The escalation of the civil war in recent months has resulted in a deterioration of the food situation in the country and is disrupting agricultural activities. The outlook for the 2000 cereal crops is uncertain. Overall good rains since the beginning of the season have provided adequate soil conditions for planting and crop developing, despite localized floods in early January in southern areas. However, persistent movements of population fleeing from violence, are likely to negatively affect production.
Fighting has intensified in recent months along the southern border with Namibia and in many other areas of the province of Kuando Kubango. The number of Angolan refugees in Namibia has increased to 9 000, while in the eastern border with Zambia the number of refugees has reached 170 000. Insecurity incidents are also reported from Huila, Huambo and Benguela provinces.
The food situation is particularly critical for the internal displaced population, estimated at 2 million. Malnutrition is on the increase among this people and daily deaths for starvation have been reported from Coconda municipality in Huila and from other areas. However, persistent insecurity hamper access to the population in need of emergency food assistance in several parts, including Andulo, province of Bie, Kuando Kubango, Kuito, Moxico and Zaire.
Food aid is being distributed to some 1.1 million people, including 6 000 affected by recent floods. Against overall food aid requirements for the 1999/2000 marketing year (April/March) of 180 000 tonnes of cereals, 123 000 tonnes have been pledged by end-January, of which 100 000 tonnes have been delivered.
Torrential rains from 7 to 9 February, which in southern areas were equivalent to three quarters of the annual precipitation, resulted in the worst floods in 30 years causing loss of life and severe damage to infrastructure and housing. The country's main road and railway have been cut in several places. Preliminary assessment indicate that 25 000 people has been affected and some 4 000 homes have been destroyed. An evaluation of the damage to agriculture is not yet available but crop losses are reported in several areas. The outlook for the 2000 cereal crops, mostly sorghum is uncertain. Precipitation during December and January had been generally adequate in cereal growing areas, but the excessive rains of February are likely to have negatively affected the developing crops.
The food situation is difficult for the populations who have lost their properties and for those who remain isolated by floodwaters. The Government is providing emergency assistance to people left homeless and has asked for humanitarian assistance, including tents, blankets and food rations. At the overall level, the food supply situation is stable reflecting the commercial import capacity of the country.
Prospects for the 1999/2000 cereal crops, to be harvested from May, are uncertain. Abundant rains in the first dekad of February provided relief to the 1999/2000 cereal crops stressed by below average precipitation in January, but they may have arrived late to avoid reductions in yields. Rains started late and have been irregular during the season.
The 1999 wheat crop is estimated at 14 000 tonnes, half the level earlier anticipated, reflecting the adverse effect of dry spell on the crop. The output of the 1999 coarse grains has also revised downwards to 158 000 tonnes, still 12 percent above the reduced production of the previous year.
The food supply remains stable following adequate levels of commercial imports.
The outlook for the 1999/2000 rice crop is unfavourable. After a good start of the rainy season in November, below- average precipitation from the third decade of December to the first dekad of February in the main growing areas in the north has resulted in severe planting and yield reductions. In the important growing region of Lac Alaotra, only 20- 25 percent of the area under rice have been cultivated this season. Paddy production is forecast to decline from the good level of 1999.
The food supply situation is satisfactory reflecting the 1999 good cereal harvest, particularly in the structurally deficit areas of the South.
Prospects for the 1999/2000 maize crop are uncertain, reflecting erratic and patchy rains since the beginning of the season. After good rains in November, which favoured planting operations and benefited early-planted crops, a prolonged dry spell during December, particularly in the main growing areas in the south, severely stressed developing crops. Widespread rains received in the first half of January provided relief to the moisture-stressed crops, but were too late in some areas where yield reductions are anticipated. Dry weather resumed in the third dekad of January and irregular precipitation in early February may have been insufficient to avoid further reduction in yields.
The overall food supply remains satisfactory following the record cereal crop of last year, which resulted in exportable surplus and a substantial increase in maize stocks. Food prices remain stable.
Torrential rains in the first dekad of February in the south of the country has resulted in the worst floods in 50 years, causing a large number of deaths and considerable damage to infrastructure and housing. Many towns have become isolated due to the destruction of roads and bridges, while continuous rains are hindering evacuation and relief operations. As a result of contamination of drinking water, diseases such as malaria and cholera are expected in the coming weeks. The number of the people severely affected by the floods is currently estimated at 300 000 but is rising. Worst affected area is the province of Maputo; the number of displaced people in the cities of Maputo and Matola is estimated at 150 000. The Government has appealed for US$2.7 million in international assistance to cope with the emergency but this amount does not include the cost of food assistance. WFP is currently distributing emergency food aid to 150 000 persons in the country.
The outlook for this year's cereal harvest is poor. Anticipated crop losses in southern parts will add to planting reductions due to erratic and highly localized rains since the beginning of the season in November. An assessment of the agricultural and crop losses is underway. However, preliminary indications point to an urgent need for seeds and tools to increase plantings profiting from water recession.
After a good start of the rainy season, prospects for the 2000 maize and sorghum crops have deteriorated as a result of a one-month dry spell in northern growing areas. More precipitation is urgently needed to avoid yield reductions. Pastures and livestock are reported in good conditions following earlier good rains.
The 2000 wheat crop was estimated average at 5 000 tonnes.
The food supply situation remains stable reflecting an increase in production last year and the country's import capacity.
Heavy rains in the north of the country during the first dekad of February resulted in floods, causing loss of life and damage to housing and infrastructure. Several towns have become isolated and an estimated 100 000 persons have been left homeless by floodwaters. Worst affected areas are the Northern, Mpumalanga and Guateng provinces. Preliminary estimates for the Northern Province alone indicate the cost of the infrastructure damage at US $33 million. An estimate of the agricultural damage is not yet available.
Despite anticipated localized crop losses, the abundant rains of early February are likely to have benefited the maize crop stressed by below average precipitation in the second and third dekads of January in central areas. However, the outcome of the season will depend on the weather in the remaining of the season. Preliminary estimates of the area planted to maize point to an increase of 10 percent from last year level due to diversion of land from other corps.
Latest official estimates indicate a 1999 wheat output of 1.52 million tonnes, slightly less than last year's below average crop. This mainly reflects diversion of land to more profitable crops, but also reduced yields in parts.
The food situation is difficult for large number of people who has lost their properties or is isolated by the floods. However, the overall food supply situation remains satisfactory. Despite the reduced coarse grain harvest of last year, commercial import of yellow maize, wheat and rice continue at adequate levels.
Torrential rains in the first dekad of February resulted in floods following the break of ten rivers banks. Loss of life and extensive damage to roads, bridges, basic infrastructure and housing are reported. Water shortages are being experiencing in the capital city Mbabane. An assessment of the damage to agriculture is not yet available as fields are still waterlogged. Prospects for the 1999/2000 maize crops are uncertain. Precipitation during the rainy season had been generally adequate but the recent floods are likely to have negatively affected crops at a critical development stage.
Prospects for the 1999/2000 cereal crops are uncertain. Rains have been irregular and patchy since the beginning of the season, with prolonged dry spells in December and January. Widespread rains are needed soon to avoid reductions in yields.
Estimates of the 1999 wheat crop have been revised downward to 90 000 tonnes, but at this level is still 27 percent up from the previous year and a record level.
The food supply situation remains overall stable as a result of a recovery in the 1999 maize production and a good harvest of non-cereal crops.
Heavy fighting in southeast Angola between government forces and UNITA rebels in recent weeks, has raised fears of a fresh refugee influx into Zambia, where around 170 000 Angolans have already fled. The conditions of these refugees are poor as heavy rains and impassable roads hamper emergency food aid distributions.
Normal to above normal rains in the first dekad of February provided relief to the 1999/2000 cereal crops stressed by dry weather in late January. Although rains have been erratic since the beginning of the season, growing conditions are generally adequate for the developing crops. However, the outlook for the harvest is poor as a result of a decline in the area planted from both last year and the average level. This reflects a widespread dry spell in December, that adversely affecting sowing operations, as well as diversion of land to other crops following low support prices for maize, coupled with high prices and low availability of agricultural inputs.
The 1999 wheat crop, harvested until last November, was estimated record at 320 000 tonnes. The increase reflected higher plantings and yields.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory following the recovery on last year production and adequate levels of maize imports so far. However, prices are reported on the increase in deficit areas, as well as in urban areas.