Reference Date: 11-February-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Dry conditions during the start of the 2013/14 cropping season, but rains improved in January 2014
Aggregate cereal production in 2013 estimated at a below average level
Food insecurity conditions increase in the subsistence sector due to dry conditions in 2013
Unfavourable cropping conditions at the start of the 2013/14 season
Harvesting of the 2014 cereal crops is expected to start in April. Rains during the start of the 2013/14 cropping season (October-June) were erratic, including a late start and overall below average cumulative levels in southern regions. However, rains improved in 2014, positively impacting pasture and crop conditions. An average to below-average harvest is expected in 2014, as a result of the drier conditions in late 2013.
The government increased the support package to farmers for the 2013/14 cropping season (October-June) through the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD). Farmers are set to receive a subsidy of BWP 800 (approximately USD 92) per hectare for agricultural inputs, twice the previous level, with a maximum of 16 hectares for subsistence farmers, while emerging and commercial farmers would be supported for up to 150 and 500 hectares respectively, but with a lower subsidy rate. In addition, the horticulture sector has been included in the ISPAAD programme, specifically supporting irrigation facilities, with the government contributing up to 60 percent of the installation costs.
Food prices stable, but at higher levels than in 2012
Annual inflation rates declined during most of 2013 and in December 2013 were estimated at 4 percent, about three percentage points below the corresponding period in 2012. Correspondingly, the food component of the CPI has remained comparatively stable in 2013, but recorded a year-on-year increase of 4 percent in December. However, the sharply increasing price of maize in South Africa, the country’s main supplier of grain, is expected to exert imported inflationary pressure on domestic cereal prices.
Drought conditions in 2013 aggravate food insecurity
Although domestic production covers only 10 percent of Botswana’s total consumption requirements, poor production in the subsistence sector and deterioration in livestock conditions have aggravated food insecurity. About 372 000 persons were estimated to be at risk of food insecurity in 2013/14. In response, the government has allocated USD 25.6 million to relief measures, including nutritional support and increasing the number of boreholes. In addition, the reduced dam levels have prompted an extension of water rationing in some locations.