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Planting of 2014 Crops Benefiting from Favourable Weather Conditions

02 December 2013

SWAZILAND - Land preparation and planting of the 2014 cereal crops, mainly maize, began in October. Rains have generally been average since October 2013, which marks the start of the rainy season, supporting cropping activities and early crop development.

Forecasts point to average to above average rains until March 2014, reports FAO.

Production of maize in 2013 was estimated at about 82 000 tonnes, some 8 percent higher than the previous season’s above average output, benefiting from generally favourable weather conditions.

Smaller national deficit in 2013/14

The national maize import requirement for the 2013/14 (May/April) marketing year, is estimated at a slightly lower level than the previous year, reflecting the larger 2013 domestic harvest.

Currently, about 32 000 tonnes of maize has been imported from South Africa, which supplies the bulk, if not all, of the country’s requirements, satisfying approximately 45 percent of the national import needs.

In addition, lower year-on-year maize prices in South Africa have contributed to stabilising inflation rates.

Food insecurity conditions stressed by slow economic recovery

Despite the slightly higher cereal output in 2013, an estimated 290 000 persons were assessed to be at risk of food insecurity in 2013/14, partly attributable to the sluggish economic recovery.

According to a recent 2013 assessment conducted by the government and WFP, malnutrition and food shortages resulted in a national loss of USD 92 million in 2009, the equivalent of 3.1 percent of the country’s GDP.

TheCropSite News Desk

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