In West Africa, regional staple food availability was average except for Nigeria, where they were below average. Insecurity and conflict continued to affect local market functioning and access in many areas such as Greater Lake Chad basin, the Liptako-Gourma region, northwest and north-central Nigeria, and the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. Demand increased seasonally and was further reinforced by purchases for Ramadan. Demand was above average in most of the eastern basin. Prices were stable or increased compared to the previous month at above-average levels. After recording positive growth in Q4 2020, the Nigerian economy remains fragile with the persisting downturn of the country’s crude oil sector, depreciation of the NGN, and the 19th consecutive month of rising inflation (Page 3).
In East Africa, staple food prices in Kenya and Uganda were typically stable due to increased supply from the Octoberto-January and February-to-March harvests and cross-border trade. Prices in Burundi were stable due to bans on regional imports coupled with an official maize price floor. Prices in South Sudan were mixed, declining typically in markets around Juba because of increased supply but increasing in distant markets due to tightening supplies. Prices continued to increase in most markets in Tanzania and Somalia as supply tightened and in Ethiopia due to expectations of a belowaverage harvest. Livestock prices varied depending on local rangeland conditions, and poor macro-economic conditions continue to place upward pressure on staple food prices in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Burundi (Page 4).
In Southern Africa, March marked the conclusion of the 2020/21 rainfall season. Favorable growing conditions were observed over the region, except for southwestern Angola, southern South Africa, and localized areas of north-eastern Mozambique and central Madagascar. Ending maize stock-to-use ratios are historically low, particularly in net-importing countries. However, aggregate national maize harvests are expected to be average to above-average except in Madagascar, where they will be below average. Prices declined across much of the region in March, and maize grain prices are lower than 2020 levels but remain above average (Page 5).
In Central America, markets were adequately supplied and operating normally. Maize prices increased seasonally in March, except for Guatemala. Bean prices were stable or decreasing while rice prices remained stable. In Haiti, markets were well supplied from the recent winter harvest and imported products. Local maize and imported staple food prices increased while local black bean prices were stable (Page 6).
In Central Asia, wheat prices were relatively stable in March but remain significantly above-average levels. In Yemen, the economy continues to be impacted by foreign currency shortages and depreciation of the local currency due to protracted conflict. Staple food prices remain significantly above March 2020 levels (Page 7).
International staple food markets were well supplied. Rice, maize, wheat, and soybean prices were on average stable or decreasing in March (Figure 2). Global crude oil prices rose further in March, though at a slower pace. Global fertilizer prices increased on tight stocks and strong spring demand in the northern hemisphere (Page 2).