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Food Security Outlook through December 2012

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Mozambique
  • July - December 2012
Food Security Outlook through December 2012

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Food Security Situation, July 2012
  • Most likely food security scenario, July through December 2012
  • Key Messages
    • Across the country, the majority of rural households are currently able to meet their basic food needs.  However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity outcomes exist among the poorer households in areas in the central and southern regions due to reduced crop yields caused by mid-season dryness during the 2011/12 main season. From July to December Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity conditions are expected to persist in the districts of Chigubo, Funhalouro, Panda, Chicualacuala, Magude, Chemba, Changara, Chiuta, Machanga and Mutarara. 

    • Local markets continue to be well supplied favoring food access to the majority of households. Crops such as maize, rice, groundnuts, cassava and beans are available in markets. In general, prices from May to June have decreased or remained stable in most markets, but purchasing power is expected to decline as seasonal price increases start in July. Overall, food prices remain above the five-year average. 

    • Although production from the second cropping season (April to September) is limited compared to the main cropping season, it is currently playing an important role in minimizing the shortfalls from the main season in some areas. Some of the districts with climate conditions adequate for a second cropping season include Mutarara and Machanga. 


    Current Food Security Situation, July 2012

    While the official estimates on crop production are yet to be released, the Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) calibrated for maize crop, shows that the overall crop production is expected to remain the same or larger than the previous year. According to the WRSI imagery, crop production in the northern region is assessed to have fared well, but the southern region performed poorly. Most of the central region of the country experienced average crop production, while other parts in the region were below average.

    Currently, the majority of rural households throughout the country are still able to meet their basic food needs thanks to food stocks from the main harvest of the 2011/12 cropping season, continued food availability in markets and from the ongoing second cropping season (in limited areas). With food stocks dwindling in some of the very poor and poor households, many have begun supplementing their own production with market purchases. However, parts of Chigubo, Funhalouro, Panda and Machanga districts are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity conditions due to mid-season dryness that caused reduced crop yields and crop failure during the main agriculture season of 2011/12. Household resilience in these areas is low due to repeated depletion of productive assets and food stocks over the last 3 years.

    Although production from the second cropping season (April to September) is limited compared to the main or first cropping season (October to May), it is currently playing an important role in minimizing the shortfalls from the main season where possible. In most of the semi-arid interior of Gaza and Inhambane provinces the climate conditions are not adequate for a second cropping season due to insufficient moisture, this includes most parts of the semi-arid interior of Gaza and Inhambane (specifically in the Chigubo and Funhalouro districts). In these districts, the typical coping strategy patterns among households range from low, medium to high cost strategies. Specific examples include reduced expenditure on non-essential items; increased sale/slaughter of livestock; intensification of local labor activities;  mainly on construction; short-term/seasonal labor migration; intensification of self-employment activities (i.e. firewood, charcoal, building poles, etc.); increased cash remittances; and social support/gifts.

    Across the country, the markets continue to be well supplied favoring food access for most households, especially poor households with less food from their own production. Crops such as maize, rice, groundnuts, cassava and beans are available in markets. In general, food prices from May to June have decreased or remained stable in most monitored markets, but prices remain above the five-year average. It is expected that as prices begin to increase according to seasonal patterns, the purchasing power of the very poor and poor households will decline starting.  

    Preliminary results of the vulnerability assessment by the Vulnerability Assessment Group (GAV), July 2012

    According to the preliminary results of the vulnerability assessment carried out in July by the Vulnerability Assessment Group (GAV) of the Technical Secretariat for Food and Nutrition Security (SETSAN), household food security and livelihood outcome analysis for the 11 most critical districts indicates that an estimated 255,297 people are at risk of food insecurity. According to the assessment  many are likely to face varying levels of survival and livelihoods protection deficits in mostly the semi-arid, arid, and remote areas. Although sesaonality aspects are yet to be incorporated in the analysis, the household food insecurity situation will likely continue to deteriorate, reaching its peak towards the lean season within the months of November to January 2013.

    The analysis was based partly on the Household Economy Assessment (HEA) analytical framework and indicated that a total of 7,498 MT of cereals will be required to meet the short term survival deficits for a total of 139,593 MT from now until the next main harvest in March of 2013 in the districts of Mutarara, Chicualacuala, Magude, Machanga, Funhalouro, Panda and Chigubo. An additional 1,457 MT of cereals will be required to meet the short term livelihoods protection deficit in those districts in addition to Changara, Chuita and Chemba.


    Most likely food security scenario, July through December 2012

    The most likely scenario focuses on parts of the districts of Chicualcuala, Chigubo, Funhalouro, Panda and Magude in the  Upper Limpopo Riverine-Chicualacuala/Mabalane zone, Upper Limpopo Interior-Agriculture and Charcoal zone, Semi-Arid Interior-Sorghum and Millet Livelihood zone, and Semi-Arid Interior-Maize zone and Interior Maputo livelihood zone and parts of the central zone including the districts of Changara, Chiuta, Mutarara and Machanga districts that covers the Semi-Arid Northern Zambezi Valley zone, Chioco and Changara Semi-Arid zone, the Zambezi Valley Livelihood Zone, the Save Basin zone, Coastal Sofala and Semi-arid interior of Sofala.

    These areas of focus are chronically vulnerable to shocks, including drought, floods, and high food prices due to reduced crop production. Prolonged dry spells from January - February 2012 and mild to severe drought conditions affected the overall crop harvest in these particular areas. As a result, many poor households in the focus areas will likely experience acute food insecurity during the 2012/2013 consumption season.

    The most likely food security scenario is based on the following assumptions:

    • Decreasing food reserves for poor and very poor households starting in July as result of a lower than average harvest during the main 2011/12 cropping season.
    • Food prices will remain above the five-year average. These higher food prices will limit food access for poor and very poor households that will become market-dependent in July/August once they have exhausted their food reserves.
    • There will be very limited second season production in the areas of focus because of unfavorable agro-climatic conditions for a second cropping season in these areas.
    • Self-employment opportunities such as sale of poles, grass, charcoal, firewood, brewing and bricking will decrease due to unfavorable climatic conditions, lack of water and a reduction in prices because supply is likely to exceed demand.
    • Adequate national availability of basic food and non-food commodities in the markets.
    • There will be no physical constraints in accessing food and livestock.
    • There will be no major livestock disease outbreaks and other economic shocks.
    • There will be no major outbreak of human diseases in the arid and semi-arid areas.
    • The remaining areas in the country are more food secure compared to the areas of concern in the arid and semi-arid areas.
    • Adequate and timely implementation of humanitarian assistance and safety net programming.
    • The following events will take place: Second season crop production in the lowlands, the start of rains in November/December, the start of land preparation in October/November, the start of planting in November/December, and the start of the lean season in October.
    • All other national macroeconomic factors will remain unchanged.

    From July to September, food stocks may be exhausted for some poor and very poor households affected by earlier dry spells. Market purchases will fill the food gaps, but high prices will limit the purchasing power of poor households. Poor households will likely make up for some of their food deficits by employing a number of livelihood strategies earlier than normally expected.

    The main coping strategies  expected to be employed by households include increased reliance on wild foods, including less preferred varieties; increased livestock sales as a way to derive additional cash income for purchase of food; increased engagement in other non-farm income activities such as brewing and the sale of poles, etc; migration out of the livelihood zone to urban areas and neighboring South Africa; increase in school absence and dropouts for the purposes of having additional labor to graze animals in more distant areas that have water and pasture for livestock; rationing of water particularly for livestock on a 2-day interval basis among households; and increased search for domestic water from within the dry and sandy river beds. In limited areas where agro-climatic conditions are conducive to a second cropping season, a small proportion of households will have access to second season production to mitigate some of the food gaps due to low production during the main agriculture season.

    Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity conditions will be felt in Chicualacuala, Chigubo, Funhalouro Magude and Panda districts in the southern region, and Machanga and Mutarara in the central region. From July to September the stressed food insecure households facing livelihood protection deficits will require immediate humanitarian emergency assistance.  Given the continued scarcity of water, provision of emergency water using water tanks and extraction of water in the dry and sandy river beds will be necessary for human and livestock usage.

    From October to December, the country will enter the lean season where most households, especially the very poor and poor households, will have exhausted their food stocks and will start extending their livelihood strategies. Some of these strategies include reducing expenditures on non-food items in order to be able to purchase staple foods, intensification of non-farm income activities such as brewing and sale of poles, selling natural products such as grass, building poles, firewood, producing and selling charcoal, hunting, and seeking casual labor for land preparation and planting. Agricultural labor opportunities are expected to increase as the onset of the next agricultural season approaches. On the positive side it is expected that the onset of rains in November will provide a variety of wild and seasonal food that gradually improves food access until the green food availability in January/February 2013. However, due to reduced crop yields during the main agriculture season of 2011/12 that resulted in reduced food stocks at the household level, the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions of acute food insecurity will extend to additional districts including Changara, Chemba, Chiuta and Mutarara in the central region. The food security situation in these areas could worsen if the mild drought over the next 4-7 months progresses into a full scale drought.

    Increasing food prices will result in reduced food access for the poor and very poor households July to December 2012 and until March 2013 when food from the main 2012/13 cropping season becomes available. The high food prices may also reduce food access for some middle-income households particularly during the lean season (October to December) when most food reserves will have been exhausted and most households will turn to markets as the main source of food. The main effect of very high food prices will be reduced purchasing power for poor and very poor households who are highly market dependent for a good part of the year. Purchasing power will be reduced given the high prices of food compared to the low pay that households can earn from labor.

    Typical dry conditions experienced from July to September will result in limited water availability for both human and animal consumption. Consequently, the quality of pastures will be poor. Although second season crops contribute relatively less to household annual food availability, it plays a role in mitigating the rapid depletion of food stocks and also functions as a source of income for a limited number of households. The second cropping season will progress reasonably well in areas where residual moisture or irrigation systems exist.

    In anticipation of food shortages, traders will make up for some of the market supply shortfalls by bringing in additional cereals from the more productive zones in the northern Tete province, central Manica province, and central and northern Zambézia province.

    From July to December, a combination of ongoing social safety-net programs and food assistance by the government and partners will be part of the humanitarian response. The anticipated interventions will likely prevent the further deterioration of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity conditions in households in the areas of focus.  

    Based on the above descriptions and the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) version 2.0 severity scale, the following classifications were assigned for the areas of concern:

    • Currently, the food insecurity outcome is classified as Phase 2: Stressed Acute Food Insecurity in Chigubo, Funhalouro, Panda and Machanga where it is estimated that at least 20 percent of the households are in stressed food insecurity outcomes and are employing basic insurance coping strategies.
    • From July to September, food insecurity outcomes will be classified as Phase 2: Stressed Acute Food Insecurity in Chigubo, Funhalouro, Panda and Machanga.
    • From October to December, food insecurity outcomes will be classified as Phase 2: Stressed Acute Food Insecurity in Chigubo, Funhalouro, Panda, Chicualacuala, Magude, Chemba, Chiuta, Machanga and Mutarara.

    Table 1: Less likely events over the next six months that could change the above scenarios.

    Area

    Event

    Impact on food security outcomes

    Mutarara, Machanga,

    Chigaubo, Chicualacula, Funhalouro, Panda, Magude

    • Late start of seasonal rainfall.
    • Adequate seed supply and availability for the second season.
    • Traders do not bring in additional cereal supplies to the deficit areas.
    • Inadequate humanitarian assistance response.
    • Will delay the main season planting, water supply, and limit agriculture casual labor opportunities.
    • Favorable second season production increases food availability from August to the end of the year. Food deficits will be less than expected.
    • Local market is undersupplied, thus pushing food prices higher than projected. Food deficits, especially for poor households could be larger, particularly late in the lean season.
    • Failure to respond in a timely fashion will cause poorer households to begin employing unsustainable coping strategies, including consumption of wild food on a large scale and sale of productive assets.

    Mutarara,

    Machanga

    • Second season rains normal to above-normal (moisture content is adequate).
    • Favorable second season production increases food availability from August to the end of the year. Food deficits will be less than expected.
    Figures Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events Timeline

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events Timeline

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current estimated food security outcomes, July 2012

    Figure 2

    Current estimated food security outcomes, July 2012

    Source: FEWS NET

    Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) for maize in May 10, 2012 versus the same period of 2011

    Figure 3

    Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) for maize in May 10, 2012 versus the same period of 2011

    Source: USGS/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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