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Minimal acute food insecurity expected until December

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Mozambique
  • July - December 2013
Minimal acute food insecurity expected until December

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Areas of Concern
  • Other Areas of Concern
  • Events that might change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • The majority of rural households in the country are currently facing Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1). Households are meeting their basic food needs through continued food availability in markets, access to a variety of own produced foods, and from the ongoing second cropping season in limited areas. 

    • From July to September, food insecurity outcomes will continue to be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) among poorer rural households in the areas of concern. Households in the southern areas affected by flooding earlier this year will be able to meet their basic food needs through consumption of food harvested from the 2012/13 cropping season, market purchases, and targeted assistance.  

    • Between October and December, outcomes will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in the areas of concern. As the lean season begins during this period, households will expand their typical livelihood strategies in order to meet their food requirements.

    National Overview
    Current Situation

    With the exception of localized areas affected by long dry spells and floods earlier in the year, the majority of rural households throughout the country are experiencing Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1) and are able to meet their basic food requirements through access to a variety of foods from the 2012/13 main harvest. Food supplies from the main harvest continue to be readily available in markets. In some areas where agroclimatic conditions permit second season cropping, this second harvest is an important source of the food and income.  Localized areas impacted by the January floods continue to recover while receiving humanitarian assistance.

    • With the main harvest coming to an end, informal and formal traders are playing an important role in the redistribution of food commodities from surplus areas in the central and north to southern deficit areas through the marketing system. Most of the main monitored markets are adequately supplied with staple food and commodities.
    • Trade flows around the country are following the typical seasonal pattern and staple food prices are generally following seasonal trends. In general, food prices are either stable or increasing, however prices are remaining above the five-year average.
    • This year’s second season cropping was above average in areas that typically do not have a second season due to the heavy rains and/or flooding that occurred earlier this year. This was the case in several districts in the remote semi arid areas that were affected by extended dry spells early on during their main cropping season. These districts include Chicualacuala, Chigubo, Massangena, and Funhalouro.
    • Typically production from the second cropping season (April-September) is limited when compared to production from the main season, however in these areas the second season crops are currently playing an important role in minimizing the shortfalls most of the interior semi-arid areas experienced during the main season.
    • Poor households in the lower Limpopo districts of Chókwe,  Guijá, Chibuto and Xai-Xai that were severely affected by flooding in January are currently recovering and reestablishing their livelihoods. These households are able to meet their food basic needs through own production, particularly vegetable production. Residual moisture in the lowlands provided conditions conducive to the post-flood planting of maize and beans.
    • Currently households affected by flooding back in January have access to food crops from post-flood planting, are receiving remittances from relatives, and are able to make purchases from local markets. Targeted food assistance is also reaching 60,000 beneficiaries in Chókwe, Guijá, Xai-Xai, Chibuto, and Bilene. This food assistance is expected to last until August 2013. The recovery process is also underway in parts of Zambezia Province where households were also affected by flooding.
    • According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s preliminary assessment of the 2012/13 season, the overall production prospects for the main cropping season are favorable. The loss of planted areas due to flooding and drought this season accounted for four percent of the total area planted in the country. Prospects for the second season are also favorable across the country, especially in the central and southern region where second season cropping is mostly practiced.

    The Food Security Outlook for July to December 2013 is based on the following national-level assumptions:


    • Normal rainfall patterns according to climatology are assumed for the outlook period. From July to September, agroclimatic conditions are expected to be normal for this period of the year. During this period conditions will be dry, temperatures low, and evapotranspiration will also be low. Under these conditions, households with access to residual moisture in the lowlands will continue practicing agriculture activities for the second season and this will mainly include vegetables, some maize, and beans. Starting in September most households, especially in the south and the central region, will be engaged in land preparation for the upcoming agriculture season.
    • Based on climatology, seasonal rains are expected to start initially in the south, moving towards the north between October and December. The start of the rains will enable the majority of households to be engaged in planting for the main agriculture season of 2013/2014. These initial rains will also provide access to wild foods, which are typically consumed during this time of the year.  

    Markets and Trade

    • In July most food prices are expected to start rising in most markets due to the gradual dwindling of household food stocks from own production. With the exception of rice, it is assumed that food prices will follow a normal seasonal trend during the outlook period but will generally remain above the five-year average. Since rice is imported, these prices are not influenced by seasonality and normally remain stable throughout the year.
    • Between July and December, the flow of food commodities will keep following the normal pattern and no disruption is anticipated throughout the outlook period.

    Agricultural Labor

    • Throughout the outlook period the agriculture labor opportunities are expected to remain at normal levels. From July to September, agriculture labor will basically include second season related activities including cleaning, planting, watering and harvesting. From October to December, labor opportunities are expected to start increasing with the start of the main agricultural season and will include land preparation and planting.

    Humanitarian Assistance

    • Humanitarian assistance levels are expected to be below the five-year average in the country, and the food assistance pipeline is expected to meet the immediate needs of those currently receiving targeted support in the July – December period.
    • Distribution of seeds and other agriculture inputs will take place in August and September. Distribution of these inputs is important for assisting households for the upcoming main cropping season, especially those affected by flooding back in January.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Countrywide, acute food insecurity outcomes will generally be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) for the majority of the rural poor households during the outlook period. During the July to September period, food availability and access is expected to remain stable and adequate. Households will continue to meet their food requirements through stocks from their main season harvest, along with harvests from post-flood planting and the second season. Households in localized areas affected by earlier flooding will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes as they continue to rely on targeted humanitarian assistance and market purchases for access to food. 

    Between October and December, the country will enter the lean season where most households, especially the very poor and poor, will have exhausted their food stocks and will start expanding their livelihood strategies to meet their food needs. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes are expected to continue during this period  Some of these strategies that poor households will start to use during this period include reducing expenditures on non-food items in order to be able to purchase staple foods, intensification of brewing and the sale of traditional drinks for income, cutting and selling of poles and natural products such as grass, firewood,  and charcoal, and seeking casual labor (i.e. land preparation and planting). Agricultural labor opportunities are expected to increase as the next start of the agricultural season approaches. It is expected that the typical onset of rains in November will provide a variety of wild and seasonal food that gradually improve food access among poor households until the green food becomes available in January or February 2014.

    Areas of Concern

    Lower Limpopo Baixa Non Irrigation Scheme livelihood zone in Gaza Province (covering parts of Chokwe, Guija, Chibuto, Bilene and Xai-Xai districts)

    Current Situation

    Despite the displacement of households due to flooding earlier this year, overall food security conditions are favorable in this area. Once the flood waters receded, households took advantage of the residual moisture by extensively replanting using the inputs they were given. Harvests have begun for the maize and vegetable crops replanted. At same time, the typical second season is now underway and these harvests are also contributing to improved food security outcomes in affected households. Households affected by flooding earlier this year now have access to diversified foods and consumption is near normal. Some households are also able to sell part of their harvest for extra income.  

    The current cost of staple maize in Chókwe market (the reference market for the livelihood) is nearly 50 percent above the five‐year average. These higher than normal prices can be attributed to the damage of production and stocks caused by flooding in January as well as low supplies due to the damage to the road infrastructure between markets. Since January, the food prices in general have slightly decreased from May to June but are still higher than prices during this same time last year.

    In this livelihood zone typically self-employment and livestock sales are the major sources of income for poor households; however, according to the preliminary results of the post-flood Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA), currently the households are relying more on the sale of cash and food crops, followed by casual labor, as main sources of income.  This is likely the case because of the additional food and cash crops that are readily available as households harvest what was replanted following the recession of the flood waters, along with second season crops. Cash needed for household market purchases and other discretionary expenses are expected to be covered through the sale of vegetables, animals, and self-employment. Currently, about 56,800 households are receiving food assistance through Food for Work, in the five districts most affected by floods (Bilene, Chibuto, Chokwe, Guija and Xai-Xai) and this programming is scheduled to end in August. Based on the preliminary EFSA findings, it is recommended that inputs distribution begins in August and that food assistance continues in the affected areas until March 2014.

    Currently acute food insecurity outcomes are Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in the presence of assistance.  Additionally, livelihoods based analysis for this zone indicates that poorer households are able to meet the essential food and non-food needs and that there are no survival or livelihood protection deficits.


    In line with the national-level assumptions described earlier, the following assumptions have been made about the Lower Limpopo Baixa Non Irrigation Scheme livelihood zone (LHZ 39) in the Gaza Province:

    • Second season harvests normally begin in July and can contribute up to 15 percent  to the household’s access to food and income sources. Residual moisture levels following the flooding in this zone have generally contributed to a higher than normal level of food production during the season. The upcoming onset of rains in October/November will occur normally, ensuring normal levels of agricultural labor activities among the poorer households.
    • Food supplies from the surplus areas of the Lower Limpopo (Massingir, Guija, Chokwe districts) and central provinces to the Lower Limpopo Baixa Non Irrigation Scheme livelihood zone (Chokwe, Xai-Xai, Chibuto districts) will behave normally throughout the scenario period.
    • Continued high food prices are expected throughout the scenario period. As households finish their own food stocks and begin to rely more on market purchases, these high food prices will likely reduce food access among poor households in October/December. FEWS NET’s integrated analysis of the market fundamentals shows that the maize price will actually follow the normal trend and it is expected to remain above the current price levels by 12 percent (or 50 percent above average), reaching its peak at the end of the scenario period, December.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    From July to September the majority of rural households throughout the area of concern will be able to meet their basic food needs through consumption of the food harvested from the 2012/13 main cropping season, available foods for purchase in local markets, and from the recent harvests from the second cropping season in some areas.  A favorable harvest from the second season will enable households to sell part of the harvest to earn extra cash as income for the lean season ahead. During this period, households will be supplementing their own food stocks with purchases, so higher than normal food prices could reduce household purchasing power, limiting food access.  Water availability for both human and animals during this period will likely be reduced at this point in the season. It is expected that poor households will likely respond by extending their livelihood strategies, specifically by selling grass, reeds, firewood, charcoal, and small stocks.

    From October to December, the lean season will begin and by this time poor households will have exhausted their food stocks and will continue to extend their livelihood strategies. The expected onset of rains in October/November will provide a variety of seasonal wild foods and increasing agriculture labor opportunities. Overall livelihood strategies will be maintained and households will refrain from depleting their productive assets as well as resorting in irreversible coping strategies. Households will ensure that income generated by expanding their livelihood strategies will be adequate to cover the food and other discretionary expenses.

    Although some very poor households (<20 percent) may be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the peak of the lean season period (October to December), the majority of poor and very poor households in this livelihood zone will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes throughout the entire scenario period (July-December).

    Other Areas of Concern

    Upper Limpopo Riverine and Upper Limpopo Interior livelihood zones (covering the southwestern parts of Chicualacuala district) 

    After heavy rains and flooding earlier this year, households eagerly replanted in an attempt to recover their losses during the main cropping season. This replanting took place mainly in the areas with high levels of residual moisture following the floods. Maize, sweet potatoes, and a variety of vegetables are currently being harvested and there are indications that this may be the best harvest in several years.  Households are able to access cash through typical activities including the sale of animals and charcoal. Currently acute food insecurity outcomes are Minimal (IPC Phase 1) thanks to the ongoing harvests, market purchases, and the use of typical livelihood strategies.

    Assuming that households in the zone have produced enough food from post-flood planting to cover their needs for the current consumption year, food insecurity will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) between July and December. Later in the scenario period, water availability for both human and animals will be reduced and food stocks will be low. Households will likely expand their typically livelihood strategies by selling charcoal, selling poultry, and engaging in informal labor. Social protection rehabilitative assistance through Cash or Food for Work programs will be implemented between July and December. This assistance is a joint effort between the Government and partners to minimize the impact of expected food price increases on poor household food access during the lean season.

    Upper Limpopo Interior – Agriculture and Charcoal livelihood zone (covering the northeastern part of Chicualacuala district) 

    Based on field observations and key informant interviews, households are currently facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity despite some impact of prolonged dry spells on the main season production levels. In localized areas in this livelihood zone, rainfall was erratic and this resulted in reduced production for some households. Affected households are expanding their typical livelihood strategies through the production and sale of charcoal and sale of small animals. So far consumption of wild foods has not been reported in this area.

    Assuming that food prices remain stable and that Cash and Food for Work activities continue, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes are expected to continue from July to September. Poorer households will likely rely heavily on typical coping strategies, including: seeking casual labor on farms of the better-off households, reducing their spending on non-food items, and some people will migrate to South Africa in search of casual work on large farms.

    From October to December, households will continue to expand their typical livelihood strategies and this will likely include hunting and gathering wild foods. Since seasonal rains are expected to start in October/November this will provide a variety of seasonal wild foods that will be consumed by households. Income and food through the ongoing Food and Cash for Work programs will help to stabilize the food security outcomes and reduce the impact of expected food price increases on poorer households. The combination of these typical livelihood and coping strategies, along with humanitarian assistance will help to maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes in this area. 

    Events that might change the Outlook



    Impact on food security outcomes

    All zones

    Late start of rains

    The late start of rains will delay availability of seasonal wild foods that typically minimize the severity of the acute food insecurity levels during the lean season (October to December).

    The expected harvest is lower than anticipated.

    If the expected final harvests (from both main and second season) are lower than anticipated the reliance on market purchase will be sooner. Prices will then increase rapidly and remain high.

    Traders do not respond as anticipated and no additional food stocks flow to the deficit areas

    Local markets would be undersupplied, pushing food prices higher than currently projected. Food deficits could increase, especially for poor households.

    Inadequate input supply for main season planting

    Will prevent households from benefiting from the expected favorable agro climatic conditions with the on-set of seasonal rains.

    Inadequate humanitarian assistance response. 

    Failure to respond in a timely fashion will cause poorer households to begin employing negative coping strategies and depletion of assets in order to meet food needs.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, July 2013

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, July 2013

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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