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RIACSO REGIONAL FOOD SECURITY SITUATION REPORT: LESOTHO
- Improved rainfall may result in better cropping conditions for the 2008/09 season although excessive rains could also negatively impact on crop development
- Price monitoring on food commodities and agricultural inputs taking place in the country.
- Need to follow up to see if government has released the post-harvest crop assessment report for 2007/08 yet.
- Need to get a better idea of the area planted this year in relation to last year and prospects for harvest.
Regional: Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania continue to supply maize to grain deficit countries.
Regional: The Regional Vulnerability Assessment Committee (rVAC) recently reported a regional cereal deficit of three million metric tonnes (MT) for this season. Regional deficits have in previous years been largely covered by South Africa's surplus maize production, but this year's harvest was drastically reduced. Countries that cannot meet their own needs will rely on commercial imports from Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania, all of which have surpluses.
Zimbabwe: The country's agricultural production is estimated at 500,000 tonnes, representing a 44 percent drop from last year, according to preliminary CFSAM results. More than two million people are expected to face food shortages from July, peaking to more than four million during the hunger season in the first quarter of 2008. The Government is importing maize from Malawi and Zambia.
Food Security Assessments: Two new reports on Zimbabwe and Swaziland from WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions (CFSAM) have been released, and a third on Lesotho is expected shortly. Vulnerability Assessment Committees are also collecting data in seven countries and results are expected in late June and early July. The results of these assessments will provide a more complete analysis of food security in the region.
Zimbabwe: Almost one-third of the Zimbabwean population - 4.1 million persons - may face food shortages by early next year.
Regional: Early recovery efforts are underway across several countries in the region after months of emergency efforts. More than a million people's livelihoods are still fragile due to a loss of crops and other assets in Madagascar, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. Humanitarian agencies are concerned about the ability of communities to rebound from these disasters.
Madagascar: Cyclone Jaya hit the northeastern coast of Madagascar on 3 April, resulting in more crop damage and further complicating relief efforts.
Cyclones and flooding continue to batter numerous countries in Southern Africa, threatening the lives of over a million vulnerable people. Although regional capacity for disaster and emergency preparedness and response has increased in recent years, the early arrival of the rainy season with unusually heavy rains and an unprecedented se-ries of cyclones and tropical storms have stretched local authorities and humanitarian partners to the limit.
Flooding conditions continued to be the central concern in the region as weeks of torrential rains caused the River Zambezi to burst its banks affecting Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. Exacerbating this situation, in Mozambique, Tropical Cyclone Favio moved across the region, accompanied by strong winds and heavy rains and made landfall in the province of Inhambane on 22 February, displacing 133, 670 people. Tropical Cyclone Gamede in the Indian Ocean decreased to a tropical storm and has passed to the south of Madagascar.
Earlier and heavier rains than usual have led to the significant floods throughout the region, including in Angola, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. So far, the floods have affected more than 166, 649 people throughout the region, since mid December 2006, and resulted in more than 147 deaths. To date, approximately 96, 149 people have been affected in Mozambique, 28,000 in Angola, 15,000 in Zimbabwe, and approximately 22,000 in Madagascar and 5,500 in Malawi.
Overall, the 2006/07 agricultural season has started relatively well thanks to favourable rainfall in most of the southern African region. However, late or insufficient rainfall and poor distribution may affect yields and area planted, potentially affecting final harvest prospects in southern and central Mozambique, southern Zambia, parts of southern Zimbabwe, among others. The persistence of moderate El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean is a source of concern for the second half of the rainy season, from January through March.
The 2006/07 agricultural season in southern Africa is well underway. Over the past two months, significant rains were reported in several parts of the region, including southwestern Angola, northern Namibia, western Botswana, most parts of Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, and parts of South Africa.
In contrast, inadequate rainfall has delayed Repatriation of Angolan refugees in planting operations in other areas of the Zambia, 2006, UNHCR.
Zimbabwe: WFP estimates that 1.4 million people are in critical need of food assistance, based on the preliminary findings of the VAC. This number is expected to rise to 1.9 million people due to rising inflation and an increased lack of access to the market. WFP continues to scale down its operation, so far affecting roughly half of the 900,000 people it was originally targeting, due to funding shortages.
Angola: Over the past eight months, 1,200 cases of malnutrition were registered, compared to 845 detected during the same period of 2005 in Huila. Most of the cases have been detected in children.
Regional: The peak of the 2005-2006 hunger period is coming to an end, although concerns exist over the precarious condition of vulnerable populations due to limited food access, outbreak of communicable diseases and poverty.
Regional: In the period under review, the region experienced earthquakes in Mozambique; an outbreak of severe diarrhea in Botswana; floods in Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia and Lesotho; cholera in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia; while having to prepare for a possible outbreak of avian and human influenza.
Regional: Some areas in the region are receiving too much or too little rain, but generally conditions for agriculture remain positive, allowing for some cautious optimism. Early season crops are starting to take off the sharp edges of the peak of the hunger season. A recent mission of the Special Envoy concluded however that the triple threat remains relevant.