Southern Africa Food Security Outlook, June 2018 to January 2019
Early depletion of 2018 staple production by households likely to trigger staple price increases
Cereal production for most countries is below-average for the 2018 cropping season due to erratic rains and long dry spells experienced during the 2017/18 rainfall season. Several areas in the region are currently experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes, including parts of southern and western Zimbabwe, eastern and central DRC, southern Mozambique, and southern Madagascar. Current drivers of food insecurity within these countries include below-average household production, low incomes, and continuing conflict.
With ongoing harvest activities, much of the remainder of the region is experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. However, from September onwards conditions are expected to deteriorate to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis ( IPC Phase 3).
Market food supplies are stable across the region and carryover stocks from the bumper harvest last season are also helping to stabilize supplies. Currently there are no major trade restrictions across borders, thus maize grain can flow from surplus to deficit areas and countries. Nonetheless, due to below-average production in parts of the region, cereal supplies are expected to decline earlier than usual, resulting in increased market demand earlier than usual, and food prices increases above what most poor households can afford.
Early international forecasts for Southern Africa have indicated that there are increased chances of El Niño-induced below-average rainfall for the 2018-19 rainfall season. This possibility is likely to affect agriculture activities in the coming season including access to labor and wage rates. Compounded by below-average 2018 harvests, the upcoming lean season is likely to be severe.