In West Africa, 2013/14 grain harvests were near-average in the Sahel. Trade flows and market supplies were average in March. Below-average production in Mauritania, eastern Niger, and northern Chad resulted in atypical price increases. Rice imports from international markets contributed food availability in coastal countries.
In East Africa, sorghum prices continued to increase atypically in Sudan. Conflict continues to disrupt markets in central and north eastern South Sudan. Ongoing military operations in Southern Somalia restricted trade flows. Maize prices increased in Uganda due to below-average recent harvests, coupled with strong regional and institutional demand. Maize prices were stable or decreased in many parts of Kenya with recent harvests and the availability of ample regional imports.
In Southern Africa, the lean season peaked in February/March. Maize prices were generally stable or declined ahead of the upcoming main harvests in April. Early maize harvests began in localized areas across the region in March. Prices remained above their respective 2013 and five-year average levels due to tight regional supplies, as well as strong export and institutional demand. Rice, cassava, and beans reinforced food availability region-wide.
In Haiti, staple food prices were stable due to adequate food availability countrywide. In Central America, red bean prices increased atypically from December through March in Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador due to below-average Primera harvest and increased regional and export demand. Local and imported rice prices remained stable throughout the region. Global coffee prices increased by over 50 percent since December 2013.
In Central Asia, wheat flour prices remained stable in March due to the availability recent above-average harvests and the availability of imports from Kazakhstan.
International rice prices remained stable or decreased in March 2014. Maize prices were stable as global stocks replenished. Wheat prices varied considerably in March due to concerns over dry growing conditions during the U.S. winter season and the effects of political disruptions in Ukraine. Crude oil prices were stable.