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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 15-November-2016


  1. Cereal production in 2016 estimated 4 percent down from previous year, but still remains above average, reflecting negative impact of El Niño-associated drought

  2. Tighter cereal supplies and depreciation of Mozambican metical puts strong upward pressure on food prices

  3. Food security worsens significantly in 2016 on account of reduced harvest and higher food prices, further exacerbated in some central provinces due to localized conflict

Favourable rains forecast for 2016/17 cropping season

Sowing of the 2017 cereal crops is underway in southern and central parts, and planting activities will progress further north as seasonal rains arrive. Rainfall forecasts for much of the 2016/17 main summer cropping season (October-June) indicate an increased likelihood of average to above-average rainfall; this follows a season that was mainly characterized by severe dry conditions in the south and centre. Although the current season has just commenced, the weather forecast points to generally favourable production prospects; however, the reduced 2016 harvest is expected to constrain the productive capacity of low-income households’ that are normally reliant on their own seed supplies and this may therefore limit the area planted. In response, FAO and the Government are providing input support to the affected households.

El Nino-induced dry conditions result in cereal production decline in 2016

Total cereal production in 2016 is estimated at about 2.4 million tonnes, about 4 percent below the previous year’s output, but above the preceding five-year average. Maize production, which constitutes the bulk of the country’s cereal output, decreased by 4 percent and rice production fell by 8 percent, while the sorghum crop, which is more resistant to drier conditions compared to maize, increased by 8 percent on a yearly basis in 2016.

The production decline mainly reflects reduced harvests in southern and central areas that were affected by the prolonged El Niño-induced dry conditions. An estimated 0.86 million hectares of cropped land (about 18 percent of the total planted areas) were affected by the dryness in the main cereal‑producing provinces of Sofala, Tete (centre) and minor‑producing provinces of Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo (south), with many households forced to replant several times. Average to good harvests were estimated in northern provinces, which partly compensated for reduced outputs further south and averted a steeper production decline at the national level.

Drought impact and tighter cereal supplies boost inflation

Tighter domestic maize supplies has put upward pressure on prices, with most markets recording grain prices well above their year-earlier levels. Inflationary pressure stemming from the depreciation of the national currency (metical) against the US dollar also boosted price increases, with the national year-on-year inflation rate standing at 25.5 percent as of October 2016. Moreover, an increase in the cost of fuel in October, following the first upward revision of fuel prices by the Government since 2011, is expected to contribute to sustaining inflationary pressure.

Food security conditions deteriorate sharply

The reduced harvest in southern and central areas and higher food prices, have resulted in severely stressed food security conditions. A Government-led assessment estimated that close to 2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and this is figure is likely to rise in the first quarter of 2017 if the immediate requirements are not satisfied. The assessment found that the majority of households that were surveyed did not have cereal stocks for consumption and, due to frequent replanting, have low seed supplies that might adversely affect their productive capacity for the subsequent 2017 main season. In addition, an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment in August estimated high levels of acute malnutrition in the Sofala and Zambezia provinces, while the situation is critical in Cabo Delgado. A further stress on the food security situation relates to the localized conflict in Manica and Sofala provinces between Government forces and the armed wing of the opposition party (Renamo), which has resulted in the displacement of up to 80 000 people.

The Government and humanitarian community are responding to the current situation, providing agricultural support for livestock and horticulture production and food assistance to the most vulnerable households.