DR Congo + 5 more

Southern Africa Key Messages, January 2018

Situation Report
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Moisture deficits in parts of the region could adversely affect crops

Key Messages

Most parts of the region continued experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity outcomes in December. This is an improvement from previous years, when many households experienced food deficits, requiring humanitarian assistance during this time. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes remain in parts of the DRC, marginal southern and northern areas of Zimbabwe, southern Madagascar, and central Mozambique. Areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and Mozambique are marginal production areas where poor households chronically experience food deficits, even in normal years.

Rainfall during the current cropping season has been mixed in the region. A few countries have received average to above average cumulative rainfall, while in several other countries cumulative rainfall has been below-average and erratic. Moisture deficits and heavy rainfall could have an adverse impact on crops and agricultural activities.

Below-normal income levels from agricultural labor have resulted from the late start of season and poor rainfall performance, especially in parts of Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Mozambique. During this time households usually use their income to purchase staples during the peak lean season.

Due to last season’s above-average harvests, staple prices in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique remain atypically lower than both the five-year average and the same period last season. These price trends have improved the purchasing power of poor households that have depleted their cereal stocks and are relying on market purchases. However, as poor seasonal rainfall performance persists, households with surplus stocks will likely reduce the amount that they are selling, potentially triggering a maize price increase during the peak lean season.