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Planting is ongoing across the region, but food prices remain high

  • Key Message Update
  • Southern Africa
  • December 2022
Planting is ongoing across the region, but food prices remain high

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist in southern Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique, as well as areas of Angola and Lesotho, and much of Zimbabwe, as the lean season progresses and high food prices and below-average wages limit household purchasing power. Food security outcomes are expected to be most severe in southwestern Madagascar, where humanitarian assistance is supporting Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes. The population in need is likely to increase steadily until the start of the 2023 harvest in March or April. 

    • Timely and well-distributed rainfall across most of central and eastern southern Africa is increasing the demand for agricultural labor, particularly land preparation and planting. The effective onset of rainfall is also improving water and pasture conditions. However, in northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar, below-average rainfall is limiting planting which is expected to start in December or January. However, cumulatively average to above-average rainfall is still forecast through the 2022/23 production season. Across most of southern Africa, average crop production is anticipated as high regional prices for agricultural inputs and global supply chain disruptions are resulting in shortages and delayed deliveries, which may impact the harvest in 2023. 

    • As the lean season progresses in most parts of the region, many poor households in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, DRC, Angola, and Lesotho are now reliant on market purchases for food. While supplies are flowing normally, domestic food prices have surged in response to declining stock-to-use ratios, increasing transport costs, high fertilizer prices, and global supply disruptions. Headline inflation levels in Mozambique are declining but remain above pre-pandemic levels, while in Malawi, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, and the DRC, food and transport inflation levels are continuing to rise. In the last quarter of 2022, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Lesotho tightened monetary policy to control inflation, leading to increased costs of servicing debts and cutbacks in public sector spending for agricultural support programs. 

    • Conflict continues to disrupt livelihood activities in areas of DRC and northern Mozambique, driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in affected areas. In the DRC, the M23 crisis in the territory of Rutshuru has disrupted the area's supply chain for imported and local products, increasing prices by 10-67 percent over the last three months. As of December 13, humanitarian partners estimate that around 510,000 people have been displaced by the conflict since March 2022, with nearly half in Nyiragongo territory. In Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, sporadic attacks by insurgents continue to prevent households from settling or fully engaging in typical economic activities. The IOM reported around 38,000 people were on the move in November, with attacks and fear of attacks being the primary driver for movement. Most IDPs remain reliant on humanitarian assistance to fill food consumption gaps. 

    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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