FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
• Main season 2020 cereal production forecast at above-average level
• Exports of rice in 2020 forecast to expand
• Prices of rice generally stable since July 2020
• Overall food security situation good, but floods and COVID-19 pandemic heighten food insecurity of vulnerable households
Main season 2020 cereal production forecast at above‑average level
Harvesting of the 2020 main paddy crop, accounting for more than 80 percent of the national annual production, is currently underway and production is expected at an above‑average level. The May‑November monsoon (rainy) season started in early June, after a two‑to‑three‑week delay. Rains improved from early June and remained near average throughout the month benefitting planting operations. Precipitations during July and August were erratic and below average in some important producing areas, causing some localized crop damages. However, rains were generally adequate supporting an expansion of the area planted to record levels, officially estimated at 2.8 million hectares. Overall, the area planted is officially estimated at a record 2.8 million hectares. In October, a succession of tropical storms brought heavy rains and triggered severe flooding across 19 provinces located in the central and western parts of the country. Official estimates indicate that the floods affected 314 000 hectares of paddy crop, of which 133 000 hectares were damaged. Planting of the 2020 secondary crop is ongoing. Overall, the 2020 aggregate rice production is forecast at 11 million tonnes, similar to the 2019 record level.
Harvesting of the 2020 main maize crop concluded in October and production is estimated at an above‑average level, mostly reflecting large plantings due to strong demand by the local feed industry. Assuming an average 2020 secondary crop, currently being planted, the 2020 aggregate maize output is forecast at 950 000 tonnes.
Exports of rice in 2020 forecast to expand
Rice exports in the 2020 calendar year are forecast at 1.5 million tonnes, 5.4 percent above the 2019 level.
Prices of rice generally stable since July 2020
Wholesale prices of rice have been generally stable since July 2020 and below or close to their year‑earlier levels, reflecting adequate market availabilities from the 2019 harvest.
Overall food security situation good, but floods and COVID‑19 pandemic heighten food insecurity of vulnerable households
The overall food security situation is good, following four consecutive years of bumper harvests, but the impact of the recent floods and the COVID‑19 pandemic heighten food insecurity of the vulnerable households.
The impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic has been severe on the local economy. According to the latest data from the Asian Development Bank, the economic growth is estimated to contract by 4 percent in 2020, after it grew on average at 7 percent per year in the last five years. The reduction in economic activities have caused a widespread loss of income and livelihoods. The most affected sectors are tourism, trade, garment, construction and the manufacturing sectors, which combined employ about 70 percent of the total population. Income losses have sharply reduced the purchasing power of vulnerable households, limiting their ability to buy food.
According to official information, the October floods affected the livelihoods of about 800 000 people. In addition, the floods caused severe damage to housing and infrastructure. The most affected provinces are Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, Kompong Speu and Kampong Thom located in the central and western parts of the country.