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Reference Date: 08-June-2021


  1. Harvesting of 2021 main cereal crops is about to conclude and production is forecast at near‑average level

  2. Cereal import requirements in 2021/22 forecast at near‑average level

  3. Food prices increased amid depreciation of national currency

  4. Worsening conflict and effects of COVID‑19 pandemic deteriorate food security in 2021

Cereal production forecast at near‑average level in 2021

Harvesting of the 2021 cereal crops, mainly maize, is nearly complete. Cereal outputs in central and southern provinces are anticipated at average to above‑average levels, while outputs in northern provinces, particularly in Cabo Delgado, are expected at a reduced level. FAO’s forecast of the national cereal output stands at a near‑average level of 2.8 million tonnes in 2021, 5 percent below the high level in 2020, reflecting the negative effects of weather hazards and the conflict on plantings and crop yields.

Weather conditions during the last quarter of 2020 were generally conducive for planting operations and crop establishment in the main cereal producing central provinces. Between December 2020 and February 2021, torrential rains and strong winds due to the landfall of tropical storm “Chalane” and cyclones “Eloise” and “Guambe” caused flash floods and resulted in localized damage to standing crops in coastal areas. In central inland areas, heavy rains boosted soil moisture levels and supported crop development. In the southern provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane, above‑average cumulative rainfall benefited crops in interior areas, while drought conditions followed by localized floods affected the coastal areas, prompting farmers to replant crops. In northern areas, reduced rainfall amounts between October 2020 and February 2021 curtailed planting operations and yields are expected at average levels. In particular, in Cabo Delgado Province, a well below‑average cereal harvest is expected as farming activities have been severely disrupted by the ongoing conflict.

Near‑average cereal import requirements in 2021/22

Aggregate cereal import requirements are estimated at a near‑average level of 1.5 million tonnes in the 2021/22 marketing year (April/March), about 16 percent below the large volume imported in 2020/21.

Import requirements of wheat are estimated at 650 000 tonnes, 13 percent below the five‑year average, due to ample availabilities from carryover stocks. Import requirements of rice are estimated at average 615 000 tonnes, while maize imports are estimated at 230 000 tonnes, slightly higher on a yearly basis reflecting the expected decline in 2021 production.

Food prices increased driven by depreciation of national currency

The annual food inflation rate was estimated at 11 percent in April 2021, partly driven by the depreciation of the national currency throughout 2020 and early 2021. In February 2021, the metical reached its lowest value in the previous four years and, as of March, had lost over 10 percent of its value against the US dollar on a yearly basis.

A significant inflow of US dollars into the country due to higher revenues from exports of primary commodities, spurred an appreciation of the domestic currency in April and May 2021, which is likely to have helped contained import inflationary pressure on food prices. The metical has, however, begun to depreciate again in June.

Worsening of conflict and COVID‑19 impacts deteriorate food security in 2021

According to the latest IPC analysis released in January 2021, the number of people facing acute food insecurity in the April‑September 2021 period was projected at 1.7 million. Although, at the national level, the prevalence of food insecurity has decreased compared to the January‑March 2021 period, primarily reflecting an improvement in food supplies from the main harvest, the situation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado has worsened. The number of food insecure people in Cabo Delgado is estimated at 770 000 in the April‑September 2021 period, an increase of about 15 percent over the previous period due to the effects of the persisting conflict and the impact of rainfall deficits on agricultural production ( GIEWS Update ). However, as the conflict has intensified since the release of the IPC analysis in January 2021, the actual number of food insecure people could be even higher. Major concerns are for the food security situation of Internally Displaced People (IDPs), estimated at 725 000 as April 2021, that were not able to engage in agricultural activities during the 2020/21 season and, according to recent assessments, IDPs have no access to any income generating activities.

In addition, some measures to control the COVID‑19 pandemic that were reintroduced in the January‑May 2021 period, are likely to have curtailed a recovery in households’ incomes. In early June, restrictions eased and this is expected to have a positive impact on households’ access to food.

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.