In December, the rainy season started in the interior of the northern zone, but an effective start of rainfall is yet to be recorded in the far north and the northern coastal areas. However, this is not likely to impact district or provincial production. Across southern, central, and most of northern Mozambique, cumulative rainfall is average to above average. The timely start and good rainfall are supporting agricultural labor opportunities and planting across the country. However, the National Directorate of Water Resources Management (DNGRH) has reported that the discharges at the Pongola Poort dam in South Africa from mid-December are resulting in some hydrometric stations in the Maputo River basin exceeding the alert level, flooding riparian crop fields and interrupting road traffic.
Across Mozambique, the start of the agricultural season is supporting Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes as very poor and poor households earn income from planting, casual labor, and petty trade and access food from their stocks or food purchases. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are most likely in areas where poor households were affected by weather shocks or conflict. Additionally, labor wages are likely below normal in areas of Mozambique affected by weather and conflict due to better-off households having lower liquidity to pay workers in cash or in-kind.
WFP resumed the distribution of regular monthly rations (~78 percent of daily caloric needs) in December, assisting over 765,000 people (153,000 households) by December 20. However, WFP and other food security cluster (FSC) partners are warning that there is a risk of a pipeline break in assistance in northern Mozambique in February 2023 if additional resources are not secured. To better promote resilience, FSC partners are providing agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizers, and tools) to around 113,920 households also receiving food assistance. In response to the poor 2022 harvest in southern Mozambique, WFP is supporting around 22,615 people in Gaza. In Chigubo district, households are receiving 50 kg maize, 4 kg beans, and 4 liters of vegetable oil per month, while households in Mapai, Guijá, and Chicualacuala districts are receiving cash transfers of 3,600 MZN (~56 USD) per household. Assistance is expected to continue until May/June 2023. Beneficiaries are also receiving integrated interventions to boost food production, including agricultural inputs and training in partnership with district agricultural extension workers.
In November, maize grain prices increased by 27 to 33 percent in Massinga, Angónia, and Mocuba, a typical trend for this period of the year. However, maize grain prices remain atypically stable in all other monitored markets, and in the Mutarara market, dropped 8 percent, marking four consecutive months of declining maize prices. Compared to prices last year and the five-year average, price trends were mixed. Prices were 5 to 51 percent above the five-year average in Manica, Cuamba, Massinga, Mocuba, and Angónia, and 24 and 36 percent below the five-year average in Montepuez and Mutarara, respectively. The above-average prices in most monitored markets are likely driven by poor localized 2022 harvests, which increased demand following weather shocks. Rice and maize meal prices remain stable in all monitored markets, with mixed trends compared to their respective 2021 prices and the five-year average.
In November, non-seasonally adjusted annual inflation declined to 11.3 percent, the lowest since June 2022, mainly due to a slowdown in the price of transportation, housing and utilities, restaurants and hotels, and miscellaneous goods and services. However, prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, particularly grains, fish, tomatoes, and onions, increased. On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by 0.6 percent in November after increasing by 0.2 percent in October. Overall, inflation remains high, although it is reducing. The high prices are affecting the purchasing power of many poor families, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas, where dependence on market purchases for food is high. Affected households are coping with the high prices by purchasing less-preferred foods and reducing the purchase of non-food needs, likely driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.