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Currently food security conditions are stable

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Mozambique
  • June 2012
Currently food security conditions are stable

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  • Key Messages
  • Updated food security outlook through September 2012
  • Key Messages
    • As projected in the most recent Outlook covering the period from April-September 2012, the current food security conditions are quite favorable across rural areas, with most staple foods available and accessible through both homegrown production and local markets. However, poor households in parts of Machanga, Govuro, Funhalouro, Panda and Chigubo districts are currently facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes and are expected to remain so during this scenario period unless measures are taken to determine the type and level of assistance needed.

    • From July-September 2012, isolated cases of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions may expand into other areas negatively affected by drought earlier this year. These areas of concern largely cover southern and central Mozambique and are located in the districts of Changara, Chemba, Mutarara, Chicualacuala, Moamba and Magude. Additional districts that should be monitored during this period include Machanze, Magoe, Tambara, Guro and Cahora Bassa.

    • Markets continue to be adequately supplied with maize, rice, groundnuts, cassava, and beans. Food price variation is expected to follow a normal trend although in some markets and for some commodities, prices will remain above average. Typically prices reach their lowest levels following the harvest in May and by June prices start rising. 

    Updated food security outlook through September 2012

    The food security scenario projected in the FEWS NET Food Security Outlook report for April through September and all of the assumptions and descriptions provided remain valid. Currently, the majority of rural households throughout the areas of concern are able to meet their basic food needs thanks to food availability from the main harvest of the 2011/12 cropping season. Some households are supplementing their production with purchases since food prices are still low and affordable. However, poor households in parts of Machanga, Govuro, Funhalouro, Panda and Chigubo districts are currently facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes and are expected to remain so during this scenario period unless measures are taken to determine the type and level of assistance needed. The World Food Program (WFP) food aid pipeline is currently undersupplied and unable to expand relief food assistance.  The Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition’s Vulnerability Assessment Group (SETSAN/GAV) is currently preparing the annual food security vulnerability assessment. Once completed these results will give an update of the number of food insecure people and it will inform the level and duration of needs. Also, the 2011/12 crop production estimates are pending release, but field observations show that the overall crop production is expected to remain the same as the previous year or slightly larger. Crop production in the northern region was assessed to have fared well, while most of the central region of the country experienced average crop production. Areas in the southern region of the country experienced poor crop production.

    Although cropping for the second season (April-September) is limited compared to the main or first cropping season (October-May), it plays an important role in minimizing the shortfalls from the main season and is a source of income for many households. In a recent field assessment (see the May 2012 FEWS NET Food Security Update), crops, especially maize, were observed in various growing stages from emergence to maturity. In addition to maize, a variety of other vegetable crops were also present in markets and proved to be sources of both food and income. These observations were a good indication that the second season is performing reasonably well and that farmers were able to plant when conditions permitted.

    In some areas, particularly the semi-arid, dry conditions make it unsuitable for a second cropping season. Water availability is also consistently a problem in these areas and oftentimes forces households to travel long distances. Consequently these households need to produce enough food for the entire year during a good production season. During a bad year when drought has occurred, such as the current year, households in the dry areas supplement their crop production through market purchases, gifts from relatives, and by gathering wild foods. When low crop production occurs in these areas, sources of income can be limited because there are few opportunities for causal labor since there is no second cropping season.

    In the areas of Inhambane province a common source of cash is through the sale of alcohol. In other areas individuals sell forest products including charcoal, firewood, building stakes, and craft items, as well as small animals (chicken, pigs, and goats) and participate in construction activities in order to earn cash. Remittances or gifts play an important role in providing income for households, particularly in the semi-arid areas of the Limpopo Basin where households receive more remittances from family members working in South Africa compared to other areas.

    From July-September 2012, isolated cases of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions may expand into other areas in southern and central Mozambique that were negatively affected by drought earlier in the year. Household food consumption in these areas will likely be reduced but will still be minimally adequate through the employment of insurance coping strategies which could include: increasing livestock sales, collecting more wild foods, reducing expenditure on non-essential items, intensifying local labour activities and self-employment activities, along with increased remittances and gifts. It will be important to closely monitor many districts of concerns in the semi-arid areas starting in July 2012. Additional areas of concern are located in the districts of Changara, Chemba and Mutarara in the central region and Chicualacuala, Moamba and Magude in the southern region. Other areas that may deserve monitoring include Machaze, Mágoe, Tambara, Guro and Cahora Bassa districts; however the number of people to be affected in these areas is not expected to exceed 20 percent of the total district population.

    Markets and Prices

    Maize, rice, groundnuts, cassava and beans are available in markets. Households that experienced low crop yields continue to have access to well-supplied local markets. Staple food prices reached their lowest during May and June. Significant drops were observed for groundnuts and beans, particularly in Manica where the price of beans went down by 40 percent, followed by a 32 percent price drop experienced in Gorongosa. Groundnut prices decreased by 20 percent in Beira and 16 percent in Maputo. Slight rice price rises were observed in Maxixe, Maputo and Manica, but overall the prices of rice has been stable. Maize price decreased from April to May decreased according to the seasonal trends, with the exception of Maxixe were a small rise of nearly 3 percent occurred. Maize prices are 28 percent above the five-year average, while rice prices are 24 percent above the average. All other foodstuff prices have remained stable or decreased according to seasonal patterns and remain above the five year average.

    The flow of food commodities has been consistent with normal patterns of major producing centers supplying consumers and deficit areas. Currently, maize from the north is supplying the major urban centers and parts of the central zone, whereas maize from the central zone is supplying local consumer centers and the southern areas including Maputo city. According to the Agriculture Markets Information System (SIMA) weekly bulletin, Nhamatanda district (located in central Mozambique) is supplying maize to the main markets in Maputo city while the cities of Chokwe and Xai-Xai are selling maize that was produced locally. The cities of Inhambane and Maxixe are consuming and trading maize from Homoine district, all of which are located in Inhambane province. Nampula province (located in northern Mozambique) is supplying Maputo and Beira city with groundnuts. Beans are mostly flowing from the central province of Zambézia to the southern and central markets.

    Update of Food Security Scenario

    The scenario for food security for the current and projected conditions has not changed since the April FEWS NET Outlook covering the April-September 2012 period. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity conditions are currently present in Machanga, Govuro, Funhalouro, Panda and Chigubo districts, and expected to remain throughout the scenario period.   For these areas, failure to respond with assistance in a timely fashion could result in the deterioration of food security in poorer households. It is strongly recommended that resources be allocated in order to prevent further decline of the food security situation, particularly during the lean period between October and February/March 2013.

    The food security conditions in additional areas of concern are assumed to remain the same as indicated in the April FEWS NET Outlook. Additionally, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions will likely be felt after September 2012 within poor households that become market-dependent because they have finished their own food supplies. Staple food prices are expected to remain stable throughout the scenario period but in many areas these prices are already above-average. Access to food in markets by poor households will remain difficult, forcing them to intensify livelihood strategies in order to meet their minimum food requirements.

    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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