relies on cereal imports, which amount to about 40 percent of the country’s total consumption needs. With an estimated utilization of 270 100 tonnes of maize, rice and root crops (in cereal equivalent), the import requirement for the 2021/22 marketing year (April/March) is estimated at about 113 700 tonnes, close to the five‑year average and it is expected to be fully covered by commercial and governmental purchases.

Domestic rice prices follow mixed trends

In May 2021, prices of imported rice, the most consumed staple in the country, were on average about 15 percent higher than a year earlier mostly due to strong local demand and supply disruptions related to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Prices of local rice, which accounts for a small proportion of the market supply, are twice higher than the imported rice, considering its limited availability and consumer preference to use it for ceremonies and special occasions. Local rice producers normally consume most of their production and only limited quantities are sold on the markets in return of cash. The national average price for local rice decreased by 32 percent between May and October 2020, mostly due to the diminished purchasing power, following income losses and increased unemployment due to the implementation of COVID‑19 restrictions, as consumers preferred the cheaper imported rice. Amid tightening market availabilities, domestic rice prices increased seasonally between December 2020 and February 2021. Starting from March, prices were generally stable or showed signs of softening. Overall, prices of local rice in May 2021 were 23 percent below their year‑earlier levels.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.