Reference Date: 27-January-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production in 2014 is expected to recover from the drought reduced output in the previous year
Large volumes of maize imports recorded in 2013/14 marketing year (May/April)
Approximately 464 000 people in need of assistance following the impact of the drought in 2013
Crop prospects favourable so far
Planting of the 2014 cereal crops, for harvest from May/June, was completed at the beginning of the year. Production prospects in 2014 are currently satisfactory, with an expected recovery in cereal production compared to the severely reduced 2013 output. Crop development has been supported by overall favourable rains since the start of the cropping season in October in the main productive zones of the centre and north. Rains have been less abundant in southern regions, and this is expected to negatively impact pasture conditions. The drought conditions in 2013 induced farmers to significantly increase livestock sales; nationally, the number of cattle marketed rose by 76 percent on an annual basis in the third quarter of 2013.
Significant volumes of maize imports satisfy national deficit in 2013/14
The sharp 42 percent drop in domestic cereal production in 2013 resulted in increased import requirements for the 2013/14 marketing year (May/April). Over 130 000 tonnes of maize have been imported from South Africa as of January. At the current level, imports are above the estimated requirement forecast at the beginning of the year, with the additional volumes expected to be used to further augment stocks. With three months remaining of the current marketing year, the import pace is anticipated to decrease.
Poor food security conditions in northern parts
In total, approximately 780 000 people were estimated to be food insecure, following the impact of the 2013 drought. However, the government revised upwards the number of people requiring food assistance by nearly 130 000 to 463 581 persons in late 2013. The northern regions have been worst affected, with the largest number of food insecure assessed to be in northern region of Kavango. Many households employed several coping strategies to mitigate the impact of the drought, including reducing the number of meals and increasing their consumption of wild foods.
In response, the government initiated several short and long-term interventions. An estimated 49 000 tonnes of maize is expected to be distributed to help cover the needs of the food insecure population. In addition, support to the livestock and cropping sectors is being implemented, including the promotion of drought tolerant cereal varieties and subsidizing the leasing of grazing land. Although the country has the capacity to import sufficient quantities of cereals, households’ access to market supplies are expected to be negatively impacted due to reduced livestock prices and limited sales of crops.