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Drought conditions due to El Niño likely to further deteriorate food security outcomes

  • Key Message Update
  • Mozambique
  • January 2016
Drought conditions due to El Niño likely to further deteriorate food security outcomes

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The late start of the 2015/16 rainy season and well below-average cumulative rainfall has exacerbated food insecurity during the ongoing lean season, primarily through a reduction in agricultural labor opportunities. The current official estimated number of people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), requiring urgent food assistance, is 176,139. However, based on further analysis including comparison with analogous years, FEWS NET is currently estimating close to 600,000 people in Crisis. Due to the ongoing El Niño and the forecast by the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM) for average to below-average rainfall in much of central and southern Mozambique during the remainder of the rainy season, the number of people facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes is likely to rise during the January to March 2016 period. With an increasing number of people engaging in self-employment activities, opportunities to sell and earn income are significantly reduced.

    • The first half of the 2015/16 agricultural season has been extremely poor across much of the far southern and central regions of Mozambique, with recorded rainfall of less than 50 percent of average in large areas. While most parts of the country experienced a delayed start to the rains, in areas where rains started on time, subsequent periods of prolonged dryness led to failed starts. In an attempt to recover from lost crops, many households have been planting whenever it rains, leading to the exhaustion of seed stocks.

    • While most households are relying on market purchases to obtain food, current and projected maize grain prices are well above average. For example, December 2015 maize grain prices in Maxixe, Inhambane Province were 163 percent above the 5-year average and 135 percent above the same period of last year. National estimates for projected maize grain prices indicate that they will remain more than 70 percent above average through June 2016. Prices of other staple foods, such as maize meal (a preferred substitute for poor households) and rice, are near average and are expected to be relatively stable through June. This is due to fact that maize meal and rice are mostly imported.

    • Due to the expected continuation of severe drought in central and southern regions, as well as the projected flood risk in Messalo, Megarruma, Montepuez, and Muaguide river basins in the north, the National Center for Emergency Operations (CENOE) from the government’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) has activated an “Orange Alert,” which provides greater flexibility in the process of fund mobilization by humanitarian organizations to assist in humanitarian response.

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    Figure 1

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    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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