Regional Update (updated 16 of May 2014)
Despite an erratic and delayed start of season, the overall regional perspective reflects that the 2014/15 consumption season in terms of cereals supplies is much better than last year’s with bumper harvests being recorded in Zambia, South Africa and an improvement in Zimbabwe compared to last season.Malawi and Mozambique are expecting good production despite late onset of rains and localized mid-season dryness. Angola and Namibia were more negatively affected by adverse weather conditions during the season.
Regional cereal availability is likely to be above last year and close to the past five-year average, and will be sufficient to meet regional requirements for the next six months and beyond – covering the import needs of structurally grain deficit countries and leaving a surplus that could be exported outside of the region. Major exportable maize surpluses are expected from Zambia (approximately 1.1 million MT), and South Africa (approximately 1.8 million MT). In Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe (where estimates are yet to be released), cereal availability is also expected to meet national level domestic consumption needs, though poor households in localized areas in Malawi are likely to face constrained access.
Regional informal cross border trade is expected to increase following the harvest, and flows out of Zambia could be more robust in the next 3 months following the recent lifting of national export restrictions. Given the average harvest expectations in neighboring Malawi, it is expected that traders in that country will increase activity in order to take advantage and buy up stock in Zambia and Mozambique during the harvest period when prices levels are relatively lower. The commencement of harvests has led to maize price stabilization, and significant price drops have been observed on most reference markets across the region (FEWS NET).