Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes to emerge with average harvest in April 2022
The peak of the lean season is ongoing, and food stocks from own production are largely depleted among poor households, increasing their reliance on markets for food using income earned from casual agricultural and non-agricultural labor opportunities. Most households are experiencing and will likely continue to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes until the harvest in March/April 2022. Food security outcomes are expected to improve with green foods becoming available in March and the beginning of the main harvest in April, as households consume food from their own production. This will drive Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.
Although imported food supplies are available and support normal domestic market supply, food access is limited due to low incomes and high food prices. Market prices are higher than last year and above the five-year average. Maize meal prices in December 2021 were stable compared to prices in November 2021. Poor households are spending a large proportion of their income on food, driving below normal purchasing power.
Wet conditions during the 2021/22 season are driving favorable production prospects for the 2022 harvest. Heavy rainfall in January resulted in waterlogging and the destruction of crops in several areas of the country. This hampered weeding activities, a main income-earning source for poor households. Rainfall in February was normal to above average. A second consecutive favorable harvest in 2022 is still expected due to the farm inputs subsidy program and generally favorable rainfall. Good crop production and pasture availability are expected to anchor economic growth and improve household food access in 2022.
Due to the compounding effects of continued COVID-19 restrictions, the domestic economy is still operating at a suboptimal level, resulting in some loss of income among households. COVID-19 containment measures have reduced remittances, driving low-purchasing power among remittance-dependent households, and are also likely to stunt economic growth and sustain high unemployment.