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Lower levels of assistance projected due to inadequate funding in affected areas in the region

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Southern Africa
  • November 2013
Lower levels of assistance projected due to inadequate funding in affected areas in the region

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  • Key Messages
  • Outlook By Country
  • Events That Might Change The Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • As the start of the lean season approaches, FEWS NET estimates that most parts of the region will remain food secure throughout the outlook period. However pockets of acute food insecurity exist in areas with reduced 2012/13 harvests due to shocks such as mid-season dry spells, pest infestations, and flooding. Food access by households in these areas is already problematic, and the lean season is indicated to have begun earlier than the normal October/November start.

    • Throughout the outlook period, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected in localized parts of Zimbabwe and Malawi in the presence of humanitarian assistance . This is due to insufficient resource levels, with funds currently estimated at approximately 60 percent of needs in both countries. In parts of Malawi, outcomes will worsen to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between January and March as resources dwindle and assistance is interrupted.

    • Intra-regional trade is stabilizing staple grain supplies . Formal and informal cross border trade (especially exports from surplus producing parts of Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa) is expected to continue to play a key role in supplying deficit area markets across the region (Figure 3).

    • While staple food prices are rising seasonably, prices remain high and are increasing faster in areas where market supplies are atypically low . Although estimated regional production is similar to last year and above the five‐year average, tradeable supplies are tighter due to localized production deficits in 2013, lower carry-over stocks, and strong export demand. This is expected to continue to exert atypical upward pressure on maize prices (Figure 4).

    • The SARCOF 2013/14 rainfall forecast was issued by the SADC Climate Services Center in August. The forecast suggests most areas having enhanced chances of above-normal to normal rainfall . Should above-normal rains materialize, this will provide much needed relief to areas in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, which all experienced droughts or extensive dry spells in the last one to two seasons (Figure 5).

    Outlook By Country

    The Southern Africa Food Security Outlook for October 2013 – March 2014 is based on regional assumptions as well as national level assumptions.


    • In most of the south, the lean period will start in October as normal but areas of the central and northern regions began the lean period three months earlier than normal as a result of poor rainfall and poor harvests in the 2012/13 season.
    • Although funding for response programs remains inadequate, assistance started in October and is expected to roll out in 12 of the worst affected districts on time. This will result in improved food security outcomes among poor households in the worst affected areas in parts of the southern, central and northern regions. As a result of this assistance, Minimal food insecurity (IPC 1!) outcomes are projected in those areas from October to December.
    • Without additional response funding, assistance is likely to drop off in December or January. This may result in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in the north, south, and central regions during the January to March 2014 period.
    • Current seasonal rainfall forecasts are pointing to a normal start of season in November and December. Normal to above normal total rainfall is also projected for the season. However, labor demand may be lower than usual because last year’s poor harvests reduced the ability of wealthier and middle-income households to hire labor this season. 

    To learn more, read the complete Malawi Food Security Outlook.


    • As the lean season (October to March) sets in, the majority of rural households across the country are currently facing Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1). The overall favorable food security conditions are due largely to existing food stocks from the main 2012/13 cropping season, the availability of diversified food crops from the second season, and adequately supplied markets. 
    • From October to December, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes will continue among poorer rural households, including the areas of concern. Households in the southern areas affected by flooding earlier this year will still be able to meet their basic food needs through post-flood production and market purchases. 
    • Between January and March, food insecurity outcomes will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) across the country. As the lean season progresses during this period, households will expand their typical livelihood strategies in order to meet their food needs.

    To learn more, read the complete Mozambique Food Security Outlook.


    • Acute food insecurity outcomes are expected to remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) throughout the outlook period. However, in marginal rural producing areas of the Southern and Western Provinces, maize grain supplies are low and this is requiring households to travel long distances to purchase maize meal. Poor households in these areas could face some livelihood protection deficits as staple food prices continue to rise during the lean season.
    • The Government of Zambia is expected to continue with restricted maize and maize grain exports during the outlook period; this has been extended through a new Statutory Instrumentwhere only government-to-government and exports for humanitarian assistance are exempt. To some extent the policy will maintain national maize stocks at levels above the domestic requirement. 
    • Staple food prices remain higher than average due to high local and regional demand. The purchasing power of poorer households will be reduced during the outlook period as maize prices are expected to remain above the previous season and the five year average between October and March.  

    To learn more, read the complete Zambia Food Security Outlook.


    • As a result of poor rainfall during the 2012/13 season there are pockets of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity in several cereal deficit areas, particularly in the southern and western region. As a result of assistance that is planned to start in October, food insecurity among some households in southern and western areas will improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes between late October and December.                                  
    • Between January and March, household food access should continue to increase with anticipated expansion in the coverage of food and cash assistance programs. As a result of assistance, Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are expected to continue in parts of the south and west.
    • Current shortfalls for the Seasonal Targeted Assistance program are likely to continue throughout the outlook period and will likely result in very poor households experiencing food and livelihood protection deficits. While production costs for very poor households are likely to be met through planned Government input support, there are likely to face some food consumption gaps if STA programming is disrupted.
    • According to the 2013/14 seasonal forecast there is a chance for a normal start of the rainy season between October and December with higher chances of normal to above-normal rainfall from October to March across the country. However, there is a chance of normal to below-normal rainfall in parts of the southern region from January to March. 

    To learn more, read the complete Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook.

    Countries Monitored Remotely2


    • Given current conditions and expectations for average rainfall, poor households in the drought affected provinces of Namibe and Cunene are expected to be Stressed (Phase 2) until next year’s harvests arrive. In Cuando Cubango (also drought affected), access to water and livestock conditions are better, and as a result of programmed assistance, Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) acute food insecurity outcomes are expected over the same period.
    • The Government of Angolan is providing assistance to the affected populations, which is sufficient to meet minimum needs. However, the impact of the food assistance is more effective in Cuando Cubango, where households are receiving regular and complete rations; assistance to households in Namibe and Cunene is less effective in improving food access because of distribution irregularities.

    To learn more, read the complete Angola Remote Monitoring Update.


    • Increasing income opportunities associated with agriculture activities, the start of green consumption in February/March, ongoing poverty reduction programs and a gradual increase in food prices are all expected to contribute to continued sufficient food access resulting in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes from October-March.
    • The SARCOF rainfall outlook forecast indicates increased chances of normal to above normal rainfall in both the first and second half of the season and a near average start of season across the country. This presents favorable conditions for crop growth and maturity as well as the availability of agriculture related casual work.

    To learn more, read the complete Lesotho Remote Monitoring Update.


    • Several factors contributed to a drop in production (to 18 percent below the five – year average), including rainfall deficits, the locust outbreak, and Cyclone Haruna. Despite lower crop production, poor households in most of the country will continue to meet basic food and non-food needs between October and March 2014 through positive coping strategies such as switching to cheaper foods, expanding livestock and charcoal sales, and/or increasing labor work activities. As a result, poor households in most areas are expected to face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.
    • Food insecurity is acute, however, in south-western areas, where households experienced multiple shocks (locusts and Cyclone Haruna). Poor households in these areas are having difficulties meeting non-food needs and are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2). As the lean season progresses, these households will face some slight food deficits and acute food security outcomes are expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels. Appropriate and well-targeted emergency response will be needed to prevent food consumption gaps and protect livelihoods.

    To learn more, read the complete Madagascar Remote Monitoring Update.


    • While Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected between now and March 2014 in most parts of the country, in the banana-growing areas of Kagera, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of food insecurity are expected through December due to the impacts of crop diseases on banana and cassava production. In central marginal areas of Dodoma, Stressed food insecurity is expected through March due to poor production in these areas last season, high prices, and an outbreak of Newcastle disease.
    • Maize prices spiked in August following Government purchases of maize at artificially high prices. However, with the halt in September to the government purchases, maize prices have since declined. Rice prices have continued to decrease due to strict import bans on rice imports from Tanzania by Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda.

    To learn more, read the complete Tanzania Remote Monitoring Update

    Events That Might Change The Outlook
    AreaEventImpact on Food Security Outcomes
    Cereal deficit parts of the region

    Restrictions on cross border trade impede ability of local and cross border traders to respond as anticipated and limited food stocks flow to the deficit areas.

    Prices of main grain staples, especially maize prices in exporting Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa spike to levels well above seasonal norms.

    Markets in food deficit areas will be undersupplied, causing food prices to rise sharply above typical seasonal trends. Food consumption gaps will increase, especially for poor households.

    High food prices will constrain food access for market-dependent households, especially the poor and very poor throughout affected areas.

    Across the region

    Inadequate and delayed input supply, especially from the  Government input support programs targeting poor farmers.

    The start of season is delayed and erratic; the first half of the season receives below normal rains. 

    Torrential rains leading to flooding.

    This will limit area planted, and prevent households from taking timely and full advantage of the expected favorable agroclimatic conditions. Delayed and inadequate supply of inputs will delay and possibly reduce the availability of the green harvest expected from January and February.

    A late start of rains or below average rainfall will delay the availability of seasonal wild foods, pasture regeneration, limit labor opportunities, and result in households failing to access adequate food between October and December. 

    Severe and widespread floods would reduce crop yields significantly or totally destroy crops in the affected areas especially in riverine areas. This will reduce food availability from green harvests, with subsequent reduction in 2014 food harvests.

    Zimbabwe and MalawiEmergency or humanitarian assistance programs receive adequate funding. Poor and very poor households will be able to meet their livelihood and survival needs, resulting in improved food insecurity outcomes in affected areas.


    1Law made by an executive authority.
    2 With remote monitoring, an analyst typically works from a nearby regional office, relying on a network of partners for data. Compared to countries above, where FEWS NET has a local office, reporting on remote monitoring countries may offer less detail.

    Figure 1

    Figure 3. Annual Inter-Regional Informal Trade Flows: Maize, Rice and Beans (MT)

    Source: ACTESA and FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Figure 4. Maize prices in selected southern Africa countries compared to international prices (USD/kg).

    Source: SAFEX, SAGIS, and FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Figure 5. Jan-Mar 2014 rainfall forecast, overlaid by areas which experienced below normal rains in the last two seasons.

    Source: SADC Climate Services Center and FEWS NET

    Figure 4


    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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