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Libyan Newswire

FAO GIEWS Country Brief on Libya (26-January-2015)

Reference Date: 26-January-2015


  1. Escalating civil conflict halted economic recovery and deteriorated food security prospects

  2. Security uncertainties disrupted procurement and distribution systems resulting in lost income opportunities for farmers unable to market their production and led to food shortages in urban areas

  3. Wheat import needs estimated at high levels

Escalating civil conflict stemming from two parallel and competing legislative and executive bodies halted economic recovery and deteriorated food security prospects. Security uncertainties, fuelled by presence of armed groups, led to destruction of public infrastructure, disrupted procurement and distribution systems resulting in lost income opportunities for farmers unable to market their production and food shortages in urban areas.

Planting of 2015 winter crops to be harvested from April, should have been concluded in November. Vegetation response captured by Normalized Difference Vegetation Index using satellite images suggests good establishment of winter crops. In addition to widespread fuel shortages, farmers reported that security concerns prevented them from seed purchases, particularly of crops where seeds saved from the previous harvest are normally not used, such as vegetables.

Above-average domestic crop production harvested in 2014 but import requirements increasing

The 2014 grain harvest in Libya was concluded in June. Normal meteorological conditions were reported to have favoured good crop establishment and development of the 2014 winter wheat and barley crops, resulting in a harvest of about 200 000 tonnes, similar to last year.

Libya relies heavily on imports (up to 90 percent) for its cereal consumption requirements. The actual import requirement is projected at 3.2 million tonnes in 2014/15, an increase of about 7 percent compared to 2013/14.

Continuing conflict a set-back to the economy

Libya is one of the most hydrocarbon dependent economies in the world, with oil revenue accounting for more than 80 percent of state revenues. Libyan oil production has recovered faster than expected following the conflict in 2011, but is currently well below the 2010 capacity due to clashes between groups in the oil producing regions.

After a contraction in GDP in 2011 by almost 60 percent caused by the fall in oil production, the economy grew by over 92 percent in 2012 (year-on-year). Continuous political transition and volatile oil production resulted in a contraction of about 5 percent in 2014. A recovery of about 3 percent is expected in 2015, depending on domestic stability as well as international oil prices.

Inflation decreased from almost 16 percent in 2011 to about 3 percent in 2014 due to high subsidies, currency stability and suboptimal growth. Insecurity-induced supply chain disruptions are likely to contribute to increased inflation in 2015. The unemployment rate, estimated at 26 percent as of end 2010, is unlikely to improve in the short run. A large share of the population is normally employed in the public sector.

As of October 2014, over 287 000 people were internally displaced. The WFP aims to assist up to 175 000 beneficiaries affected by the crisis in Libya following the disruption of basic social services and the Public Distribution System.