Food Security Outlook

Cabo Delgado expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through January 2022

June 2021 to January 2022

June - September 2021

October 2021 - January 2022

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

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

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

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

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

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

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

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

Key Messages

  • Across Mozambique, most households are consuming the 2020/2021 agricultural season harvest driving None (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes as households recover from previous shocks such as cyclones, drought, and flooding. In Cabo Delgado, the ongoing conflict continues to displace households and disrupt livelihoods driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes that are expected to persist through the scenario period. Of concern are inaccessible areas where households hide in the bush and are at risk of facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.

  • The increasing number of IDPs in Cabo Delgado who have lost access to their typical livelihood activities and require emergency food assistance are burdening host families/communities and straining the current capacity of the humanitarian response. The 2021 Mozambique Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) estimates around 950,000 people need food security in Cabo Delgado, Niassa, and Nampula, with 750,000 people targeted for humanitarian food assistance (HFA). In May 2021, humanitarian partners provided HFA to 651,867 people in Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces, approximately 87 percent of the initial HRP target.

  • While agricultural production estimates for the 2020/2021 season are not yet available, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER) expects a production increase of around 8 percent over last year. This is largely in line with the Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI), which estimates near-average to above-average production for maize grain. However, in eastern Nampula and eastern Cabo Delgado, agricultural production is expected to be well below average due to below-average rainfall and, particularly in Cabo Delgado, the impact of conflict. Below-average production is also expected in northern Maputo province and the lower Limpopo valley in Gaza due to dry spells at the beginning of the season and flooding in February.

  • In most markets, the May 2021 maize grain prices decreased between 6 and 23 percent compared to April, driven by improved availability from the harvest. However, maize grain prices had mixed trends compared to respective prices last year and ranged between 6 and 94 percent above the five-year average. However, in Chimoio, the maize grain price in May was more than double last year's prices and the five-year average. Possible causes could include successive price rises over the past three years due to consecutive shocks (mostly floods associated with cyclones) that may have decreased local availability. As typical, maize meal and rice prices were relatively stable from April to May, with mixed trends compared to prices last year and the five-year average.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Current Situation 

Following the 2020/2021 main harvest, most households in Mozambique are expected to be facing None (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. After three consecutive years of drought, cumulatively average to above-average rainfall from October 2020 through May 2021 across southern and central Mozambique resulted in a near-average to above-average harvest. The harvest is improving poor rural household food consumption and driving Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes as households recover from past shocks. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in most areas in the central region still recovering from cyclones in 2019, 2020, and 2021. However, in Cabo Delgado, the ongoing conflict continues to displace people and disrupt livelihoods, with the most affected areas facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. According to OCHA, the number of IDPs increased from 172,000 in April 2020 to over 732,0000 by April 30, 2021. Even in some safe areas, where humanitarian assistance is available, there are reports of people facing food shortages due to the continued arrival of IDPs in need of humanitarian assistance, which is overloading the existing capacity of humanitarian partners to respond. In inaccessible areas, there is concern that vulnerable people are residing in the woods to avoid the conflict and are likely facing more accentuated food consumption gaps indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

Currently, the conflict in Cabo Delgado remains the main driver of food insecurity in Mozambique as an increasing number of IDPs need emergency food assistance. The most directly affected districts include Mocimboa da Praia, Palma, Nangade, Quissanga, Macomia, and Muidumbe, which are facing area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Neighboring host districts such as Ancuabe, Mecúfi, Meluco, Metuge, eastern Mueda, Chiúre, and Pemba city are also facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to the continued increase in IDPs which is overwhelming the existing humanitarian response capacity, social infrastructure, and increasing demand in markets, resulting in sharp price rises. However, in districts with a relatively smaller influx of IDPs, such as Montepuez, Namuno, and western Mueda, area-level Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are present. Outside Cabo Delgado province, Nampula province has received around 65,000 IDPs as of early June, according to the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD), with more IDPs expected to arrive. 

The continued increase in IDPs is increasingly burdening host families/communities and straining the current capacity of the humanitarian response, with a potential pipeline break from August 2021 if additional funding and resources are not provided. Currently, IDPs are receiving rations equivalent to 81 percent of the required 2100 kilocalories. Possible disruptions to HFA are likely to result in ration reductions and increased food insecurity.  According to the CCCM Cluster Situation Report, as of June 23, 2021, an estimated 83,832 people have been displaced following the attacks in Palma as IDPs continue to arrive on foot and travel by bus Nangade to Mueda, Montepuez, and Pemba. The Mozambique Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) estimates around 950,000 people require humanitarian food assistance (HFA) in Cabo Delgado, Niassa, and Nampula, of which 750,000 people are targeted. In May 2021, Food Security Cluster (FSC) partners assisted more than 650,000 people in Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces, approximately 87 percent of those targeted by the HRP. About 69 percent of humanitarian food assistance was through general food distribution, while 31 percent was provided through voucher assistance. In Cabo Delgado, 675,000 people were targeted for HFA, of which nearly 577,000 people were reached.  However, humanitarian access difficulties, security and logistics challenges, limited resources, and relocating IDPs have made it challenging for FSC partners to target IDPs. Due to funding constraints, a pipeline break is expected in August if more funding is not secured. In the absence of additional resources, WFP assistance may be reduced from August. Food security outcomes are expected to deteriorate in the absence of HFA quickly. Currently, around 21 percent of the approximately 254 million USD  Mozambique Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021 is funded.

While the main harvest is complete across much of the country, it is still ongoing in the high production areas in the central and northern regions. While agricultural production estimates for the 2020/2021 season are not yet available, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER) expects around an 8 percent increase over last year's harvest. However, a qualitative report by MADER indicates that despite climatic adversities and the impact of pests and diseases, production prospects for 2020/2021 are good. According to the report, several planting attempts were carried out in the southern region to recover areas lost following the dry spell and flooding in the first half of the season. In the north, the harvest is expected to be impacted by late planting following the delayed onset of rainfall and fall armyworm (FAW) damage, particularly in Nampula Province, where localized areas had an above-average infestation. Climatic shocks (dry spells, flooding, storms, and cyclones) affected around 285,890 producers and 508,842 hectares of crops, around 8.2 percent of the total area planted. In Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Tete, Nampula, and Cabo Delgado provinces, approximately 105,208 hectares were affected by dry spells and irregular rainfall. Overall, the qualitative results from MADER are in line with the Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) model, which suggests near-average to above-average production for maize grain, particularly in Mozambique's most productive regions (Figure 1). However, in eastern Nampula and eastern Cabo Delgado, a delay in rainfall onset and cumulatively below-average rainfall resulted in significantly below-average agricultural production as households were unable to replant, along with the impact of conflict in Cabo Delgado. Below-average production is also expected in northern Maputo province and the lower Limpopo valley in Gaza due to dry spells at the beginning of the season and flooding in February.

Across Mozambique, the State of Public Calamity for COVID-19 continues indefinitely at the red alert level. There has been a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in June, including confirmation of the COVID-19 Delta variant, raising concerns of a potential third wave. On June 26, in response to the rising COVID-19 incidence rate, the government re-introduced a 10 pm to 4 am curfew in all provincial capitals and some select cities, set 6 am to 8 pm business operating hours for restaurants and similar services, set 9 am to 6 pm commercial business operating hours, and closed theaters, cultural centers, auditoriums, and beaches. However, according to the National Vaccination Plan, the lack of vaccines is slowing the COVID-19 immunization campaign. As of June 16, Mozambique has received around 744,000 vaccine doses, of which 384,000 were through the COVAX initiative, 100,000 from India, and 260,000 from the People's Republic of China. By June 24, approximately 438,400 people have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, around 1.4 percent of the population. COVID-19 containment measures continue to negatively impact poor urban and peri-urban households dependent on income from informal businesses, driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Many households are engaged in coping strategies such as seeking support from wealthier friends, family, and neighbors or engaging in unsustainable alternatives such as illegal street sales, petty trade, and illicit practices. The poorest and most affected families without any support are likely facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Due to increased border control, including the recent activation of Alert level 4, migration to South Africa for labor opportunities is increasingly difficult, with many people being frequently deported back to the country.

In May 2021, following the main harvest, maize grain prices were relatively stable or decreasing between 6 and 23 percent compared to April. Compared to last year, maize grain prices had mixed trends ranging from 4-21 percent below respective 2020 prices to 5-47 percent above respective 2020 prices, likely driven by local demand and supply dynamics. In May, maize grain prices ranged from 6-94 percent above the five-year average, except in Balama and Massinga markets, where maize grain prices were below the five-year average. However, in the Chimoio market (Manica province), maize grain prices in May were 117 percent above last year's prices and 106 percent above the five-year average, likely reflecting the impact of successive flooding events following cyclones over the last three years. As typical, maize meal and rice prices were relatively stable from April to May, with mixed trends compared to prices last year and the five-year average, ranging from 77 percent below to 32 percent above the average, largely driven by local supply and demand dynamics.

Assumptions

The June 2021 to January 2022 most likely scenario is based on the following national-level assumptions:

  • Based on forecast models and most likely weak La Nina conditions by October 2021, average rainfall is expected between October 2021 and January 2022. However, below-average rainfall is most likely in northern Mozambique, which may result in an erratic onset.
  • The national water supply is expected to be average to above average, driven by the recharge from the 2020/21 season and the expected average rainfall in 2021/22. The probability of flooding and cyclones during the scenario period is average.
  • In urban and peri-urban areas, poor household incomes from formal and informal businesses are expected to remain significantly below average, with unemployment levels remaining above average. With the possibility of stricter measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, economic activity is not expected to improve. Rural households are expected to earn below-average income from self-employment activities such as the sale of charcoal, firewood, and handicrafts due to low demand from urban centers. 
  • The COVID-19 negative test requirement and recent activation of Alert level 4 in South Africa, is expected to reduce border crossings to South Africa to below-average levels. However, illegal border crossings are expected to continue despite the increase in deportations of Mozambican migrants. Over the scenario period, remittances will be below average due to the difficulty crossing and reduce the potential income of the affected migrants and their families.
  • Informal cross-border trade with South Africa is expected to be below average due to COVID-19 containment measures. The inability of most unlicensed traders to transport large volumes of food commodities across borders with South Africa is expected to continue to impact the market prices of imported food commodities, mainly in urban areas. However, through illegal crossing points, informal cross-border trade with Zimbabwe is expected to be average to above-average, driven by demand for cheaper basic commodities from Mozambique (rice, spaghetti, flour, cooking oil), secondhand clothing, and illicit spirits and beers.
  • Maize exports to Malawi, both informal and formal, are expected to be average to above-average even in the presence of COVID-19 restrictions, as southern Malawi is typically a maize deficit area.
  • From June to August, agricultural labor activities are minimal and limited to areas with a second season. However, second season production is expected to be average to above average, driven by average to above-average residual soil moisture. In eastern Nampula and Cabo Delgado, second season production, particularly vegetables, is expected to be poor due to conflict and below-average residual soil moisture.
  • Agricultural labor opportunities are expected to gradually increase and remain close to average with the onset of the rainy season in October/November 2021. Nationally, agricultural wages are also expected to be close to average. However, in the conflict areas of Cabo Delgado, agricultural labor opportunities and wages will remain well below average due to the conflict disrupting agricultural activity, below-average household liquidity to pay laborers, and the lack of a viable labor market given that only a small portion of the population remains in these areas.
  • Contrary to initial forecasts, the Mozambican Metical (MZN) began appreciating in mid-February, gaining around 27 percent against the USD by mid-April. The injection of 60 million USD by the central bank into the financial market is expected to stabilize or further appreciate the MZN through the scenario period. The appreciation of the MZN is likely to curb the transmission of high global grain prices to domestic markets contributing to stable import prices for rice and wheat flour. The MZN is likely to surrender some gains by the end of the year due to the large current account deficit, the weak outlook for foreign direct investment, reduced forex conversions by exporters, continued dollar strengthening, and increased import requirements. The magnitude of the exchange rate correction remains uncertain. 
  • Although official estimates of agricultural production are not yet available, the maize grain harvest is expected to be close to average, except in the eastern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula affected by below-average rainfall and pests, and parts of the southern region affected by extended dry periods and flooding during the 2020/2021 season. According to key informants, maize grain production is expected to be above average in the semi-arid areas of southern Mozambique.
  • The internal flow of commodities to the main markets is expected to occur at normal levels for the main staple foods, including maize grain, moving from traditional high production areas to deficit areas. Following the harvest, trade flows to the southern semi-arid areas are likely to be lower, while trade flows to the coastal areas of Nampula will be above average.
  • On average, Mozambique has a rice deficit of around 500,000 MT typically imported from international markets. The availability of imported rice is expected to be near average. In the medium term, the import price of rice is expected to be stable. The regional availability of maize grain for import is expected to be average.
  • Based on the national reference market of Manica (Figure 2), maize grain prices are expected to remain well above average through January 2022. On average, maize grain prices are expected to remain 58 percent above the five-year average and 47 percent above last year's prices. Maize meal prices are expected to remain close to the five-year average over the entire scenario period. Rice prices will remain relatively stable, 25 percent above the five-year average and 22 percent above last year's prices. Although rice and maize meal prices are anticipated to remain stable, monthly fluctuations are expected due to local demand and supply dynamics.
  • During the scenario period, the availability of wild foods is expected to average throughout southern and central regions and below average in the northern region, at least through December 2021.
  • Rangeland resources and livestock body conditions are expected to remain close to average through the scenario period, driving close to average livestock prices.
  • From October 2021 to January 2022, pests are expected at typical levels as the new agricultural season starts. Areas impacted by suppressed rainfall may be more greatly impacted by pests like the fall armyworm (FAW).
  • The unpredictability and sporadic nature of the attacks that have characterized the Cabo Delgado conflict are likely to continue at current levels during the outlook period. Vulnerable households will continue to abandon their villages, particularly in districts affected by the conflict, including Palma, Mocímboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Macomia, Quissanga, and even surrounding districts. The preferred destinations for those fleeing will likely continue to be Nangade, Mueda, Montepuez, Ibo Island, and the city of Pemba. IDPs will also likely travel further south to the districts of Metuge, Chiúre, Ancuabe, Namuno, Balama, and Mecúfi. This is expected to affect the basic livelihoods of affected households. The number of households in need of emergency humanitarian assistance is expected to continue to increase through the scenario period.
  • WFP is expected to provide humanitarian food assistance based on its likely and initial funded plan for May 2021 to March 2022. 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 June to September 2021, most of Mozambique is expected to face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes depending on the magnitude of past shocks and the rate of recovery. In areas facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes, food availability and access are expected to remain stable, along with close to average income-earning opportunities from agricultural labor and self-employment. Areas expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are eastern Nampula, southern Tete, most of the southern region, and much of Sofala and southern Manica where households are recovering from poor rainfall, past droughts, and damage from cyclones and floods over the last three years. Through September, poor households in these areas are expected to continue to meet their food needs through their food stocks and post-flood and second season crops, primarily vegetables and late-planted corn. In Cabo Delgado, the conflict will continue to drive Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes across most of the province. Sporadic attacks and increased displacement is excepted to continue straining the humanitarian response capacity as an increasing number of households lose access to their typical subsistence and income-earning opportunities. During this time, people in inaccessible areas hiding in the bush and/or fleeing to safer areas are expected to rely on wild foods and abandoned food stocks and at risk of facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.

From October 2021 to January 2022, the lean season is expected to begin in October/November in the southern and central regions and in December in the north. Most very poor and poor households will have depleted their food stocks, increasing their reliance on market food purchases. However, staple food prices are expected to increase in local markets seasonally. Most households will begin to intensify their typical coping strategies to meet food needs, including reducing spending on non-food items, purchasing less preferred foods, supplementing their diet with wild foods, and increasing their reliance on market purchases. With the start of the 2021/2022 agricultural season, agricultural labor opportunities across the country are expected to increase household incomes to average levels. Still, above-average staple food prices in local markets are likely to impact household purchasing power as households become more reliant on market food purchases. Some very poor households will intensify the production and sale of traditional drinks, firewood and charcoal sales, the cutting and selling of stakes or grass for building, and seek informal work to increase household income. The onset of rainfall between October and December is expected to improve the availability of various wild and seasonal foods that will gradually improve food availability for poor households until the green harvest in February/March 2022. From October 2021 through January 2022, most of Mozambique is expected to continue facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. In Cabo Delgado, the conflict is expected to continue with sporadic attacks and government counter-offensives driving more displacement and increasing pressure on humanitarian response resources. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will likely continue in Cabo Delgado through January 2022.

Events that Might Change the Outlook

Area Event Impact on Food Security Outcomes
National

Humanitarian food assistance far below needs

It may result in the deterioration of the nutritional situation of those affected not covered and increase the number of people facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.
National Limited access to seeds Poor households will plant less than the planned cropping area, reducing household food stocks and income from crop sales. The reduction in the area planted will reduce agricultural labor opportunities and household income during the lean season. 
Coastal Areas Cyclones and floods striking the coastal areas in December 2021 and January 2022 Worst affected households will likely lose their basic livelihoods and face food gaps until they recover through post-shock production beyond the scenario period.
Cabo Delgado The possible intervention of foreign forces during the scenario period On June 23, 2021, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) approved the deployment of troops to Mozambique to help fight the insurgency in Cabo Delgado. However, there are no public details on the implementation plan of this mandate. A possible foreign military intervention will likely escalate the conflict and increase the number of IDPs. An increase in IDPs will require more resources for humanitarian partners to provide adequate assistance. 
Cabo Delgado Traders do not respond to market demands as anticipated, and no additional stocks flow to the deficit areas This is likely to occur near conflict-affected areas, as traders fear entering these areas, resulting in the undersupply of local markets, driving significant price increases. Reduced market access would increase food consumption gaps among poor households. 

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. 

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.

About FEWS NET

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