Southern Africa Food Security Outlook Update July to December 2014
Good regional harvests maintain stable food security outcomes in many parts of the region
Most rural households across the region will maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes between July and September. However in localized parts of Lesotho, DRC, Swaziland, Malawi, and Madagascar poor households are projected to face mainly Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and some Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes from October through December due to high prices of food and low incomes in addition to low production.
Regional cereal production estimates for 2013/14 show an increased availability by 17 and 19 percent above last year and the past five-year average, and is 2 percent above the regional annual requirements – covering the import needs of deficit countries and leaving a surplus that could be exported outside of the region (Table 1).
Prices are expected to be stable and to follow seasonal trends on most reference markets across the region due to increased market supply and reduced demand during the current harvest period. In deficit areas prices are likely to remain above 2013 and five-year average due to relative higher demand while in surplus areas, it is likely that price levels will be similar to respective 2013 levels, while remaining close to the five-year average.
The 2014 national vulnerability assessments findings released in July point to decreasing levels of food insecurity across the region. The number of food insecure households has declined significantly from last year and the five-year average by 52 and 45 percent respectively mostly attributed to increased production across the region (Table 2).
Seasonal rainfall is expected to start according to climatology and will be near average in terms of amount with variability in the start of the season is expected to follow climatological trends. The start and performance of the 2014/15 agriculture season may be influenced by the forecasted high chances of El Nino conditions which typically is associated with tendency for above average rainfall in north-eastern and south-western parts of the region for December -March. However there are several climatic factors other than El Nino that also affect region’s climate which will be included in the official seasonal forecasts to be issued at SARCOF in late August 2014.