Reference Date: 28-January-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Heavy rains in January caused flooding in central provinces, negatively impacting on crops and food security conditions
Floods followed a period of below-average rains in October and November 2014 that delayed planting of 2015 cereal crop, to be harvested from March/April 2015
Overall national maize supplies are favourable, on account of 2014 production rebound
Reflecting good supplies, maize prices are below last year’s levels, but have increased seasonally in recent months
Emergency food assistance is required for households affected by January floods
Heavy rains caused flooding in central provinces
Following a delayed onset and subsequent erratic rains in October and November resulting in dry conditions, heavy downpours since late December triggered flooding in central parts of the country, causing crop losses, and damage to houses and infrastructure. Monthly cumulative rainfall levels in December were well above-average, over 80 percent in some areas in the centre and south. The heavy rains continued into January, with nearly twice the average volume recorded during the first two dekads in the main cereal producing Zambezia province. The forecast for the following week indicates a continuation of abundant precipitation in northern and central areas, increasing the possibility of further floods.
Early assessments indicate that approximately 87 000 hectares of cropped land have been affected, mostly in Zambezia and Manica provinces which, combined, produce about one-third of the total national cereal output. At the national level, although the area affected only constitutes about 2 percent of national plantings for all crops, any production losses will negatively impact on local food supplies.
Improved cereal supply situation in 2014/15
Overall supply conditions improved in the 2014/15 marketing year (April/March), on account of the recovery in the 2014 maize harvest, estimated at about 1.9 million tonnes. A slight expansion in plantings and higher yields, reflecting favourable rains, account for the increase, in spite of some rainfall deficits in southern parts. Overall, total cereal production was estimated at 2.5 million tonnes, 13 percent up on 2013’s output.
Maize prices rise seasonally but remain below year-earlier levels
Despite recent seasonal increases, maize prices are up to 30 percent below their year-earlier levels as of January 2015 reflecting improved supplies in 2014/15. Lower prices in South Africa, which exports, on average, over 100 000 tonnes of maize to Mozambique each year, have also contributed to curtailing inflationary pressure on maize prices in 2014.
In areas affected by flooding, disruption to trade flows could result in reduced market supplies exerting upward pressure on food prices.
Floods affects households in central provinces
The January floods have affected about 158 000 people, as of 25 January, of which approximately 124 000 are located in the Zambezia province, notably in the coastal districts of Maganja and Namacurra. Food assistance is being provided to the affected population, while preliminary assessments have been conducted to identify the agricultural needs, including seeds for the minor secondary season with planting beginning in March/April.
In 2014, the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) estimated that 150 000 people would be at risk of food security and would require assistance during the first quarter of 2015, to bridge their food supply gap. This was an improvement compared to the previous year, with 212 000 assessed to need food assistance in the previous year. The 2015 VAC assessment is expected to be available in July.