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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 12-December-2016


  1. Favourable weather benefits early development of 2017 cereal crops

  2. Drought conditions caused steep reduction in 2016 cereal production in southern provinces, but harvests were more favourable in central and northern areas

  3. Weaker currency and impact of drought sustained high inflation rates

  4. Food insecurity conditions severely stressed in southern provinces, with about 1.2 million people affected by drought in 2016

Generally favourable seasonal rains support early development of 2017 cereal crops

Planting of the 2017 cereal crops is ongoing under generally beneficial weather conditions in the main central cereal-growing regions and more notably in southern provinces that experienced severe dry conditions in the previous cropping season. The early favourable rains have boosted vegetation conditions in these areas, with satellite-based indices indicating average conditions in southern and central provinces as of November, except in southeastern Cuando Cubango, where drier conditions prevailed. By contrast, in some northern provinces, a late start of and below-average seasonal rains have strengthened moisture deficits; however, these areas do not represent the main cereal-growing regions of the country. With forecasts pointing to a higher chance of normal to above-normal rainfall between December and March, national cereal production in 2017 is expected to recover from last year’s reduced level.

Drought conditions depressed 2016 cereal production

Severe dry conditions associated with the 2015/16 El Niño episode, which mainly affected southern provinces, in particular Cuene and Cuando Cubango, resulted in below-average sorghum and millet outputs in 2016. While, by contrast, the large maize-producing areas in central provinces (Cuanza Sul, Huambo and Bie) received more beneficial rains, limiting production declines and as a result the domestic maize output in 2016 is estimated at an above-average level, although down on last year.

Livestock conditions were also negatively affected, resulting in poor body conditions and increased mortality rates. This follows an already poor year in 2015, when an estimated 360 000 livestock were lost.

Currency weakness and drought impact sustained high inflation rates

The weakness of the national currency (kwanza), which depreciated by about 23 percent on a yearly basis in November 2016, largely in response to a drop in oil prices in late 2015, has contributed to sustaining high inflation rates. Further upward pressure resulted from the impact of the drought-reduced agricultural output in 2016 that constrained domestic food supplies. In October, despite slowing down in recent months, the national inflation rate was estimated at 40 percent year-on-year, with rising food prices contributing to the high rates. Prices of bread, a food staple in urban areas, were 34 percent higher in October compared to their year-earlier levels although small decreases were recorded in the preceding two months.

To lessen inflationary pressure on food prices, the Government centralized the sales of wheat flour in September, selling it directly to registered bakeries at a subsidised price of AOA 10 000 per 50 kg, compared to a market price of AOA 30 000 ( FPMA Policy ).

Food insecurity severely stressed in southern provinces

According to the National Civil Protection Committee, an estimated 1.2 million people were affected by the drought in 2016 of which an estimated 43 percent are food insecure. The impact of the drought on agricultural production, as well as higher food prices, have negatively affected nutrition levels, with reports indicating increases in severe acute malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition (the rise is also partly attributed to improved monitoring systems that have been put in place this year). United Nations agencies, including FAO, are supporting the Government to respond to the current situation; specifically, about 585 000 people have received emergency humanitarian support, while FAO is providing agricultural support to about 6 000 households.