POOR OUTLOOK FOR CROPS COULD CAUSE INCREASED FOOD INSECURITY IN MOZAMBIQUE
The latest Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) report of 5 February warns that Mozambique is facing another poor harvest this year, which is likely to lead to a "dramatic increase" in food insecurity. The report, based on field assessments and analysis of satellite imagery, states that insufficient and erratic rains during the past three months have resulted in extremely poor harvest prospects in parts of the central region and throughout southern Mozambique. As a result, the first season maize production, which accounts for the majority of annual production of this staple crop, will be largely lost in the affected areas. FEWS NET noted the situation was especially worrying as this is the second consecutive year of drought in the affected areas. Conversely, heavy rains have resulted in localised flooding in Nampula, Cabo Delgado and northern Zambezia. However, crop prospects in the productive northern region remain very good away from the flooded areas.
WFP and UNICEF have joined forces in a nutrition programme aimed at reducing vulnerability especially among young children and mothers in parts of Mozambique. Targeting 141,000 children between six months and five years, and 71,000 pregnant and lactating mothers, the programme will be implemented in 22 of the districts most vulnerable to food insecurity and widespread malnutrition in Tete, Gaza, Manica, Inhambane, Sofala, Zambezia and Nampula Provinces. Priority will also be given to Magoe District following recent reports of deaths caused by the impact of the humanitarian crisis. The agreement foresees the distribution of over 6,000 tons of corn soya blend (CSB) from February to June 2003, and WFP will supply and transport the commodity.
The United Nations launched on 14 February the mid-term review of the 2002/2003 Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for the humanitarian crisis in southern Africa, placing special emphasis on the urgent need for tens of millions of dollars in non-food items. The crisis is inextricably linked to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and aid efforts are dependent on non-food relief items such as water, sanitation, educational supplies, agricultural inputs and medicines.
The EU Council of Ministers met last week to discuss the issue of whether to uphold the sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe last year. The targeted sanctions placed travel restrictions and asset freezes on cabinet ministers and ZANU-PF officials in the midst of controversial presidential elections. A second meeting is scheduled this week to formally announce a decision.
FOOD FOR LIFE: WFP and United Colors of Benetton on 13 February launched a global communication campaign which aims to set hunger on the top of the international agenda. Speaking during the launch in Paris, Executive Director of WFP, James T. Morris stated that "this campaign will educate the world, will sensitise and energise the world on the humanitarian issue of hunger." During the press conference, Mr. Morris emphasised the importance of enhancing efforts to direct international attention to food shortages around the world, particularly in southern Africa where food needs are increasingly complicated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Mr. Morris noted that "the issues in Africa today are so extraordinary and pose the single largest humanitarian crisis today, and maybe in the history of mankind."
The Food for Life campaign uses a series of images to tell the true stories of people whose last chance of escaping crisis and poverty lies with WFP's food aid. "This is an extraordinary opportunity to partner a company which has found a way to identify the tough issues of our time. The return to WFP and the benefits for hungry people of the investments in this public advocacy and information campaign will have a huge multiplier long term affect," said Mr. Morris.
WFP OFFICES - COUNTRY HIGHLIGHTS
LESOTHO: Little rain was received throughout the country, with the Lowlands being particularly dry and crops being negatively affected.
WFP and stakeholders initiated a rapid joint survey of beneficiary targeting for the emergency operations. Feedback will be collected from communities on need assessments, beneficiary selection, entitlement and distribution.
MALAWI: Road conditions in Phalombe District are deteriorating, and the main road connecting Blantyre with the district has been washed away. Two IFRC/WFP trucks overturned during the reporting period. The food was recovered and no injuries occurred.
WFP is currently completing mapping of all 1,663 Final Distribution Points (FDPs) using the Global Positioning System (GPS). The findings will assist in further detailed FDP analysis and strategic country programming.
MOZAMBIQUE: An agreement was prepared between WFP and the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) to provide food to 519 cholera patients in Sofala Province. The provincial health directorate will distribute the WFP food which will be transported and monitored by INGC.
SWAZILAND: WFP Food Aid Monitors reported that 40% of WFP operational areas (Lowveld, Lubumbo Plateau and the dry Middelveld) received rainfall during the week. However, the rains are too late to reverse the wilting crop situation.
ZAMBIA: A contribution of 4,000 tons of locally produced high-energy supplement (HEPs) and 1,000 tons of beans to the Zambia EMOP has been confirmed by DFID.
It is reported that Zambezi river levels are rising due to increased rainfall, causing some transporters to take substantial detours. WFP is monitoring the situation, especially with regards to effects on the access road to the main pontoon in Western Province.
A train carrying WFP maize and sorghum derailed in Lusaka. No commodities were lost, but operations were delayed due to rail track repairs. 10 IFRC/WFP 6x6 M6 trucks arrived in Western Province, and a further 11 trucks are en route to the province. The deployment of the trucks in Zambia assisted WFP in achieving an all time record distribution in January. A total of 1.9 million beneficiaries received 22,000 tons of food through WFP, Government and implementing partners distributions in January.
ZIMBABWE: The area planted with staple maize crop is 86% of last year's already low levels, according to the latest Agricultural Research and Extension's Fortnightly Crop and Livestock Report. Rainfall levels in Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces have been particularly low, with some crops starting to fail. Livestock herds are being reduced in the same areas due to outbreaks of bovine anthrax and foot and mouth disease. An increase in pest infestations is occurring around the country. Armyworms are reported to have spread to most parts of the country, while quela quela birds and aphids are decimating the crops in parts of Masvingo District.
A joint WFP/FAO crop situation mission on the development of the 2002/3 agricultural season is taking place from 13 February to 5 March in the six countries under the regional EMOP. The mission will be interacting with national and regional agencies, as well as a FAO GIEWS Mission currently travelling in the region. Information on planted area, the state of the season, potential yield and production will be sought. Information gathered will be used to support programming decisions beyond March 2003 and determine suitable dates for the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions which are planned for April/May 2003.
During the week, no new contributions were confirmed. The EMOP is more than 71% funded with a shortfall of USD143 million.
Current Resourcing Status - WFP EMOP 10200.0
(as of 10 February 2003)
Total EMOP Requirement
(against 31 March 03)
The cereal pipeline is generally healthy. However, shortfalls (less than 10%) could affect Lesotho due to late arrivals.
Shortfalls of non-cereal commodities are expected to affect Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland.
A WFP Regional EMOP Logistics Meeting was held in Durban on 13 and 14 February. Issues discussed included pipeline, procurement and commodity tracking as well as operational coordination. A Plan of Action for the transportation of a recent contribution of 100,000 tons of maize from South Africa was also drafted.
Following repairs of damage caused by heavy rainfall, the Nacala Railway line reopened for traffic on 14 February.
WFP has identified two additional locomotives suitable for the Nacala Railway line operations. This will bring the total number of WFP leased locomotives operating on the line to six.
WFP has procured tools to assist the WFP engineer stationed in Cuamba, Mozambique, in undertaking emergency repairs on the Nacala Railway line.
WFP is currently procuring a number of Bailey Bridges (prefabricated bridges) to improve the road access for WFP food transports in Malawi.
RIACSO Stakeholders meeting at 9:30 at the Indaba Hotel,Johannesburg
23 - 28 February
USAID workshop of Agriculture, Food For Peace, and Environment and Private Sector officers (AEPS) at the Balalaika Hotel, Sandton(Johannesburg)
MISSIONS TO THE REGION
9 Feb. - 7 March
Coordinated WFP/FAO RIACSO and GIEWS-FAO Early Warning and Crop Status Mission in the region
Visit to the WFP Regional Bureau in Johannesburg by members of European Parliament