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A drier-than-normal 2023/2024 rainy season likely amid forecast El Niño

  • Key Message Update
  • Angola
  • May 2023
A drier-than-normal 2023/2024 rainy season likely amid forecast El Niño

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The harvesting of cereals from the main agricultural season in Angola is ongoing, and maize production from Huíla, Benguela, Cuanza-Sul, Huambo, Bié, and Malanje is being purchased by the Strategic Food Reserve (REA), which has already bought six thousand tons; among the sellers were an estimated 4,300 poor households. The seasonally increased availability of locally produced foods is helping to control food inflation, which - at 7.63 percent in mid-May - is at its lowest point since 2016. Food inflation is expected to further decline through July as more of the country begins harvesting mains season crops.

    • The near normal agricultural season, and the purchase of grain by the REA, is driving seasonally high availability of casual agricultural labor on farms for the harvesting of cereals. This is particularly the case in Huila province, where crop production potential is relatively high and poor households from Cunene and Namibe also migrate for labor opportunities. Poor households across these three provinces, who have been negatively affected by years of drought, are now accessing increased income from this labor. However, the decreasing food prices, excess labor supply, and lower local crop production in the southwest are together resulting in labor wage rates, at around 700-800 AOA compared to a typical of 1,000 AOA.

    • The low rainfall in Namibe and Cunene is proving detrimental to crop production and livestock health: local reports confirm the projections of low cereal harvests and poor livestock conditions. The compromised health of livestock is reflected in the lower sale value; the average price currently in these provinces is around 200,000 AOA for an adult bull, relative to the typical price of 250,00-300,000 AOA at this time of year.

    • Economic performance is starting to show signs of cooling. After falling to its lowest output level in nearly 20 years in March 2023, Angola’s crude oil production recovered in April; however, lower global oil prices are expected to contribute to lower oil revenue, reducing foreign currency earnings and driving a weakening exchange rate. The AOA/USD exchange rate depreciated by roughly 6 percent between April and May. Despite this recent depreciation, a relatively stronger kwanza in the first three quarters of 2022 supported lower food and fuel prices.

    • Though there is a gradual improvement in food security through increased access to agricultural labor income, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely in Huila, Namibe, and Cunene in May due to below-average production, depletion of food reserves, and low livestock prices. Improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) remains most likely during the June to September period as increased food availability and continued higher food access amid lowering prices occurs alongside the harvest.

    • Available forecast from FEWS NET science partners, including NOAA, USGS, and UCSB CHC, call for a transition to El Niño conditions as early as June. El Niño events are typically associated with dry conditions over Southern Africa, in particular during the height of the wet season between December and March. Although there is uncertainty given the long-range nature of this forecast, it is currently considered likely that the 2023-2024 rainy season in Angola will be below average. This is particularly concerning for areas of the southwest that have experienced consecutive years of drought.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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