FAO GIEWS Country Brief on Guinea (28-January-2016)

Reference Date: 28-January-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Preliminary estimates for 2015 harvest point to above-average cereal production

  2. Cereal import requirements are estimated to fall in 2016 compared to last year’s level

  3. Number of food insecure people estimated at about 40 501

Favourable rains in 2015 resulted in above-average cereal harvest

Harvesting of maize, millet and sorghum was completed in November, while harvesting operations for rice, the most important crop produced in the country, are about to conclude. Most cropping areas benefited from favourable rains. Precipitation was particularly abundant in several areas, including Forécariah, Boke, Koundara, Dinguiraye and Mamou. However, rainfall deficits were recorded in pockets of the eastern part of Upper Guinea and the South Forest regions.

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which significantly affected farming activities in 2014, has been largely controlled. The country was declared free of Ebola transmission in December 2015. As a result, the aggregate cereal production in 2015, estimated at about 3.5 million tonnes, is 7 percent above the previous year’s output and 11 percent above-average. Of this total, paddy rice production is estimated at 2.047 million tonnes, a 4 percent increase from the year before and accounts for the bulk of the cereal production.

In 2014, the EVD outbreak resulted in a serious shock to the agriculture and food sectors. The epidemic started to spread when crops were being planted and grew during the crop maintenance period and expanded rapidly during the critical harvesting period for the staple crops: rice, maize and cassava. Various farming activities, including crop maintenance (such as weeding, fencing and application of chemicals) and harvesting have been disrupted mostly through labour shortages. Rice production declined by 5 percent compared to the 2013 harvest. The relatively low level of impact at the national level masks the sub-national production and food security impacts. For example, the impact on rice production is estimated as high as -8.5 percent in N’zérékore. In particular, cereal production in N’zérékore was substantially affected by the EVD outbreak that started to spread when crops were already being planted and expanded during the whole crop-growing season until the critical harvesting period.

Cereal import requirements are estimated to decline in 2016

Guinea, in a normal year, relies on imports for about 20 percent of its cereal consumption requirements (mostly rice and wheat). Cereal import requirements in 2016 are estimated at about 613 000 tonnes, 7 percent below the previous year’s level.

The commercial imports of rice are forecast to fall by 9 percent, while wheat imports are anticipated to remain at the level of recent years.

All neighbouring countries have reopened their borders with Guinea, which led to a significant increase in trade flows. In 2014, the border closures with neighbouring Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau disrupted cross-border trade of agricultural commodities. However, prices of local and imported rice remained mostly stable in recent months.

Food security and economy severely affected by EVD outbreak

Beyond its impact on the agriculture and food sector, the EVD has seriously affected all other sectors of the economy. According to the EIU, Guinea’ s real GDP contracted by 0.3 percent in 2014, and recovered only slightly and grew by an estimated 0.5 percent in 2015. With the EVD epidemic largely in control, real GDP in 2016 is predicted to grow by 5.9 percent.

Although the Ebola outbreak has ended, according to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 40 500 people, located mostly in Nzerekore and Kindia, are currently estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above and are in need of urgent assistance.