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)
By Osman Mohamed Osman, IFRC
Thomas Kafas Shumba smiles as he inspects his only surviving portion of maize crop plantations, adjacent to his mud-walled house—in Wanasi village, Zimbabwe.
Clad in a printed grey shirt and a pair of black trousers, the father of five moves around his tiny farm, showing a team from Zimbabwe Red Cross how conservation farming, a new technique, saved some of his crops, despite poor rains a month ago.
Over one-third of country’s children suffer from chronic malnutrition
“I am no longer embarrassed with my child’s frail body. She has gained weight and is able to play and eat just like any other child.”
March 2018 — Bertha January, a single mother, often struggled to provide her 13-month-old daughter, Zipora, with enough nutritious food to keep her healthy. Over time, Zipora became extremely underweight and lethargic, almost reaching a point where she was not strong enough to eat.
FAO promotes the use and scale up of Cash+ as a tool for emergency response, strengthening resilience and reducing rural poverty. The Cash+ model supports the enhancement of vibrant and diversified livelihoods, providing an important safety net against shocks and stresses for poor and vulnerable rural households. As such, the model has great transformative potential.
Extended dryness and high temperatures are likely to reduce 2018 harvests
US$137 million, 7-year project supported through UNDP in partnership with FAO and WFP works toward global goals for food security and poverty reduction
Zambia, 28 February 2018 - The UN in Zambia (specifically the United Nations Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Food Programme) have joined forces together with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to assist the Government of Zambia in tackling serious climate change induced risks facing smallholder farmers.
Dry weather conditions and high temperatures likely to reduce harvests in Southern Africa
FAO warns that food insecurity is set to rise again
26 February 2018, Rome - Poor rains and hot temperatures triggered water stress and adversely affected crop development in several areas of Southern Africa, FAO said today.
While cereal stocks in the region are ample, the spell of dry weather and erratic rains earlier in the season signals multiple risks to agricultural yields and may aggravate the impact of the Fall Armyworm pest.
In January 2018, WFP assisted almost 7,000 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) reached 55,500 beneficiaries in January 2017, which is more than planned as additional children were found to be attending an increased number of NCPs
HIV and Nutrition:
WFP, in collaboration with its partners, is scaling up its Lean Season Assistance programme to reach 31 districts, assisting 482,000 people across the country.
WFP is scaling up cash-based transfers during the 2017/18 LSA period, encompassing mobile money transfers, commodity vouchers and, to a lesser extent, cash-in-transit.
12,200 smallholder farmers registered and verified for conservation agriculture, savings, input credit and weather index insurance.
WFP conducted an aggregator selection exercise in five districts. This exercise was aimed at assessing aggregators’ potential to offer and extend their marketing services to small holder farmers and help to improve their livelihoods, incomes and establish a predictable and stable market.
700,000 families could be affected by dry spells and 1.2 million by fall army worm infestation
USD 1.8 million are urgently needed to sustain the food support provided to 32,175 refugees
420,000 people supported by WFP with cash-based transfers for the lean season response
132,000 households are currently enrolled in WFP Malawi’s resilience programme
In Focus: rising concerns on the 2018 harvest
WFP is implementing resilience strengthening activities in 16 targeted communes of the South and South East, where the food security situation has improved.
Nutritional support and school feeding programmes are also implemented in those communes, for higher impact.
Given that the 2017/2018 cyclone season is reported to be highly active, WFP is enhancing its emergency preparedness measures. WFP has provided emergency food assistance to 11,790 households displaced following cyclone AVA.
January 2018 marked the commencement of the Transitional Interim Country Strategic Plan (T-ICSP).
During January, WFP delivered food commodities for the first quarter of the year to 913 primary schools.
Verification of children for the Blanket Supplementary Feeding Programme in Mokhotlong and Thaba-Tseka took place in January.
Resilience building activities in Mohale’s Hoek and Quthing continued; 1,613 people participated and will receive a cash incentive at the beginning of February.
Regional maize supplies remain high and sufficient to satisfy needs for the remainder of the 2017/18 marketing year (Figure 1 and Annex 1). Estimated maize surpluses are significantly above average in South Africa (Figure 2). In Zimbabwe, a chronically grain deficit country, the 2017/18 marketing year deficit is substantially lower than average.
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.
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;