LIMA, PERU — Peru’s cereal production in 2015 is provisionally estimated at 5.2 million tonnes, a 6% increase from last year’s reduced level and above the country’s five-year average, according to a Nov. 19 GIEWS Country Brief from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The increase is mostly attributed to a strong recovery in rice production, as a result of good weather conditions and improved supplies of water for irrigation during the season, which allowed for an increase in sowings and higher yields. The 2015 maize output, mostly irrigated, is also estimated at higher levels due to increased yields.

Sowing of the 2016 crops has recently begun amid some concerns about current El Niño conditions and the possible impact on plantings and crop development during the season. However, according to remote sensing data, despite some evidence of abnormal dry weather in the southwest part of the country, precipitations have so far remained at average to above-average levels in most of the main producing regions of the country.

Cereal imports in the 2015 marketing year (January-December) are forecast to increase by almost 5% and reach a record. This mainly follows higher imports of maize, due to a strong demand from the feed industry.

Yellow maize prices declined in October and were below their year-earlier levels as a result of ample carryover stocks, large imports and the good 2015 harvest. Rice prices remained unchanged and below their year-earlier levels reflecting good supplies from this year’s bumper harvest. The weakening of the local currency over the past several months, however, has prevented stronger declines of both maize and rice prices.