Reference Date: 30-January-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
2014 aggregate rice and maize harvest set at record level
Harvesting of the 2014 secondary rice season, accounting for about 45 percent of annual production, is currently underway and will conclude in mid-April. The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics forecasts this season’s rice output at a record level of 8.6 million tonnes, up 2 percent from the corresponding season of last year. Sufficient irrigation water supply, expansion of irrigated areas, improved seeds and higher fertilizer use has resulted in higher yield forecasts this season which compensate for the lack of growth in the area sown. Including the revised official estimates of the main season harvest, completed in December 2014, FAO forecasts the 2014 aggregate rice production at a record level of 19.1 million tonnes, up 2 percent year-on-year and 523 000 tonnes more than previously projected.
The 2014 maize production, including the main and secondary seasons, is officially estimated at a record level of 7.8 million tonnes, 6 percent above last year’s reduced level. The increase is the result of a 2 percent expansion in plantings, as well as higher yields, following favourable weather during the cropping season and use of improved seeds.
Cereal imports in 2014/15 marketing year forecast to increase from last year’s record level
Cereal imports for the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 5.4 million tonnes, 6 percent above last year’s record level and 25 percent above the previous five-year average. The increase is attributed to higher wheat imports, which are are projected to increase by some 15 percent above last year’s low level and reach 3.1 million tonnes, as a result of increased demand from the food and feed industry. Maize imports are expected to decrease by 17 percent to 500 000 tonnes, due to larger domestic availabilities from the good production in 2014. For rice, imports in 2015 are forecast to remain similar to last year’s above-average level of 1.8 million tonnes. The high level of rice imports reflects the Government’s efforts to stabilize domestic prices and restore public stocks.
In January prices of rice continued their decrease from record highs of previous months
The national average prices of regular and well-milled varieties weakened further in January, as a result of record supplies from the 2014 main harvest, completed in December and the beginning of the 2014/15 secondary season crop. However, prices remain above year-earlier levels, after steady increases since November 2013 on account of lower stocks. The National Food Authority, the country’s grains procurement agency, may import an additional 500 000 tonnes of rice in the next months to boost stocks and ensure price stability particularly during the lean season from June to August 2015.