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Below-average rainfall and high temperatures threaten planted crops in parts of southern and central Mozambique

  • Key Message Update
  • Mozambique
  • November 2023
Below-average rainfall and high temperatures threaten planted crops in parts of southern and central Mozambique

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are present in most southern and central regions as the lean season begins; however, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are beginning to emerge in the worst affected areas of southern and central regions. Most poor household food reserves are declining as households increase their dependence on market purchases amid seasonally increasing staple food prices. Past weather shocks in several parts of the southern and central zones have reduced income generation opportunities, lowering household purchasing power. In Cabo Delgado, the ongoing humanitarian food assistance in safe areas is supporting Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes, while Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing in areas most affected by conflict. However, most households in rural areas will continue to face None (IPC Phase 1) outcomes, supported by some second season production and post-flood production, food reserves from the main 2023 harvest, food purchases on the market, and normal access to income.
    • In early November, FEWS NET conducted a rapid qualitative food security assessment in southern Tete Province (Mágoe, Cahora Bassa, and Marara districts). Preliminary findings indicate that most households have already prepared their agricultural fields and are waiting for an effective start to the rainy season to start planting. Households plan to carry out late and staggered plantings with short-cycle varieties, mostly purchased in markets, and medium-cycle seeds saved from previous harvests to minimize potential failed planting attempts. Very poor households are consuming food from the 2023 harvest, mostly cereals and vegetables, along with market food purchases. Household cereal reserves are estimated to last one to three months, while leafy greens, vegetables, and wild fruits are available on the farm or from the forest. Households primarily sell firewood and charcoal for income, along with baobab fruits, dried massanica (Jujube), vegetables, manufacturing and selling bricks, and various other products.
    • Light to moderate rainfall was recorded in the southern and central regions in mid-October, triggering the start of the 2023/2024 agricultural season, especially in the southern region. In Maputo province and parts of the central zone, the recently planted crops are emerging, while in the north, although there has been some rainfall, but an effective start of the season is likely in December.  However, below-average rainfall in November, high temperatures, and the likelihood of cumulative below-average rainfall through the rainy season due to the strong El Niño will likely impact crop production. According to the National Directorate of Water Resources Management (DNGRH), the main dams throughout the country are 55 to 87 percent full. However, basin water levels, particularly in the south and central zones, should be closely monitored as El Niño often results in below-average recharge through the rainy season.
    • In October, maize grain prices in most monitored markets remained stable, except for a 20 percent increase in Massinga, Inhambane province, and a 22 percent decrease in Lichinga, Niassa province. Maize grain prices in most monitored markets were around 20-75 percent higher than prices last year and 15-70 percent higher than the five-year average, but prices are similar to last year in Maxixe. Rice and maize meal prices remain relatively stable in most markets. Compared to the last year and the five-year average, rice and maize meal prices in most monitored markets were similar to 32 percent higher. Mozambique's headline inflation increased in October but remained lower than 5 percent for the third consecutive month. Mozambique's National Institute of Statistics (INE) attributes the rise in inflation to upward pressure on the prices of fresh fish, lemons, chicken eggs, tomatoes, and rice. Overall, living costs remain high for most poor and very poor households, especially in areas affected by this year's climate shocks and conflict.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Mozambique Key Message Update November 2023: Below-average rainfall and high temperatures threaten planted crops in parts of southern and central Mozambique, 2023.

    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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