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Crisis outcomes expected through at least March due to drought, floods, and cyclone effects

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Mozambique
  • February 2017
Crisis outcomes expected through at least March due to drought, floods, and cyclone effects

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  • Key Messages
  • NATIONAL OVERVIEW
  • Assumptions
  • Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
  • Key Messages
    • The number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse is expected to reach about 2.3 million between now and March 2017, including potentially 300,000 flood and cyclone affected people. Household food stocks are exhausted, and poor households are relying on limited market access, wild foods, and humanitarian assistance, where available, to try to cover their food gaps. In January, food assistance covered approximately 900,000 people, representing only 45 percent of the 2 million assessed needs, and these levels are likely to continue through March 2017. 

    • Tropical Cyclone Dineo hit coastal Inhambane Province on February 15, and according to preliminary estimates, the category 3 cyclone affected nearly 551,000 people and destroyed 27,000 hectares of crops. The most vulnerable households, who already faced Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to drought-related food gaps, are likely to face acute food shortages until at least the end of March, requiring urgent food assistance as well as seeds.

    • Due to largely favorable rainfall, a near-average harvest is expected across southern and central areas, beginning in March, despite some areas that needed to replant due to localized flooding or faced seed access challenges. However, below-average production is likely in coastal areas of Nampula and Cabo Delgado due to erratic and poor rainfall, and to a lesser extent in Zambézia. Fortunately localized cases of armyworm appear under control. 

    • From April to May, with the harvests taking place country-wide, besides flood-affected areas, FEWS NET expects the number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will drop significantly as the majority of households will be accessing their own produced food, and staple prices are expected to gradually ease. From June to September, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected across all areas, but there could still be localized households in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), particularly in coastal Cabo Delgado, and even in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), who are recovering from late season shocks. 


    NATIONAL OVERVIEW

    Current Situation

    Current Food Security

    • According to results from the November/December 2016 food security assessment by Mozambique’s Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition’s Vulnerability Assessment Group (SETSAN/GAV), there are currently nearly two million people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or above, who require urgent food assistance until they can access their own food from the harvest. This is in line with FEWS NET estimates, which also includes nearly 300,000 people potentially at risk of floods and cyclones, bringing the total number projected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to nearly 2.3 million people through at least March/April 2017. So far, the number of people affected by cyclones and floods facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes is less than 50,000 people throughout the country. In addition, there are nearly 2 million people facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity, who are engaging in some irreversible coping strategies to meet their minimum basic food needs.
    • Based on Food Consumption Score (FCS) surveys from the SETSAN November 2016 assessment, Zambézia Province had 32 percent of households with poor food consumption, followed by Inhambane (23 percent), Tete (22 percent), Gaza (18 percent), Sofala (17 percent), and Niassa (13 percent). All other provinces had less than five percent of households with poor food consumption. A quick comparison with the July 2016 assessment showed that FCS had improved in Maputo, Gaza, and Manica provinces but deteriorated in Inhambane, Tete, and Zambézia. The performance of the second season production and level of food assistance may have contributed to either the improvement or deterioration in household consumption. The Reduced Coping Strategies Index (rCSI), also collected by SETSAN in November that focuses on the use of consumption-based coping strategies, indicated that at least 50 percent of households in Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, Manica, Zambézia, and Tete had reduced their number of meals and showed that adults are consuming less food for the benefit of children, most prominently in Zambézia, Manica, and Sofala. In addition, many households, such as those headed by single-mothers or the elderly, who are unable to engage in other labor opportunities, are having to solely rely on the consumption of wild foods and humanitarian assistance. Consumption of wild foods was highest in Tete (56%) and Manica (54%).
    • With food stocks totally exhausted at the household level and while not yet accessing food from the new season, poor households are left with limited options to access food for their survival. These households, if not covered by the ongoing humanitarian assistance, are forced to expand their typical coping strategies to try to access the market, which is limited by peak staple food prices, or rely on wild and seasonal foods (fruits, water lily seeds, baobab pulp, etc) that are currently more available, following the rains, until the harvest begins. In general, across all wealth groups, in order to meet food needs, besides the strategies stated above, households are also shifting to less preferred foods.
    • Acute food insecurity outcomes have been even more accentuated, particularly in Inhambane Province, by the effects of Cyclone Dineo, which made landfall in Massinga District in coastal Inhambane Province on February 15, 2017. With poor households in these areas already facing drought-related food gaps, there are now likely to be acute food shortages until the end of March due to the destruction of food stocks, crops, and temporary market malfunction. Crops that were near maturation and fruit trees that normally contribute to dietary diversity and income were lost. (See more detailed information on the effects of Dineo in the other area of concern section below).

    Incomes

    • While focusing on farming activities more than usual, but earning less than usual from agricultural labor mainly due to limited payment power by the middle and better off households also affected by the El Niño drought, poor households have also been typically engaging in various self-employment activities. In order to earn income for food purchases, households have intensified these activities, including the collection and sale of natural products, such as grass, building poles, cane/reeds, and firewood; brewing and selling traditional drinks, producing and selling charcoal, as well as livestock sales, including poultry. Some poor households are also carrying out informal labor (in exchange for food) and hunting, though done illegally. These activities have been conducted simply to ensure a minimum amount of cash to meet basic food needs and to purchase needed seeds for planting. In addition, migration to South Africa in search of job opportunities, particularly by young people from poor households mostly from the southern region, has fallen due to the existing favorable agroclimatic conditions demanding an increased workforce by household members. However, there are still some households that are benefiting from remittances.

    Prices and Market Functioning

    • Prices for maize grain, the primary staple food at the national level, remain well above average, though they have now stabilized and peaked or have actually started to decrease in some places. From December 2016 to January 2017, maize grain prices increased by an average of seven percent. The highest increase was observed in the southern region, reflecting the rapid dwindling of this staple food. In the central region, maize grain prices were almost stable or already decreasing, while in the northern region, where prospects for the upcoming harvest are still unclear given the irregularity of the rainfall, maize grain prices were generally stable with fluctuations of less than five percent. These price levels are still well above the five-year average and are gradually decreasing to reach last year’s prices. Prices of maize meal and rice, maize substitutes, have largely been stable or lower across most markets, while still remaining above the five-year average.

    2016/17 Agricultural Season Progress

    • Since the start of the current season in November/December 2016, the country has received normal to above-normal rainfall, except northeast Mozambique (see Figure 1). The entire coastal area of Nampula Province and scattered coastal areas of Cabo Delgado experienced the greatest deficits, with some areas receiving accumulated rainfall of less than 50 percent of normal. Although the cumulative rainfall in the interior of Nampula Province is less than 80 percent of normal rainfall, field sources suggest that crop production and harvest prospects remain favorable. (The interior of Nampula is the most productive area within the Province, while the coastal area is chronically a deficit area.) In Cabo Delgado, the most critical districts are Metuge, Quissanga, Ibo, Mecúfi, and Mocímboa da Praia, which have been the most affected by erratic and below-average rainfall, while districts such as Muidumbe, Chiure, Montepuez, Namuno, Ancuabe, Palma, Meluco, and Macomia have been less affected. Exceptions include Mueda, Balama, and Nangade where conditions and harvest prospects remain positive.
    • Due to the mostly favorable forecast, total planting areas are reported to be near-average, except in parts of the northeast. If seed access had not been so challenging this season, total planting areas could have likely been higher, but following two consecutive poor harvests, especially after one of the strongest droughts on record, this left some poor farmers without an ability to obtain seeds as they were left with no, or substantially less retained seeds, and depleted incomes. The Government of Mozambique, in coordination with its humanitarian partners, has been distributing certified seeds in the seven drought-affected provinces since December, but this has not reached all targeted needs, nor did the original target incorporate all needs. As of the end of February, excluding FAO distributions, only 69 percent of targeted households had received seeds in January. If FAO contributions are included (confirmation was not available at the time of publishing), approximately 75 percent of planned beneficiaries may have received seeds by the end of January.
    • Based on an analysis of the Water Requirements Satisfaction Index (WRSI) (see Figure 2), planted crops, outside of flood-affected areas, are in good condition and at different growing stages. Generally in Maputo and southern parts of Gaza provinces, crops are at maturation to harvest stages, while in the rest of the southern region and much of the central region, crops are at reproductive to maturation stages. In the northern region, crops are generally at the vegetative stage. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA), the first season crops, mostly maize grain, rice, cowpea, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, and a diversity of horticulture crops, are ranging from vegetative to harvest levels. In addition, the green harvest is beginning but still not present in the interior of Gaza, parts of Cabo Delgado, and Nampula. The harvest of leaves and various vegetables is also ongoing, gradually improving some food availability.
    • Before cyclone Dineo hit the country, MASA reported that due to localized flooding in parts of the southern and central regions, nearly 15,000 hectares (ha) of crops were affected, of which nearly 10,000 ha were lost just in districts of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, and Sofala provinces, forcing households to replant in late January and early February. Apart from this, and according to preliminary data by the National Center of Emergency Operations (CENOE) from the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), about 27,000 ha of cropped land were destroyed in 10 districts of Inhambane Province by Tropical Cyclone Dineo. In addition, MASA has indicated that cases of the armyworm pest were reported in Tete, Manica, and Gaza provinces but have not caused significant crop damage. Tomato crops had been affected by the Tuta Absoluta disease, but the agricultural authorities have mitigated the situation. Field sources though did report the existence of maize stalk borer, particularly in Manica Province, but so far the affected area is not significant.

    Humanitarian Assistance

    • In January, food assistance by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) covered approximately 900,000 people in the drought-affected provinces (see Table 1). This level of assistance represented 64 percent of planned assistance for an initial target population of 1.4 million people, but against SETAN’s 2 million needs estimate, only accounts for about 45 percent of total needs. (This number does not include the total potential flood and cyclone affected people that could reach about 300,000 people based on historical estimates.) The humanitarian assistance continues to be carried out through in-kind distribution and cash vouchers in all seven drought-affected provinces.
    • In a recent visit to Sofala Province, an area particularly affected by the conflict, FEWS NET witnessed that the December 2016 agreement between RENAMO and the Government of Mozambique allowed for the suspension of government-escorted convoys, which has reduced timeframes for transportation and allowed for faster supply flows from northern surplus-producing areas. The ceasefire is also allowing the humanitarian actors to reach previously inaccessible areas with people in need of food assistance, and also allowing these households to focus on agricultural activities though not at typical levels.

    Assumptions

    The Food Security Outlook for February through September 2017 is based on the following national-level assumptions:

    Aggregate staple food availability for pre-harvest period

    • Maize grain deficit until March 2017. According to FEWS NET estimates, partly based on the Water Requirements Satisfaction Index (WRSI) and on the preliminary Food Balance Sheet for the 2016/17 marketing year (April 2016 to March 2017), there is an initial maize grain deficit of 543,000 MT. This figure does not include any projected imports, which are officially estimated at 175,000 MT, and also does not exclude informal cross-border exports estimated at 110,000 MT. However, this level of exports is unlikely due to current local restriction measures to prevent exports.
    • International maize imports. Maize inflows from South Africa through the existing commercial channels, mainly by the milling companies, are expected to continue as typical.
    • Rice deficit. Based on official estimates, the national production of rice is estimated at 212,000 MT, with initial stocks of 121,000 MT. With estimated consumption needs of 574,000 MT, this will result in an initial deficit of 241,000 MT to be covered by near-average imports of nearly 220,000 MT, mainly from Asia, resulting in a deficit of 21,000 MT.

    Markets and Trade

    • Informal cross-border trade with Zimbabwe and Malawi. During the scenario period, informal maize grain trade with Zimbabwe is expected to remain the same given the relatively low volumes typically traded between the two countries. On the other hand, maize grain trade with Malawi, which typically involves large volumes, will continue to be below average until the harvest in April. From the harvest period onwards, trade with Malawi is likely to gradually resume to normal levels until the end of the scenario period.
    • Domestic informal trade. From February to April, before the availability of harvested food, flows of informal trade of maize grain will typically continue but with reduced volumes. From May until the end of the scenario period, flows are likely to typically continue, with volumes returning gradually to normal levels.
    • Macroeconomic context. Since December 2016, the Metical (MZN) has stabilized, following a significant depreciation against the USD. In mid-January 2017, the USD was equivalent to MZN 69.73, which is the most recent low compared to the all-time high of 78.45 in October 2016. The strengthening of the Metical may encourage traders to increase their level of imports, particularly for processed foods from South Africa. Another positive development is that the inflation rate is forecast to decline in 2017, following an aggressive rate hike by the Mozambique Central Bank in October 2016.
    • Maputo maize prices. Current, February maize grain prices in Maputo, which is a representative market for the country, have likely reached the peak, coinciding with the pre-harvest period. Beginning in March/April when food from this season becomes available, maize grain prices will start slowly and steadily decreasing throughout the remainder of the scenario period. However, even with the expected improvement in maize grain availability following the harvest, maize grain prices are expected to remain above the five-year average through September. The average difference of this year’s prices compared to the five-year average for the February to July period is likely to be 152 percent higher. When compared to last year, the average change will likely still be nine percent higher as a result of the cumulative effects of two consecutive poor harvests. With the favorable rainfall conditions expected this year, maize grain production is expected to be closer or higher than average, which may increase its availability in the local markets and lower household demand. This may contribute to push prices even lower throughout the scenario period.
    • Maputo maize meal/rice prices. Prices for maize meal and rice, both substitutes for maize grain, are anticipated to remain largely stable until the harvest, and from March/April onward are projected to steadily decline until the end of the scenario period. The average difference of this year’s maize meal prices compared to the five-year average for the February to July period is likely to be 108 percent higher, and when compared to last year, the average change will be about 24 percent higher. For rice, this year’s prices are anticipated to remain above the five-year average by 75 percent and above last year’s prices by 19 percent.

    Household food availability and access

    • From February to March: Food availability is expected to remain below average due to the El Niño drought and depleted household stocks. Households will still have no access to newly-planted crops and will rely on wild foods and markets, but their access will be constrained by their low incomes, coupled with significantly high food prices. In much of the southern region, green food is expected in February, which will slightly supplement food sources, while in much of the central and northern regions it is expected in March and April, respectively. With the ongoing favorable agroclimatic conditions, this year’s green food availability is expected to be average to above average, except in some northern areas where rainfall has been below average.
    • From April to September 2017: Food availability is expected to improve significantly given the favorable production prospects for the 2016/17 agricultural season. During this period, food availability is expected to be close to average in much of the southern and central regions, except in parts of Zambézia Province where production may be slightly below-average, and in parts of the northern region, particularly in coastal Nampula and parts of Cabo Delgado provinces where an even greater level of below-average production is expected as this season’s rainfall has been erratic and poor.

    Seasonal forecast

    • Rainfall season. According to NOAA/CPC, ENSO neutral conditions are expected to extend at least until May 2017 as La Niña conditions dissipate. The positive Subtropical Indian Ocean Dipole (SIOD) implies occurrence of normal to above- normal rainfall across the majority of Mozambique, particularly in the southern and central regions. According to an updated seasonal forecast by the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM), for February to April 2017, the majority of the central and southern regions will receive normal to above-normal rainfall and near-normal rainfall is expected in much of the northern region.
    • Cyclone activity. A positive SIOD is generally associated with increased cyclone activity in the southwest Indian Ocean, and the forecast through March is for an average season. Dineo, a Category 3 Tropical Cyclone, has already hit the southern region of Mozambique with devastating damages (see Other Area of Concern section below), and since the peak of the cyclone season ends in March, cyclone events or heavy winds are still possible along the coastal areas, mainly between Cabo Delgado and Inhambane provinces. In the event of a cyclone, the majority of affected households are likely to remain food secure, but the poorest households may temporarily face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity outcomes, requiring urgent humanitarian assistance. In drought-affected areas, there is the possibility that some households could experience worse outcomes.

    Hydrology/Flooding Risk

    • High risk of severe flooding. While moderate localized flooding has already occurred, including from Dineo, there is still the possibility of more flooding with even higher intensity in the southern and central river basins as many river basins have already exceeded alert levels and now oscillate according to upstream water volumes/discharges. As a result, there is the potential for future flooding through March, which may cause localized population displacement, and the need for poor and very poor households to receive emergency food assistance because of the impact on infrastructure, market access, food prices, and crops. However, the number of affected households is expected to be relatively low due to the previous resettlement of at-risk populations. For poor-affected households, particularly those who have been drought-affected, they will require urgent assistance until they can recover and start accessing their own food. For these households, it is anticipated that second season crops will be planted following the subsiding flood waters, with a harvest likely in June/July, which is expected to be above normal, except in those limited areas affected by salinization and by sand deposits.

    Livestock

    • The significant improvement in the availability of pasture and water since December 2016 has contributed to a rapid restoration of animal body conditions, and households no longer need to move their livestock in search of better conditions. Average livestock body conditions, productivity, and trekking distances are expected to persist during the scenario period.

    Agricultural labor availability and wage rates

    • Overall, given the favorable agroclimatic conditions for the 2016/17 agricultural season, agricultural labor opportunities are expected to be close to normal across the entire country for the entire scenario period. During both pre-harvest and post-harvest stages, poor households are expected to earn near-average wages, but in-kind and other payment modalities are more likely than cash as the middle and better-off households face a reduced payment capacity following the drought, with some wealthy households expected to pay the full amount of wages after the harvest.

    Self-employment opportunities

    • From February to May, with the favorable agroclimatic conditions, the majority of people will be focused on agricultural activities rather than self-employment. However, to earn some cash for basic purchases, poor households will be engaging in self-employment, including production and sale of charcoal, which is the main income source in most parts of the country. Though the levels have declined compared to the typical dry period, especially as it becomes harder to produce charcoal during the rainy season, many households are still doing this activity to earn needed income.
    • From June to September, self-employment activities are expected to be close to average. Households will primarily produce and sell charcoal and firewood, which has been gradually growing in recent years, particularly in the semiarid areas despite the environmental costs. Other self-employment activities will include handcrafts, brew-making, and construction.
    • Migration to urban centers in Mozambique and South Africa, particularly for people from the south, will subside and return to normal levels given the improved agroclimatic conditions and demand for household labor due to the expected improvement of local livelihoods. During the entire scenario period, migration is likely to be mainly by younger people to principally engage in petty trade along the major informal trading centers.

    Input access and availability

    • FEWS NET assumes that a small portion of farmers ended up using retained maize seed for planting, but the proportion was low due to the prolonged lean season, following two consecutive drought seasons. There have been challenges in accessing certified seeds, which are not typically used in Mozambique, due to the lower household incomes, supplier issues, and delayed distributions by the Government of Mozambique and its partners. FEWS NET expects seed distributions will continue, but if they are received past the end of February in the south and central areas or early March in northern areas, they will likely not yield any crops. In a year when favorable weather conditions would otherwise lead to above-average production, FEWS NET assumes that production of main food crops will be average this year due to constrained seed access.

    Emergency Humanitarian Assistance

    • Food assistance remains below needs. Across all seven drought-affected provinces, the ongoing humanitarian assistance, which has been gradually increasing since October 2016, remains, and is expected to remain, below total national needs during the peak of the lean season from February to March 2017. Through the end of March, food assistance is expected to continue to follow the same trend in which the level of assistance will continue to increase as resources become available, logistics are in place, and inaccessible areas, particularly in previously conflict-affected areas, become accessible, which is likely to positively impact food security outcomes. However, given the current level of information on district coverage rates and beneficiaries, including uncertainty on what is planned, funded, and likely, it is difficult to determine the exact level of impact of this assistance; and as a result, these programs were not included in FEWS NET’s analysis. In addition, with a higher number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity outcomes, now estimated at nearly 2.3 million including potentially flood-affected people, additional assistance is projected to be needed and likely past March in a few localized areas.

    Agricultural production prospects

    • Estimates by the satellite-derived Water Requirements Satisfaction Index (WRSI) suggest a favorable 2016/17 agricultural production season. According to WRSI extended to the end of the season, crop conditions for maize are estimated to be near average in the central and northern regions and above average in the southern portions of the country. Exceptions include coastal Nampula Province and much of Cabo Delgado Province, as well as parts of Zambézia Province, due to erratic and below-average rainfall, and the flood/cyclone affected areas where main season production will be below average. However, this is not expected to affect overall total production prospects. In these areas, the lean season might start earlier than usual (around October) as food stocks are unlikely to be enough to cover needs for the entire consumption period as typical.

    Likely evolution of GAM during the Outlook period

    • At the national level, levels of global acute malnutrition (GAM) are expected to remain stable (within the “Acceptable” phase <5%) throughout the scenario period, especially following the harvest due to improved food intake from own production by the majority of households including the poor and very poor. However, though the national picture is expected to remain within the acceptable phase, and improving in all the provinces, in parts of Zambézia and Manica provinces it may remain above the acceptable rate of five percent, and some of this is likely partly attributed to chronic food insecurity.

    Migration of population due to political tensions

    • Government of Mozambique sources suggest that the number of people who sought refuge in neighboring countries, mainly in Malawi, or internally sought safer areas, has drastically reduced and is expected to continue through the scenario period as many have returned to their communities following the cessation of hostilities with the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the Government and RENAMO rebels at the end of December 2016. This also coincided with the start of the rains, and many returned to start engaging in farming activities, taking advantage of the favorable agroclimatic conditions.

    Political-military tensions impact on food security

    • With the ongoing ceasefire agreement in place, humanitarian actors are gradually able to reach conflict areas that were inaccessible, providing much needed humanitarian assistance. This process is expected to expand and improve as the ceasefire remains in force. 

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    February to March. This will largely still be the peak of the lean season for the majority of poor households in the country.  Green food began becoming available in February in parts of the southern region, particularly in Maputo and the coastal areas of Gaza and Inhambane provinces, but overall the majority of poor households, who will be unable to access green food if they do not live in these areas, will still be dependent on coping strategies, market purchases, and food assistance to cover their basic food needs. However, income is still expected to be low, mainly because payments from agricultural labor will be limited given the reduced capacity for payment by better-off households also affected by the El Niño drought, and purchasing power will be constrained as prices are likely to still remain high during this period. This will be significant for poor households, especially in Tete, Manica, and Nampula provinces, who seasonally work for large cash crop, tobacco and sugarcane, companies. In the interior of Gaza and Inhambane, the green harvest is expected to take place in mid-March and the harvest in April, about a month after more southern and coastal areas’ harvest. Generally, household food access will vary depending on planting and harvest times. Planting times varied with the start of the rains as there were some local variations within each of the three regions: first in the south, then in the central region, and finally in the north, which only started in December and January. Given the staggered planting this season, the harvest will begin in March, mainly in Maputo, parts of Gaza and Manica.

    It is estimated that during February to March the number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity or worse will reach 2.3 million, including potential flood and cyclone-affected people, which to date represent less than 50,000 people, who may require emergency food assistance. However, it is unclear at this point what the level of planned, funded, and likely humanitarian assistance is through March. As a result, if there is not adequate food assistance to cover these needs through the end of March, FEWS NET anticipates that acute food insecurity outcomes for the poorest households not covered by the assistance could worsen beyond Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Emergency (IPC Phase 4), particularly for those very poor households, who were living in the conflict areas and did not have opportunity to plant for this season due to the level of deterioration of their livelihoods. These households are also likely lacking the ability to earn enough income that would support their minimum basic needs due to the extremely high staple food prices.

    April to March. In much of the central areas, remaining parts of Gaza, Manica, Inhambane, Tete, and Sofala, the harvest is expected to start in April. In much of the north and Zambézia Province, the harvest is not expected to start until May. Apart from the green food, the majority of poor households in these areas will continue relying on a range of typical livelihood and coping strategies. Depending on the extent of any flooding and/or storms, which are possible through March, some flood or cyclone-affected households may still be facing food gaps until they recover through post-flood/cyclone production in June. Generally from April, with the availability of harvested crops, most poor households will be accessing food from their own production and their acute food insecurity outcomes will lessen and will range from either Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to None (IPC Phase 1), depending on the severity of their previous situation. (Note, that FEWS NET’s mapping for February to May 2017 reflects the most severe food security outcomes expected during February and March, as well as the Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes still in central areas at the beginning of April, ahead of the harvest. A gradual improvement in food security will occur, but this is not immediately clear from the mapping.) Given the gradual improvement of food security outcomes, the cessation of food assistance is also likely to be needed to be phased out gradually over April into May.

    June to September. Acute food insecurity outcomes will generally be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) countrywide during this period. During the June to September period, food availability and access is expected to remain stable and adequate. Poor households are expected to continue to meet their food requirements through stocks from their main season harvest, along with harvests from post-flood and post-cyclone planting, and the second season. The main harvest is expected to restore food availability throughout the country, but given the extent of the drought over the last two years, it will take poor households time, for many past the end of the scenario period, to fully restore their livelihoods. Households in localized areas affected by earlier flooding and/or cyclones will likely face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes as they continue to rely on targeted humanitarian assistance and market purchases for access to food. Though the major source of food will be their own production, households will utilize typical livelihoods strategies, such as charcoal production, to obtain cash for complementary food and non-food items, such as hygiene materials and school fees. However, during June to September, some localized poor households, who may face difficulties completely recovering from the drought and other shocks, may be facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes and require some sort of assistance to protect their livelihoods or even face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity and require urgent food assistance.

    In large parts of coastal areas of Nampula, portions of Cabo Delgado, and northeastern Zambézia Province that have experienced below-average rainfall and a slow start to the 2016/17 rainy season, acute food insecurity outcomes will largely remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) given the large diversity of food and income access in these areas. Fishing is the main economic activity along the coast, and the main food crop, cassava, is more drought-resistant than maize. However, in a few districts in Cabo Delgado Province, including Mecúfi, Metuge, Quissanga, and Mocímboa da Praia, poor households away from the coast are likely to start facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes in August given an expected below-average harvest from the 2016/17 season and the fact that second season production is not possible and integral to their livelihoods as it is in southern and central regions. Households from other districts affected by rainfall deficits may only feel the impact of the current drought later in the year as the lean season will likely start earlier than usual, most likely in October/November 2017, compared to what would have normally been January 2018. 

    For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

    Figures Figure 1. Percentage of normal rainfall January 1 to February 20, 2017

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Percentage of normal rainfall January 1 to February 20, 2017

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 2. Water Requirements Satisfaction Index (WRSI) for maize as of February 20, 2017

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. Water Requirements Satisfaction Index (WRSI) for maize as of February 20, 2017

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Table 1.  Level of food assistance in January 2017

    Figure 3

    Table 1. Level of food assistance in January 2017

    Source: Food Security Cluster

    SEASONAL CALENDAR IN A TYPICAL YEAR

    Figure 4

    SEASONAL CALENDAR IN A TYPICAL YEAR

    Source: FEWS NET

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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