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Food security conditions remain stable

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Mozambique
  • August 2012
Food security conditions remain stable

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  • Key Messages
  • Updated food security outlook through December 2012
  • Key Messages
    • Overall, the current situation is characterized by favorable food security conditions for the majority of rural households throughout the country.  All of the assumptions and the projected food security scenario reported in the July Outlook are still valid. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity conditions will continue in Chigubo, Chicualacuala, Funhalouro, Panda, Magude, Chemba, Machanga, Chiuta, and Mutarara districts through December 2012.

    • Although food prices are above the five year average, they are generally stable. Prices are expected to follow seasonal patterns for the remainder of the consumption season, and the flow of commodities will remain unchanged; southern markets are being supplied by maize from the central zone, while the central and the northern zones are being supplied by maize from their respective zones.  

    • The upcoming Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) from August 22-24 will help to develop a consensus on the climate outlook for the period of October 2012 to March 2013. The outcomes of the meeting will provide more insight into the potential impacts on El Niño events on food security in the Southern Africa region and this information will serve as a key input for the October Outlook region.


    Updated food security outlook through December 2012

    All of the assumptions and the projected food security scenario reported in the July Outlook are still valid. Overall, the current situation is characterized by favorable food security conditions for the majority of rural households throughout the country.  Many of these households are still able to meet their basic food needs thanks to food stocks from the main harvest of the 2011/12 cropping season, continued food availability in markets and from the ongoing second cropping season in limited areas. Although the second cropping season accounts for only 15 to 20 percent of the total annual production it plays an important role in minimizing the shortfalls from the main season where possible.

    Markets are currently playing a major role in supplementing some of the food gaps among the poor and very poor households with exhausted or dwindling food stocks. Food price disparity patterns were generally stable from June to July and included some price drops. Only a few markets showed any abnormal drops and rises, as was the case with bean prices in Chokwe and Gorongosa. According to seasonal patterns there is usually a price increase in Chokwe, but the prices of beans from June to July went down by 17 percent. In Gorongosa the seasonal pattern usually shows a decrease, but instead the prices went up by 29 percent during this period. The abnormal variation was caused by changes in the level of supply of beans in those markets. When compared to the previous consumption year this price increase in Gorongosa is occurring a month earlier this year. Also, when comparing the variation of bean prices in Gorongosa with the average, the price increase in the current year is occurring a month earlier.   

    The food prices remain above the five-year average with the exception of maize in Manica and beans in Maputo where prices are the same as the average. Following an abnormal rise in maize prices from May to June, the rising trend has continued in July. Between June and July the price of maize in Maxixe rose by 8 percent. Currently the maize price in Maxixe is 36 percent above the five-year average. The main reason behind the early rise of maize prices in Maxixe is that due to this year’s mid-season dryness, locally produced maize that normally pushes prices down have quickly dwindled and now maize that is being purchased is brought from the central region in which case transactions costs have to be added, pushing prices up above their normal levels. In Manica the prices of beans have stabilized this month with no change from June to July. The current price of a kilogram of beans is currently MZM 48.62, the same price observed in June.  The current price stability and normal pattern is expected to continue for the remainder of the consumption season, but in general prices will remain above the average. The flow of food commodities are following normal patterns and are expected to remain unchanged. Currently, the southern markets are being supplied by maize from the central zone, while the central and the northern zones are being supplied by maize from their respective zones. 

    The beginning of the lean season is expected in September as opposed to October for the poor and very poor households from the affected districts in the semi-arid areas of the south and central zones of the country. This includes areas in Chigubo, Funhalouro, Panda, Chicualacuala, Magude, Chemba, Chiuta, Machanga and Mutarara districts. In these districts, starting in October most household will cope by extending their typical livelihood strategies. These strategies include reducing expenditures on non-food items in order to be able to purchase staple foods, intensification of non-farm income activities such as brewing and sale of poles, selling natural products such as grass, building poles, firewood, producing and selling charcoal, hunting, and seeking casual labor for land preparation and planting. Agricultural labor opportunities are expected to increase as the onset of the next agricultural season approaches. On a more positive note, it is expected that the onset of rains in November will provide a variety of wild and seasonal food that will gradually improve food access until the green harvest becomes available in January/February 2013. FEWS NET will continue to monitor the potential impact of an El Niño event on rainfall and the start of the season. The upcoming Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) from August 22-24 will help to develop a better understanding of the climate outlook for the period of October 2012 to March 2013. The outcomes of the seasonal climate outlook will provide more insight into the potential impacts on El Niño on food security and other socio-economic sectors through December 2012 and this information will serve as a key input for the October Outlook.

    Very poor and poor households face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity conditions in parts of Chigubo, Chicualacuala, Funhalouro, Panda and Machanga districts in the Semi-Arid Interior-Sorghum and Millet Livelihood zone, Semi-Arid Interior-Maize zone, Upper Limpopo Riverine-Chicualacuala/Mabalane zone, Upper Limpopo Interior-Agriculture and Charcoal zone, and in the Semi-arid interior of Sofala. Households are experiencing these conditions due to mid-season dryness which lead to reduced crop yields and crop failure during the main agriculture season of 2011/12. These stressed food insecure households are facing both survival and livelihood protection deficits and require immediate humanitarian emergency assistance. Given the continued scarcity of water at this time, the provision of emergency water through tanks and extraction in the dry and sandy river beds is necessary for human and livestock usage.

    From July to December, a combination of ongoing social safety-net programs and food assistance by the Government and partners will be part of the humanitarian response. The anticipated interventions will likely prevent the further deterioration of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity conditions in households in the areas of focus of the south and central regions.  Following the official approval of the SETSAN/GAV report, through the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) and in coordination with the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) the Government will develop a response plan that aims to provide humanitarian assistance to all those affected by food insecurity.

    The current and projected food security status will remain the same as indicated in the Mozambique Food Security Outlook for July through December 2012. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events Timeline

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events Timeline

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an 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 over the next six months. Learn more here.

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