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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 09-January-2023


  1. Dryness in localized areas, but generally favourable weather conditions at start of 2022/23 cropping season

  2. Average cereal crop harvested in 2022; import requirements increase moderately

  3. Food prices rise, underpinned by elevated import costs

  4. High levels of food insecurity due to weather‑reduced harvests, conflict and high food prices

Dryness in localized areas, but generally favourable weather conditions at start of 2022/23 cropping season

Planting of the 2023 cereal crops is underway and is expected to finish in January. Early season dryness has affected the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula, where below‑average soil moisture levels are affecting sowing activities and early crop emergence. Moderate rainfall deficits were observed in localized areas of some southern and central provinces, but overall rainfall levels between October and December 2022 have been average to above average in areas outside of the two aforementioned northern provinces, supporting planting operations.

In addition to a slow start of the rainy season, persisting attacks by Non‑state armed groups (NSAGs) in Cabo Delgado have continued to cause population displacements, effectively halting people’s livelihoods and likely contributing to a low level of plantings in the 2022/23 cropping season.

Average cereal crop harvested in 2022; import requirements increase moderately

Cereal production in 2022 is estimated at an average level of 2.7 million tonnes, up from the reduced output of 2021. The impact of several tropical storms, as well as Cyclone Gombe that made landfall in March 2022, resulted in crop damage and losses in the main cereal producing central and northern provinces, containing overall production levels in 2022.

Cereal import requirements are forecast at 1.6 million tonnes in the 2022/23 marketing year (April/March), moderately above the previous five‑year average. Import requirements of rice are estimated at an above‑average level of 680 000 tonnes, reflecting a small downturn in production in 2022 and, therefore, a moderately larger domestic supply gap. Maize imports are forecast at a near‑average level of 250 000 tonnes, with most imports sourced from neighbouring South Africa and destined for southern provinces, given the prohibitively high costs of transporting maize from northern provinces. Imports of wheat, which is not grown in the country, are forecast at an average level of 650 000 tonnes, as an expected drawdown in stocks is seen limiting import growth. In the preceding three marketing years, wheat supplies from the Russian Federation and Ukraine accounted for an average of 38 percent of the total imported wheat quantity; however, there have been no imports from these two countries in the 2022/23 marketing year, reflecting export constraints following the outbreak of the war. Larger import quantities from India have helped compensate for the reduced import volumes from the Black Sea Region.

Food prices rise, underpinned by elevated import costs

The annual food inflation rate was estimated at 20 percent in November 2022, up from 10 percent in the corresponding month of 2021. Although still elevated, price growth has slowed marginally from a peak in August. The high inflation rate is largely underpinned by the surge in global food and energy prices, although a stable exchange rate has stymied a more pronounced price transmission to the domestic market. To combat inflationary pressure, the government raised the policy interest rate twice in 2022 and agreed to reduce the Value‑added tax (VAT) rate by 1 percent at the start of 2023.

High levels of food insecurity in Cabo Delgado due to conflict and high food prices

Results from the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), acute food insecurity analysis are still undergoing verification and projections on the number of food insecure people between January and March 2023, during the peak of the lean period, are not yet available. Earlier IPC analysis had projected that 1.44 million people faced IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and above levels of acute food insecurity between March and September 2022. This analysis covered less than half the national population but included the conflict‑affected Cabo Delgado Province where 930 000 people were categorized as food insecure, including about 24 000 people in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency).

Despite the small increase in cereal production in 2022, food security is not expected to improve significantly in early 2023 for two key reasons. Firstly, food prices surged in 2022 and, without a concurrent and substantive increase in incomes, households are expected to continue to experience food access constraints. Secondly, persisting attacks by NSAGs in Cabo Delgado have led to a rise in the number of Internally displaced persons (IDPs). As of October 2022, nearly 950 000 people had been displaced, 30 percent more compared to the previous year. IDPs face the highest levels of acute food insecurity, while the violent incidents also hinder the adequate delivery of essential humanitarian assistance. The potential landfall of cyclones in early 2023 is an additional factor that could adversely impact people’s livelihoods and by extension aggravate food insecurity.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.