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As the lean season sets in, the majority of rural households across the country are currently facing Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1). The overall favorable food security outcomes are due largely to existing food stocks from this year’s above-average 2013/14 seasonal rainfall and crop production,including areas that are typically food deficit.
Staple food prices for maize grain, rice, and cowpeas are below or at the same level as the five-year average and lower than prices during the same period last year, improving access for poor consumers. In most markets, the seasonal price increasing trend has been delayed by a month on average.
As the lean season progresses during this period, households will expand their typical livelihood strategies as needed in order to meet their food needs. From October to December, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes will continue among poorer rural households. Between January and March, acute food insecurity will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) across the country.
- The food security situation for the majority of rural households across the country is stable. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected during the entire Outlook period (October 2014 to March 2015) throughout the country, including areas in the semi-arid zones where by this time of the year the poorest households have usually exhausted their food reserves. Due to above-average 2013/14 crop production, food availability at the household level is satisfactory.
- The majority of rural households are meeting their basic food requirements by accessing a variety of foods from their own 2013/14 main season agricultural production. As needed, households are also able to expand their typical livelihood strategies for any necessary market purchases. In some areas where agroclimatic conditions allowed a second 2013/14 season, particularly for horticulture crops, this production is an important source of food and income.
- Most of the main monitored markets are adequately supplied with staple food and commodities. Trade flows around the country are following the usual seasonal pattern and staple food prices are following seasonal trends. Throughout most of the country, prices are below the five-year average and last year’s level. These favorable staple prices are beneficial for the majority of vulnerable households that depend mostly on markets to purchase their food to meet their food requirements during this time of the year.
- At this period of the year maize grain prices typically increase as a result of dwindling food stocks at the household level and increased demand from markets. However, this year the trend of maize prices is mixed. In some monitored markets maize prices are already rising, while in the majority of markets prices are still stable or decreasing due to above-average supplies from the previous season.
- Land preparations have started in most parts of south and central zone for sowing or planting in anticipation of the onset of rains expected in October/November. Seeds are usually from own production and purchased from local vendors. Authorities in the agriculture provincial services are disseminating technical recommendations based on the climate outlook that was recently released by the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM).
- This lean season (October to February) acute food insecurity outcomes are better this year in comparison to previous years.
The Food Security Outlook for October 2014 to March 2015 is based on the following national-level assumptions:
- The 2014/15 seasonal forecast released by the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM) indicates that during the October to December 2014 period, the bulk of the country will receive near-normal to above-normal rainfall, except for the northeastern portion of the country (Cabo Delgado Province) where near-normal to below-normal rains are expected during this period. In the second half of the season (January to March 2015) there are increased chances for the occurrence of near-normal to above-normal rainfall in most of the country.
- Although there is 40 percent probability for the occurrence of normal rains, according to the seasonal forecast, there is also a 35 percent chance of above-normal rains during the 2014/15 rainfall season. The forecast for normal to above-normal rains may increase chances of localized flooding from January to March, in some of the flood-prone areas along the major river basins, including Maputo, Limpopo, Licungo, Incomati, Búzi, Púnguè, Megaruma Montepues, Messalo and Zambezi basins.
- According to the Crop and Early Warning Department (DCAP) of the National Directorate of Agrarian Services (DNSA) from the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG) a favorable cropping season is expected. The crop water requirements will be satisfied (70-100 percent) between October and December and also satisfied (90-100 percent) between January and March 2015. These promising rainfall levels are expected to also increase the availability of water for both human and animal use.
- Seasonal rains are expected to start initially in the south and to move towards the north between November and December. The start of the rains will enable the majority of households to be engaged in planting for the main 2014/15 agriculture season. These initial rains will also provide access to wild foods, which are typically consumed during this time of the year.
- Seasonal forecasts for normal to above-normal rainfall totals favor normal seasonal cropping activities during the entire Outlook period. However the forecast for a weak El Niño could result in unevenly distributed rainfall patterns in areas that El Niño traditionally affects, especially the southern region.
Markets and Trade
- Supplies of maize in the markets and at the domestic level remain adequate. Maize grain prices are expected to start increasing on average one to two months later than expected due to above average supplies and low household demand. Households are expected to start making substantial food purchases at local markets on or around December, which is later than usual.
- Technical analysis suggests that during the Outlook period the actual maize prices will remain lower than the projected prices due to above-average maize production and low demand from households who produced above their typical domestic levels. Projected prices are expected to increase by about 30 percent between October and December. Overall context combined with the technical analysis suggests that this year’s maize grain prices will remain well below the five-year average and last year’s prices. Therefore, albeit below the five-year average and last year’s prices staple food prices between October and November are expected to follow an increasing trend, peaking in February, right before the seasonal harvest starts in March. At the end of the consumption period in March, maize prices are expected to maintain levels close to the five-year average and lower than 2014 levels.
- Cowpea prices are expected to remain close to the five-year average in Chokwe, Maputo, and Tete Province. In Maxixe prices will be below average, while prices in Gorongosa and Nampula are oscillating due to erratic supply levels from the major production areas. Normal and stable rice price patterns are expected throughout the consumption period.
- The encouraging agroclimatic conditions should enhance the availability of income-generation opportunities from agricultural labor. Throughout the Outlook period agriculture labor is expected to remain at normal levels. From October to December, opportunities are expected to increase with the start of the main agricultural season and will include land preparation and planting. From January to March opportunities for labor will be offered, particularly for weeding and harvesting.
- Humanitarian assistance needs are expected to be below the five-year average. The food assistance pipeline is expected to meet the immediate needs of those who may need targeted support and preposition contingency stocks to ensure timely response for immediate emergencies during until December.
- As usual, it is expected that the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) that consists of agencies from the United Nations, national and international organizations, civil society organizations, Red Cross, and bilateral and multilateral partners, will respond to possible disasters with resources to complement the Government’s efforts, where necessary during the Outlook period.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
Based on the national-level assumptions stated above, the food security situation is expected to remain stable and acute food insecurity outcomes will generally be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) for the majority of the rural poor households during the Outlook period. Households will meet their food requirements through carryover stocks from their 2013/14 main season harvest, along with harvests from post-flood planting and the second season. From December, the poorer households will, likely begin to exhaust their food stocks and will need to start expanding their typical livelihood strategies to meet their food needs. Some of these strategies that poor households will start to use during this period include, intensification of brewing, the sale of traditional drinks for income, cutting and selling of poles and natural products (grass, firewood, and charcoal)and seeking casual labor (i.e. land preparation and planting). It is expected that the usual onset of rains in November will provide a variety of wild and seasonal food that gradually improve food access among poor households until the green food becomes available in January or February, and by the time the main harvest begins in March.
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Current food security outcomes, October 2014.
Source: Fews Net
Source: Fews Net
To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.