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Near average maize harvest expected due to favorable rainfall

  • Key Message Update
  • Zambia
  • April 2017
Near average maize harvest expected due to favorable rainfall

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Farming households began accessing own produced staple foods and a variety of seasonal foods including groundnuts, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. This increased food availability has also improved dietary diversity among households. Most of the country, including the extreme southwest and southeast, are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes. National cereal production is estimated to be near average as a result of favorable 2016/17 rainfall. The results of the Crop Forecast Survey (CFS) are expected to be announced in May. With the improved food availability at the household level, and anticipated maize surplus at national level, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is projected for the remainder of the outlook period. 

    • Retail maize prices in March remained high due to low supplies during the peak lean season. However, April prices are expected to begin to decline in line with seasonal trends and reach their lowest in June/July, which should contribute to improved staple food access for market dependent consumers. Maize prices are likely to fall below last season’s levels but remain above the five-year average because of increased production and transport costs. Meanwhile maize meal prices also remained above average at ZMW 77.50 to ZMW 95.00/25 kg for roller meal and ZMW 92.00 to ZMW 125.00/25 kg for breakfast meal due to increased demand. This is despite the government subsidy to millers that was initiated in February in order to reduce meal prices for poor households. However, maize meal prices are projected to reduce slightly in June/July but remain within last year’s levels, and continue to be above the five-year average due to increased processing costs, which will also be compounded by the anticipated 75 percent increase in electricity tariffs. 

    • With the continued maize export ban, formal maize export volumes in February were down by 44 percent at only 5,505 MT, with 80 percent destined for Malawi. Starting in March, the government has allowed the export of 100,000 MT of maize grain and 50,000 MT of maize meal. Reduced regional demand is expected this consumption year given the improved harvest projections for Malawi and Zimbabwe. Maize traders in Zambia may have to look to markets in East Africa to clear carryover maize stocks and make room for the new crop. Limited regional market may reduce private sector participation in the 2016/17 local maize market and thus depress maize buying prices as supply will outstrip demand. This could have negative impact on majority of small scale farmers whose main livelihood is the sale of maize.

    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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