Madagascar + 5 more

Southern Africa Key Message Update: A delayed start to the season, tropical cyclones, and long dry spells drive lower than normal production, April 2022

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Key Messages:

In March, poor households in cereal deficit areas of the region continued to experience food consumption gaps, as is typical towards the end of the lean season. The most severe outcomes are ongoing in southern Madagascar, where Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected until at least May. After that, through September, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are anticipated in the Atsimo, Andrefana, and Androy regions of southern Madagascar as households continue to face extreme difficulty accessing food. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist through September in much of southern Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, and southern Mozambique as the 2022 harvest was negatively impacted by the poor and variable 2021/22 seasonal rainfall. Similar outcomes are expected in the conflict parts of DRC and Mozambique. The rest of the region will likely experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes from April through September as households consume food from own production.

Many areas of the region had a dry period in February through early March, negatively impacting crops. The dry spell occurred while maize was in the reproductive stage across Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi. In Zimbabwe, the dry spell resulted in significant national crop loss, with over 50 percent crop loss reported in some eastern, southern, and western districts. In Mozambique, most southern parts, including Sofala and Manica provinces, are likely to have well below-average harvest due to lower-than-normal rainfall and extended dry periods. Similar trends were reported in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, where the harvest prospects have declined. This will likely drive consumption deficits among poor households.

In March, the impact of the Ukrainian crisis began on the global market and in southern Africa through increases in fuel and key staple food prices. In Zimbabwe, fuel prices rose by 10 percent since February, while maize grain, maize meal, wheat flour, and bread prices increased by about 15 percent. In Mozambique, gasoline, cooking oil, and diesel prices increased by 12 to 15 percent. Bread prices are expected to increase soon due to the increase in global wheat prices. In the DRC, an atypical rise was observed in imported maize flour, increasing by nearly 15 percent compared to the last three-month average.