The country’s summer maize crop is estimated at 470,700 tonnes, just under half of last year’s production and 39 per cent of the five-year average. This, combined with small grains production that was also only 78 per cent of last season’s production, means total cereal production is expected to meet only 28 per cent of the country’s consumption needs for the year.
The deficit of 1,428,360 tonnes would have to be made up through commercial and humanitarian imports. However, reports say that because the shortfall this year is worse than in the past and because the economy is significantly weaker, food aid will have to play a much bigger part. In turn, political interference and the potential for civil unrest were seen as likely to disrupt aid distribution.