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Despite significant rainfall in mid-March, drought conditions linked to El Niño remain across much of the southern and central regions. The rainfall improved some pastoral conditions and water availability, but were too late to recover wilted crops planted in late January. However, these late rains could allow some poor households to plant short-cycle crops if they are able to access seeds, which would contribute to their diet from June through September.
With crop failure already apparent in many southern areas, much of the central region is also facing prospects for a poor harvest. The below-average rainfall has not facilitated the normal development and maturity of staple crops, so yields will be low. FEWS NET currently estimates that nearly 600,000 people are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), requiring emergency food assistance, while an additional 600,000 are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Needs estimates are likely to rise based on results from the March food security assessment led by the Technical Secretariat of Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN), which will be released in early April.
Staple food prices have continued to rise, which is limiting food access for poor households as they increasingly rely on market purchases. In February, the average price for maize grain in major markets monitored was 121 percent above the five-year average. Prices of some major substitute staples, maize meal and rice, were up compared to the five-year average in markets monitored, by 43 percent and 22 percent, respectively. These price increases are atypical, as they generally remain relatively stable throughout the consumption year.
According to the National Center of Emergency Operations (CENOE), nearly 300,000 people will receive food assistance in March, delivered by the Government of Mozambique, WFP, and the COSACA Consortium of NGOs with DFID funding (composed of Concern, Oxfam, Save the Children, and CARE). After March, there is no programmed food assistance nor large-scale seed distribution plans. Beyond the outlook period through September, the number of people facing acute food insecurity and the severity of outcomes will increase until the next harvest in 2017, in the absence of further assistance.
For more detailed analysis, see the Food Security Outlook for February – September 2016.
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.