Reference Date: 24-August-2018
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Maize production estimated to have increased moderately in 2018 due to overall beneficial weather
Imports of cereals forecast to fall in 2018/19 marketing year reflecting larger domestic harvest
Prices of maize decline on account of lower import prices and ample national supplies
Number of food insecure declines in 2018, but concerns remain in eastern regions due to impact of dry spells on agricultural production
Cereal production up slightly in 2018
Harvesting of the 2018 summer cereal crops was concluded in July, while the winter wheat crop was planted in May and will be harvested in November.
The 2018 maize output is estimated to be slightly higher on a yearly basis, improving further from the previous year’s already above-average level. The rise is mainly on account of the overall beneficial weather conditions, particularly in the more productive western regions. Despite a period of below-average rains during January that affected some parts of the country, notably the eastern Lubombo Region, lower-than-average temperatures helped to minimise the impact of water deficits on maize crops. Good rains were received in the following months, aiding a recovery in vegetation conditions in some of the affected areas and resulting in a small upturn in average yields at the national level. Despite the overall output increase, production shortfalls are expected in the Lubombo Region mainly due to dry conditions.
Maize imports forecast to decline
Total cereal imports in the 2018/19 marketing year (May/April) are forecast to contract slightly reflecting both the ample carryover stocks and large domestic output. In the 2017/18 marketing year, an estimated 111 000 tonnes of maize were imported, with yellow maize, which is used for feed, accounting for the bulk of this volume.
Increased supplies and lower import costs push down prices of maize meal
Prices of maize meal have been generally decreasing during the past two years. This is mainly a consequence of decreasing prices in South Africa, the country’s main source of imported grains, and generally good national supplies. In June 2018, the average price of maize meal was 14 percent lower year-on-year.
Food insecure numbers fall in 2018
An estimated 122 000 people, or 14 percent of the population, were assessed to be food insecure in 2018 according to the Swaziland Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s (VAC) evaluation. This figure is 23 percent lower compared to 2017 and an 80 percent decline relative to the estimate in 2016, when El Niño-induced dry weather conditions resulted in a sharp cut to the national maize harvest.
The improved food security conditions in 2018 mainly reflect the larger maize harvest and lower prices, enhancing food access. However, despite the year-on-year improvement, conditions remain poor in some areas, notably in Lubombo, which has been classified in IPC Phase 3 for the June-September period.
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