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The start of the main season harvest improves household food consumption in most of the region

  • Key Message Update
  • Southern Africa
  • May 2021
The start of the main season harvest improves household food consumption in most of the region

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In Southern Madagascar, due to the consecutive droughts and poor early harvests, Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are ongoing due to a severe extended 2020/21 lean season. Despite the harvest and increased labor opportunities driving some seasonal improvements, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist through at least September 2021. In the rest of the region, the ongoing favorable 2021 harvest is improving access to own foods for most households in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, and most parts of Mozambique. As a result, widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are ongoing among most households.

    • Conflict in Carbo Delgado in Mozambique and Ituri, Tanganyika, and Kassai Provinces of DRC continues to affect households’ access to food and disrupt livelihood activities. In these areas, agricultural activities are limited, with many activities affected by banditry, driving a low harvest for many displaced households. According to UNHCR, over 700,000 people have been displaced to Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, and Zambezia. This does not account for those who fled to Tanzania and are now being systematically returned to Mozambique. Households that are displaced and affected by conflict in these areas are expected to continue to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.

    • Household access to cash income is expected to improve through May and August as households across most parts of the region where production improved engagement in harvesting labor. In addition, poor households are also expected to benefit from in-kind payments as better-off households are likely to seasonally increase payment to laborers. With the average to above-average water availability enhanced by above-average rainfall and production, gardening activities are also expected to start soon and provide additional income to poor households for other livelihood expenditures.

    • Regional staple supplies are expected to above-average across much of Southern Africa. Average to above-average production in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, and South Africa will likely drive the decline in staple food prices with prices likely to be lower than in 2020 across the region. In Malawi, March maize grain prices were up to 50 percent below last year and up to 30 percent below the five-year average. Similar trends are observed in non-conflict affected areas of Mozambique, where maize grain prices decreased by 11 to 46 percent lower than their respective 2020 prices. This is expected to improve household access to staple foods 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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