In West Africa, cereal prices increased due to below-average agricultural production, persistent insecurity in Sahel countries, strong export demand, depreciation of local currencies, and reduction in cross-border trade. Prices of imported and processed products such as rice, wheat flour, vegetable oil, dairy products, and sugar also increased. Prices across the region remained well above the previous year and the five-year average.
In East Africa, the price of staple foods was stable or declined slightly across most markets due to supply from the October-to-December harvest. However, staple food prices increased in Tanzania as stocks tightened before the next harvest in May and in Sudan due to above-average production costs. A below-average harvest and high inflation supported above-average prices in most markets. Global supply constraints, rising global fuel and shipping costs, conflict, and localized currency depreciation led to price spikes in imported rice, vegetable oil, and wheat flour across most of the region.
In Southern Africa, maize prices increased seasonally across most markets reflecting the onset of the lean season, characterized by reduced volumes of maize grain in local markets and an upward movement in prices. Tropical storm Ana also severely affected crop production in Malawi, Madagascar, and Mozambique. Higher fuel and energy prices continued to drive inflation across much of the region.
In Central America, markets were sufficiently supplied with local and imported staple foods as well as carryover stocks. Although formal and informal imports from Mexico continued to fulfill regional consumption, the level of exports from Mexico was below average due to higher commodity prices in Mexico. Increased supply from the average January to February apante harvest were insufficient to offset white maize and beans crop losses in Honduras and Nicaragua from the below-average 2021 postrera season.
In Central Asia, staple grain (wheat) availability and prices were stable but above the previous year and five-year averages in all countries amid growing concerns over diesel prices. In Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Yemen, wheat prices were stable due to good currency conditions and seasonality. In Yemen, fuel shortages led to price increases that hit areas controlled by the Sana’a-based authorities (SBA) hardest.
International staple food markets were sufficiently supplied. Maize and wheat prices increased due to geopolitical tensions contributing to even more volatile commodities markets. Government efforts to mitigate these risks will be essential to monitor.
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network