Tension in the West African grain market

The price of grain has risen in West Africa in recent weeks. Maize but also millet and sorghum are more expensive in the markets due to a lack of sufficient stock and for fear of a disappointing new harvest.

Again, it is a game of dominoes that increases the price of a bowl of corn or a millet bowl in West Africa. Initially, bad weather conditions weighed on the latest local campaign, with floods in several regions destroying fields.

As a result, inventories have declined. But the harvest that is coming to an end does not promise to improve, this time due to drought in some regions, especially in Togo, and below-average rainfall forecasts on the coasts.

The next harvest promises to be disappointing

The supply, which is already not so large, does not risk being compensated by the new harvest. Although this will lead to a seasonal decline in prices, once on the market, it will not be enough to stabilize prices in the long term, explains an expert in West African agriculture. This lack of current and future supply is enough to raise the prices of the stalls in Lomé, Accra and even Dakar.

Imports of maize do not solve the problem, as prices have also risen in international markets. And this especially due to a catastrophic climate scenario in Brazil which caused a reduction in the production of yellow barley.

The lean season risks weighing on household finances

In this context, those who have stocks have realized that they have gold in their hands and are looking for the best time to release their reserve to take advantage of the rising market. This increase is also driven by China, because it consumes like never before, and when corn is too expensive, it tries to replace it with other grains, which by becoming more attractive then see their cost increase.

Result: in West Africa, the lean season that threatens can damage the wallet. And we must be patient. According to experts, prices are expected to be in a high range for several months. Especially millet, because the harvest is later than for other cereals.


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