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)
Final results of UNICEF-led nutrition SMART surveys in the Grand Sud show Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) prevalence classified as “high” (>10%) in three districts according to WHO standards. The most recent Integrated Phase Classification for Acute Malnutrition exercise (IPC AM, July 2017) classified these same districts in “serious” acute malnutrition phase 3.
This bulletin examines trends in staple food and fuel prices, the cost of the basic food basket and consumer price indices for 69 countries in the second quarter of 2017 (April to June). The maps on pages 6–7 provide impact analysis dis-aggregated to sub-national level.
Food prices remain stable
Households in the south are under more stress than those in the north
The use of some food-related negative coping strategies has fallen in rural areas
Fewer poorer households are using negative coping strategies
Lourens Swanepoel, Associate lecturer, University of Venda
Steven Belmain Professor of Ecology, University of Greenwich
Maize grain and maize meal are the most important food commodities and indicators of food security in Zambia. All of the markets represented — with the exception of Kitwe — are in provincial centers and thus provide a geographic representation. Chipata and Choma are both areas of high maize production, while Mansa and Mongu are indicative of low production areas. Kabwe, Kitwe, and Lusaka are all urban areas where demand for these commodities is high. Solwezi is a new mining town with an increasing demand for food commodities.
Maize grain and maize flour are the main foods consumed by all households in Zimbabwe. These food items are both produced locally and imported from neighboring countries particularly in the south western provinces of the country. The markets monitored are the main markets that offer both wholesale and retail supply in the respective regions of the country.
Most households in Southern Africa depend on maize as their main source of food and energy, given the high volumes and ease with which it is produced. Alternative food crops that are consumed as substitutes include rice, wheat, sorghum, millet, and tubers such as cassava and potatoes. Consumption of these substitutes occurs mainly when maize is not available or among those households in areas where such substitutes are more easily available (for example, cassava in northern Mozambique).
Maize, maize meal and rice are the most important food commodities for poor. Maize is the staple food for the poor, with maize meal most often used as a substitute. Rice is also used as alternate staple as it compete with maize meal and is important for all wealth groups particularly for the middle and better off. Each of the markets represented here act as indicators for the broader region.
Maize, rice, and cassava are the most important food commodities. Markets selected represent the entire geographic length of the country: two markets in each of the north, center, and south. In the north, Karonga is one of the most active markets in maize and rice and is influenced by informal cross-border trade with Tanzania.
Mzimba is a major maize producing area in the northern region. Salima, in the center along the lake, is an important market where some of the fishing populations are almost entirely dependent on the market for staple cereals.
Cassava harvest started early in Southern Madagascar and production is near normal
Improved maize supplies trigger significant staple price declines in the region
Bar code technology, commonly used in supermarkets is enabling UNHCR and its partners speed up the delivery of vital assistance to Congolese refugees
DUNDO, Angola - A long queue snakes its way through Cacanda reception centre as people wait patiently to receive their monthly food rations of maize meal, cooking oil and beans. An average of 4,500 people queue daily to receive food and other items like blankets, mosquito nets, buckets and solar lamps.
From January to June 2017, over 80% of targeted children in 14 of 24 food insecure districts were screened, of which a total of 82,194 (9,728 Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM); 72,466 Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) were referred for further investigations.
All 611 Outpatient Therapeutic Program (OTP) centres, 104 Nutrition Rehabilitation Units (NRU) and 563 Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) centres in Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) have reported:
• Since 2011, Zimbabwe’s Gross Domesc Product growth rate has been declining from a high of 11.9% to 1.5% in 2015. It was esmated at 0.6% in 2016 but is now projected to rise to 3.7% in 2017 and to taper off slightly to 3.4% in 2018 mainly on the back of improved performance of the agricultural sector (Ministry of Finance, 2017; World Bank, 2017).
Full title of the project:
FAO coordination of food and agriculture disaster risk reduction and management in Southern Africa
Recipient: Regional Africa
Donor: United States of America
Contribution: USD 500 000
Project code: OSRO/RAF/604/USA
To contribute to reducing the risk of food and nutrition insecurity by building strong and resilient livelihoods among poor, rural farming households.
Full title of the project:
Promoting local food purchases for food assistance on the African continent – Purchase from Africans for Africa (Phase II)
Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal
Recipient: Regional Africa
Contribution: USD 2 888 407
Project code: OSRO/RAF/202/BRA
This weekly bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 42 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including the:
• Undiagnosed paediatric eruptive fever in Cameroon
• Dengue fever in Côte d’Ivoire
• Hepatitis E in Niger
• Humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
• Humanitarian refugee crisis in Uganda
• Humanitarian crisis in Madagascar