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December rainfall decreased early season deficits in some areas, though deficits remain in others

  • Key Message Update
  • Southern Africa
  • December 2020
December rainfall decreased early season deficits in some areas, though deficits remain in others

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • As the lean season is starting to peak, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing and expected to persist through at least February 2021 in southern Madagascar, southern and central Mozambique, and in much of Zimbabwe and Lesotho. In April 2021, food security outcomes are expected to improve with the harvest to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in most parts of the region. The green harvest, which is expected in February and March 2021, will provide some short-term access to own foods; however, this is not expected to improve food access significantly. Continued conflict in Ituri Province of DRC and Cabo Delgado in Mozambique is resulting in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes with some isolated areas of Ituri Province currently facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

    • The 2020/21 rainfall season has started well across most parts of the region. Rainfall had a timely start from mid-October through November for most countries. Based on remote sensing data, most parts of Southern Africa received normal to above normal rainfall between October and mid-December. This is with the exemption for parts of Eswatini, northern Mozambique, southern Tanzania, most of Madagascar, and southern Angola. As of mid-December, these areas have notable rainfall deficits. Most international and regional forecasts project a normal to above normal rainfall over the second half of the season for most of Southern Africa. Combined with a good start, this is expected to lead to a better season than the previous two seasons in many areas.  

    • Agricultural activities are increasing as many farmers are engaged in digging, ridge making, plowing, and planting. The October to December rainfall was mostly sufficient for planting. Crops are at various stages due to differences in the timing of planting across the region. But generally, the majority of maize crops are at the emergence to early vegetative stage. While there is increased confidence about the season so far, the risk for Fall Armyworm remains. Furthermore, there are increasing concerns about African Migratory Locusts, a likely threat to South Africa and potentially Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique.

    • Despite a gradual increase in agricultural labor opportunities, incomes remain below average for most poor households across the region. This is worsened by the extended impacts of COVID-19 despite the general improvements in economic activities following the relaxing of restrictions. Most major borders, including South Africa, are now open, increasing labor migration for migrants from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, and eSwatini. However, the need for a valid COVID-19 certificate at border posts, which comes at a cost, is a limitation to many migrants. Although Remittances are still below average, they are also slowly increasing as economic activities have not yet reached normal levels in most urban centers.​

    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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