4 June 2002




  • Severe dry weather during the 2001/02 cropping season sharply reduced crop yields in southern and parts of central Mozambique.
  • In the main cereal growing areas of the northern region and remaining parts of the central region, abundant and well distributed rains led to increased production of cereals.
  • Overall, the 2002 cereal output is estimated at 1.77 million tonnes, 5 percent above last year, and maize output at 1.24 million tonnes, an increase of 8 percent. Exportable maize surplus in northern and central areas is projected at 100 000 tonnes. High internal transport costs make it uncompetitive to move the maize from the north to the deficit areas of the south.
  • Cereal import requirements for marketing year 2002/03 are estimated at 642 000 tonnes, mostly wheat (260 000 tonnes), rice (262 000 tonnes) and maize meal for urban markets, to be covered commercially.
  • Approximately 515 000 people in poor households in 43 districts of the Southern and Central regions, are facing severe food insecurity due to drought-devastated agricultural production and exhaustion of their coping abilities over the last four years. This population is about 15 percent of the total population of the two regions but less than 3 percent of the country's total population These severely food insecure people require food aid totalling 70 050 tonnes between now and April 2003.
  • About 355 000 of the proposed 515 000 beneficiaries require immediate food aid of 53 250 tonnes through March 2003, while a second group of 160 000 people requiring 16 800 tonnes should be added in September 2002 because their current-year harvest production will be exhausted at that time.
  • Emergency provision of agricultural inputs such as seeds are urgently required to enable drought affected farming families to restart agricultural production during the main planting season 2002/2003. Promotion of seed multiplication and improved seed storage are recommended measures to further improve food security at household level.




An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Mozambique from 21 April to 10 May 2002 to estimate the country's 2001/02 production of food crops, assess the overall food supply situation, forecast cereal import requirements and possible exports in 2002/03 (April/March) and determine the likely food aid needs. The Mission was joined by observers from the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Regional Early Warning Unit (REWU), the USAID supported Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS-NET) and World Vision International. In conducting crop assessment, the Mission was split into three teams so that as many provinces and districts as possible could be visited. One team visited the three northern provinces of Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula, and the central province of Zambezia. The second team covered the other three central provinces of Tete, Sofala and Manica, while the third team covered the three southern province of Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo. The Mission received full cooperation from relevant Government departments, donor representatives and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Maputo and in the provinces.

Field visits enabled the Mission to get first-hand views of farmers, traders, field staff of humanitarian organizations and provincial and district level Government officials, regarding problems faced by farmers during the current agricultural season and harvest outcome.

Relevant statistics provided by the National Early Warning System (Sistema Nacional de Aviso Prévio, SNAP) at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER), as well as complementary information provided by provincial and district officials were thoroughly examined by the Mission. These included estimates of area planted and harvested, yields of different crops, amount and types of agricultural inputs used, prices of agricultural products, and damage to crops caused by the drought that hit the southern and part of the central regions during the growing season. Half of all districts in the country, or sixty districts in all the ten provinces, were visited. The Mission carried out crop inspections in all the districts visited, to cross-check the official yield data and opinions expressed by individual farmers. For the districts not visited, estimates were made on the basis of information obtained from various sources. Thus, based on information from the field visits and other sources, the Mission adjusted the yield estimates provided by SNAP as appropriate.

The total area planted to cereals and other food crops in the 2001/02 agricultural year is estimated at 3.8 million hectares, including about 1.3 million hectares of maize, 173 000 hectares of paddy and 607 422 hectares of sorghum and millet. This is some 3 percent lower than last year and reflects mainly decreases in the south due to poor rains.

The 2001/02 main season was characterized by irregular and insufficient rains in the south and parts of the central region. In these areas, rains started in October, then stopped briefly and resumed in November-December and then ceased completely in January. In some places the rains stopped as early as mid-December, while in other locations they stopped in mid-January. There was virtually no rain in the south from January to March, resulting in poor grain formation in maize. Yields were greatly reduced all over the south and parts of the centre. SNAP has estimated that about 60 000 hectares yielded less than 10 percent of their usual output. Maize was especially affected, while sorghum and cassava were more resistant to the drought. The absence of rains also adversely affected the second season for grains and vegetables in south and south-central provinces. The poor conditions of the second crop was apparently at the time of the mission. The second season, harvested between mid-June and August, represents only some 10 percent of the annual cereal and bean production, but it accounts for 50 percent in Gaza and 10 to 15 percent in Inhambane and Maputo provinces. By contrast, rains were normal in the north and the rest of the central region, where a good cereal harvest has been obtained.

Including the second season cereals and beans, total 2001/02 production of cereals is estimated at 1.77 million tonnes, an increase of 5 percent on last year. Nation-wide maize production was 8 percent higher, but this reflects an increase of 27 percent in the north and 13 percent in the centre, compared to a 38 percent decrease in the south. Cassava tolerated the drought well in the south and centre, but the brown-leaf virus caused output to decrease by 6 percent in the north, the main growing region. Total cassava production is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes fresh weight, around the level of 2001. The production of beans is estimated to have increased by 15 percent over the previous year.

Overall, an exportable surplus of about 100 000 tonnes of maize is forecast. However, due to high transport costs, surpluses available in northern areas are not easily accessible to the southern parts of the country. They are instead exported to Malawi and other neighbouring countries. The shortfall in the south and part of the centre is expected to be covered by food aid and increased commercial imports.

The Mission estimates that about 515 000 persons are in need of food aid due to a combination of structural economic deficiencies, the cumulative effect of several recent natural shocks, the current dry spells which led to an almost total harvest failure, and a sharply reduced ability of the most affected households to replace their lost production with other income and production. Of these, 355 000 people are estimated to be severely affected and in need of immediate food assistance. Another 160 000 people were moderately affected and their food production is expected to last only until September 2002, when they will require food assistance. Emergency food aid requirements for the first group through March 2003 are estimated at some 53 250 tonnes, while an additional 16 800 tonnes are required for the second group. Most of the food aid requirement will have to be imported, but a part of it may be procured locally. Total assistance requirements for the all of these populations should be reassessed later in the year, looking particularly at the final outcome of the second-season crops that are so important in these same areas. Seed assistance for planting in the next season is also required.



Mozambique has a total area of 789 800 sq. km, with approximately 45 percent of the country, or about 36 million hectares, considered suitable for agriculture. However, only four percent of the total arable land is presently cultivated. The population, growing at about 2.4 percent per annum according to official projections, is estimated at 18.08 million by mid-2002. Over 80 percent of the labour force is engaged in agriculture and employment opportunities in the non-farm sector are very limited. However, the share of the urban population in the total is growing, especially in and around Maputo, the capital city, which already holds about one million people.

The country's infrastructure was devastated by more than 15 years of civil strife. Following the peace accord signed in October 1992 between the opposing groups, a climate conducive to the implementation of an economic recovery programme now prevails. The Government has initiated several rural development programmes and projects and is pursuing a strict structural adjustment programme (SAP) in cooperation with the IMF and the World Bank. Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, the country is in a position to benefit from debt relief and new loans and has recently had US$152 million of bilateral debt written off. Several important development projects are underway, including the MOZAL aluminium production project, the proposed natural gas pipeline from Beira to South Africa, a project for metal extraction from superficial ores, and several projects funded by donors for road construction and other endeavours. Foreign investment is growing at a relatively high rate, but the impact on production, employment and incomes is so far very limited. Tax revenue is still insufficient to cover the whole range of Government responsibilities, with foreign grants covering about one half of public expenditure at all levels, even after debt service reductions following the HIPC initiative. Mozambique has had healthy rates of GDP growth in recent years, though they are slowing down lately. For 2001 and 2002 the growth in GDP is estimated to be at most 3 percent.

The reforms which have been carried out so far seem to have brought about the desired results in several areas. Inflation which was reduced to 15 percent in 1997 from over 50 percent the previous year, stood at about 10-11 percent in 2001. Real interest rates which had been negative for several years, have been brought to positive levels and, in fact, appear to be rather too high. Commercial farmers complain that high interest rates are hindering rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure and other investments required to increase agricultural output. Most trade restrictions have been removed and market forces operate relatively freely.

For the agriculture sector, growth has been mainly due to favourable weather conditions and the prevailing enabling environment for investment. Agricultural products which have benefited most from reforms are export crops like cotton and cashew nuts. Recovery in production of tobacco in the north and centre, following years of decline due to civil strife, is also proceeding.

In the small-scale farm sector, given the low level of farming techniques, with virtually all crop land being cultivated by hand, the prospects for substantial increases in food production are unfavourable. Unless more land per family can be brought under cultivation and productivity increased, it will not be possible to meet the needs of the country's growing population with its rising urbanization. Even small improvements in farming techniques could significantly increase yields. Also, the lack of developed markets for farm products and inputs is a serious constraint. The recent introduction of seed fairs with FAO assistance is worth considering for possible expansion.

The current policy regarding land tenure does not encourage long-term investment in agriculture. At present, all land belongs to the State as it was nationalized at independence. Foreign investors would require legally defined individual tenure arrangements for sustained investment in agriculture. Small and commercial farmers have no permanent ownership title, and this limits their acccess to institutional credit.



The data-gathering capability of the public sector in Mozambique was destroyed by the civil war. A considerable effort was made during the 1990s to collect agricultural statistics, mainly based on FAO assistance in establishing a national Early Warning Unit. Parallel efforts have been made to improve population data and economic statistics. However, there is still a serious lack of adequate and up-to-date information on several aspects of the economy, and particularly on agricultural production and food consumption. The Mission, therefore, had to rely on information derived from indicators such as numbers of households, average farm size, area planted and yields, seeds and tools distributed, crop conditions, rainfall situation, as well as on discussions with farmers and traders, to estimate food production.

3.1 Factors affecting area planted and yields

About 90 percent of food production is rainfed. The rainy season is from September to April. The major food crops are maize, sorghum, millet, rice, cassava, beans and groundnuts. In addition, a number of other crops are produced on a small scale, such as sugarcane, sunflower, tobacco and cotton, which contribute to cash income. Second season plantings based on residual moisture or irrigation take place from March to July but this is mainly in southern areas. At national level, the area planted to cereals and beans in the second season is usually estimated at 10 percent of the main season. Most crop production is for subsistence on holdings averaging less than 1.5 hectare per farm family. Commercial farming contributes about 4 percent of total production.


Early forecasts of weather conditions in Southern Africa were promising, anticipating adequate rainfall and good 2001/02 crop production. However, during the season it became apparent that the rains were more favourable in the northern region (Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula provinces), with normal and fair to good distribution, while in the central region (Zambezia, Sofala, Manica and Tete provinces), they were irregular. In Zambezia Province rains were normal in amounts and distribution but in other provinces they started later than usual and were poor. A serious dry spell in January and the early cessation of the rainy season affected crop production in several districts. Early planted maize had to be re-planted in a number of districts. In the Southern Region, some good rains at the beginning of the season were followed by a prolonged dry spell from mid-January to February and an abrupt early end of the rains in March. There were virtually no rains for half of the growing season. Where possible farmers re-planted cereals but even then the results were poor. Crop production, therefore, was extremely poor in this region. The behaviour of rainfall in 2001/02 is depicted in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Mozambique - Rainfall distribution in 2001/02 agricultural season

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Farming in Mozambique is of a very low input/low output nature. Farmers do not use fertilizer and chemicals on their foodcrops. Only some vegetable farmers use these inputs. Manure is also not applied since few subsistence farmers have any cattle.

Improved seeds are available in limited quantities and are not of high quality. Farmers in general use retained seed from the previous crop. Hybrid seed is used by some farmers but it is kept for more than one year, with consequent deterioration of the yield potential. Bean seeds are also of poor quality. For cowpeas and pigeonpeas, farmers are more interested in the leaves as a vegetable and seed is of secondary importance.

Area planted

Land preparation is done by hand. Farmers in most areas only clear the land from weeds and plant seeds in holes. Since land availability is not a problem in the country, farmers move to new land when their cultivated plots are no longer productive. The system of shifting cultivation is common. Inter-cropping is practiced in all parts of the country, as it increases total income per unit of land and is a hedge against total crop failure. Table 1 below shows the area planted to major crops in the 2001/02 cropping season.

Table 1. Mozambique: Area Planted to Major Food Crops, 2001/02 by Province (hectares)

  Total seven Crops Maize Sorghum Millet Rice Beans Groundnuts Cassava
COUNTRY TOTAL 3 756 484 1 270 714 501 623 105 799 172 638 406 255 279 787 1 019 668
Total North 1 557 818 337 633 229 398 13 120 54 288 189 083 108 627 625 669
Cabo Delgado 440 409 86 173 66 813 4 491 14 360 55 947 44 166 168 459
Niassa 271 396 135 856 39 171 1 886 4 544 61 005 3 902 25 032
Nampula 846 013 115 604 123 414 6 743 35 384 72 131 60 559 432 178
Total Centre 1 529 802 647 913 232 219 69 655 110 509 119 380 61 073 289 053
Zambezia 734 569 210 184 69 828 14 313 80 663 53 723 32 575 273 283
Tete 309 818 162 250 57 563 28 132 277 44 111 16 095 1 390
Manica 263 341 190 100 46 978 15 866 710 3 972 4 392 1 323
Sofala 222 074 85 379 57 850 11 344 28 859 17 574 8 011 13 057
Total South 668 864 285 168 40 006 23 024 7 841 97 792 110 087 104 946
Inhambane 332 044 102 060 25 589 14 315 3 354 50 939 72 601 63 186
Gaza 245 583 123 384 13 055 8 709 2 772 35 275 26 507 35 881
Maputo 91 237 5 9724 1 362 - 1 715 11 578 10 979 5 879

Pest and diseases

Farmers reported some localized outbreaks of pests but, overall, they were within normal levels. The brown leaf disease on Cassava in the coastal areas of Nampula was the most serious problem this season.

3.2 Foodcrop production in 2001/02

Mainly because of the insufficient rainfall during the growing season in the central and southern regions, the target set by the Ministry of Agriculture of 1.9 million tonnes of cereal crops for 2001/02 could not be achieved. Tables 2 and 3 below provide a breakdown of production of the major foodcrops by province. These figures include projections of the second season cereal and bean crops.

The national total cereal production in 2001/02 is estimated at 1.77 million tonnes compared to 1.68 million tonnes in 2000/01, an in increase of 5 percent. Total maize production is estimated at 1.236 million tonnes, an increase of 8 percent on the good harvest of last year. The Northern Region produced 32 percent of the total, the Central Region 58 percent and the Southern Region only 10 percent.

Table 2. Mozambique: Production of major food crops, 2001/02 by province (tonnes)

  Maize Sorghum Millet Rice (paddy) Beans Groundnuts Cassava
COUNTRY TOTAL 1 235 657 314 136 55 761 167 925 177 355 109 786 5 924 551
Total North 395 779 162 046 8 331 52 549 92 538 52 768 3 530 077
Cabo Delgado 105 565 49 910 2 992 16 714 32 515 17 693 1 094 983
Niassa 178 633 28 203 1 226 3 635 27 540 1 757 162 705
Nampula 111 581 83 933 4 113 32 200 32 483 33 318 2 272 389
Total Centre 715 989 134 460 38 221 102 906 57 118 28 214 1 870 030
Zambezia 260 066 48 409 8 992 78 944 32 292 18 895 1 776 340
Tete 177 798 29 119 11 600 200 16 387 4 765 7 643
Manica 207 891 23 087 6 284 497 1 368 1 273 7 706
Sofala 70 234 33 845 11 345 23 265 7 071 3 281 78 341
Total South 123 889 17 630 9 209 12 470 27 699 28 804 524 444
Inhambane 40 014 11 259 5 726 2 147 12 735 18 880 315 646
Gaza 51 343 5 744 3 483 8 658 10 681 6 374 179 404
Maputo 32 532 627 - 1 665 4 283 3 550 29 394

Table 3. Crop production in 2000/01 and 2001/02 by Region (‘000 tonnes)

  Maize Sorghum Millet Rice (paddy) All cereals Beans Groundnuts Cassava
2000/01 312 145 7 43 507 73 48 3 765
2001/02 396 162 8 53 619 93 53 3 530
Percentage 27 12 14 23 22 27 10 - 6
2000/01 632 149 42 109 932 54 30 1 673
2001/02 716 134 38 103 992 57 28 1 870
Percentage 13 - 10 - 9 - 6 6 6 - 7 12
2000/01 199 20 13 14 246 27 30 537
2001/02 124 18 9 12 163 28 29 524
Percentage - 38 - 10 - 31 - 14 - 34 4 - 3 - 2
2000/01 1 143 314 62 167 1 685 154 109 5 975
2001/02 1 236 314 56 168 1 773 177 110 5 925
Percentage 8 0 - 10 1 5 15 1 - 1

In the Southern Region, many farmers obtained very low yields of maize, often less than 10 percent of the expected.

The estimated total overall production of sorghum and millet for the 2001/02 season is approximately 370 000 tonnes (85 percent of sorghum, 15 percent of millet), which is slightly below last year's level. These crops are mostly produced in the north. Sorghum did quite well under the drought conditions in the south, but in most areas it was grown only in small quantities because the population in this region strongly prefer maize for food. Efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture to promote drought resistant crops such as cassava and sorghum have not been successful.

Paddy production is forecast at 167 925 tonnes, almost unchanged from 2000/01. Out of this 32 percent is grown in the north, 61 percent in the centre and 7 percent in the south. Production in the south was affected by poor rains, but also by deterioration of irrigation facilities in the Chokwe Scheme. Rehabilitation of irrigation channels, both to the fields and within fields is urgently needed. Cleaning and repairs to the canals would improve irrigation efficiency and reduce the high percentage of water loss. Out of the 33 000 hectares of the scheme, it was reported that only 8 000 hectares are potentially suitable for production, but that less than 1 000 hectares were cropped because of machinery limitations and credit constraints. Yields in the Chokwe Scheme were about 4 tonnes/hectare for the more commercially oriented farmers, and about 3 tonnes/hectare for farm families.

The total bean production for the season was estimated at some 177 355 tonnes, 15 percent higher than last year mainly reflecting a good crop in the Northern Region.

Cassava is a very important crop in all regions, but it is a major crop in the Northern Region, where it is both a food and a cash crop. Official figures for planted area and yields are inconsistent. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates an overall area of around 1.0 million hectares with an average yield of around 6 tonnes/hectare. The Mission believes that the area is overestimated, and the yield probably underestimated. An in-depth survey should be undertaken to get a proper baseline from which future estimates can be made. In coastal Nampula in the Northern Region, a severe attack of the Brown Leaf Virus caused losses of up to 50 percent in some areas. This was the main cause of the fall in production of about 6 percent compared to last year in the northern region, in spite of an increase in area planted. At national level, however, cassava production is estimated almost unchanged from the previous year at 5.9 million tonnes.

Additionally an overall production of 110 000 tonnes of groundnuts is anticipated this season. The crop is extremely low yielding and the variety is of small nut type.

3.3 Other crops

There are clear indications that cash crops are becoming important in the cropping pattern of small farmers. Tobacco production is on the increase in the higher altitude areas of Manica and Tete Provinces, close to Malawi and Zimbabwe borders. Farmers are being supported with inputs by private companies which also purchase the crop. Through the influence of some NGOs, farmers have started growing sesame and sunflower in the last few years. Cotton is also being introduced. Vegetable production is a profitable activity for farmers during the limited second season, particularly around urban areas.

3.4 Livestock

Losses of livestock during the civil war and subsequently to the 2000 floods have still to be recovered. The country has relatively low numbers of livestock, particularly cattle. Goats are abundant in the north and central regions and have a good market in urban areas where prices are attractive. Backyard poultry rearing is very common in most areas but Newcastle disease is a problem.



4.1 Northern Region

Cabo Delgado Province

The province has three distinct agro-ecological zones. The major part of the province is situated in zone 10 at an average altitude of around 500 metres, with average annual rainfall across the province ranging between 800 and 1000 mm.

Rains started in the second decade of December, a month later that normal. This resulted in poor germination of early planted crops and extensive replanting. As the subsequent rains were adequate, crops developed well and production is anticipated to be normal.

Farmers who lost their seeds to floods during the last season had adequate access to seed, which was distributed by the Government and NGOs. Cassava stems were also distributed in some districts of the province.

It is estimated that 171 837 hectares of cereals, some 100 000 hectares of vegetables and almost 170 000 hectares of cassava were planted this season. Another satisfactory harvest, with a surplus over local demand, is expected.

Niassa Province

Annual rainfall across the province ranges between 800mm and 1 400mm, depending on altitude.

While farmers in the province have more than adequate access to land, inputs are difficult to obtain, with chronic shortages of good seed and farm implements. Farmers who cultivate vegetables for sale may use fertilizer.

The growing season was slightly delayed, as rains did not start until around 20 November. However, they were good thereafter and crops developed well throughout the season, with good crop yields forecast. Some 271 396 hectares were planted this season including some 181 000 hectares of cereals and 25 000 hectares of cassava. Most of the crops were in good condition at the time of the Mission's visit.

Nampula Province

The major part of the province falls in altitudes of less than 500 metres, with an average annual rainfall of between 900 and 1 200 mm.

Land is not a limiting factor in the province. The overall area planted was slightly larger than last year. However, cassava plantings were constrained by shortages of planting material.

Rains started late in the province, the first showers having been received in the last week of December, delaying sowing by about a month. Farmers started planting in November but the sowings were largely lost. Eventually crops were re-planted and developed well due to good and regular rains.

Overall, good yields are anticipated for most crops except cassava that suffered tuber rot and Brown leaf virus This virus is a serious problem and calls for special attention from researchers and extension staff of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Total production is estimated at some 2.27 million tonnes of cassava and 232 000 tonnes of cereals, mainly maize.

4.2 Central Region

Zambezia Province

Average annual rainfall across the Province ranges between 1 000mm and 1 600mm depending on altitude. Rains were slightly delayed this season and did not start until mid-December. As a result, sowing was somewhat delayed, but good and regular rains made it possible for farmers to plant until February. Only areas at lower altitudes experienced some dry periods in the early part of the year, which adversely affected rice crops.

Input supplies, mostly seeds, for farmers who lost crops to the previous year's floods were short. Farmers not affected had adequate supplies in stock from the previous season's crop.

Few problems with pests and diseases were reported in the province and in general crops were in good condition at the time of the Mission. Production of maize is forecast at 260 066 tonnes and that of cassava at 1.776 million tonnes.

Tete Province

Average annual rainfall across the Province ranges between 800mm and 1 600mm, with altitude ranging from 200 metres to 1 500 metres.

Rains started in the second decade of November and continued until the end of December and were adequate in most of the northern part of the Province. By contrast, the districts in the southern part had insufficient and irregular rainfall in November, but this situation improved during December. However, rains in January and February were insufficient and the maize crop was seriously affected in southern districts. Poor rains continued during the remainder of the season, which, combined with poor sandy soils, aggravated crop conditions.

Farmers affected by floods in the previous year received seed and farm tools from the Government and various NGOs.

Overall, the 2001/02 production of cereals is estimated at around 218 700 tonnes. Maize is put 177 800 tonnes.

Manica Province

Average annual rainfall across the Province ranges from 400mm in low altitudes of less than 200 metres to 1 200mm in the highest altitudes of up to 600 metres.

The first rains started in the middle of November prompting most farmers to sow the first crops and were fairly regular until February. The crops established well particularly on heavier soils. The districts with sandy soils (and less water holding capacity) did not perform well, as the rains failed in the later part of the season. Farmers in these districts lost some of their crops and were unable to replant. Overall, due to the early end of the rains, yields were seriously reduced in several areas of the province.

Cereal production is forecast at some 237 800 tonnes of cereals, including 207 900 of maize. Cassava production is estimated at around 7 706 tonnes.

Sofala Province

Average annual rainfall across Sofala ranges between 800 - 1 300mm according to altitude. The rainy season started late in all parts of the province. Rains diminished in the last decade of December in several districts and were reduced until early February, seriously affecting yields in several areas. The main affected districts are Chibabava, Machanga and Bozi.

Farmers who were affected by floods last year were assisted by the Government and NGOs with seeds and other agricultural inputs. Fertiliser and chemical use was limited to vegetable farmers near towns where there was a good market.

Production of cereals is expected at 139 000 tonnes and that of cassava at 78 000 tonnes.

4.3 Southern Region

Inhambane Province

Average annual rainfall across this Province ranges between 400 - 1 000mm from east to west. The rainy season started normally in October. Rains were abundant and most of the crops were planted early, with 70 percent of the crop planted between the last decade of October and the second decade of November. However, a dry spell from the first decade of December prevailed over most of the province for the rest of the growing season, leading to very low crop yields.

Some 145 000 hectares of cereals and 63 000 hectares of cassava were planted this year. It is estimated that about 59 000 tonnes of cereals will be produced, including 40 000 tonnes of maize. Total cassava production is estimated at 315 600 tonnes and vegetables at some 31 500 tonnes.

Gaza Province

Average annual rainfall across Gaza ranges between 400 - 1 000mm. The first rains of the season occurred in the last decade of September but were followed by dry weather until the last decade of November when they resumed but were regular only until the first decade of December. From then, a prolonged drought prevailed until the end of the season. The early plantings in September/October were virtually lost but later plantings performed relatively better although yields were reduced by the second dry spell. The outlook for the second season is also poor, reflecting the lack of rains.

The area planted was around the previous year's level. Overall production of cereals in the province is in the order of some 70 000 tonnes, including 51 300 is maize. Cassava production is estimated at 179 000 tonnes.

Maputo Province

Average annual rainfall across Maputo Province ranges between 400 - 1 000mm. The rainfall pattern in this province was somewhat similar to that in Gaza province. The rainy season started in the first decade of October and then a dry spell followed which lasted until late November. Another dry spell occurred in December. The crop planted with the first rains suffered badly from the drought and replanting was necessary. Crops on the remaining area (about 70 percent) which were planted with the second rains developed well. There was a remarkable difference in the plantings on the clay soils and those on the sandy soils, with the latter severely affected by drought.

Farmers that suffered heavy crop losses due to the flood last year were adequately supplied with inputs this season. Other farmers planted seeds from their own stocks and used available planting material for cassava and sweet potatoes.

Production is forecast at about 35 000 of cereals (mainly maize and only some small quantity of rice). Cassava production is forecast at 29 400 tonnes.



5.1 Food prices

There are significant seasonal fluctuations in the price of cereals, and also significant disparity between regions, accentuated this year by the drought which affected the southern region and part of the central region. However, in the north where food surpluses are forecast, increased food demand from Malawi and Zambia is expected to raise prices.

During the 2001/02 agricultural year real prices of maize were much higher than in previous years, reflecting increased demand from neighbouring countries, mainly Malawi (see charts below). In April and May 2002 (not reflected in the charts), prices were falling, not only in the north but also in the centre and south, as the new harvest arrived on the market. However, prices remained generally higher than at the same time in previous years (Figure 2). This surge in the real price of the main staple food will have an adverse impact on access to food for low-income sections of the population.

Figure 2. Mozambique: Retail Prices of Maize by Region
April 1999 to Feb 2002 (in meticais)


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5.2 Overall food supply situation and access to food

The Mission estimates that the national cereal production increased by 5 percent in the agricultural year 2001/02 over the relatively good harvest of 2000/01. The overall food supply situation in marketing year 2002/03 (April-March) is expected to remain satisfactory. Furthermore, substantial amounts of cassava, a major staple in the north, will be available.

However, the national picture masks striking disparities among regions. Maize surpluses will be available in the north and parts of the centre, which are likely to be largely exported to neighbouring countries. In the south and parts of the centre, where cereal production of the first and second seasons has been adversely affected by severe dry weather, imports would be needed as high internal transport costs make it uncompetitive to move maize from the north to the south compared with imported South African grain.

High prices of maize in local markets are seriously undermining household food security for a significant section of the population in the centre and south. For the most affected households, alternative sources of income are limited. Forestry-based products such as charcoal face increasing scarcity of forestry resources, and employment in South Africa has also been dwindling. Families that have lost all or most of their crops have exhausted their stocks (even those necessary for seed) and are already depending distress sales of livestock. This and other un-sustainable subsistence strategies are taking place at a relatively early time of the year.

5.3 Supply/demand balance for 2002/03

A projected population of 18 192 204 has been used for the middle of the 2002-2003 marketing year (30 September 2002), based on official population projections from 1997 to 2010 released by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). These projections reflect data from the 1997 Population Census and its estimated rate of omission.

Opening stocks

Carry-over stocks of maize at the end of March 2002 are estimated at 80 000 tonnes, of which about half was held by traders in the north, as estimated by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Small amounts are estimated to exist in the south. Stocks of imported wheat and rice, also held by traders, are estimated at 46 000 and 82 000 tonnes respectively.

Food use

Following increased cereal consumption in recent years, reflected in rising trends in imports of maize meal, wheat and rice (mostly for urban areas), as well as higher volumes of food aid, per capita annual consumption has been revised upwards to 54.5 kg of maize, 19 kg of rice and 14 kg of wheat from 50 kg, 14.3 kg and 10 kg respectively. Per capita consumption of pulses and cassava are estimated at 20 and 228 kg/year respectively, somewhat above the estimate for the past two years.

Losses and other uses

Storage losses have been estimated at about 15 percent for maize and 10 percent for rice, sorghum and millet. Losses for cassava are estimated at 20 percent. Other uses include seeds and industrial consumption.


The large increase in maize production in the north (27 percent) will result in increased exports to neighbouring countries, mainly Malawi. Total maize exports are projected at 100 000 tonnes as strong demand and attractive prices exist for shipping to Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia, where maize harvests this season have been reduced for the second consecutive year. At the time of the Mission, informal border traffic was intense, reaching about 200 tonnes per day in some locations. The high internal transport costs reduce the likelihood of the available surpluses being transported to the drought-affected areas in the centre and south.

Closing stocks

The level of stocks of imported rice and wheat are estimated to remain near the opening levels. Closing stocks of maize at the end of March 2003 are expected to be somewhat higher than in March 2002, held mainly by farms and traders in the north. This estimate is dependent on the amounts actually exported, and the extent of local purchases for food aid.

Table 4. Mozambique: Staple food supply/demand balance 2002/03 (‘000 tonnes)

  Maize Rice (milled) Wheat Sorghum/millet Total cereals Cassava
Domestic availability 1 316 191 46 380 1 933 6 083
Opening stocks 80 82 46 10 218 158
Production 1 236 109 0 370 1 715 5 925
Utilization 1 436 453 306 380 2 575 6 083
Food use 991 341 255 327 1 914 4 150
Other uses, losses 250 30 5 43 328 1 775
Closing stocks 95 82 46 10 233 158
Exports 100 0 0 0 100 0
Import requirement 120 262 260 0 642 0
Commercial 70 262 260   592 0
Food aid 50*       50 0

*Total food aid requirements amount to 70 000 tonnes. The difference will be procured locally.

Import requirement

An estimated 120 000 tonnes of maize will have to be imported to cover domestic requirements. Of this, 70 000 tonnes would be imported commercially, mainly in the form of maize meal to cover the urban consumption. Food aid supplies from abroad, representing about 70 percent of the total food aid required in maize-deficit areas, are estimated at 50 000 tonnes. Given the above-mentioned marketing problems, only about 20 000 tonnes of the food aid requirement might be purchased locally. Donor assistance may be necessary in the mobilization of surplus from north to south to reduce the imported food aid requirement. Imports of wheat and rice to supply the cities, are expected to follow past trends at 260 000 and 262 000 tonnes respectively. Total cereal imports would therefore be about 642 000 tonnes.


6. Emergency food aid requirements

Despite the fact that Mozambique will enjoy a normal to good harvest on a national basis, and especially in the most agriculturally important food systems of the northern region's "planalto" (plateau), food security conditions within most of the districts in the semi-arid food systems of the Southern and Central regions vary from generally poor, to alarming in some sub-district areas. As described in the food availability analyses above, these Regions were selected as the geographic focus of the Mission's food security assessment, and are the subject of the rest of this section of the CFSAM report.

The main factors of the current acute food insecurity conditions being experienced in the semi-arid districts of the Southern and Central regions include a combination of: structural economic deficiencies, the cumulative effect of several recent natural shocks - especially flood/excessive rains and cyclones that hit the same areas during the last three seasons, the current dry spells which led to almost total harvest failure in these areas, and a sharply reduced ability of households in these areas to replace the lost production with other income and production until at least April 2003. Food aid is considered an appropriate and necessary response for some of the populations of these areas.

6.1 Recent context of vulnerability and food insecurity

Most of the Mozambican population, about 70%, live below the absolute poverty line. The chronically food insecure are generally considered to be about one third of the total population, and an additional 20 to 25% of the country's total population is generally considered highly vulnerable to transitory food insecurity.

Food security conditions across the country are strongly influenced by weather, as subsistence agriculture is the most dominant form of livelihood, providing more than 80% of basic food needs to more than 70% of the population. Livelihood options outside agriculture are limited for the great majority of this segment of the population. The marketing network is weak, and limited by extremely difficult physical access in many areas. As well, the country's infrastructure of health centers and schools is still in the process of rehabilitation and expansion after many years of war. All of these factors increase vulnerability to natural or economic shocks, such as drought and flood, or a decline in the terms of trade for agricultural production.

Food security conditions are normally fragile in districts located in the semi-arid regions of the Southern and Central regions of Mozambique. Farming in the dry highlands is unproductive, and the poorest segments of society in these areas have limited access to the most productive lands in the river basins. The area a household may decide to put under agriculture is limited by a number of factors, including the gender of the head of family, the number of active adult family members, the financial capacity of the family to hire labour and animal traction, the fertility of the local soils, and the availability of moisture in the early part of the season.

Recent studies from the INIA (National Agricultural Research Institute) indicate that the average area cultivated by households in the semi-arid zones of Mabalane, Guija, Chokwe, and Mabote (Gaza District, Southern Region) varies between 0.9 ha to 1.60 ha. In these same areas, yields of about 400-600 kg per hectare only provide enough average production to cover less than 5 months of a normal household's food needs. This is generally true of most of the semi-arid districts in these regions1. Despite the agro- ecological potential for livestock in these food deficit districts, 40 to 50% of the small-scale farmers living there do not own any animals.

Since 1999, farmers of these semi-arid districts have experienced below normal harvests, due to both floods and dry spells, sometimes occurring in the same season. In 1999, districts and the majority of households found in Inhambane Province and northern Gaza Province were affected by excess rainfall and flooding in low-lying areas. That flooding caused displacement and loss of property for approximately 180 000 people. In 2000, the same areas, as well as most of Maputo Province and southern Sofala and Manica provinces suffered from the worst flood disaster in 50 years, that caused extreme food access difficulties for more than 650 000 people, out of which 500 000 were displaced.

6.2 Current food insecurity features and patterns

The Mission carried out a broad number of visits in most of the districts of both the Southern and Central regions, meeting with Government officials, NGOs, and members of the public in focused discussions on current food security conditions. Estimates of need were developed on the basis of these discussions, and then compared, contrasted and modified using data and insight provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), FEWSNet, NGOs, and a variety of other agencies.

Overall, the following factors or combination of conditions were judged to have had great influence in creating the current food insecure conditions that about 15% of the households in these regions are experiencing:

The number of households without sufficient production or stocks to meet minimum needs will likely increase later in the year, considering that the second crop in most of these drought affected districts was failing at the time of the Mission's assessment visit (note that the normal harvest period of the second crop is June-August).

6.3 Coping mechanisms

Coping mechanisms and alternative strategies to complement access to food in the Southern and Central regions include: game hunting, the sale of firewood and charcoal, sale of goats and chicken, sale of local beverages, casual agricultural wage employment in local farms, and labour emigration to neighbouring countries. Most of these have been severely compromised by over-use during the last four years.

The capacity of local well-off farmers to hire local casual labour has been greatly reduced by the cumulative effect of consecutive disasters and the current poor harvest. There is therefore little agricultural wage labour currently available. Prices of maize and grains in the deficit districts are much above the level of previous years, and more important, barter conditions have deteriorated. In the most isolated maize deficit localities of the Southern and Central regions, there are indications that maize prices have risen more than double the price found in recent years. Malnutrition rates are high, and elevated mortality, due to malaria; diarrhoea and HIV/AIDS is showing an alarming trend in the most recent official statistics.

6.4 HIV/AIDS and food insecurity

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Mozambique is high and rising (see Table 5). The most recent estimates indicate that the highest rates are found in Central Region where the overall rates are above 21% in recent years. In the other regions, they range from 11 to 14%. Note also that female rates of HIV/AIDS are generally several percentage points above those of males. The impact of HIV/AIDS on food security is likely significant and increasing in Mozambique, due to lost or weakened agricultural labour in households, absence from the fields due to participation in funerals, and in a large variety of other ways that need further formal measurement and documentation.

Table 5. Mozambique: Percentage HIV/AIDS Prevalence Rates

Region/Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Southern Region          
  Female 11.9 13.00 13.8 14.4 14.8
  Male 9.9 10.8 11.5 12.0 12.3
  Total 11.00 12.0 12.8 13.3 13.7
Central Region          
  Female 22.0 22.4 22.7 22.9 23.0
  Male 18.4 18.7 18.9 19.1 19.2
  Total 20.3 20.7 20.9 21.1 21.2
Northern Region          
  Female 14.2 14.8 15.1 15.4 15.5
  Male 11.8 12.3 12.6 12.8 12.9
  Total 13.0 13.6 13.9 14.1 14.2
  Female 16.7 17.3 17.8 18.1 18.3
  Male 13.9 14.5 14.8 15.1 15.2
  Total 15.4 16.0 16.4 16.7 16.8

6.5 Changes in dietary patterns

In many of the districts visited, the poorest households have indicated that they have already begun reducing their daily meals from three to one, and in these same and other districts, households are relying on consumption of wild fruits and tubers to stabilize their diet.

6.6 Required food assistance

The Mission's assessment shows that approximately 515 000 people, found in poor households in 43 districts of the Southern and Central regions (see Table 6, below), are facing severe food insecurity. They require food aid totalling 70 050 MT between now and April 2003. This represents about 15% of the total population of the two regions, and less than 3% of the country's total population of 18 082 519.

These current acute food insecure conditions are a direct result of the devastation of this year's agricultural production in these areas by drought, and an exhaustion of coping resources due to over-use during a 4-year series of floods and droughts. It is anticipated that 355 000 of the total proposed beneficiaries require immediate food aid, while a second group of 160 000 people should be added in September 2002 because their current-year production will only last that long.

Table 6: Affected Populations, Food Aid Needs, and Phasing of Needs

Province/District Estimated 2002 Population Number of beneficiaries from June2002 to August 2003 Number of beneficiaries from September 2002 to March 2003 Total Estimated Food Aid June 2002 to March 2003 (tonnes)
Massangena 13 859 7 000 8 000 1 155
Mabalane 28 689 8 000 9 000 1 305
Chigubo 14 740 4 000 6 000 810
Bilene 161 092 9 000 11 000 1 560
Guija 64 832 10 000 13 000 1 815
Chokwe 226 049 10 000 13 000 1 815
Cidade De Xai-Xai 144 773 2 000 5 000 615
Chicualacuala 38 298 6 000 12 000 1 530
Chibuto 164 672 10 000 23 000 2 865
Massingir 25 051 10 000 10 000 1 500
Mandlakaze 176 117 14 000 14 000 2 100
Xai-Xai 208 259 5 000 5 000 750
Total 1 266 431 95 000 129 000 17 820
Mabote 38 416 10 000 11 000 1 605
Panda 49 293 6 000 7 000 1 005
Funhalouro 33 283 9 000 11 000 1 560
Inhassoro 49 727 8 000 10 000 1 410
Inharrime 92 563 3 000 5 000 660
Morrumbene 128 764   3 000 315
Homoine 103 955   3 000 315
Govuro 30 568 10 000 13 000 1 815
Vilankulo 130 155 8 000 12 000 1 620
Massinga 203 639 5 000 11 000 1 380
Zavala 157 216   7 000 735
Total 1 017 579 59 000 93 000 12 420
Macossa 15 585 10 000 13 000 1 815
Guro 43 895 10 000 15 000 2 025
Tambara 33 886 20 000 27 000 3 735
Machaze 80 055 20 000 27 000 3 735
Total 173 421 60 000 82 000 11 310
Namaacha 41 131   3 000 315
Manhica 137 423 7 000 11 000 1 470
Marracuene 47 560 3 000 8 000 975
Magude 33 555 5 000 5 000 750
Moamba 40 512 5 000 5 000 750
Matutuine 37 657 6 000 6 000 900
Total 337 838 26 000 38 000 5 160
Muanza 13 908 5 000 6 000 855
Machanga 44 349 15 000 20 000 2 775
Chibabava 66 887 10 000 10 000 1 500
Total 125 144 30 000 36 000 5 130
Zumbu 42 528 7 000 9 000 1 260
Cahora Bassa 70 205 18 000 21 000 3 015
Changara 137 701 35 000 40 000 5 775
Magoe 49 608 15 000 20 000 2 775
Chiuta 69 330   5 000 525
Moatize 121 234   7 000 735
Mutarara 138 527 10 000 35 000 4 125
Total 629 133 85 000 137 000 18 210
Grand Total 3 549 546 355 000 515 000 70 050

The 2000/01 flood emergency programme of assistance terminated in April 2002 in a number of districts in Zambezia Province that are now recovering and enjoying normal to above normal rainfall. However, the recovery of other districts covered by this programme, especially in northern Manica and southern Tete provinces, was seriously slowed by the current drought, and some of these districts are now experiencing new difficulties. The Mission considers that the proposed current emergency operation should include these districts.

Considering the above-indicated levels of current food insecurity, the Mission concludes that:

6.7 Other Recommended Actions

A monitoring exercise comprised of Government, SADC, FAO, WFP, FEWSNet, NGO, and other active partners in assuring food security in Mozambique should be designed with the aim to inform all of changes in food security levels due to the expected impacts of food aid. This exercise might use the food economy and livelihood assessment capabilities of the national Vulnerability Assessment (VA) Group , as well as selected indicators of household food access, including changes in retail food prices, availability of food in markets, migration, and others that may determine further deterioration of the current conditions.

The multisectoral VA Group should continue to plan to undertake detailed food economy analysis to determine, at the sub-district household levels, the magnitude and implications of the current food scarcity. WFP should continue to cooperate with government committees and relevant NGOs, as well as District Food Committees for the registration of beneficiaries, to assure that only the most food insecure households are targeted, including women headed households, pregnant mothers and children and overall the poorest households without alternative means of purchasing food.



The mission has identified the following areas for possible future FAO technical assistance:

7.1 Improve crop data gathering

The National Early Warning System in Mozambique has developed over the years a comprehensive system to forecast and assess planted areas and yields of major food crops. Technical capabilities have been established at provincial and district levels to ensure that basic data are collected. However, the necessary field surveys have not been carried out regularly in recent years. For instance, a measurement of planted area per family was last attempted in 1998, and the assumed cropping pattern is also in need of updating. Improvements in the ground-level meteorological data gathering is also needed. The points of rainfall measurement are few and far apart, not allowing a correct assessment of rainfall at district level in years of irregular rainfall like 2001/02.

7.2 Study on the cassava economy

A special study is needed on production, marketing and consumption of cassava. Its objectives would be to assess the area planted in the various regions, as well as the harvesting time-pattern and yields; also, marketing, processing, storage and consumption patterns for cassava and its by-products in the various regions of the country.

7.3 Study on the food consumption patterns

Another recommended study concerns food consumption patterns. No food consumption survey has been done in Mozambique in recent decades, and little is known about regional differences in food consumption patterns, and distribution of food consumption among the population by area, socio-economic status, occupational position, and other possible differentiating factors. Estimates of income elasticities of demand should also be an objective of such study. Data on food consumption patterns will help prepare better food balances at national and subnational levels.

7.4 Improve seed quality

Some farmers are using old hybrid seed, which by definition should be replaced annually. In addition, hybrid varieties will only perform well if adequate agronomic practices are applied, such as better land preparation and the application of fertilizer. Open pollinated varieties are recommended under the present cultural practices, as seed can be retained for several years (4- 5 years).

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

Office of the Chief
Fax: 0039-06-5705-4495

Ms. J. Lewis
Regional Director, ODK, WFP
Fax: 00256-41-255115

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1 (Mozambique VA Committee reports 1997, 98, 99)

2 Poor households of the districts of upper Limpopo and interior of Gaza are food insecure `because they cannot earn enough extra cash income to cover the loss in crop production, and they do not have sufficient stocks to buffer themselves either" (FEWSNET-FEG/ VA Group)