FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 04/00 - MOZAMBIQUE (29 March)


Cyclone "Hudah", which devastated north-east Madagascar, hit central and northern areas of Mozambique on 9 April but with less intensity. Previously flooded southern areas were not affected. Substantial damage to infrastructure and housing is reported, mainly in the coastal town of Pebane. An assessment of the agricultural damage is not yet available. However, rains and winds associated with the Cyclone are likely to have negatively affected the maize crop at the late maturing stage in the important growing provinces of Zambeisa and Nampula. Yield reductions in these areas would result in a deterioration of the overall harvest prospects, already worsened by crop losses in the South. Southern areas were not affected by Cyclone Hudah. Southern provinces ravaged by floods account for some 13 percent of the total cereal production, and those affected in the central region for an additional 20 percent. Therefore, about one third of national cereal production has been affected by losses and yield reductions. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission will be fielded in mid-April to review the outcome of the 2000 cropping season and estimate the cereal import and food aid needs for the new marketing year 2000/01 (April/March). International assistance will also be needed for the reconstruction of housing and infrastructure, severely damaged by the floods.

Rains until mid-March hampered relief operations but the levels of the rivers have progressively decreased. In general, access to 350 000 persons still in camps has improved substantially. Food aid and agricultural support is now needed for the flood-affected people returning to their fields. Preliminary estimates indicated that 1.9 million have been affected by the disaster, and that some 126 000 hectares in the southern and central provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane, Manica and Sofala have been lost to the floods. Substantial livestock losses are also reported. In these traditionally food-deficit provinces, the sharp reduction in cereal production in 2000 will be compounded by loss of farmers' food and seed stocks in household granaries. However, a full assessment of the damage is not yet possible.

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