GIEWS Country Brief: Libya 07-February-2019


Political instability continues to affect agricultural production despite reported recovery in economic growth

Below average cereal crop harvested in 2018

People in need of assistance estimated at 0.8 million

Political instability continues to affect agricultural production

Planting of the 2019 winter grain crops was completed in November 2019. Earth observation information indicates favourable conditions since the start of the season with average soil moisture.

Out of the 2.1 million hectares of land suitable for agriculture, 1.8 million hectares are classified as arable and 300 000 hectares under permanent crops, mostly fruit trees. The area developed for irrigation is about 470 000 hectares, but only some 240 000 hectares are currently irrigated. Cereals are mostly cultivated in the coastal regions, where rainfed production or cropping with supplementary irrigation is possible, and in the arid south under full irrigation. Wheat is used exclusively for human consumption, while all the other cereals are used as animal feed.

The results from the 2018 Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA) revealed that, although agriculture contributes less than 3 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Production (GDP), over one-fifth of the population is engaged in some form of agricultural activities, even only for household consumption. About 7 percent of the population is reported to be abandoning agricultural activities since the crisis escalation in 2014. About three-quarters of the households still engaged in agriculture reported that conflict-related constrains such as power cuts, insecurity and expensive inputs, limited their capacity to produce. Sheep and goats dominate livestock production, practised mostly in the interior of the country. Livestock producers complained about the lack of veterinary services and the high costs of feed.

Below average domestic crop harvested in 2018

The 2018 cereal crop production is estimated at about 219 000 tonnes, almost 20 percent below average, but 5 percent above the output of 2017. The country relies heavily on imports (up to 90 percent) for its cereal consumption requirements, mostly wheat and barley. In the 2018/19 marketing year (July/June), the actual import requirement is projected at 3.2 million tonnes, about the same as in the previous year.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations