DR Congo + 5 more

Southern Africa Key Message Update: High staple food prices decrease food access among market-dependent households, June 2022


Key Messages

The ongoing harvest is improving household food access across most of the region, although some areas continue to face food deficits. While production has generally been favorable in 2022, poor rainfall and conflict have resulted in lower-than-normal production in some areas of Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, DRC, and Angola. In these areas, household food stocks from own production are likely only to last about one to three months. In these areas, poor households are expected to maintain Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through at least September. In areas where rainfall was average to above average, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are most likely through September as households consume own-produced foods.

Conflict in DRC and the Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique persists, leading to significant disruption to the agricultural season and continued displacement. According to OCHA, since March 2022, displacement has increased by 614,000 people. On top of increases in conflict in North and South Kivu, an upsurge in conflict in Djugu territory in Ituri will likely drive declines in food and income access. In Mozambique, the food insecurity situation remains precarious even as households return to their area of origin. Based on information from IOM, over 7,800 returnees were reported in Muidumbe, Palma, and Macomia districts. Across conflict-affected areas of Southern Africa, households affected by conflict face difficulty engaging in their typical livelihood activities, notably agricultural activities. In some cases, cropping activities took place; however, armed actors either destroyed or looted crops. Furthermore, humanitarian access is a challenge in conflict-affected areas of DRC and Mozambique.

Staple food prices remain high across much of the region, despite the harvest due to the high international prices. Additionally, macroeconomic conditions in Zimbabwe are of concern as the inflation rate has significantly increased in the last month. This, combined with shortages of market goods like cooking oil, maize meal, and sugar, has driven up prices significantly, with many markets switching to sales only in USD. In Mozambique, approximately 60 percent of monitored markets reported maize grain prices above the five-year average in April. While in Malawi, maize prices in April were up to 75 percent higher than in April 2021.