Southern Africa Key Message Update, January 2017
Excessive rains during the 2nd half of the season is likely to lead to flooding, leaching, and could result in waterlogging
Near Term: October 2016 - January 2017, Medium Term: February - May 2017
As the lean season continues across most of the region, very poor households in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Lesotho continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes in several areas as food consumption gaps widen. These area outcomes are also expected in areas where humanitarian assistance coverage is very low in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. There is a possibility for some isolated households to experience Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes during the peak lean season in some of these countries as well. Several areas in Malawi and Madagascar are receiving assistance, which has improved outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). However, funding gaps in these countries could result in the deterioration of the food security situation to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the months of February and March.
In December, several parts of the region received heavy rainfall, which is reportedly adversely affecting crop conditions. Crops in some countries are experiencing leaching due to the heavy rains and fertilizer shortages that many countries are facing. The consistent rainfall is in some cases not allowing households the opportunity to weed their crops. Unless the situation changes, crop yields in some parts of the region may likely be adversely affected by these continuous heavy rains.
Fall Armyworm cases have been reported in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia so far this season. The capacity of national authorities to sufficiently control the outbreak and respond to the situation has been slow and could result in serious crop damages. According to a recent report from the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa, damages to crops in Zimbabwe and Zambia are significant, and in the absence of timely response, may result in significant crop losses and overall reduction in 2016/17 production.
Staple prices in most countries in the region remains high and continues to be above five-year averages due to increased demand for market purchases during the peak lean season. However, it has been reported that the presence of humanitarian assistance, has contributed to price stability both Zimbabwe and Malawi. The start of the green harvest towards from end of February through March is expected to keep the prices of staple stable for the remaining part of the peak lean season across the region.