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Food security conditions improve as the harvest begins

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Mozambique
  • March 2013
Food security conditions improve as the harvest begins

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outcomes through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The food security situation has improved over the past month and the current food insecurity outcomes are Minimal (IPC Phase 1) for the majority of the rural households since food is more readily available through harvests and targeted food assistance. Throughout most of the country Minimal outcomes are expected to continue for the remainder of the Outlook period (through June). 

    • Currently, although at lower levels and decreasing, Stressed acute food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 2) are still present in areas including parts of Cahora Bassa, Mutarara, Macossa, and Machanga districts in the central zone, and Chigubo, Chókwe and Funhalouro districts in the south. From April to June Stressed outcomes (IPC Phase 2) will persist in Chókwe district, while food insecurity in the remaining districts will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    • Many households displaced by January’s floods have returned to their homes and the disaster authorities have lifted the red alert. The recovery phase is underway with support from the humanitarian community. Urgent needs include the provision of seeds and other agriculture inputs for the replanting process and the second cropping season. Unmet assistance needs could lead to delayed recovery. 


    Current Situation

    The food security outcomes for the majority of poor and very poor rural households across the country and outside the flood affected areas continue to improve. At the national-level, the food insecurity outcomes expected through June remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    • Currently, although at lower levels and decreasing, Stressed acute food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 2) are still present in areas including parts of Cahora Bassa, Mutarara, Macossa, Machanga districts in the central zone, and Chigubo, Chókwe and Funhalouro in the south (Figure 1). The main causes of the Stressed outcomes include limited access to food because of 2011/12 production shortfalls, high food prices, and the restricted movement of goods due to heavy rainfall and flooding.
    • Currently in Chókwe, one of the main reference markets, a kilogram of maize is costing MZM 17.39 which is nearly 40 percent above the last recorded price in January (before the floods) of MZM 12.43 per Kg. Current high food prices in Chókwe is limiting the purchasing power of the very poor and poor households, especially those could not harvest their seasonal foods because they were affected by recent floods. For this reason, affected households are Stressed (IPC Phase 2), in the presence of humanitarian assistance, and these outcomes will persist during the April to June period. No further worsening of the food insecurity outcomes will occur thanks to the targeted humanitarian assistance.
    • Generally staple food prices are expected to remain above the five-year average, especially for maize, in most markets in the southern zone and parts of the central zones of the country. With the harvest in the productive areas of the central region and some of the southern region now underway, food supplies will improve and prices will continue to fall seasonably, favoring household access to food through market purchases. 
    • During the first dekad (ten days) of March, the southern part of Inhambane Province and the parts of the central zone of the country, particularly in parts of Sofala and Manica Provinces, received significant amounts of rain (approximately 100 millimeters). Parts of Gaza Province have also received moderate rains with amounts of nearly 50 millimeters. These end-of-season rains are very welcome in the areas where second season cropping is necessary to cover the losses from the first season due to floods and the late start of season. Emergency seed distribution is in high demand as households affected by floods begin planting crops for the second season in order to ensure food for their own consumption. The ongoing planting of various crops including maize and vegetables should be ready to be harvested in July/August, just as the current humanitarian assistance programming will be ending.
    • The Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) during early March suggests that maize crop conditions range from average to very good in much of the country and below average in parts of Gaza and Maputo province. This includes areas that were affected by abnormally heavy rains, floods and late start of the season. Following the heavy rains and floods in parts of the southern districts, rains have ceased during all of February. This dry spell has allowed the flooded water to gradually recede, while also normalizing soil moisture levels. For much of the productive central and northern zones, the upcoming harvest is expected to be favorable.
    • Many displaced households have returned to their own houses and the disaster authorities have lifted the red alert. Recovery is underway with support from the humanitarian community. Continuing support is needed so that affected households can rebuild their productive assets and livelihoods. Needs that have been identified as the most urgent include the provision of seeds and other agriculture inputs for the replanting process and the second cropping season. Other needs include ensuring access to food and potable water in resettlement centers and reestablishing full operation of the health services in flood affected areas. In the long term affected households will need assistance in setting up new residential resettlements in secure areas and constructing new houses. 

    Updated Assumptions

    The assumptions used to develop the most likely scenario for the January-June Outlook period are still valid. The overall projected food security outcomes for the outlook period are not expected to change. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the Mozambique January Food Security Outlook


    Projected Outcomes through June 2013

    Outside the flood affected areas:

    • Based on the assumptions used to develop the most likely scenario through June, the majority of the households will face Minimal food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1) and will meet their basic food needs through the consumption of their own production that will become gradually available.
    • From April to June, rural households will start benefiting from the main season harvest. Food stocks at the household level will start to replenish. Food access will improve substantially and households will be able to meet their own basic food needs.

    In the areas affected by flooding and heavy rains:

    • Emergency humanitarian assistance will continue during the recovery phases. The poorer households will face limited access to food and are expected to receive food assistance through June, until the new crops are planted and harvested after the water has receded. 
    • From April to June 2013, the overall food security outcome is expected to improve greatly in view of the onset of widespread harvest throughout the country. However, due to extent of damage and number of people affected by the floods, the affected people in Chókwe district will remain at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity conditions throughout the scenario period. 
    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    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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