Food Security Outlook Update

Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity conditions to continue in most areas

June 2015
2015-Q2-1-1-ZM-en

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Although the acute food insecurity outcomes are currently Minimal (IPC Phase 1), they will deteriorate to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for at least 20 percent of households in parts of Western, Southern, and Eastern Provinces during the July to September period. 

  • The VAC has recommended that government provides relief maize assistance starting in August to an estimated 798,948 people whose livelihoods were adversely impacted by the prolonged dry spells and related crop losses. Adequate maize stocks are available in country to meet these needs. 

  • Maize prices are expected to rise much earlier than normal given the increased demand for Zambian maize from neighboring countries and the expected atypical high local demand from the market in the early part of the season. Maize exports into Zimbabwe have continued increasing as that country increases imports to reduce its maize gap. 

Current Situation

  • As projected in the April to September Outlook, acute food insecurity outcomes for June remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) at harvest time. This is despite estimates of below-average crop production, including the main staple, maize, for which production is estimated to be about 2.62 million MT, (10 percent below the recent five-year average). In the southern half of the country (mostly Western and Southern Provinces) where harvests are significantly reduced, poor households continue depending on their small harvests, supplemented by the sale of harvest labor. Overall the country will have adequate maize (carryover stocks plus 2015 production are estimated at 3.96 million MT) to meet national requirements, with estimated exportable surplus of 877,000 MT.
  • The recent (May) Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) results from 48 assessed districts (mostly Southern, Eastern and Western Provinces) indicated that at least 50 percent of assessed households in 48 districts (mostly in southern half of the country) will run out of own-produced staple foods much earlier than usual (by late July). The VAC has recommended that government food assistance be provided to 798,948 in parts of southern half especially Western, Eastern and Southern Provinces from August 2015 to March 2016.
  • Following the start of the main harvest in May, maize grain retail prices in reference markets which remained relatively stable or declined with respect to the month of April, are near their prior year levels, but remained above the five-year average.. With the stable supply of maize grain on the market, maize meal prices have remained relatively stable at below last season’s levels but above the recent five-year average. This is supported by the reduced market demand for meal during the harvest period. 
  • Purchase of the newly harvested maize by the private sector (local and foreign traders, millers) has started and is gaining momentum. Zimbabwean traders started entering Zambia to secure some maize as early as the end of April (before grain was fully dry). Traders are purchasing maize at prices ranging from K1.10 to K1.30 per Kg depending on the location. In June, slight increases in purchase prices (wholesale) have been reported with respect to the month of May as demand starts increasing. Major foreign traders from Zimbabwe, and more recently Malawi, are coming in to buy maize in view of the reduced regional harvest. The FRA is yet to start their targeted purchase of 500,000 MT of maize for strategic grain reserves.
  • While informal maize exports showed typical declines in April at major borders as traders awaited the new harvest, formal maize exports significantly increased from January to May with most of the grain destined for Zimbabwe. Export volumes increased from 3,855MT in December 2014 to 30,597MT in April 2015. Based on the border monitor observations, maize exports into Zimbabwe have continued increasing through June. 

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not changed the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of April to September 2015. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the Zambia Food Security Outlook for April to September 2015

Projected Outlook through September 2015

  • Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes are likely for most parts of the country through September 2015. However, some parts of Western, Southern, and Eastern Province are expected to reach Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels starting in August due to significantly reduced crop production, an early exhaustion of staple food stocks, and lower-than-usual labor demand from the better-off households, resulting in below-average incomes. Planning for government assistance is underway, following the VAC’s recommendation to provide assistance to 798,948 people between August 2015 and March 2016.
  • Staple food supply on the market will remain adequate throughout the outlook period given that national availability will exceed needs. The FRA will continue with community sales of maize to help meet needs in areas which had below-average harvest, improving market access to staple foods for rural households.
  • Maize prices are expected to start rising much earlier than usual (by end July) as demand for Zambian maize from neighboring countries increases, putting pressure on local prices given the reduced Southern Africa Regional harvest. Formal maize exports especially to Zimbabwe will continue and substantially increase, while informal exports to Malawi (atypical) and DRC (typical) will substantially increase during the remainder of the outlook period. 

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics