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Poor October to December rainfall across areas of the region likely to negatively impact the 2022 harvest

  • Key Message Update
  • Southern Africa
  • January 2022
Poor October to December rainfall across areas of the region likely to negatively impact the 2022 harvest

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • October to December rainfall in much of the northeastern sector of the region as well as Madagascar was among the driest on the historical record. January rainfall, while erratic, did result in some decreases in rainfall deficits. Meanwhile, rainfall in the central and southern sectors of the region has been average to above average. Planting in central and southern Madagascar, much of Malawi, central and northern Mozambique, and northern Zimbabwe has been delayed by over a month. For those crops planted in January, consistent rainfall through the end of the rainy season in March is needed for crops, specifically maize, to reach maturity. 

    • High concern persists for households' ability to access food and income in southern Madagascar as most households are heavily reliant on humanitarian assistance for food due to consecutive droughts. Most households are experiencing Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!). These outcomes are expected to continue through April with large-scale planned humanitarian aid. The ongoing drought conditions and poor vegetation during the ongoing rainy season are driving poor 2022 harvest prospects, and further declines in livestock body conditions are expected. 

    • Agricultural labor typically provides income for poor households to purchase market foods. Currently, in areas where rainfall through January was poor and erratic, these opportunities, including planting and weeding, have been significantly impacted. Overall, in much of Madagascar, parts of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique have lower than average agricultural labor opportunities. Due to these limited opportunities, labor supply is likely to increase, resulting in a decrease in labor wage for many poor households. As labor wages decrease and prices of basic commodities increase, households likely have weak purchasing power facing difficulty accessing market foods.

    • Households in areas of Zimbabwe, central Mozambique, and southern Malawi where rainfall was poor for the 2020/21 season are market reliant on food during the ongoing lean season. Due to the delays in the start of the season, income from agricultural labor is below average, with many poor households in these areas experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. In some areas of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi, humanitarian assistance is decreasing food consumption gaps and Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are ongoing. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing and expected to persist in northern Mozambique, and Ituri, Tanganyika, North and South Kivu, and Kassai provinces of DRC as conflict disrupts livelihood activities. 

    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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