Food Security Outlook Update

Harvests begin in the south, while heavy rains continue to affect the northern provinces

March 2015
2015-Q1-1-2-MZ-en

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The food security outcomes of the majority of households throughout the country are favorable with Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1). In areas that have been affected by flooding and heavy rains in the central and northern provinces, displaced households in the new resettlement villages are still facing Stressed acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2). These households are still relying on humanitarian assistance while recovering their basic livelihoods, including replanting where conditions allow for a second season.

  • The late start of rains during the current season will delay the seasonal availability of new harvested crops in the northern and central parts of the region, though last year’s above average harvest will minimize the impact of this. In the south, where the season started earlier, households are already engaged in harvesting, but the long dry spell that affected the region since the beginning of the year will negatively affect crop yields and reduce food availability to below average. Also, the low residual moisture will reduce chances of a good second season.

  • Maize grain prices have been following the typical trends and are generally close to the five-year average and below last year’s levels, with the exceptions of Maxixe and Chókwe where February’s prices were 42 and 25 percent above last year’s prices, respectively. Cowpea and rice prices have been close to average and relatively stable with minor variations.

Current Situation

  • Despite the adverse agroclimatological conditions in localized parts of the central and northern regions due to flooding   current acute food insecurity is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and expected to improve through June with the start of the harvest from the main agriculture season. The harvest has already started in parts of the southern zone, particularly for groundnuts and maize. In the flood or heavy-rain affected areas, targeted humanitarian assistance for the affected households continue. Some of these households, particularly the very poor and poor, who are entirely relying on food assistance, are facing Stressed acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2).
  • Earlier this month (March 1-10), a low pressure zone along the coast of Nampula Province, in the Mozambique Channel, caused substantial rainfall that was well above normal. The heavy rains caused the destruction of thousands of precariously constructed houses, especially those made of clay. The heavy rains also affected other infrastructures including bridges, roads, and schools. On the agriculture side, an unspecified area of planted crops has been lost or affected. Nearly 118,000 people were affected, from which some were hosted in the temporary accommodation centers where emergency humanitarian assistance was promptly provided. However, the latest update from the National Center of Emergency Operations (CENOE) indicates that the majority of these households have already returned to their homes.
  • As of March 20th, an analysis of the 2014/15 rainfall season shows that during the first half of the rainfall season (October to December 2014), the southern region and a large part of the central region had received normal to above-normal rainfall, while the northern region and parts of the central region received normal to below-normal rainfall. In the second half of the season (January to mid-March 2015), the southern region and a large part of the central region received well below-normal rainfall, while the northern region and parts of the central region received well above-normal rainfall.
  • The agroclimatology pattern indicated above, suggests that in the southern and central region the early planted crops, particularly those planted in October, have performed well and were harvested starting in February in the south. On the other hand, late planted crops in this region may have been affected by dryness and crop yields will be reduced. To the contrary, planting in the northern region was only possible during the second half of the season when enough moisture was available and therefore the harvest is expected to be delayed by one to two months. Overall, based on remote sensing estimates, the water requirement satisfaction index (WRSI) for maize (Figure 1), suggests that the bulk of the northern region and much of the central region will expect good crop conditions, while much of the southern region will have below-average crop conditions.
  • Overall maize prices in February were close to the five-year average and generally following the seasonal trend. In Maxixe and Chókwe where maize grain prices had a sharp increase from December to January, the prices from January to February have stabilized. When compared to last year’s prices, the current season’s prices are relatively lower except in Maxixe and Chókwe where the February 2015 prices are 42 percent and 25 percent above those of February 2014, respectively. Cowpea prices, usually influenced by erratic supplies and characterized by high level of fluctuations, had minor variations while rice prices have been stable since the beginning of the 2014/15 consumption year.

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not affected the assumptions used in developing FEWS NET’s most likely scenario. A full discussion of the scenario is available at in the Mozambique Food Security Outlook for January to June 2015

Projected Outlook through June 2015

It is expected that the majority of households in the country will face Minimal food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1) from April to June. Although flooding and heavy rains caused disruption of livelihoods, the food security of most affected households will not be adversely impacted in part thanks to humanitarian assistance by the government and partners. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, this season’s national crop production prospects are reported to be good. The majority of the households in the country are expected to meet their basic food needs through the consumption of their own production and market purchases. As the rains ease, road conditions will improve and local markets will become more accessible. 

In the areas affected by flooding and heavy rains, including parts of Zambézia, Nampula, Cabo Delgado, and Sofala Provinces, the majority of poor households are facing Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1), while some vulnerable households are facing Stressed acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2). From April to June, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected to continue as the majority of households will begin consuming food from own production and will rely less on market purchases. Though moisture availability for the second season will be well below average, the upcoming second season from April to July, will allow for an expansion of opportunities for agricultural labor during this period. The seasonal decrease of staple food prices will continue until June and this will improve poor household access to market food purchases. Households staying in accommodation centers or in new resettlement villages will still rely on humanitarian assistance for their main source of food for a period of time according to focused assessment. 

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics