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Haiti - Agriculture : Uncertain prospects for cereal production 2017
17/04/2017 09:02:41

Haiti - Agriculture : Uncertain prospects for cereal production 2017
Planting of the main 2017 cereal season, to be harvested from June, is expected to begin towards the end of April. Weather conditions have been relatively normal as rainfall levels have been about average in most cropping areas of the country, including the main cereal producing Region of Artibonite. However, there is some uncertainty about the ability of farmers to access inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers, particularly in the southwestern departments of Grand’Anse, Sud and Nippes, severely impacted by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. While these departments produced a negligible amount of rice output, they, on average, account from 20 to 25 percent of the national maize production. According to the National Coordination for Food Security , a Governmental agency, farmers in these departments lost significant assets. In most extreme cases, grain stocks put aside for seed have been consumed or sold to meet other immediate needs. Moreover, the probability of an El Niño event during the June-August period, at the end of the vegetative growth period and the beginning of the harvest, has risen above 60 percent in March. FAO’s preliminary forecast assumes an increase in cereal output of only 7 percent in 2017, from last year’s hurricane-reduced level. This forecast assumes that weather will develop normally throughout the season and accounts for the difficulty in accessing necessary inputs.

Prices for cereals remain relatively unchanged in most markets in March, prices in south remain at high level. Prices of main staples maize meal were stable across the main markets in March. However, in Les Cayes, a reference market for the southern regions affected by the Hurricane, prices of maize meal were 56 percent above their year earlier levels, mainly reflecting the short supply of domestic maize. In Port-au-Prince, maize meal prices were some 9 percent above year-earlier levels as seasonal trends have been strengthened by the increased demand from southern departments.

Prices for imported rice, the country’s main staple, were unchanged in March in the main markets, with the exception of the Jeremie, in the south, where prices increased 7 percent. Relative to price levels a year earlier, only in Port-au-Prince rice prices were significantly above their level from March 2016, reflecting the high demand from the south.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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