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Food prices remain high due to restricted economic activity and consecutive droughts

  • Key Message Update
  • Southern Africa
  • August 2020
Food prices remain high due to restricted economic activity and consecutive droughts

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Mixed food security conditions continue and are expected to persist across Southern Africa. In Malawi and parts of DRC, Mozambique, Madagascar, and high producing areas of Zimbabwe where the harvest was favorable, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to continue. However, food security conditions are poor and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, persist or are expected to emerge in southern parts of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Madagascar. In these areas, many households are atypically market dependent with below-average purchasing power. Conflict in areas of DRC as well as Cabo Delgado in Mozambique is also decreasing engagement in normal livelihood activity and households are expected to have difficulty meeting their non-food and food needs.

    • The confirmed COVID-19 infections continued to significantly increase in several Southern Africa countries in July. With the increase in confirmed cases, Zimbabwe and Madagascar re-instated some restriction measures, mostly concentrated in urban areas. This has resulted in the decline of income for many poor households in both formal and informal employment. This has resulted in more households facing difficulty meeting their non-food and food needs primarily in urban centers.

    • Red locusts and African Migratory Locusts have been observed near the Lake Chirua Border region of Mozambique and in southeastern Zimbabwe. There are reports of some villagers in Zimbabwe consuming locusts. Swarms of locusts are present in Botswana, Zambia, and Namibia and are likely migrating, posing a risk to the entire region. There have been no notable impacts in FEWS NET monitored countries; however, locusts pose a risk to winter crops and the 2020/21 cropping season.

    • Staple food prices in June across the region were generally above the five-year average. In Lesotho, Mozambique, and Malawi prices of maize grain remain up to 50 percent above average with similar trends reported in Madagascar. The high prices in Malawi are triggered by traders buying significant stocks for future sales, while in Madagascar this is mainly due to below-average stocks as rice imports are low and lower production of maize. In Zimbabwe, high inflation and scarcity of commodities on the market are driving extremely high prices on the market.

    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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