It says Botswana’s cereal production forecast to decline to well below average levels in 2018, primarily on account of poor seasonal rains.
“Food prices mostly unchanged on yearly basis as of early 2018 and food security conditions expected to worsen in 2018 due to expected decrease in agricultural production,” reads the report.
It says harvesting of the 2018 cereal crops is expected to begin in April and cereal production is forecast to fall sharply to a well below average level.
“The decline would mostly be on account of unfavourable weather conditions, reflecting an uneven temporal distribution of seasonal rainfall, lower cumulative quantities and higher temperatures in early 2018,” reads the report.
It says despite some improvement in weather conditions since February, the reduced rains earlier in the season resulted in a contraction in cereal plantings and are expected to restrain yield potential.
More than 90 percent of the domestic cereal requirements are satisfied by imports and the country imports on average about 375 000 tonnes of cereals, mainly wheat and maize, per year.
In the 2018/19 marketing year (April/March), the country’s reliance on imports, mostly from South Africa, is likely to increase moderately following the expected decline in cereal production.
However, the report says, given the ample cereal availabilities in South Africa, domestic supply conditions in the 2018/19 marketing year are expected to remain stable.