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Guinea Staple Food Market Fundamentals

  • Market Fundamentals
  • Guinea
  • March 2017
Guinea Staple Food Market Fundamentals

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  • Executive Summary

  • Executive Summary
    • This FEWS NET Market Fundamentals report presents findings to inform regular market monitoring and analysis for Guinea. Among other uses, the information presented in this report can be used to support the design of food security programs, including but not limited to informing Bellmon analyses for food assistance programs in Guinea or neighboring countries. 
    • This study is based on desk research, fieldwork using rapid rural appraisal techniques covering all eight regions of the country, and the proceedings of a three-day stakeholder consultation workshop carried out in the capital city of Conakry during the month of March 2016.
    • Overall, food availability in Guinea is determined by a combination of local production as well as imports from regional and international markets. In spite of its potential for agricultural production, domestic production is not sufficient to meet market demand. About 25 percent of total staple food requirements are sourced through imports—especially rice. 
    • Rice is by far the main staple food consumed in Guinea –per capita consumption is around 100 kg per year. Due to the insufficiency of domestic production to fulfill demand, imports account for a significant share of total rice availability. Cassava is the second most important staple and the most important tuber consumed. Maize consumption has been increasing, and in some areas, maize has become a common substitute for rice. Groundnuts are the main leguminous crop, widely consumed either as a nut, as groundnut paste, or in the form of oil. Palm oil is the second most important edible oil consumed (after groundnut oil) and requirements are met through a combination of local production and international imports. 
    • Irish potatoes are a minor crop in Guinea; their consumption is fairly limited to producing areas and to larger urban centers. However, they are considered a cash crop with ample potential for export into the broader regional market; therefore, production of Irish potatoes has been strongly supported by the Guinean government. A large variety of vegetables are cultivated across the country, but tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant, onions, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, and cabbage are the most important in terms of production and consumption. Vegetables can be an important source of income for rural households as Guinea exports vegetables (primarily dried peppers) to neighboring countries. 
    • Fish are the largest source of animal protein in the Guinean diet. Due to the perishability of the product, most fish are traded and consumed dried, salted, or smoked. Bonga is the most commonly consumed fish. Livestock rearing (of cattle, sheep, goats, and poultry) is an important source of income for about 30 percent of the rural population. Demand for livestock products, particularly of poultry meat and eggs, increased substantially in recent years. 
    • Recent gains in agricultural production were driven primarily by expansion of cultivated area. Production is largely carried out by smallholder farmers who implement traditional cropping techniques with very little if any use of improved inputs, animal traction or mechanization. Hence, yield levels remain low. In some cases, official data even suggest some degree of retrogression. 
    • Guinea is an important player in the broader West African food trade. As a consumer, Guinea imports rice, gari (processed cassava), groundnuts, maize, and palm oil from neighboring countries, particularly Sierra Leone. As a producer, Guinea also exports these products and others such as Irish potatoes, peppers, dried fish, and fonio (a grain) to the wider region. Seasonality in production and harvesting is a key factor influencing the direction of the trade flows (imports or exports) with neighboring countries. 
    • Conakry is the most important domestic market for many of the commodities analyzed. Other markets such as Labé, Boké, Mamou, Beyla, Siguiri, Guéckédou, Kankan, Faranah, Koundara, and Sinko are also key for internal and regional trade flows. Guinea also functions as transit area for many products traded within the broader West Africa region, including livestock which travel on hoof from the Sahel to coastal consumption centers, sometimes passing through Guinea. Overall, a large number of actors participate in the staple foods marketing system. Agricultural production is in the hands of a large number of small-scale producers who typically sell their produce to local traders (or agents of wholesalers) or retailers. Some commodities (cassava, fish, palm oil, groundnuts, and rice) undergo processing before reaching final consumers on retail markets. Food processing is small-scale and localized, using cottage techniques, since the local agro-industrial processing sector has not yet developed 
    • Market monitoring is currently carried out by several organizations. However, limited coordination and information flows often translates into segmented monitoring efforts using different methodologies, yielding monitoring data that are difficult to compare across sources. An in-depth analysis about the performance of the marketing systems in this work was constrained by the lack of complete and continuous price data series. 

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

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