Food security outcomes expected to deteriorate earlier than usual in drought affected areas
Several countries in the region have been affected by the drought conditions experienced between December 2017 and January 2018. Cropping activities and crop conditions have been adversely affected, indicating reduced prospects for 2018 seasonal production in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, South Africa, Lesotho and Zambia. In affected areas in these countries, even with the improved rains received in February, many early planted and permanently wilted crops are not expected to recover.
Acute food insecurity outcomes are currently mixed across much of the region due to the early and mid-season drought conditions experienced in some areas. Production prospects did improve because of the February rains in northern parts of Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe resulting in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes projected through September.
However, most households in drought-affected parts of southern Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar are already experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes and will face a limited or below-normal green harvest this season. Because the 2018 main harvest is expected to be reduced, affected households in these countries will face food gaps and livelihood protection deficits much earlier in the consumption year than usual. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are projected for several areas between June and September. Parts of the conflict-affected Tanganyika and Kasai provinces in the DRC are also likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for the entire outlook period.
In general, regional maize grain supplies are still expected to be above average due to the contributions of significant carryover stocks from the 2017 harvests, despite reduced 2018 main harvest prospects. These supplies should help to stabilize food prices in the drought-affected areas. Across the region, food prices are expected to follow the seasonal trend, decreasing during the harvests around May/June and stabilizing through August. The exception to these trends will be rice prices in Madagascar, which are expected to remain significantly higher than the five-year average due to consecutive seasons of drought.