Multiple shocks will drive above-average acute food insecurity after the main harvest
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
The 2020/2021 rainy and agricultural season has been characterized by localized early to mid-season droughts in the far south and the northeast, and flooding from above-average rainfall, tropical storm Chalane, cyclone Eloise, and tropical depressions in the central and southern regions. Most households across the country are None (IPC Phase 1) relying on their own production food stocks from last season, the current green harvest, and market purchases. However, areas affected by shocks face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, with humanitarian food assistance driving Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in some areas. Much of the southern semiarid zones affected by last year's drought remain Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!), while most of the central semiarid zone continues to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. The volatility of the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado does not allow the use of the (!) symbol, which refers to areas where the IPC phase has changed due to the presence of humanitarian assistance.
In December 2020 and January 2021, much of Sofala province, and parts of Manica province, and other neighboring provinces, were affected by flooding from tropical storm Chalane and cyclone Eloise. Recovery efforts from March 2019's cyclone Idai were also impacted. Much of the affected area in Sofala province, and Sussundenga district in Manica province, are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to crop losses and successive shocks on livelihood assets. According to information from the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD), in Sofala province, cyclone Eloise affected more than 366,000 people, displaced more than 44,000 people, destroyed infrastructure, and flooded more than 143,000 hectares of agricultural land, about 5 percent of Sofala provinces' total planted area. The district of Búzi was the most affected, with 143,292 people affected, and approximately 25 percent of the planted agricultural area lost. The districts of Nhamatanda and Chemba both lost about 7 percent of their respective total planted areas. Other affected districts reported total cropland losses of less than 5 percent. In mid-February, tropical disturbances in the Mozambique channel associated with frontal systems in the south caused additional heavy rainfall in the provinces of Sofala, Inhambane, Gaza, and Maputo, and floods in several low-lying areas. The impact to planted areas from these floods is still to be determined. Recovery from previous shocks, particularly in Sofala and Manica provinces, are likely impacted. Due to the crop losses, many poor households will not harvest or have a limited harvest in April, impacting their access to food. Income from self-employment or casual labor activities to earn income for market food purchases will be affected by potential buyers' low income and above-average prices. Less affected poor households are expected to adopt coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) such as selling more animals than usual, forgoing non-essential or more expensive items, and consuming less preferred foods. More impacted households will engage in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) such as skipping meals, reducing meal portion sizes, and consuming excessive wild foods if available.
In February, heavy rains both upstream and locally resulted in flooding in low-lying areas along the main hydrographic basins in southern and central Mozambique. Additional heavy rainfall associated with tropical cyclone Guambe also affected Inhambane, Gaza, and Maputo provinces. The crop losses from flooding are driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in less affected areas. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are present in low-lying areas of Chibuto and Guijá districts in Gaza province, where crop losses of 65 percent and 32 percent were recorded, respectively. Agricultural fields have also been flooded in other Gaza districts, including Chicualcuala, Mabalane, Xai-Xai, and Limpopo, where 10-21 percent of the planted area was lost. Through the 2020/2021 agricultural season, Maputo province has lost approximately 35 percent of planted crops due to a combination of floods, localized droughts, high temperatures, and pest damage. Across central and southern Mozambique, households with adequate seed stocks are replanting to take advantage of post-flood residual moisture. According to INGD, since the start of the 2020/2021 rainy and cyclonic season, the various shocks have affected 674,724 people. Around 465,050 hectares of planted land have been flooded, with 75,959 hectares likely lost. Additionally, 2,092 small livestock have been lost, with 148 people injured, and 89 deaths, in addition to the destruction of infrastructure and equipment such as classrooms, health units, homes, fishing boats, power poles, bridges, and roads.
In Cabo Delgado, the displacement rate has fallen as most people in or near conflict areas are expected to have left for safer locations. According to estimates by OCHA, more than 660,000 people are displaced. Efforts are being made to ensure the supply of staple foods to areas where access is still possible by land, including areas surrounding conflict areas. With the start of the seasonal rains in December, poor households in conflict-affected and surrounding districts did not fully engage in agricultural activities as households were focused on traveling to safer areas rather than planting for the 2020/2021 agricultural season. Likewise, income and food from fishing has drastically reduced as many households have left the coast, lost their equipment, or fear going out to sea due to possible attacks. Most IDPs cannot fully engage in agricultural practices in the resettlement or temporary accommodation centers due to a lack of land and inputs. In the northeast of Cabo Delgado, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist as the situation remains volatile and households continue to flee to safer areas. The volatility in the conflict is affecting the distribution of humanitarian food assistance (HFA), as humanitarian organizations are unable to maintain reliable access to the conflict-affected areas. It is expected that households unable to travel to safer areas and without food assistance are likely facing greater food consumption gaps indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4).
An average to above-average harvest is expected from March, particularly throughout the central region, except in parts of Sofala province flooded from tropical storm Chalane and cyclone Eloise. Higher than normal production is expected across most of the semiarid zones of northern Gaza and Inhambane Province's interior in the southern region. Exceptions include the lower areas along the Limpopo, Incomáti, Maputo, and Umbelúzi river basins, where flooding was driven by heavy upstream and local rainfall. The floods have resulted in the loss of around 76,000 hectares of crops, though affected households can still recover through post-flood or second season planting if they have seeds. In northern Mozambique, the harvest is expected to be average across Niassa province and slightly below average in western Cabo Delgado—not directly affected by the conflict— and Nampula province's interior. However, rainfall in coastal Cabo Delgado, mostly affected by the conflict, and central and coastal Nampula, has been less than 55 percent of normal, according to CHIRPS data. As of mid-February, the Water Requirements Satisfaction Index (WRSI) for maize is 'good' to 'very good' across most of Mozambique and 'mediocre' to 'average' in the far south. According to field reports from Nampula, many households in coastal areas planted in February, likely too late to recover a typical harvest. The upcoming harvest is expected to be poor in these areas.
According to provincial health directorates, there has been an ongoing cholera outbreak in norther Mozambique since early 2020, beginning in Mocímboa da Praia and Ibo districts in Cabo Delgado. Currently, cases continue to be recorded in Pemba, Metuge, Montepuez, Chiúre, and Ancuabe. As of February 23, 2021, 2,551 cases have been recorded, with 14 deaths. Cholera and diarrhea outbreaks are also being reported in Nampula, where IDPs have been relocating. In Meconta district, particularly the Namialo and Corrane area, 346 cholera cases have been recorded in 2021.
Most poor households in rural areas throughout the country continue to earn an average income through typical means, including the sale of crops, livestock, and forest products, including charcoal and firewood. However, many poor households have well below average incomes in the southern and parts of central semiarid areas due to successive drought events over the past four years. In the southern region, poor households are expanding self-employed activities, including collecting and selling natural products such as grass and firewood, building poles and reeds, producing and selling traditional beverages, and producing and marketing charcoal. However, income from charcoal production and sale is below-average due to increased competition and the above-average rainfall. When necessary, households are selling available livestock and poultry at average market prices. The migration of younger household members to South Africa is constrained by the border restrictions due to COVID-19 and strengthened measures to control illegal immigrants, contributing to a significant reduction in remittances.
In response to the multiple shocks, the government through INGD, WFP, and other partners, are providing HFA. In December 2020, WFP provided HFA to 763,641 people, and in January 2021, planned to assist 1,358,629 people, approximately 55 percent of FEWS NET's estimated total needs. However, due to difficult weather conditions impacting accessibility to remote locations, 658,379 people received January's food distribution cycle by mid-February. Beneficiaries of WFP's HFA in conflict-affected areas are receiving rations equivalent to 81 percent of their daily kilocalorie (Kcal) requirements, while beneficiaries impacted by the drought and ongoing lean season are receiving rations equivalent to 75 percent of daily Kcal requirements. Despite the presence of HFA at resettlement areas and relocation sites in Cabo Delgado and Nampula, the increasing number of IDPs and the volatility of the conflict is continuing to drive area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes even with the presence of HFA. Humanitarian assistance continues in the southern and central semiarid areas affected by last year's drought. Needs are expected to remain high, but household food access will improve following the harvest in April.
In January and February, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths was more than double compared to the total number of confirmed cases in 2020. By February 25, the national COVID-19 test positivity rate was around 13.91 percent. It is believed that the increase in COVID-19 cases was due to the return of migrants working in South Africa, the relaxation of control measures in December, and an increase in domestic travel over the festive season. The Ministry of Health also confirmed that the more contagious South African variant of SARS-CoV-2 has likely been present in Mozambique since November 2020 and contributed to the significant increase in cases. On February 4, new 30-day COVID-19 mitigation measures were announced. All prior measures were maintained, but additional measures include a 9 pm to 4 am curfew for greater Maputo (Maputo, Matola, Marracuene, and Boane). The new measures are likely to continue to reduce economic activity, particularly the restaurant and transport sectors, and may increase unemployment as small and medium-sized companies lose capital. Access to daily wages for many informal workers in urban and peri-urban areas will also be increasingly difficult and is expected to prolong the number of poor households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
After a month of closed borders, South Africa reopened its borders on February 15, but COVID-19 restrictions on people and goods' movement remain in place. The South African authorities have also reinforced measures to control illegal migrants, increasing the number of deportations. These measures continue to negatively impact small businesses relying on informal cross-border trade and reduce labor migration opportunities for domestic and informal workers. The reduction in remittances from South Africa is also reducing household income for thousands of households in southern and central Mozambique. The reduction in informal cross-border trade also contributes to an increase in processed product prices from South Africa. Overall, the restrictions are increasing food costs and reducing household purchasing power, particularly for poor urban and peri-urban households.
Poor household market food access in Mozambique is below average due to the increase in staple product prices in most markets driven by COVID-19 control measures, reduced household income-earning opportunities, and the depreciation of the MZN against the USD and ZAR. Food access is lowest in areas affected by drought, conflict, and recent cyclones and floods due to a lack of production and loss of food reserves and crops. Poor households affected by this year's shocks have lost much or all their annual food production and rely on market purchases. In areas where the second season is practiced, post-flood production is likely assuming seeds are available, with harvests available from June. However, cereal production is likely to be limited compared to vegetable production. Vegetable production is expected to improve household food consumption and be sold for income.
Below-average production in 2019 and 2020 is driving above-average staple food prices, reducing household income from crop sales, and restricting household purchasing power. In December and January, market prices have increased following seasonal trends, but prices have also decreased or remained stable in other markets. Maize grain prices generally remained above the five-year average due to successive price increases from multiple shocks, including cyclones, floods, droughts, and conflict, which have affected production in some areas of the country. However, maize grain prices decreased in reference markets in areas where significant humanitarian food distribution occurs. In the Chókwe market in Gaza province and the Pemba market in Cabo Delgado province, maize grain prices in January 2021 decreased by 11 and 12 percent, respectively, compared to December 2020. In maize surplus areas, maize grain prices were stable, including in the Ribáue, Manica, Lichinga, and Angónia markets. Across other markets, maize grain prices increased by 7-20 percent. In January, maize grain prices in most markets were 10-38 percent lower than 2020 prices and 8-43 percent above the five-year average. However, in the Chókwe market, maize grain prices in January were 21 percent below the five-year average.
As typical, maize meal prices remained stable from December 2020 to January 2021 in almost all monitored markets with few exceptions, likely due to short-term disruptions to supply. Maize meal prices remained stable or below their respective 2020 prices. Compared to the five-year average, maize meal prices had mixed trends, with most market prices ranging from 10 percent below to 10 percent above the average. However, in the Pemba market, maize meal prices in January were 15 percent above the five-year average, likely driven by increased demand. From December 2020 to January 2021, as typical, rice prices remained stable in all monitored markets with few exceptions where rice prices decreased by 7-14 percent or a 22 percent increase in the Pemba market. In most markets, rice prices were between 18 and 25 percent above the five-year average. While prices for imported rice are expected to remain more stable than bulk grain prices, there are always short-term variations based on localized supply and demand dynamics.
The February to September 2021 most likely scenario is based on the following national-level assumptions:
- Forecasts available through USGS and NOAA indicate that La Niña conditions are likely to continue through May 2021. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is neutral and expected to remain neutral through May 2021. Based on these climate drivers, the cumulative rainfall for the remainder of the rainy season (February to March 2021) is expected to be average. A near-average number of cyclone strikes are expected through the remainder of the 2020/2021 rainfall season.
- The national water supply is expected to be average to above-average throughout the country following heavy rainfall in late January and February. The main dams will maintain normal levels in the center and north, including the Nampula dam where water levels increased by 138 percent from January 4 to February 24, 2021. In the south, the main dams have also rapidly filled to near-historic levels. The likelihood of additional flooding during the scenario period is low to moderate in northern and southern regions but moderate to high in central Mozambique.
- Favorable cropping conditions are expected in the primary production areas for the 2020/21 agricultural season. However, erratic rainfall during the early and mid-season periods is likely to cause crop production deficits in parts of southern and northeastern Mozambique. The delay and below-average rainfall in Nampula and Cabo Delgado's eastern areas are likely to result in below-average harvests. In areas affected by the conflict in Cabo Delgado, crop production will be well below average due to a lack of access to land and inputs for displaced households. In flood-affected areas across the country, though a post-flood recovery is possible, the respective harvest will be late. As typical, damage from pests and diseases, including fall armyworm (FAW), grasshoppers, and rodents, is likely. However, normal to above normal rainfall can help suppress the infestation levels.
- Driven by residual soil moisture, second-season production is expected to be normal to above-normal in the southern region, the central region, and the interior of the northern region. However, the coastal areas of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, and Zambézia provinces are expected to have below normal residual moisture. In flood-affected areas, households with retained seeds will replant following the recession of floodwaters.
- According to national estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER), in the 2019/2020 agricultural season, cereal, pulse, and tuber production increased by 7.8, 7, and 13 percent, respectively, compared to 2018/2019. For the marketing year starting in April 2021, near-average food availability is expected. It is anticipated that cereal imports, mainly maize, will be similar to last year; however, almost all national wheat and more than 50 percent of national rice needs will likely be imported.
- Trade flows of staple foods are expected to be below-average along some routes, including parts of Cabo Delgado due to the conflict and the coastal areas of Nampula and Zambézia due to expected low production in 2020/2021. In the southern and central regions, the agricultural product volumes traded are likely to be close to normal.
- Cross-border informal trade with South Africa and Malawi is expected to be below average due to COVID-19 containment measures that restrict border crossings and anticipated favorable production in Malawi. Trade with Zimbabwe is likely to remain at normal or slightly above normal levels due to the increase in Zimbabwean buyers crossing the border to buy mainly processed foods in Mozambique. The tightened restrictions on cross-border movement are expected to continue through the scenario period. Border restrictions are expected to negatively impact cross-border trade and reduce remittances to many poor households, particularly in the southern and central regions. The slowdown in informal food commodity trade across the border will lead to price increases for perishable and non-perishable goods imported from South Africa and further reduce household purchasing power in urban and peri-urban areas. These measures will also negatively impact revenues and the volume of remittances from South Africa. Deportations of illegal Mozambican migrants are expected to continue throughout the scenario period, reducing the potential income of affected migrants and their households.
- Based on the national reference market of Gorongosa, maize grain prices are expected to follow the typical yearly trend while remaining very close to the five-year average and with a mixed trend compared to the last year's prices. Prices will begin to decrease in April in anticipation of the 2020/21 harvest. Prices will continue to decrease until July, when poor households gradually exhaust their food stocks and rely on market purchases for food. As typical, maize meal and rice prices, two of the direct substitutes for maize grain, will remain more stable. Prices for imported and processed commodities such as rice and maize meal are expected to remain more stable than bulk grain prices; short-term variations will be based on localized supply and demand dynamics.
- The Mozambique Metical (MZN) is expected to continue depreciating against the USD and ZAR throughout the scenario period. According to some projections, by September 2021, it may depreciate to 78.45 MZN/USD, similar to 2016. The depreciation is expected to discourage international imports and contribute to price increases for imported products, including rice and wheat flour, in the medium and long term. However, forecast stability in these products' prices in the international market is likely to stabilize importation prices during the scenario period.
- Rangeland resources are expected to remain close to average, including coastal Nampula, Cabo Delgado, and Zambézia provinces following moderate to heavy rainfall in January and February. Livestock body conditions will gradually improve with the availability of pasture. However, from May, pasture and livestock body conditions will deteriorate as typical, but both pasture and livestock body conditions will be above average. Livestock prices will likely stay close to average throughout the scenario period.
- Wild food availability will remain near normal levels through September. The availability of green foods is expected to be timely and close to normal throughout the country.
- Based on available information, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue through the scenario period as vaccine access remains low. Incidents of community transmission are expected to continue through the scenario period, particularly in the urban and peri-urban areas. Though the impacts are anticipated to be minimal in rural areas, a likely increase in COVID-19 cases may affect the income earned from the sale of livestock and goods for middle and better-off households due to reduced purchasing power from the urban areas.
- In urban and peri-urban areas, poor household incomes from formal and informal businesses are expected to continue to be drastically reduced, and unemployment is expected to remain high due to COVID-19 control measure impacts on economic activity. With the continuation of the state of calamity, the government is expected to continue enforcing preventive measures such as wearing masks in public, socially distancing, and reducing the number of people allowed to work.
- In rural areas, agricultural labor opportunities are expected to be close to normal across the country. However, poor households are expected to earn their wages after the harvest through in-kind, cash, and other payment modalities in areas affected by shocks, particularly in the southern and central semiarid areas affected by last year's drought. Due to increasingly tight border control measures in South Africa, cross-border migration is likely to be below-average. However, migration to urban areas in Mozambique will remain high.
- As the main agricultural season continues, households will continue to engage in agricultural labor opportunities and self-employment activities for income for market purchases. From June/July 2021, after the main harvest, rural households will gradually rely more on their typical income-generating and self-employment activities. However, in areas affected by shocks, earned income is likely to be below average due to increased competition and low demand from urban centers.
- With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, international commodity demand has declined, putting downward pressure on energy and metal commodity prices. Forecasted prices for key sources of Mozambican export earnings are expected to remain below average at least during the first half of 2021 and are likely to take several years to recover to their respective 2018 or 2019 levels. These reduced export earnings coupled with reductions in other sources of key government revenues (e.g., tourism) are expected to depreciate the MZN against the USD during at least the first half of 2021.
- In northern and central Mozambique, the ongoing conflicts are likely to disrupt the agricultural activities in affected areas, including the surrounding areas. Insecurity is expected to persist in northern parts of Cabo Delgado, and an increased number of households are likely to be displaced during the projection period. In the short term, a few households are relying on support from relatives in more secure areas, but this is not expected to last at current levels throughout the projection period due to a lack of support capacity. Households that lose support are expected to rely on humanitarian food assistance.
- WFP will continue to provide humanitarian food assistance based on its likely and initial funded plan for October 2020 to March 2021. However, this plan is subject to changes according to the availability of additional resources and the redirection of priorities. Other humanitarian organizations are focused on food assistance, treatment of malnutrition, WASH activities, and educating communities on COVID-19 safety and treatment.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
From February to September 2021, most households across the country will face None (IPC Phase 1) outcomes, as they access food from carryover stocks, market food purchases, the green harvest in February and March, and the main harvest in April and May. In February and March, households in the drought-affected southern semiarid zones are expected to remain Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) due to the presence of HFA, while most of the center's semiarid zone will continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. From April through September, the expected above-average harvest will improve household food access and drive improvements to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Minimal (IPC Phase 1). Due to heavy rainfall, both upstream and locally, flooding in February caused crop loss along the main river basins in southern and central Mozambique, driving Stressed (IPC Phase2) outcomes through May. Poor households are likely to employ coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2), such as selling more animals than usual, forgoing non-essential or more expensive items, or consuming less preferred foods. Many households in these areas are likely to recover with post-flood planting and second season production, assuming they can access seeds. From June, these households are likely to rely on harvesting their own production and improving to None (IPC Phase 1). In urban and peri-urban areas, poor households are likely to continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes as the ability to engage in casual trade and small commerce will be below average due to the strengthening of COVID-19 control measures.
In northeastern Cabo Delgado, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will likely persist through the scenario period, despite HFA improving outcomes among beneficiaries. The expected continued displacement is likely to increase the number of people who have lost access to their typical livelihood activities and income-earning opportunities. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will likely persist in the inaccessible conflict-affected areas, and conflict is expected to continue. In these areas, it is expected that some of the worst-affected households that have lost homes and assets, and face difficulties escaping to safe areas, are likely to continue to face larger food consumption gaps indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. However, it is expected that the population experiencing these severe outcomes will remain relatively low, and the area-level classification will remain Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
In large parts of Sofala province and parts of Manica and surrounding provinces, the impact of tropical storm Chalane and cyclone Eloise are expected to delay the recovery efforts from 2019's cyclone Idai. Some of this zone will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through May except for the most affected districts of Búzi, Muanza, Nhamatanda, and Beira that will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to the loss of assets and crops from flooding. Many households with seed stocks in these affected areas are likely to take advantage of the post-flood agroclimatic conditions and above-average residual moisture during the second season and harvest in June/July, improving food security outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Competition for job opportunities is expected to increase, and poor and very poor households will have limited income for market purchases.
EVENTS THAT MIGHT CHANGE THE OUTLOOK
Table 1. Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario.
|Area||Event||Impact on food security outcomes|
Humanitarian food assistance far below needs
|Acute malnutrition and increased acute food insecurity are expected to increase along with an increase in the number of people facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.|
|National||Scale-up of humanitarian food assistance in Cabo Delgado||The scale-up of HFA would likely improve food access and lead to area-level Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in Cabo Delgado.|
|National||Limited access to seeds||Poor households will plant less than the planned cropping area and miss the opportunity to increase their food reserves and income from crop sales.|
|National||Traders do not respond to market demands as anticipated, and no additional stocks flow to the deficit areas.||Local markets would be undersupplied, increasing food prices. Food access for market-dependent poor households would be more difficult, particularly in areas affected by shocks such as drought. Reduced market access would increase food consumption gaps among poor households.|
|Coastal Areas||Cyclones and floods striking the coastal areas of Mozambique||The risk of cyclones and floods is through March 2021. The worst flood-affected households would likely face food gaps until they recover through post-shock production beyond the scenario period.|
About Scenario Development
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.
Region Contact Information