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Low regional cereal supply levels triggers price increases in parts of Southern Africa

  • Key Message Update
  • Southern Africa
  • April 2016
Low regional cereal supply levels triggers price increases in parts of Southern Africa

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The harvesting period is beginning in parts of Southern Africa, following the driest cropping season in 35 years across most countries in the region. For the 2016-17 consumption year, national level cereal deficits are expected to be much higher than normal because many countries are expecting very smaller harvests due to crop failure and poor vegetation conditions. Zambia is currently the only country in the region where national cereal production will allow the country to meet all of its domestic cereal requirements.  

    • Malawi is the latest country in the region to declare a drought emergency. Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, and parts of South Africa made similar declarations in recent months. In early April, Zambia temporarily banned cereal exports to neighboring countries in order to verify national stock levels.

    • Usually maize grain prices in April stabilize or decrease because of increased availability through harvests at the local and household level. However, this year prices are at levels that are double the five-year average and significantly above last year in both Mozambique and Malawi. Most poor households in a number of countries across the region are relying on market purchases for cereals during the current harvest period  and will continue to need to purchase cereals for consumption through September. 

    • Poor households in areas in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Swaziland, and Lesotho that were hit hard by drought this season will continue experiencing food consumption gaps and irreversible coping during the post-harvest period. This situation is atypical for this time of the year and is normally marked by increased grain from their own production. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to continue in these countries from April through September. Planned national vulnerability assessments and an Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analyses in a number of countries in the region in May and June will provide more information on the projected food insecure populations in Southern Africa.

    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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