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Improved market supplies from the 2023 harvest are stabilizing prices

  • Key Message Update
  • Southern Africa
  • June 2023
Improved market supplies from the 2023 harvest are stabilizing prices

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Most households across the region are engaging in harvesting, which is improving household food access and diet diversity. Staple food supplies have particularly improved in parts of the region where rainfall performance was average to above average, including surplus-producing areas of Lesotho, northern parts of Zimbabwe, central and northern Malawi, northern and central Madagascar, and northern Mozambique. In these areas, households are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1). However, in southern and central Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique, dry spells in January and February resulted in significant production losses, and most poor households are likely Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist in cyclone Freddy-affected areas of Mozambique and Malawi, the grand south of Madagascar, and conflict-affected areas of Mozambique and DRC. From June to September, there will likely be an increase in the number of households experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes as household food stocks decline through the dry season.

    • Staple food prices have declined in most markets following increased market supplies from the main harvest, improving household access to food. However, prices remain higher than last year and the five-year average. In areas with below-average production, prices are likely to rise in August and September, earlier than normal, as more households increase their reliance on market purchases and their food stocks decline. In Zimbabwe and DRC, local currency instability and depreciation are driving commodity price increases in local currencies, negatively impacting the ability of poor households to access food.

    • Poor households in areas with below-average harvests are earning additional incomes for staple food purchases by increasing participation in casual labor activities in neighboring surplus areas, including harvesting, cutting and selling grass for thatching, brick molding, and petty trading. In areas with an effective second season, like Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Lesotho, households also earn additional income from agricultural labor activities, including cultivating and planting short-cycle maize, winter wheat, sweet potatoes, and vegetables.

    • Conflict-related insecurity continues driving food insecurity in Mozambique and DRC. Isolated attacks in North Kivu involving M23 and Mai-Mai armed groups continue to disrupt the return of households to their homes and their ability to participate in agricultural activities. Around 1.4 million people are newly displaced in eastern DRC at the end of the B agricultural season. In Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, there has been a decline in insurgent attacks prompting more households to return to their areas of origin for better agricultural and livelihood opportunities. In April, OCHA reported that 782,000 people remain IDPs in Cabo Delgado, a 19 percent decline since March, with around 392,000 returnees. However, the returnees remain reliant on humanitarian assistance as they recover their normal access to food income and food.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Southern Africa Key Message Update June 2023: Improved market supplies from the 2023 harvest are stabilizing prices, 2023.

    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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