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Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist due to El Niño and conflict impacts

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Mozambique
  • June 2024 - January 2025
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist due to El Niño and conflict impacts

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  • Key Messages
  • Analysis in brief
  • Food security context
  • Current food security conditions as of June 2024
  • Analysis of key food and income sources
  • Humanitarian food assistance
  • Current acute food insecurity outcomes as of June 2024
  • Key assumptions about atypical food security conditions through June 2024 to January 2025
  • Projected acute food insecurity outcomes through June 2024 to January 2025
  • Events that may change projected acute food insecurity outcomes
  • Annex: Most likely acute food insecurity outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian food assistance
  • Key Messages
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to prevail from June to September 2024 in the El Niño-induced drought and conflict-affected areas of Mozambique due to poor harvests, limited income-earning opportunities, and failure to engage in normal livelihoods activities. In addition to these shocks, above-average food prices will make it difficult for poor and very poor households to access food from the markets. In Cabo Delgado, several areas receiving regular humanitarian food assistance will likely be facing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes.
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to expand between October 2024 and January 2025, mainly in the country's central region. The impact of the lean season, which includes the rapid depletion of below-average food stocks for families who were able to harvest some of their own crops, combined with above-average food prices and below-average income, will lead to an expansion of areas facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, particularly in areas affected by the El Niño-induced drought..  
    • The areas of highest concern include the semi-arid areas in the south and central parts of the country, which are remote areas with limited access to markets, and the conflict-affected areas in the southeast of Cabo Delgado where insecurity is heightened.
    • In May, the Food Security Cluster (FSC) partners provided food assistance to around 206,000 people in Cabo Delgado and Niassa, covering 40 percent of their monthly food needs. However, as of June, only 18 percent of the required resources for the planned humanitarian response had been secured. Limited funds forced WFP to reduce food assistance in several districts, and the worsening insecurity situation has led to the suspension of activities in Macomia Sede and Quissanga.

    Analysis in brief

    Humanitarian needs likely to increase amid limited resources 

    During the 2023/24 agricultural and rainy season, the combination of impacts from the El Niño-induced drought, flooding (some associated with Tropical Storm Filipo), and the conflict in Cabo Delgado is leading to widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes across Mozambique. The areas most affected by El Niño-induced drought and conflict are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity. In most of the semi-arid central and southern areas, as well as in the southeastern parts of Cabo Delgado, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are prevailing. Limited income-generating opportunities exist in these semi-arid and remote areas, driving below-average incomes and low purchasing power. Households displaced by conflict are among the worst-affected: their ability to cope is diminished due to the impacts of sporadic attacks and a constant climate of tension and fear, leading to below-average agricultural activities and other income sources. Prices in local markets are higher than last year’s and the five-year average, further challenging access to food from local markets.

    In most central and southern semiarid areas, household food stocks have been depleted atypically early due to the cereal shortage caused by the El Niño-induced drought and resulting poor/failed harvests. The drought resulted in below-average rainfall, uneven spatial distribution, and intense heat. Rainfall during the season was less than 80 percent of normal, with some areas receiving less than 75 percent (Figure 1). Early-planted crops were lost due to severe dryness and intense heat in November, while the replanted crops in December and January also failed due to dryness in February. Poor and very poor households without food reserves and below-average own-production are struggling to earn income and access food in local markets due to limited self-employment opportunities and above-average prices. Consequently, the poor and very poor households in the hardest-hit areas are unable to meet their calorie needs and are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, requiring urgent humanitarian food assistance.

    Figure 1. Percentage of normal rainfall from October 2023 to May 2024
    Percentage of normal rainfall from October 2023 to May 2024

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    In conflict-affected areas, needs remain high due to ongoing sporadic attacks, persistent tension, and fear of attacks. In April, the start of the withdrawal of forces from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) was announced, raising concerns about the security situations. The announcement followed a period of increased attacks by Non-State Armed Groups (NSAG), including attacks in the neighboring Nampula Province. Despite these sporadic attacks, SAMIM was able to establish some level of stability by successfully reducing the insurgents' capacity in 2021 and 2022, allowing more than 570,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) to return to their homes by August 2023. The announcement of the continuity and expansion of the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) in Mozambique may partially mitigate the impact of SAMIM's departure. The ongoing volatile situation is leading to displacements and preventing thousands of households from restoring their livelihoods. Insecurity also presents a major challenge for humanitarian organizations, as they must carefully manage limited resources with limited humanitarian access to address the needs arising from the conflict and the El Niño induced drought.

    The projected maize production for the 2023/24 season is anticipated to be below-average due to negative impacts from climate shocks and conflict. Qualitative estimates from FEWS NET suggest a 25 to 35 percent decrease in maize production compared to the five-year average. In comparison, estimates based on remote sensing techniques by UCSB-CHC and NASA FEWS NET science partners suggest a potential 40 percent decrease compared to the five-year average. As a result, there will be an atypically low supply for the 2024/25 consumption year. The El Niño-induced drought has impacted major production areas, including the highlands of Tete, Manica, Sofala, and Zambézia provinces. Below-average rainfall has also affected parts of the north, particularly the southern part of Niassa Province, significantly impacting Mecanhelas and Mandimba districts, which border neighboring Malawi. Consequently, imports for the 2024/25 marketing year are expected to be above average. Maize imports from South Africa into Mozambique are expected to be below average and unable to meet the national deficit of 0.515 million MT. Therefore, maize must be sourced from the international market to meet commercial and humanitarian needs, and will likely take more time and cost to reach the affected people.

    Learn more 

    The analysis in this report is based on information available as of June 30, 2024. Follow these links for additional information: 


    Food security context

    Despite its tremendous agricultural potential, Mozambique faces significant food insecurity challenges due to climatic hazards and sociopolitical factors. Most of the country is susceptible to extreme weather events, including cyclones, floods, and droughts, which can severely impact food production and availability. Most recently, El Niño-induced drought and severe Tropical Storm Filipo caused widespread destruction of crops, infrastructure, and livelihoods in central parts of the country, making it difficult for poor and very poor households to recover. These disasters have also led to the displacement of thousands of people, further exacerbating acute food insecurity by disrupting food production and displacing communities. High levels of poverty and chronic food insecurity also render poor and very poor households more vulnerable to acute food insecurity in the face of shocks. For instance, the stunting rate among children under five remains around 37 percent while poor dietary diversity, inadequate healthcare, and frequent disease outbreaks further contributes towards deterioration of their nutritional status.  . 

    Agriculture — dominated by rainfed farming systems — is the major economic sector in Mozambique, with over 70 percent of the population relying on it for their livelihoods. Smallholder farmers generally use limited inputs and technologies, resulting in low crop productivity, and are highly susceptible to extreme weather events. Additionally, farmers typically experience high post-harvest losses averaging around 30 percent of production due to inadequate storage facilities. 

    Crop production is typically the main source of food and income for poor and very poor households. Mozambique’s primary harvest season typically begins around April and concludes around June (Figure 2), the current situation period of this report. The ongoing second season (largely vegetable cultivation) is mainly practiced in the low-lying areas of the central and southern regions using residual moisture from the previous rainy season. Planting for the second season starts in April, with the harvest expected from August through October. Despite some income-earning opportunities associated with main season , November to February (Figure 2) represents the country’s typical lean season, characterized by the depletion of household food stocks and seasonal food price increases. Rates of acute malnutrition also increase seasonally during this time. 

    The northern province of Cabo Delgado has been a center of conflict since 2017, plagued by an insurgency led by Islamist militant groups, often referred to as Al-Shabaab. At the height of the conflict in 2021 and 2022, over 1 million people were displaced and forced to flee their homes, destroying infrastructure and disruption of local economies. Agricultural activities were severely impacted, with crop production significantly reduced as the cultivated land decreased. Currently, many farmers are still unable to access their farmlands and markets and lack access to employment, which significantly reduces their capacity to produce sufficient food and raise enough income. This reduction in food availability and supplies is further exacerbated by the destruction of infrastructure, such as roads and markets, which hinders the transportation and distribution of food. As a result, most people in this region are dependent on humanitarian food assistance.

    Figure 2: Seasonal calendar for a typical year in central areas of Mozambique
    seasonal calendar for a typical year in central parts of Malawi

    Access the complete set of seasonal calendars for Mozambique here.

    Source: FEWS NET


    Current food security conditions as of June 2024

    Early warning of acute food insecurity outcomes requires forecasting outcomes months in advance to provide decision makers with sufficient time to budget, plan, and respond to expected humanitarian crises. However, due to the complex and variable factors that influence acute food insecurity, definitive predictions are impossible. Scenario Development is the methodology that allows FEWS NET to meet decision makers’ needs by developing a “most likely” scenario of the future. The starting point for scenario development is a robust analysis of current food security conditions, which is the focus of this section. 

    Key guiding principles for FEWS NET’s scenario development process include applying the Disaster Risk Reduction framework and a livelihoods-based lens to assessing acute food insecurity outcomes. A household’s risk of acute food insecurity is a function of not only hazards (such as a drought) but also the household’s vulnerability to those hazards (for example, the household’s level of dependence on rainfed crop production for food and income) and coping capacity (which considers both household capacity to cope with a given hazard and the use of negative coping strategies that harm future coping capacity). To evaluate these factors, FEWS NET grounds this analysis in a strong foundational understanding of local livelihoods, which are the means by which a household meets their basic needs. FEWS NET’s scenario development process also accounts for the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework; the Four Dimensions of Food Security; and UNICEF’s Nutrition Conceptual Framework, and is closely aligned with the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analytical framework.

    Key hazards 

    Conflict: In January/February 2024, following a notable decrease in conflict events in Cabo Delgado, sporadic attacks occurred in previously relatively safe areas, leading to a new wave of IDPs and countering the previous trend of displaced people returning to their places of origin. The attacks in January and February were particularly concerning because they occurred during the peak of the 2023/24 rainy season when almost the entire population, including returnees, were engaged in own-production agricultural activities. Due to the attacks and fear of further violence, people left their farms and sought safety as IDPs, forcing them to fully rely on humanitarian aid as their main source of food. The attacks, along with heavy rains and localized floods, have slowed the pace of livelihoods recovery and the resumption of agricultural activities in relatively secure areas.

    In April 2024, the progressive withdrawal of forces from the SAMIM in Cabo Delgado began amidst isolated attacks that continued in remote communities of Cabo Delgado, specifically in the districts of Macomia and Quissanga. These sporadic attacks led to the displacement of many households to areas considered relatively safe. According to the Movement Alert Report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), between May 10 and 21, 2024, attacks and the fear of attacks by NSAGs in Macomia and Quissanga caused the displacement of around 4,500 individuals, with approximately 4,300 in Macomia and 250 in Quissanga, respectively.

    Weather: The 2023/24 rainy and agricultural season was significantly affected by the El Niño phenomenon, resulting in below-average rainfall and irregular distribution (Figure 3), along with above-average temperatures, particularly in the central and southern regions. The absence of rainfall and a 30-day dry spell in November made it impossible for any early-planted crops to survive. Although significant rains occurred in December and January, late-planted crops also suffered from dryness and above-average temperatures in February. Rainfall resumed in March, but it was too late for any recovery, and below-average production has prevailed, especially in the semi-arid areas of the south and center of the country. The above-average production in the north will not be able to offset the deficit, and the national cereal production will be below average. 

    Figure 3. Rainfall distribution in Changara district (Tete) during the 2023/24 rainy season
    Rainfall distribution in Changara district (Tete) during the 2023/24 rainy season

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    The El Niño-induced drought of 2023/24 has also affected the surplus-producing regions in Tete, Zambézia, Sofala, and Manica provinces, as well as the southern areas of Niassa Province in the north (Figure 4). According to an assessment conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the National Institute for Disaster Management of Mozambique (INGD), 342 individuals (58 families) were displaced from the northern districts of Sofala and Tete to host communities in Manica (Bárue district) between April 22-24, 2024. Priority needs for the displaced individuals include food security, access to clean water, adequate shelter, and agricultural inputs. In addition, there is a high demand for non-food items such as hygiene kits, blankets, mosquito nets, and kitchen utensils. The combination of drought, soil degradation, and increased salinity in important water sources continues to impact the agriculture, livestock, and fishing industries, making it difficult for many families to maintain sustainable livelihoods in rural areas.

    Figure 4. Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) as of May 31, 2024
    Figure 4. Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) as of May 31, 2024

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    In addition to the El Niño-induced drought, the 2023/24 season was impacted by severe Tropical Storm Filipo in mid-March 2024. The storm brought maximum winds of 90 km per hour, gusts exceeding 120 km per hour, and heavy rainfall reaching 150 mm in 24 hours. The storm primarily impacted Sofala, Inhambane, Gaza, and Maputo provinces. Ten days later, the southern zone, particularly Maputo, experienced flooding due to torrential rains. According to the estimates from the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD), made in April 2024, the combination of shocks, including heavy rainfall, strong winds, and severe Tropical Storm Filipo, negatively impacted nearly 200,000 people, resulting in the deaths of 146 individuals. Furthermore, 7,400 houses were totally or partially destroyed, and 89 health units, 468 schools, and 31,000 hectares of various crops were affected (of which approximately 20 percent of the crops were completely destroyed). The impacts also extended to infrastructure, causing damage to over 900 km of roads, as well as the destruction of bridges, aqueducts, power poles, and other essential facilities.

    Urban and peri-urban floods have caused thousands of households to seek refuge in accommodation centers in various neighborhoods in the cities of Maputo and Matola. Just as the waters receded in early June, heavy rainfall and hail exacerbated the flooding and prevented household returns. According to the authorities, the definitive solution to this situation is the relocation of these households to safer areas. Some households whose homes had rainwater pumped out are already returning, while others are awaiting relocation. According to disaster management and municipality authorities, humanitarian assistance in accommodation centers, though insufficient, is being provided to those in need through INGD and partners. In addition to food, the greatest needs include shelter, non-food items, water purification, hygiene equipment, and environmental sanitation. Meanwhile, the need for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructures is also increasing.

    Urgent need for seed inputs: Significant challenges to the 2023/24 season included El Niño-induced drought, floods, and strong winds. As a result, agricultural production was below average, leading to a decrease in household income, particularly for poor and very poor households who rely on selling their crops for income. Many of these households cannot afford the seed inputs needed for the ongoing vegetable season and require urgent assistance. The necessary seeds include vegetables, beans, sweet potatoes, and short-cycle cereals. The current vegetable season can help reduce consumption gaps to some extent until September. However, this practice is not widespread in all regions affected by the El Niño-induced drought, but rather is limited to low-lying areas with adequate humidity or to areas with restricted access to irrigation systems.


    Analysis of key food and income sources

    Crop production: Throughout the main season from October 2023 to April 2024, food production in much of southern and central areas was significantly affected by the El Niño-induced drought. The semi-arid areas in the south and center, including parts of Tete, Sofala, Manica, Gaza, and Inhambane provinces, had below-average crop production. Additionally, areas that are not typically impacted by El Niño, such as the northern part of Tete Province, portions of Zambézia Province, and the central areas of Sofala and Manica provinces, also experienced below-average production.

    In contrast, most of the northern provinces, including Niassa, Cabo Delgado, and Nampula, had positive agricultural performances, except for the southern part of Niassa Province where rainfall was below average. However, areas affected by a resurgence of conflict in January and February – including districts of Macomia, Chiúre, Mecúfi, Metuge, Mocímboa da Praia, Quissanga, Ancuabe, and Muidumbe – experienced negative agricultural impacts due to sporadic attacks and fear of further attacks, which may result in below-average crop production.

    Due to climate shocks and conflict, the production of maize from the 2023/24 season is estimated to be below the five-year average, possibly necessitating increased imports for the 2024/25 consumption year. Furthermore, poor and very poor households in numerous parts of the country are encountering below-average availability of seasonal products like cashews and watermelon, due to irregular rainfall.

    Livestock production: Significant rains in December and January, followed by more rainfall in March, are driving favorable water and pasture conditions for livestock. Poor and very poor households, who typically own chickens, ducks, and sometimes goats and pigs, sell them as needed, for income. The consumption of animals is rare, as many are sold for income. However, many very poor and poor households either do not own any animals or have already sold them due to recent multiple shocks, particularly in the worst affected areas by El Niño-induced drought during the 2023/2024 main agricultural season. This includes most of the southern and central semiarid areas, resulting in below-average income from the sale of livestock.

    Agricultural labor and wages: Although there were multiple attempts at sowing and weeding, agricultural labor was overall below average. Wages were also lower than normal due to lingering impacts of past shocks, such as Cyclone Freddy's impact on the southern and central areas, and the potential for a below-average harvest for medium and wealthy households. In Cabo Delgado, recent attacks and increased tension are disrupting agricultural activities and reducing agricultural labor opportunities.

    Wild foods: Many of the poor and very poor households, especially those who have lost their sources of income, rely on wild foods for food. However, due to increased demand, the availability of wild foods and fruits is limited. Some well-known wild foods consumed by resource-poor households in the drought-affected southern and central areas of the country include mahimbe, tissundo, Macuacua, Massala, Mafilo, malambe, Massânica, and Nhica. In the Tambara district, authorities reported in February that some households resorted to harvesting Nhica, a tuber that grows in temporary, stagnant waters; it was the only available resource at that time for consumption.

    Off-own-farm sources of income: With production below average or practically lost, most poor and very poor households resort to exploiting and selling forest resources to obtain income for purchasing food in local markets:

    • Sale of charcoal and firewood: Many communities impacted by climate-related events have resorted to production and sale of charcoal (Figure 5) to generate income and cover some basic needs. However, this activity is only lucrative for communities situated near major transportation routes and as competition intensifies, households are earning less. The Ministry of Land and Environment has recently stressed the importance of strictly enforcing laws governing the transportation of charcoal across the country without a license. This legal measure could potentially affect the revenue from charcoal, as most transporters do not possess the necessary licenses.
    Figure 5. Selling charcoal in Tete
    Selling charcoal in Tete

    Source: FEWS NET

    • Artisanal mines: Artisanal mining has been practiced in Mozambique for a long time. The main valuable minerals are gold, precious, and semi-precious stones; however, in recent years mineral types have expanded to include the extraction of building stone, limestone, sand, clay, tantalite, and mineral coal. According to a survey carried out by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, in coordination with the INE in 2021, more than 2,160 artisanal mining sites were identified in the country, of which 53 percent are self-employed. More than 50 percent are involved in gold mining and about 30 percent in mining construction materials (stone, sand, and clay). Although much of mining activities are illegal and highly dangerous, it is a source of income for thousands of households in rural areas and serves as an alternative to agriculture, which are increasingly impacted by climate-related shocks due to climate change.
    • Petty trade: Some households engage in producing traditional drinks using cereals. However, the low cereal production has impacted drink production and caused a drop in income. Households also make handicrafts such as mats, pestles, reapers, wooden spoons, sieves, crockery, and other household items. Nevertheless, due to low demand and the focus on food, the sales of these items are also affected.
    • Other sources of income: The cutting and sale of grass/straw, reeds, and stakes for house construction is currently below average due to low demand. Many households are prioritizing the search for food, which is affecting the market for these materials. Similarly, the production and sale of clay bricks is also impacted by the reduced purchasing power of potential buyers, especially in urban and peri-urban areas where the bricks are typically in demand.

    Market supplies: The supply of various products from the 2023/24 harvest, including maize grain, rice, pulses, tubers, and vegetables, is below average. Food commodities are being transported from areas with surpluses to those with deficits by formal and informal traders, who are taking advantage of the essential nature of food products. In some markets, in addition to locally sourced products, there are also significant quantities of produce imported from South Africa, such as potatoes, onions, carrots, and other food items. 

    Household purchasing capacity: Many poor and very poor households in areas affected by the 2023/24 season's shocks are struggling to purchase adequate food due to below-average incomes and above-average staple food prices. In southern and central markets, maize grain prices have remained atypically stable after the below-average main harvest, but prices remain above last year and the five-year average. For instance, in Maputo, the prices of maize grain have remained steady since the beginning of the year but are currently 24 percent higher than last year’s and 37 percent higher than the five-year average. Households in the drought-affected southern and central semi-arid areas, which had poor harvests, have limited income, yet are market reliant in the context of these above-average prices, constraining their purchasing power. In the northern regions, prices have decreased due to the ongoing harvest. Specifically, in Montepuez, Cabo Delgado Province (northern zone), the price of maize grain has been decreasing seasonally since March. Despite these price decreases, conflict-displaced households in Cabo Delgado are heavily market-dependent, and still struggle to access and purchase food from the market. While some low-lying areas saw temporary stabilization of consumption levels due to vegetable production, overall, there is a deficit in food consumption.


    Humanitarian food assistance

    Humanitarian food assistance – defined as emergency food assistance (in-kind, cash, or voucher) – may play a key role in mitigating the severity of acute food insecurity outcomes. FEWS NET analysts always incorporate available information on food assistance, with the caveat that information on food assistance is highly variable across geographies and over time. In line with IPC protocols, FEWS NET uses the best available information to assess where food assistance is “significant” (defined by at least 25 percent of households in a given area receiving at least 25 percent of their caloric requirements through food assistance); see report Annex. In addition, FEWS NET conducts deeper analysis of the likely impacts of food assistance on the severity of outcomes, as detailed in FEWS NET’s guidance on Integrating Humanitarian Food Assistance into Scenario Development. Other types of assistance (e.g., livelihoods or nutrition assistance; social safety net programs) are incorporated elsewhere in FEWS NET’s broader analysis, as applicable. 

    In May, partners of the FSC provided humanitarian food assistance to about 205,500 people in Cabo Delgado and Niassa in the north, covering approximately 40 percent of monthly food needs. In addition, 7,970 people received agricultural and livelihood support, including inputs, fishing supplies, and support on income-generating activities. However, as of June, only 18 percent of the minimum resources required for the planned humanitarian response had been guaranteed by FSC partners. The worsening security situation has impacted humanitarian efforts, particularly in Macomia Sede: on May 10, heavily-armed NSAG entered the village and attacked government security forces, taking control of the city relatively fast and forcing humanitarian partners to suspend activities. In Quissanga, suspension of assistance is also ongoing. However, limited funds have forced the WFP to reduce food assistance in 2024 in several districts, including Ancuabe, Balama, Ibo, Chiure, Montepuez, Palma, Metuge, Mueda, Namuno, Pemba, and Mecúfi. As a result, approximately 341,000 people in need were not covered by food assistance programs during the lean season, with this number increasing to around 470,300 in the post-harvest period. To cope with limited funds, WFP is implementing prioritization principles, focusing on the most vulnerable, prioritizing return districts, addressing factors prompting people to leave their areas, maximizing cost-effectiveness, integrating seasonality aspects, and making evidence-based adjustments. UN FAO has taken the lead with agricultural assistance, providing winter season seeds (horticultural) and tools,  with other partners covering around 75 percent of the foreseen target households (around 32,200 households) in Cabo Delgado.

    The Anticipatory Actions (AA) framework in Mozambique, aimed at mitigating drought impacts in Gaza, Tete, and Sofala provinces, has mobilized 26 million metical (MZN) (approximately 408,000 USD) for various initiatives that include the rehabilitation of water sources, installation of photovoltaic irrigation systems, and distribution of drought-tolerant seeds and vegetative material. Small animals, particularly dual-purpose chickens, were promoted, and communities received training to enhance food nutrition and animal supplementation techniques. Tailored early warning messages reached 270,000 people, and anticipatory cash-based transfers of 2,500 MZN per household per month were provided to around 11,600 households for three months, mirroring the Post-Emergency Direct Social Assistance Programme (PASD-PE). This comprehensive support covered districts in Gaza, Sofala, and Tete provinces.

    There are concerns about limited resources in drought-affected areas in the southern and central regions facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, since the limited humanitarian resources are mostly focused on the north due to escalating conflict and growing needs. 


    Current acute food insecurity outcomes as of June 2024

    Based on the analysis of food security conditions, FEWS NET then assesses the extent to which households are able to meet their minimum caloric needs. This analysis converges evidence of food security conditions with available direct evidence of household-level food consumption and livelihood change; FEWS NET also considers available area-level evidence of nutritional status and mortality, with a focus on assessing if these reflect the physiological impacts of acute food insecurity rather than other non-food-related factors. Ultimately, FEWS NET uses the globally recognized five-phase Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) scale to classify current acute food insecurity outcomes. In addition, FEWS NET applies the “!” symbol to designate areas where the mapped IPC Phase would likely be at least one IPC Phase worse without the effects of ongoing humanitarian food assistance.

    South and central zones: Despite the ongoing harvest, many poor and very poor households face atypically rapid depletion of food stocks in their granaries; typically, granaries should be full at this time of year. Acute food insecurity has been worsening this year, well before the typical lean season from October to March. Without food reserves, the poor and very poor households who lack animals to sell have few options to generate income to buy food at local markets. Additionally, the high prices of staple foods such as maize grain (96 and 37 percent above average) in the center and south, respectively based on Mutarara and Maputo markets) and rice (37 and 19 percent above average) in the center and south, respectively based on Mutarara and Maputo markets) are reducing purchasing power and constraining access to food sold in local markets.. Poor and very poor households living in remote semi-arid areas are already adopting some coping strategies that are indicative of Crisis and are typically seen during the lean season, such as reducing the number or size of meals, favoring consumption by children over adults, removing children from school, seeking help from family members, and increasing consumption of wild foods. However, wild food availability is decreasing due to high demand. Even after adopting these coping strategies, very poor and poor households are unable to meet their caloric needs and continue to face food consumption deficits, forcing some households to take more drastic measures, including migrating to other areas in search of better survival conditions. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are present in the semi-arid areas of the south and center where poor and very poor households with food consumption deficits urgently need emergency food assistance. Provision of humanitarian food assistance would prevent nutritional status from deteriorating and avoid worse food insecurity outcomes, as well as prevent adoption of negative coping mechanisms that affect livelihoods and compromise future living conditions.

    In Cabo Delgado, the majority of IDPs and returnees continue to depend on humanitarian food assistance due to the ongoing tension caused by sporadic attacks. These attacks are preventing people from fully resuming their normal activities. Recently, there has been a resurgence of attacks in previously peaceful areas, making it even more difficult to resume basic livelihoods during the 2023/24 rainy and agricultural season. As a result, there are new waves of IDPs and returnees, which presents significant challenges for humanitarian efforts. Limited income-generating opportunities and purchasing power have intensified the competition for limited resources. For most displaced households and returnees, the primary source of food is humanitarian assistance. Increased insecurity and limited response funding are causing persistent Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, while Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes will persist in areas that regularly receive humanitarian food assistance. In relatively safer areas, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions will be prevalent, as most poor and very poor households can access the minimum required food but struggle to cover non-food expenses due to the need to share their limited resources with internally displaced relatives. However, in the non-conflict affected areas within Cabo Delgado, favorable agroclimatic conditions during the 2023/24 season have led to increased agricultural production, resulting in improved food security for most households.

    In Nampula, the districts of Erati and Memba are currently facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. This is due to the pressure on limited resources caused by the presence of displaced families from within the districts and from Cabo Delgado Province, following the April incident in the Erati district caused by insurgents from Cabo Delgado.


    Key assumptions about atypical food security conditions through June 2024 to January 2025

    The next step in FEWS NET’s scenario development process is to develop evidence-based assumptions about factors that affect food security conditions. This includes hazards and anomalies in food security conditions that will affect the evolution of household food and income during the projection period, as well as factors that may affect nutritional status. FEWS NET also develops assumptions on factors that are expected to behave normally. Together, these assumptions underpin the “most likely” scenario. The sequence of making assumptions is important; primary assumptions (e.g., expectations pertaining to weather) must be developed before secondary assumptions (e.g., expectations pertaining to crop or livestock production). Key assumptions that underpin this analysis, and the key sources of evidence used to develop the assumptions, are listed below.

    National assumptions

    • Based on international weather forecasts, the start of the 2024/25 rainy season from October to December 2024 is likely to be average; however, uncertainty exists given the long lead time. NMME and WMO models indicate an increased chance of La Niña in the latter half of 2024, potentially leading to above-average rainfall.
    • Dam levels and the national water supply are expected to be near average in much of the southern and northern zones, supported by the recharges from the 2023/24 rainy season, but below average in parts of the central zone due to significantly below-average rainfall in the area. The higher probability of La Niña occurring in the second half of 2024 could increase the likelihood of cyclones, strong winds, and floods affecting Mozambique, particularly from December 2024 to January 2025.
    • In 2024, maize harvest is expected to be lower than the five-year average and lower than last year’s harvest, mainly due to the effects of the El Niño-induced drought. Unlike previous drought events, the drought during the 2023/24 season significantly impacted productive areas in the central region of the country, including Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambézia provinces.
    • The informal cross-border trade of maize between Malawi and Mozambique is expected to decrease due to the below-average production of this cereal on both sides of the border. It is expected that there will be higher demand from Zimbabwe as buyers are looking for processed food products such as rice, maize flour, and non-food items. With below-average maize availability in Mozambique, there could be increased demand for South African maize grain and processed food products. However, the below-average production in South Africa might lead to an upsurge in maize grain imports from global markets.
    • Between June and September 2024, most households will be engaged in non-agricultural work to earn income. Those who have suitable conditions for the second agricultural season will concentrate on growing vegetables and short-cycle cereals. From October 2024 to January 2025, the expected normal start of the 2024/25 rainy season will provide near average agricultural labor, including land preparation, planting, and weeding. However, wages are expected to be below average due to the weak ability of middle and better-off households to make payments, as they have not yet recovered from the impacts of the shocks in 2024 and recent years. 
    • In areas affected by weather shocks, an increased number of households may depend more on small-scale trading and providing services for income, which could lead to increased competition and below-average income. 
    • Except for the northern region, where agricultural wages are expected to be close to average, most middle and better-off households of the central and southern regions are likely to experience below-average hiring capacity this year due to climate shocks, primarily attributed to the effects of El Niño, as well as past shocks. This is expected to result in below-average agricultural demand and wages. However, during the 2024/25 main season period from October 2024 to January 2025, agricultural labor opportunities are expected to be close to average.
    • The second agricultural season accounts for less than 20 percent of the total annual production. However, due to below-average residual moisture and challenges in accessing seeds for households affected by climate shocks, this year’s second season production is expected to be below average, and consequently, income from the sale of vegetables is also expected to be lower than average.
    • From October 2024 to January 2025, pest damage is expected to be average. Among the anticipated pests, the emphasis is on rodents, fall armyworm (FAW), grasshoppers, stalk borers, and leaf miners. 
    Figure 6. Maputo maize grain prices and projections (MZN/kg)
    Maputo maize grain prices and projections (MZN/kg)

    Source: FEWS NET estimates based on MADER/SIMA data

    • According to FEWS NET price projections, maize grain prices in the reference market of Maputo (Figure 6) will follow seasonal trends but remain above the five-year average throughout the scenario period. High maize grain prices will reduce the purchasing power of very poor and poor households, limiting their access to food. As is typical, maize meal and rice prices will likely remain more stable partly due to a stable Metical exchange rate, but short-term variations will occur driven by localized supply and demand dynamics. 
    • The expected average wild food availability in the southern and northern regions of the country will provide partial relief during the lean season, but will be insufficient to address nutritional gaps. In the central region, wild food availability is expected to be below average due to dryness caused by El Niño.

    Sub-national assumptions for El Niño-induced drought-affected areas (semi-arid areas of south and center)

    • Second season prospects are poor as the residual moisture required for crops in the area will be below average until the end of the season in September/October. Consequently, the production level is anticipated to be less than 70 percent of the average. 
    • Throughout the entire scenario period, very poor and poor households will have low to no household food stocks as they have quickly depleted following below-average or no harvest in 2024. Newly harvested food will be available from March/April 2025 from the next agricultural season.
    • Due to multiple attempts at planting in 2023/24 season, low-income households have used up most of their seeds and agricultural inputs. Households are now facing difficulties in obtaining seeds for the ongoing second season and the upcoming 2024/25 main season. Without planned seed distributions, very poor and poor households will struggle to access seeds, leading to a decrease in the total planted area. Additionally, the saved seeds (if any) are typically of poor quality and have less resistance to pests and diseases.
    • Following a poor or failed harvest in March/April, poor and very poor households in these areas have been increasingly reliant on self-employment to earn income for food purchases. This trend is expected to continue throughout the scenario period. However, due to high competition, expected profits will be minimal. More household members are becoming involved in activities like making and selling charcoal, leading to increased competition. Others are turning to different activities such as producing beverages, selling forest products, and even engaging in illegal hunting. In recent years, many young people have been moving to the mines in the area to participate in artisanal mining.
    • In the upcoming months, livestock body condition in the central region is predicted to decline as pastures deteriorate before the rainy season begins in late 2024. Overall, livestock prices are anticipated to be lower than average due to the expected decline in livestock body conditions in the central region and an increase in the number of owners selling their animals for income. However, grazing conditions are expected to be favorable in much of the southern zone during this time. Most very poor and poor households own chickens, while a small number also own goats (typically two to five) and pigs.
    • Throughout the scenario period, both informal and formal maize trade flows from the producing areas are expected to increase more than normal, driven by high maize prices and the need to compensate for shortages in the local market supply. However, the overall availability of maize grain will remain below average until January 2025, when the harvest is expected. 
    • Based on the FEWS NET integrated price projection (Figure 7), maize grain prices are expected to remain higher than the five-year average and last year's levels throughout the scenario period due to a likely reduction in supply. Although some additional maize grain is expected from certain producing areas, it will not bring prices down to the average level. Recurring shocks over the past five years have consistently kept prices high, reducing purchasing power and affecting food access. Currently, prices are around 24 MZN per kilogram, compared to the five-year average of 14 MZN per kilogram and 17 MZN per kilogram from last year.
    Figure 7. Mutarara maize grain prices and projections (MZN/kg)
    Mutarara maize grain prices and projections (MZN/kg)

    Source: FEWS NET estimates based on MADER/SIMA data

    • Although acute malnutrition levels are expected to worsen due to decreased consumption of nutritious food by many low-income households in these areas, they are projected to remain between Acceptable (Phase 1) with (GAM  < 5 percent) and Alert (Phase 2)  with (GAM 5-9.9 percent) from June to September 2024. However, between October 2024 and January 2025, low food supply and excessive consumption of wild foods (low caloric level) is expected to further worsen the level of acute malnutrition compared to the previous period.

    Sub-national assumptions for conflict-affected areas/Cabo Delgado

    • Due to the expected withdrawal of regional forces from the SADC, it is anticipated that the frequency and intensity of violence from NSAG will increase in the coming months in Cabo Delgado compared to the levels observed in 2023, but it is not expected to reach the same levels of violence seen in 2021 and 2022. 
    • The conflict is likely to remain concentrated in Cabo Delgado, with potential sporadic attacks in the nearby Nampula Province, particularly Eráti and Memba, leading to further displacements.
    • The joint forces of Mozambique and Rwanda, supported by local forces, are expected to continue anti-insurgency efforts
    • The presence of IDPs and returnees will likely create short and medium-term challenges related to shelter availability, access to labor, and agricultural resources, especially in districts experiencing a sudden influx of IDPs, such as Palma and Mocímboa da Praia.

    Humanitarian food assistance

    National assumption

    • As of June, only 18 percent of the minimum resources required for the planned humanitarian response had been guaranteed by FSC partners. There are concerns about limited resources in drought-affected and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) areas in the southern and central regions, particularly as these limited resources are mostly focused on the north due to escalating conflict and growing humanitarian needs.

    Sub-national assumption for conflict areas in Cabo Delgado

    • Limited funds have forced the WFP to reduce food assistance in 2024 in several districts, including Ancuabe, Balama, Ibo, Chiure, Montepuez, Palma, Metuge, Mueda, Namuno, Pemba, and Mecúfi.

    Table 1. Key sources of evidence FEWS NET analysts incorporated into the development of the above assumptions 

    Key sources of evidence:
    Weather and flood forecasts produced by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, USGS, the Climate Hazards Center at the University of California Santa Barbara, and NASAConflict analysis and forecasts produced by ACLED, Control Risks Seerist, Signal Room, ACAPSFEWS NET rapid field assessment conducted in the semi-arid zones of the south (May 2024) and center (January 2024)
    FSC partners’ humanitarian food assistance distribution plansSouthern Africa Regional Supply and Market Outlook Update – April 2024Geo-spatial data, satellite image products, and derived data products
    Consumer Price Index (CPI) Press release of June 2024 by the National Institute of Statistics (INE)

    Key informant interviews with local extension officers, humanitarian implementing partners, and community leaders 

     

    International Organization for Migration (IOM), May 22 2024. DTM Mozambique — ETT Movement Alert Report —114 (Macomia and Quissanga). IOM, Mozambique.

    Projected acute food insecurity outcomes through June 2024 to January 2025

    Using the key assumptions that underpin the “most likely” scenario, FEWS NET is then able to project acute food insecurity outcomes by assessing the evolution of households’ ability to meet their minimum caloric needs throughout the projection period. Similar to the analysis of current acute food insecurity outcomes, FEWS NET converges expectations of the likely trajectory of household-level food consumption and livelihood change with area-level nutritional status and mortality. FEWS NET then classifies acute food insecurity outcomes using the IPC scale. Lastly, FEWS NET applies the “!” symbol to designate any areas where the mapped IPC Phase would likely be at least one IPC Phase worse without the effects of planned – and likely to be funded and delivered – food assistance. 

    South and central zones: From June to September 2024, many of the poor and very poor households without food reserves will continue to face difficulties in accessing an adequate food supply, and this situation is likely to deteriorate throughout the analysis period. The few households with some reserves will quickly deplete their food stocks, and practically, very poor households will have no food reserves at the start of this period. Households will mainly rely on self-employment to earn income to buy food; however, incomes will be constrained due to competition for limited jobs, lack of market access, and low demand from potential buyers, and therefore unlikely to cover food consumption gaps. Household purchasing power is expected to be well below average due to low income combined with abnormally high prices of staple foods after the harvest season. An increasing number of poor and very poor households are expected to resort to coping strategies indicative of Crisis, including prioritizing spending on food at the expense of healthcare, education, and other non-food items; sending family members to eat elsewhere; consuming seed reserves; skipping or reducing meals; prioritizing children’s food consumption; and eating less preferred foods. Younger people will migrate to major urban centers and South Africa in search of limited casual work opportunities. Over time, the population of food-deficient households, particularly in remote semi-arid regions, is anticipated to grow. For many of these households, the only way to mitigate food consumption gap will be through humanitarian assistance. In the absence of assistance, the poor and very poor households will be compelled to rely more on wild foods, which are typically consumed as a last resort. However, due to heightened demand and limited availability, these wild foods will not compensate for food consumption deficits. As a result, these areas are projected to be facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. 

    October 2024 to January 2025 marks the beginning of the rainy and agricultural season. The initial forecasts suggest a normal start; however, the impacts of the El Niño-induced drought during the 2023/24 season will linger beyond the scenario period. As a result, poor and very poor households will continue to experience food shortages while slowly re-engaging in agricultural work during the 2024/25 season. Despite increasing agricultural labor opportunities, most poor and very poor households will be unlikely to receive timely payment or payment in-kind, as wealthier households were also affected by the drought and have limited capacity to make such payments. The availability of food in local markets will decrease, and household demand will increase until January 2025 and beyond. Access to food from markets will worsen as staple food prices will rise quickly during the peak of the lean season in December and January. As rainfall occurs, the availability of wild foods is likely to increase. Combined with any humanitarian assistance, this will help the most vulnerable households mitigate some food consumption gaps; however, without humanitarian assistance, levels of acute malnutrition could increase. Poor and very poor households will continue to struggle to find enough food to eat. Due to high food prices and lower crop yields, more households will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes and will require emergency food assistance.

    Cabo Delgado (conflict-affected areas): Throughout the scenario period, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will persist in most of the conflict-affected areas. The unpredictable circumstances on the ground, marked by sporadic attacks by NSAG, will perpetuate an atmosphere of tension and fear, impacting basic livelihood activities such as agricultural income-earning opportunities. The continuous movement of IDPs and returnees will continue to present significant challenges to the capacity of humanitarian response, as these individuals will continue to experience food shortages due to the ongoing volatile environment. Most displaced and repatriated individuals will require urgent humanitarian aid in terms of shelter and food.

    The presence of humanitarian agencies in certain districts, such as Macomia Sede and Quissanga, is impeded by insecurity and making access difficult. The presence of humanitarian agencies will depend on security assessments performed to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers. Additionally, the resources needed for response actions are insufficient and aggravated by the increasing demand for humanitarian assistance in areas affected by the El Niño-induced drought in the south and center of the country. Limited funds have forced the WFP to reduce food assistance in 2024 in several districts, including Ancuabe, Balama, Ibo, Chiure, Montepuez, Palma, Metuge, Mueda, Namuno, Pemba, and Mecúfi; as a result, some of these districts may remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In districts expecting regular food assistance, the situation is likely to remain Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!). Some border districts in neighboring Nampula Province, including parts of Eráti and Memba districts, might continue to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to the pressure caused by the influx of IDPs fleeing conflict in Cabo Delgado.

    Coastal areas (including cyclone-prone areas): Between November 2024 and January 2025 there is a possibility of storms or cyclones occurring in certain areas along the Mozambican coast. These weather events may bring strong to very strong winds, heavy rainfall, and floods. As a result, infrastructure and agricultural fields with crops in various stages of growth could be destroyed: strong winds could damage crops, particularly in high-elevation areas, while crops in low-lying areas may be flooded. Poorly constructed houses may also be damaged, rendering households homeless and in need of shelter in accommodation centers for at least three months. Depending on the extent of the damage and access to seeds for short-cycle crops, most affected households will be able to replant after the floods, leading to the potential recovery of agricultural own-production, but that production would not be realized until after the projection period. Therefore, during the projection period, the displaced households may face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes and will require emergency humanitarian food assistance until there is the possibility of recovery after the three-month period


    Events that may change projected acute food insecurity outcomes

    While FEWS NET’s projections are considered the “most likely” scenario, there is always a degree of uncertainty in the assumptions that underpin the scenario. This means food security conditions and their impacts on acute food security may evolve differently than projected. FEWS NET issues monthly updates to its projections, but decision makers need advance information about this uncertainty and an explanation of why things may turn out differently than projected. As such, the final step in FEWS NET’s scenario development process is to briefly identify key events that would result in a credible alternative scenario and significantly change the projected outcomes. FEWS NET only considers scenarios that have a reasonable chance of occurrence.

    National 

    Event: Late and erratic start of rainfall

    Likely impact on acute food insecurity outcomes: The late and erratic start of the 2024/25 agricultural season might cause a delay in the availability of agricultural labor. Despite below-average wage rates, both cash and in-kind, a significant reduction in income could worsen the food consumption levels of poor and very poor households who are already market reliant and struggling to meet their food needs.

    Southern and central semiarid areas

    Event: Traders do not respond as anticipated, and no additional stocks flow to deficit-producing areas

    Likely impact on acute food insecurity outcomes: Local markets will be more undersupplied than expected, thus raising food prices higher than expected. Food consumption gaps, especially for poor and very poor households, would increase.

    Event: Inadequate response to humanitarian assistance needs

    Likely impact on acute food insecurity outcomes: Insufficient humanitarian assistance would result in more poor and very poor households facing larger food consumption gaps and a potential increase in acute malnutrition.


    Annex: Most likely acute food insecurity outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian food assistance

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Mozambique Food Security Outlook June 2024 - January 2025: Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist due to El Niño and conflict impacts, 2024.

    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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