Mozambique Food Security Outlook Update February 2014
Currently, acute food insecurity outcomes for the majority of rural households across the country are stable and Minimal (IPC Phase 1). However there are pockets of displaced households affected by floods near the central and northern river basins including Búzi, Púnguè and Licungo rivers that are experiencing acute food insecurity. From February through June Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes will continue across most of the country due to newly harvested crops.
According to the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM), most of the central region of the country has been receiving well above-normal rainfall. Heavy rains that resulted in moderate flooding continued in February throughout the central and northern parts of the country, causing households to be displaced and damage to crops and infrastructure. Displaced households are receiving emergency assistance and the country is still under orange alert as the emergency situation continues.
As the harvest period approaches, green food is gradually becoming available across the country. In most of the southern parts of the country households have already started the main harvest of maize, groundnuts, and tomatoes. However, in most of the central and northern parts of the country crops are still in the vegetative or maturing stages.
Staple food prices and trade flow patterns are typical for this time of the year. From December to January prices remained stable or increased according to the seasonal trends for the months of February/March. The floods in the central and northern parts of the country are occasionally restricting the movement of goods in some local markets, but impacts are temporary and localized.
The food security of most rural households across the country and outside the flood affected areas is relatively favorable and Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1) are expected through June. In the flood affected areas, emergency operations including evacuations and emergency humanitarian assistance is underway.
Green food is gradually becoming available across the country from the main 2013/14 harvest. In most of the southern zone of the country households have started the main season harvest of maize, groundnuts and tomatoes. In the central and northern parts of the country most of the crops are currently at vegetative and maturing stages.
According to the National Center for Emergency Operations (CENOE), the ongoing heavy rains and flooding throughout the country have affected nearly 12,000 households in the country and hundreds are currently living in temporary accommodation centers where humanitarian assistance is provided by government and partners. In order to assess the immediate and medium term needs of households living in affected areas, a rapid emergency assessment is being implemented and will inform the next steps for humanitarian and recovery programming.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Crops and Early Warning, this year’s floods and plagues has affected nearly 0.7 percent of total planted area with diversified crops and resulted in the loss of nearly 0.37 percent of the total planted area for this season. The Ministry of Agriculture is closely monitoring the situation and based on forecast of more heavy rains in the northern and central regions.
The assumptions used to develop the most likely scenario for the January-June Outlook period are still valid. As indicated in the agroclimatology assumptions, the mild to moderate floods are actually occurring along the major river basins of the central and parts of the northern regions of the country. However, the flooding situation is currently not severe and widespread, which could potentially change the most likely scenario. Therefore, the overall projected food security outcomes for the outlook period are not expected to change. A full discussion of the scenario is available in: Mozambique Food Security Outlook for January to June 2014.
Projected Outlook Through June 2014
Despite the adverse agroclimatic conditions in localized areas, this season’s national crop production prospects are reported to be good. As a result of favorable rainfall, substantial contributions are expected from all the regions of the country including the semi-arid areas in south.
Across the country, including the area of concern, the majority of poor households will maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes from February to March through market purchases, gradual access to green food, and expansion of their livelihood strategies if needed. From April to June Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected as the majority of households will begin consuming food from own production and making less market purchases. Casual labor through land preparation, planting and weeding for the second season will also play an important role during this period. The seasonal decrease of staple food prices will continue until June and this will improve poor household access to market food purchases.
In conflict and flood affected areas Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) outcomes will persist as government authorities and partners continue to provide humanitarian assistance. However, it is possible that inadequate assistance may force displaced households to resort in atypical coping strategies, including the depletion of their assets. In these areas, emergency seed distribution for post-flood replanting and the second cropping season is highly recommended.
ABOUT THIS UPDATE
This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook.