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Minimal food insecurity expected to continue due to normal access to imported rice

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Liberia
  • January 2014
Minimal food insecurity expected to continue due to normal access to imported rice

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Nationally, 2013/14 rice production levels are estimated to be 7 percent below the five-year average, primarily due to below-average production in southern counties, including Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Maryland, River Gee, and Grand Kru.
    • Ongoing imports of parboiled rice from international markets will offset the effects of the below-average production and will enable a continuation of normal market supply. Food prices on local markets are expected to remain stable, ensuring normal food access for market-dependent households.
    • Poor households across the country, including those residing in areas that experienced below-average rice production, will supplement their rice stocks with other local food products, such as cassava, and with imported rice. Stable food prices, along with normal livelihood strategies, will enable poor households to remain food secure (IPC Phase 1) through at least the end of the outlook period in June 2014.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • No current or projected anomalies of concern are expected in Liberia

     


    Projected Outlook through June 2014

    In southeastern counties, such as Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland, upland rice harvesting activities, as well as off-season land preparations for market gardening crops, are nearly completed, and land preparations for the next rice season have begun locally. In other rural counties, both upland and lowland rice harvests are still ongoing. Nationally, 2013/14 rice production levels are estimated to be approximately 269,550 MT, representing a 9 percent drop compared to last year’s levels and a 7 percent drop compared to the five-year average. These declines are primarily due to below-average production in the counties of Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Maryland, River Gee, and Grand Kru, where rice production was negatively affected by poor temporal rainfall distribution, a reduction in fertilizer distributions by FAO compared to 2012/2013 levels, and a decline in labor availability as many laborers switched to mining activities.

    With the exception of households living in counties that experienced below-average rice production, most households will deplete their rice stocks as usual during the month of May and will then rely on market purchases of imported rice until the next harvest in August. Poor households will also supplement their diets with locally produced cassava and plantains whose harvests were average. Other livelihood activities for poor households, including hunting/trapping, charcoal and palm oil sales, and casual labor work on rubber plantations, will be normal this year.

    During a typical year, local rice production covers approximately 35 to 40 percent of Liberia’s total rice needs. However this year, due to below-average production, the local rice harvest will only meet about 32 percent of needs with rice imports filling in the remaining gap. Between August and September, the national average retail price for a 50kg bag of imported parboiled rice was relatively stable at L$364. However in southeastern and central areas, rice prices fell 14 to 15 percent as harvests started slightly earlier than in other areas of the country, reducing market demand locally. Compared to September 2012 levels, the national average for imported rice prices also fell 10 percent, which can be attributed to decreasing rice prices on international markets and the government’s decision to suspend rice import tariffs at the beginning of 2013. The value of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar and the Euro has been steadily falling since July 2013 but so far, does not appear to be impacting imported rice prices within the country.

    Security conditions in western and southern Cote d'Ivoire have been improving and are expected to remain favorable for the voluntary return of Ivorian refugees living in Liberia during the 2014 year. Currently, the majority of refugees are residing outside of camps and within local communities where they are improving their food security conditions through income-generating activities, such as agricultural labor. However, those residing in camps are less able to participate in livelihoods activities and will, in general, continue to rely partially on humanitarian assistance. Due to humanitarian assistance and ongoing livelihood activities, Ivorian refugees are not facing any major difficulties meeting their consumption needs at this time.

    Regular supplies and stable prices for imported rice, along with relatively normal incomes, will enable poor households to continue to meet their essential food and non-food needs during the January to June outlook period. As a result, households will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least June 2014.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Source:

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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