français    español
GIEWS Update-detail
FAO/GIEWS Global Watch

7 December 2005

Southern Africa update

In southern Africa, late seasonal rains have disrupted sowing of the main season crops in most countries. Food insecurity in the region is of serious concern as the lean period has commenced and is affecting nearly 12 million people who are in need of emergency food assistance in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zambia. Food shortages are generally reflected in rising staple food prices, especially in Zimbabwe and Malawi. Of the total maize import requirement of 2.7 million tonnes for the subregion, excluding South Africa, for the current marketing year, so far an estimated 1.6 million tonnes have been received (1.1 million tonnes as commercial imports and 515 000 tonnes as food aid). In Zimbabwe, farm inputs are in short supply and very expensive. Access to food in many areas is severely hampered by scarcity of grain on markets, transport problems and fuel shortages. For the same reasons, agricultural prospects for 2006 are unfavourable, regardless of rainfall conditions. In Malawi, fertilizer distribution is reportedly underway under the Government’s subsidy programme. Significant amounts of food aid have been pledged (around 200 000 tonnes), but the bulk of it is yet to arrive in the country. On a brighter note, due to a bumper maize harvest in South Africa, there is an exportable surplus of this staple grain estimated at a record level of 4.66 million tonnes. The World Food Programme will be appealing for an additional US$ 211 million dollars (equivalent to 446 000 tonnes of food) under its regional Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation for 2005/07, to bring the total to US$ 622 million.