GIEWS Country Profile Ecuador 20-Jul-2021 – Ecuador

FOOD SECURITY OVERVIEW

The main season maize harvest continues under favorable conditions

Cereal import requirements for the 2021/22 season forecast at high levels

Prices of yellow corn and rice declined seasonally in the second quarter of 2021

Growing concerns about the food security conditions of the most vulnerable households

The main season maize harvest continues under favorable conditions

Harvesting of the 2021 main season paddy crop was recently completed in June. Production is estimated to be slightly below average, mainly reflecting reduced plantings due to low prices due to high carryover stocks.

The current main season maize harvest will be completed in late July and production is expected to be above average. Favorable rains between March and June 2021 improved previous soil water deficits which slightly delayed planting operations. Yields of crops already harvested in the main producing provinces of Guayas, Manabí and Los Rios are said to be above average.

Planting of the secondary season maize and rice is underway under favorable weather conditions. Rainfall amounts are forecast at average levels during the August-October period, which should boost crop yields.

Cereal import requirements for the 2021/22 marketing year forecast at high levels

Cereal import requirements, mainly wheat grains, are expected to exceed the average of 1.55 million tonnes for the 2021/22 marketing year (July / June). The high import requirements mainly reflect the strong domestic demand for wheat for human and animal consumption, in particular through shrimp farming.

Prices for yellow corn and rice declined seasonally in the second quarter of 2021

Yellow corn prices declined seasonally between April and June due to the above average 2021 main season crop being marketed. However, prices were still more than 10% year-on-year higher in June 2021, after sharp increases in the first two months of 2021, due to concerns over the impact of drought on seedlings of the main crop. The reduction in market supply due to below-average production in 2020 also exerted upward pressure.

Wholesale rice prices have trended downward since mid-2020 and as of June 2021 were about 15% lower year-on-year, reflecting abundant supply in most markets.

Growing concerns about the food security conditions of the most vulnerable households

According to FAO’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2021, the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the total population increased from 20.7 percent in 2014-2016 to 32.7 percent in 2018-2020. The worsening food security occurred against a backdrop of a sharp 9% GDP contraction in 2020. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts a 2% GDP increase in 2021, and the slow economic recovery reflects the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a significant decline in private investment, widespread job losses and large budget deficits.

Concerns arise over the food security conditions of the most vulnerable households which depend heavily on the informal economy. In order to improve access to food, the government provided a subsidy of USD 120,000 to USD 480,000 to households in the first half of 2021 as part of the Bono de protección familiar cash transfer program. In March 2021, the government also launched a new program (Bono de alivio al desempleo) with the aim of providing a one-time grant of $ 500 to 550,000 people who lost their jobs in 2020.

The reduction in economic activities as part of the implementation of COVID-19 containment measures has negatively affected the food security situation of Venezuelan refugees and migrants hosted in the country. According to the survey conducted by the World Food Program (WFP) in early 2021, around 60 percent of Venezuelan migrants in the country are believed to be severely and moderately food insecure.

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