Reference Date: 30-November-2021
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Unfavourable production prospects for 2022 cereal crops
Severe drought conditions resulted in reduced cereal outturn in 2021
Prices of food continued to strengthen in 2021, driven by weak currency
Severe food insecurity situation in southern provinces due to drought and economic downturn
Unfavourable weather forecast dampens 2022 production expectations
Weather forecasts for the 2021/22 cropping season, with cereal crops currently being planted for harvest next year, indicate an increased probability of below‑average rainfall amounts in the main cereal producing provinces in central areas of the country. The unfavourable weather outlook also stretches to southern provinces, which experienced two consecutive drought‑affected agricultural seasons, resulting in successive low cereal harvests. Reflecting the effects of the previous droughts and sparse rainfall amounts in October and early November 2021, soil moisture reserves were at low levels during the current planting period, conditions that are likely to hinder crop emergence and could adversely affect final yields.
The successive reduced harvests and five consecutive years of economic recession have also severely curbed farming households’ income‑generating opportunities and consequently reduced their economic capacity to access agricultural inputs. As there are also indications of low seed availability, the area sown with cereal crops in 2022 is foreseen at a reduced level, furthering weighing on production prospects.
Severe drought curbed cereal production in 2021
The 2021 cereal production is estimated at a below‑average level, owing to the effects of widespread and prolonged drought conditions as well as the impact of African Migratory Locust. The government continues to monitor the locust situation with support from FAO. Cumulative seasonal rainfall amounts in key producing provinces of Namibe, Cunene, Huila and Cuanza Sul were 60‑80 percent below the average, representing the worst drought in the last 30 years.
Increased cereal import needs in 2021/22
On account of the low cereal outturn in 2021, cereal import requirements are estimated at 1.5 million tonnes in the 2021/22 marketing year (April/March), about 12 percent higher than the five‑year average. The upturn in import needs is largely driven by larger requirements for maize. For wheat, which is not produced in the country, imports are forecast to increase only moderately reflecting increased demand due to population growth.
Prices of food increased in 2021, underpinned by weak currency
According to the latest data by the Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE), prices of food increased by 36 percent on a yearly basis in September 2021. The price increases are largely driven by a weak national currency that, although the exchange rate had remained relatively stable in 2021, has lost significant value compared to the preceding two years. The low domestic cereal outturn is also considered to be a contributory factor to increasing prices. In efforts to curb rising prices and lower costs for consumers, the government recently announced the halving of the value added tax (VAT) on certain essential consumer goods, including food items and some agricultural inputs; VAT was first introduced in October 2019.
Severe food insecurity situation in southern provinces
The latest IPC analysis indicates that about 1.58 million people in the southern provinces of Cunene, Huila and Namibe are in need of humanitarian assistance at least until March 2022. Out of this population, an estimated 417 000 are facing IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) conditions and have difficulties in accessing food or are only able to meet their minimum food requirements through crisis and/or emergency coping strategies. The key driver of these conditions are the two successive years of drought‑reduced harvests, which cut households’ food supplies and curtailed income‑earning opportunities. In addition, the high prices of foods and the effects of the economic recession, aggravated by the COVID‑19 pandemic, have reduced households’ economic capacity to purchase food.
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