Most households across the region have started consuming food from own production, improving food security across many parts of the country. Malawi, northern Mozambique, the bulk of Madagascar, and parts of Zimbabwe are facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Minimal (IPC Phase 1). Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist in parts of Zimbabwe and DRC, and in southern Mozambique driven by the extremely dry conditions and the resulting poor production. In DRC, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected through September in isolated areas of Ituri mainly driven by conflict, which is disrupting livelihoods.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the region, households mainly in urban and peri-urban areas continue to face difficulty meeting their non-food and food needs. Between late May and June 25 across the region, the number of infected has increased fourfold to 10,535 cases, while the number of deaths increased from 70 to 181. While countries like Zimbabwe and Madagascar slightly eased some restrictions, restrictions on the informal sector continue to limit income from this source which normally generates income for many poor households. Most self-employment activities like petty trade are also limited. The loss in income sources in urban and peri-urban households is leading to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (ICP phase 3) in many urban areas.
Remittances are typically a significant income source for many poor populations in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar, Lesotho, and Mozambique sourced from South Africa, the United States of America, United Kingdom, and France specific to Madagascar. Unfortunately, most source countries have been significantly affected by COVID-19, resulting in a decrease in quantity and frequency of remittances. In-country remittances have also declined as urban households who normally remit to their families in rural areas are not able to access normal incomes. Losses in this income source are expected to lower income for those who are reliant, impacting their ability to purchase market foods, especially in areas where production was poor. The most significant impacts are likely to be noticed in Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
Staple food prices have largely decreased mainly due to the ongoing harvest and decreases in market demand. Maize grain prices in Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar generally decreased with the harvest; however, remain above average. In Zimbabwe, prices are still significantly above the five-year average due to high inflation and food shortages. In low maize production areas of Madagascar, high maize prices have been observed as prices, in some areas, did not seasonally decrease in April and remained 40 to 80 percent above the five-year average due to below-average rainfall and poor production.