Estimates of rice production by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries indicate an increase of 18% compared to the 2021 season and 66% above the five-year average. Estimated today at 85,465 metric tons:
However, it represents only 55 percent of the national annual rice requirement.
Rice imports reached 60,000 metric tons in the first quarter of 2022, nearly three times higher than the previous period.
Rice prices remain high, however, local rice prices are expected to ease in anticipation of new harvests in the local market in the second quarter.
On the political level, the government has proposed to launch another relief program, the Cesta Basica program “Food basket and essential non-food items” for the targeted population with the general aim of mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. .
History and context
As COVID-19 continues to present unprecedented challenges to health, food systems and the wider economy, the government of Timor-Leste has proposed to launch a new relief program, Cesta Básica 2.0 (food basket) worth $80 million, with the overall objective to mitigate the immediate impacts of the pandemic. More specifically, Cesta Básica 2.0 aims to help vulnerable households meet their food and other basic needs and stimulate the local economy by supporting the activities of producers and other economic operators within the framework of the economic recovery plan.
The Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs (MCAE) will lead the program which will be implemented by the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTCI) together with the Secretary of State for Cooperatives (SECoop) .
Based on the executive order, the program set a maximum value of US$50 for each beneficiary household member to be provided through in-kind transfers. Unlike its predecessor, which was universal, Cesta Básica 2.0 will target households whose head earns a monthly income of less than US$500.
Looking ahead, based on the seasonal agricultural calendar, the second quarter is mainly devoted to harvesting rice and corn. Therefore, relatively basic nominal rice price trends are expected, as incoming fresh produce will increase local market availability and farming households will start consuming from their own production.