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Poorly distributed rainfall causes below-average rice production

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Liberia
  • October 2013
Poorly distributed rainfall causes below-average rice production

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  • Summary
  • Projected Outlook Through March 2014

  • Summary

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    • 58,710 Ivorian refugees are residing within Liberia. Of this refugee population, approximately 21,000 are living in camps and remain partially dependent on food assistance.


    • Refugees living with host families in local communities will continue to improve their living conditions by participating in cropping and/or income-generating activities. However, those in camps will continue to partially rely on food assistance.


    Projected Outlook Through March 2014

    Household incomes from all major sources are relatively normal. In addition to casual labor work in the agricultural, mining, and rubber sectors, other typical livelihood activities at this time of the year include petty trade and charcoal production and sales.

    The majority of Ivorian refugees, who are residing outside of camps and within local communities, are active in crop production and other income-generating activities to meet their consumption needs. However, refugees residing in camps are less able to participate in these types of activities and will, in general, continue to rely partially on food assistance from the World Food Programme (WFP).

    Stable prices for imported rice and normal livelihood activities will enable poor households to meet their essential food and non-food needs without difficulties. As a result, poor households throughout the country are expected to face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) through at least the end of the outlook period in March 2014.

    The joint CILSS/FAO/FEWS NET/WFP/Government pre-harvest assessment conducted in late September estimated that 2013/14 rice production would be 237,752 MT, which is a 20 percent decrease compared to last year’s levels and a 18 percent decrease compared to the five-year average. Despite seasonal rainfall totals that were relatively average to above-average (Figure 2), below-average production is expected due to several factors: 1) poor temporal distribution of this year’s rains, 2) a reduction in fertilizer distributions by humanitarian agencies compared to 2012/2013 levels, and 3) a decline in labor availability as many laborers have been drawn away from the agricultural sector and towards mining.

    However, given current conditions and a seasonal forecast (NOAA) predicting relatively normal rainfall for the remainder of the season (through mid-November), soil moisture levels are expected to remain adequate to support continued crop development of cassava, sweet potatoes, and legumes. As a result, near-average harvests are expected between October and December.

    Similar to a normal year, Liberia will heavily rely on rice imports, primarily from India, Thailand, and Vietnam, to meet at least two thirds of national consumption requirements during this upcoming year. Currently, domestic markets are well supplied with imported rice and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) reports that commercial rice stocks (59,185.87 Mt) will be sufficient to meet needs through December 2013. Between August and September, parboiled rice prices were generally stable or in decline on most markets, except for on the Red Light and Voinjama markets where harvests had not yet begun and prices increased by 10 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Compared to last year’s levels, prices had generally declined slightly. With regards to the outlook through March 2014, continuing rice imports, as well as main and off-season rice harvests, will be adequate to meet local demand, maintaining price stability and facilitating household food access. 

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Cumulative rainfall estimate anomaly, April 1 – September 30, 2013

    Figure 2

    Cumulative rainfall estimate anomaly, April 1 – September 30, 2013

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3


    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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