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Reference Date: 06-December-2022


  1. Ongoing La Niña event indicates heavy rainfall for 2022/23 cropping season

  2. High level of exports forecast in 2022/23 marketing year (May/April), underpinned by ample stocks

  3. Maize prices increased compared to previous year

  4. Food insecurity forecast to increase due to reduced harvest in 2022

Ongoing La Niña event indicates heavy rainfall for 2022/23 cropping season

Planting of the 2023 cereal crops is ongoing and their harvest is expected to start in the second quarter of next year. Reflecting the ongoing La Niña event, rainfall amounts are forecast to be above average between December 2022 and March 2023 across most of the country. However, in northeastern areas, weather outlooks point to a high likelihood of below‑average precipitation amounts until January 2023, causing possible delays in planting activities. Despite the expected generally favourable weather conditions across the country, yields may be negatively affected by low application rates of agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers and fuel, due to their high prices and domestic supply disruptions that delayed the distribution of subsidized inputs. As in the previous year, the Ministry of Agriculture is targeting an estimated 1 million farmers under its agricultural input subsidy programme.

Total production of the 2022 cereal crops is estimated at a below‑average level of 3.05 million tonnes, reflecting the impact of widespread seasonal rainfall deficits. This figure includes a provisional production estimate for the 2022 winter wheat crop, whose harvest has recently been completed, pegged at a slightly higher‑than‑average level, driven by an area increase.

High level of exports forecast, underpinned by ample stocks

Despite the reduced maize outturn in 2022, exports of maize are forecast at 150 000 tonnes in 2022/23 marketing year (May/April), slightly above the previous year and the five‑year average. The expected increase is mainly due to large stocks, following a record output in 2021, and an upturn in import demand from Zimbabwe and Kenya, countries that both registered below‑average maize outputs in 2022.

Maize prices increased compared to previous year

The national average price of maize grain increased moderately in October 2022 and was about 30 percent higher year‑on‑year, underpinned by the low harvest in 2022. The annual food inflation rate was estimated at 12 percent in October, virtually unchanged on a monthly basis, in part reflecting the stronger national currency in 2022 that helped to mitigate external inflationary pressures.

Food insecurity forecast to increase underpinned by reduced harvest

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, conducted in August 2022, the total number of people facing severe acute food insecurity, IPC Phase 3 (Crisis), was estimated at 1.35 million between July and September 2022. This figure is projected to increase between October 2022 and March 2023 to 1.95 million people, representing 14 percent of the analysed population. The IPC analysis covered 91 districts within the country, where 48 are forecast to be facing IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) during the next lean season. Compared to the previous year, the prevalence of acute food insecurity has increased, with an additional 0.37 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2022/23. The worsening conditions are mainly due to the low cereal harvest in 2022 and the consequent reduction of farmers’ income.

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