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The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food supply and price trends in countries at risk of food insecurity. The Regional Supply and Market Outlook report provides a summary of regional staple food availability, surpluses and deficits during the current marketing year, projected price behavior, implications for local and regional commodity procurement, and essential market monitoring indicators. FEWS NET gratefully acknowledges partner organizations, national ministries of agriculture, national market information systems, regional organizations, and others for their assistance in providing the harvest estimates, commodity balance sheets, as well as trade and price data used in this report. To learn more about typical market conditions in Southern Africa, readers are invited to explore the Southern Africa Regional Maize Market Fundamentals Summary.
The Southern Africa region has above-average maize supplies for the 2018/19 marketing year owing to high opening stock levels and above-average 2018 harvests in South Africa, the largest maize producer (Figure 1). The 2018 harvests were below average for several countries in the region due to dry spells that were experienced during the 2017/18 agricultural season.
For a second consecutive year, the region will register a substantially higher than average maize surplus. Net maize supplies for the 2018/19 marketing year will be slightly lower than those of the 2017/18 marketing year but still at well above average levels.
The 2018/19 surplus will satisfy national import requirements among structurally-deficit countries. Furthermore, given large surpluses and relatively low prices in South Africa, the largest maize exporter, the region is expected to export internationally to satisfy maize supply gaps in East Asia and Europe during the 2018/19 marketing year.
Maize prices exhibited mixed trends in comparison to five-year average levels (Figure 2). In South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique prices are below or slightly above average while in Zambia, Madagascar and DRC prices are well above average levels. As the marketing year progresses, prices may rise to well above average levels in parts of Malawi and Mozambique, particularly the southern regions owing to below average supplies.