Southern Africa: Food Insecurity - 2015-2017
Early warning signs provide alarming indications of looming significant food supply shortages that are likely to impact on the next marketing season. The rains experienced in late March and early April provided some relief to livestock farmers, but arrived too late for both staple foods and cash crops. These adverse weather conditions are likely to reduce crop production in southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar and South Africa. The negative impact of flooding will also affect food security in Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique. (OCHA, 29 May 2015)
Nearly 29 million people are currently food insecure in southern Africa region mainly due to the carry-over effects of the past poor harvest season combined with other structural factors. Unless a two-track approach is quickly taken to address the current food insecurity and to establish measures to mitigate against the El Niño effects, the existing food insecurity will deepen and increase in scope with its effects will last till 2017. (Southern African Food and Nutrition Security Working Group, 17 Nov 2015)
The combination of a poor 2014/15 season and an extreme early dry spell during the 2015/16 rainy season to date (November to February) over southern and western Madagascar has resulted in an intense drought...It is now estimated that close to 1.14 million people are food insecure in seven districts of southern Madagascar (80% of the population). About 665 000 people are severely food insecure and in need of urgent emergency food security support until the end of the 2016/17 lean season...On 22 March, the government of Madagascar has declared a state of emergency for southern Madagascar. (ECHO, 30 Mar 2016)
Lesotho last had normal rainfall between April and May 2015... An estimated 15-30 percent of Lesotho’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance to help them cope with this acute drought situation. The Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC) report for 2015 indicates deterioration in the food security situation with the number of people in need going from 447,760 to 463,936 (an increase in prevalence from 26% to 33%). (IFRC, 06 Apr 2016)
In Malawi, the prolonged dry spells and floods not only affected maize production but other crops such as ground nuts have also been affected, and harvests are down by 21%. This left more than 2.8 million people in Malawi food insecure for a period of between three to 8 months. 25 out of the 28 Districts in Malawi were affected. Of the 2.8 million people affected 886,204 were living in the hard hit flood-affected districts and 1,947,008 were in districts affected by poor rainfall. An estimated 20% to 40% of Malawi’s population were at that time reported to be in need of humanitarian assistance to help them cope with the acute food shortage. On 12 April 2016, the President of Malawi declared a state of national disaster as a result of prolonged dry spells during 2015/2016 season. (IFRC, 18 Apr 2016)
Mozambique is facing severe drought in the Southern and Central region of the country affecting approximately 1.5 million people. The Government activated the institutional red alert in the most drought affected provinces such as, Tete, Sofala, Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo aiming to intensify and expand the response actions, disburse additional funds planned for emergency situations and mobilize additional resources through the cooperating partners. (OCHA, 04 May 2016)
Based on preliminary results, the ZimVAC has indicated that the prevalence of rural food insecurity in Zimbabwe will be higher than the 30 percent revealed by the January 2016 Rapid Assessment. The global acute malnutrition (GAM) prevalence is likely to increase beyond the 5.7 percent indicated in January. (WFP, 14 Jun 2016)
Between October 2014 and February 2015, Namibia experienced highly erratic rainfall patterns that negatively impacted the planting and cultivation seasons. The recent 2016 assessment done by the office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Agriculture estimated that 729,134 people were food insecure and 595,839 need immediate assistance due to the drought situation. Prolonged dry spells and extensive flooding characterized the planting season and resulted in delayed planting and destroyed crops. As a result, the 2014/15 crop production yields were 46% below average which put parts of country at high risk of food insecurity. (IFRC, 03 Aug 2016.)
November marks the normal start of the lean season in most of the region, but most countries experienced an earlier than normal start to the lean season this year because of the impact of the El Niño-drought in late 2015 and early 2016. Poor households in the most affected parts of the region including areas in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes with increasing areas likely falling into Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes during the peak period (Jan-Mar 2017) in the absence of adequate humanitarian assistance. (FEWS NET, 23 Dec 2016)
Southern Africa now facing the peak of the El Niño-induced drought food security crisis, which is expected to last at least until the harvest in March/April 2017. Until then, WFP and its partners will maintain expanded operations, aiming to reach more than 13 million vulnerable people with relief, recovery, resilience and development activities ... WFP reached 9.9 million people in December 2016 and 10.6 million in January 2017. As of March 2017, $833 million has been raised for the humanitarian programmes in the RIASCO Action Plan, leaving a gap of $448,000. However, without additional funding, critical humanitarian needs will not be met. (OCHA, 6 Mar 2017)
In support of SADC’s appeal, RIASCO launched its Action Plan on 27 July, which was revised in December 2016. The Action Plan prioritized seven countries: Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The Action Plan was based on three pillars: a humanitarian pillar, setting out immediate needs in the seven priority countries; a resilience pillar undertaken in parallel to humanitarian efforts; and a macro-economic pillar, which sets out policy options for governments to address the long-term impacts. The plan requested $1.3 billion to provide humanitarian assistance (pillar 1) for 13.8 million people up to April 2017, of which $900 million has been received (70 per cent). (OCHA/RIASCO, 17 Jul 2017)
- [Report on the RIASCO Action Plan for the El Niño-induced drought in Southern Africa 2016/2017, 12 Jul 2017]
- SADC: Regional Humanitarian Appeal (Jun 2016)
- FAO Southern Africa El Niño Response Plan (2016/17)
- RIASCO Action Plan for Southern Africa: Response Plan for the El Niño-induced Drought in Southern Africa (May 2016-Apr 2017)
- UNICEF El Niño Eastern & Southern Africa Region Investment Case (23 Jun 2016)
To support drought-affected smallholder farmers with access to subsidised stockfeed and seeds and related training.
Ministry of Agriculture Mechanization and Irrigation Development’s extension services, AGRITEX and NGOs.
4 343 drought-affected smallholder farmers.
- Identified and sensitized project beneficiaries.
JOHANNESBURG – The twin scourges of another prolonged dry spell and an invasive crop-eating worm are set to sharply curtail harvests across southern Africa, driving millions of people – most of them children – into severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
09 February 2018, Harare – The UK Department of International Development (DFID) announced today a £21.5 million grant to the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF), which seeks to contribute to increased capacities of vulnerable rural communities to withstand shocks and stresses, ultimately leading to a reduced need for humanitarian responses and an improvement in their well-being.
Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in southern Africa.
In the absence of consistent rains for the remainder of the season, dry conditions experienced in December to January will further diminish water supplies for domestic, agricultural and commercial use.
These conditions are likely to have far reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition and ability of farmers to produce in the 2018/19 consumption year.
Windhoek-Southern Africa is still battling to recover from the 2015/16/ El Niño-induced drought, which by last year had affected about 41 million people across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Hyderabad [18 January 2018]: Malnourished children under two in rural Malawi whose mothers were trained in diet diversity, hygiene and food safety have shown significant improvements of their nutrition and health in just three weeks. The study published in the Journal of Public Health Nutrition, Cambridge University Press (https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980017003652), on January 17, 2018, demonstrates the rapid impact a properly designed nutrition education intervention can have.
UNICEF/MoH mobile brigade teams screened 503,697 children for acute malnutrition and treated 8,742 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM);
UNICEF reached 56,700 people with access to safe water through construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of boreholes and 58,080 people with sanitation hygiene promotion activities;
• Overall humanitarian needs decrease as Southern Africa recovers from 2015/2016 El Niño-related drought conditions
• Tropical Cyclone Ava results in more than 50 deaths in Madagascar
• Recent analyses project mixed food security outcomes across Southern Africa through mid-2018
In November 2017, WFP assisted 7,500 people through the Food by Prescription programme. Due to funding shortfalls, there are pipeline breaks for some commodities.
Assistance to Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) resumed in August 2017, reaching 55,500 beneficiaries by the end of November.
Between October and November 2017, a series of market assessments were conducted across Southern Africa by FEWS NET, in collaboration with key national and international partners. The findings from the assessment in Madagascar are key inputs to this report, which provides an update to the May 2017 Supply and Market Outlook report.
Following the Government’s request for support for the 2017/2018 lean season response, WFP and its partners are planning to support approximately 1 million people in IPC phase 3 with relief assistance in 20 districts through cashtransfers along with complementary recovery activities.
Certain urban areas of Madagascar (districts of Antananarivo, Tamatave etc.) are experiencing the outbreak of a plague epidemic since August.
WFP will implement resilience strengthening activities in the 16 targeted communes, where the food security situation has improved. These activities will be complemented by nutritional support and school feeding programmes, for higher impact.
USAID/PEPFAR food support for 36,500 people receiving antiretroviral therapy or treatment for tuberculosis and orphans and vulnerable children in Leribe, Berea, Maseru, Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek continued in September.
Blanket Supplementary Feeding Programme supported by Japan assisted 11,166 children aged 06-23 months in Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, and Mohale’s Hoek with super cereal plus.
WFP participated in the United Nations Country Team retreat aimed to discuss how to prioritize SDGs in Lesotho context.
In the six northern regions affected by floods in 2017, UNICEFsupported Community Health Workers (CHWs) have reached 4,800 children under five with nutrition screening, of which 1,138 children were treated for severe or moderate acute malnutrition. Improved reporting has identified 148 deaths related to malnutrition, and UNICEF has supported the development of the Emergency Nutrition Action Plan which was been submitted for Government funding in December 2017.
UNICEF and partners screened 240,674 children for acute malnutrition and provided lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) to 10,020 children aged 0-59 months in 2017.
Windhoek - The Dordabis Farmers’ Association and Namibian Agricultural Union’s (NAU) project to assist farmers in the south of the country during the drought instituted last year, is likely to be extended this year in view of the weak rain prospects.
The effort is aimed at helping farmers feed their core herds to enable them to continue farming; especially communal and resettlement farmers in drought-stricken areas. Drought-stricken farmers in the Warmbad and Bethanie areas have hailed the initiative.
Main season rice was damaged by Cyclone AVA in the Southern Highlands and Southeastern Madagascar
As dry conditions prevail, severe crop stress continues across the bulk of the country
Below normal cumulative rainfall is expected to impact 2017/18 crop yields
Since the start of the 2017/18 season rainfall performance has been performing poorly. To date, cumulative rainfall across most of the country is estimated to be 10-50 percent below normal. These moisture deficits are likely to have negative impacts on crop development and crop yields for the 2018 harvest.