FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
The start of the 2011/12 cropping season was characterised by erratic rains
Maize prices remained stable during the last quarter of 2011
Overall food security is satisfactory, but populations affected by production losses in 2011 require assistance
Mixed performance of rains during start of 2011/12 season
Following favourable rains at the start of the 2011/12 cropping season , which normally begins in October, precipitation levels declined in late November and December causing water deficits in some central and northern provinces, particularly impacting the provinces of Capo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala and Tete. However, significant rains during the first dekad of January 2012, associated with the formation of tropical storm Chandra, helped to offset low cumulative amounts and partly alleviated mid-season dryness. The heavy rains may have also led to localised flooding, especially in Nampula province, which received the heaviest rains, approximately twice the level of the average. Preliminary estimates for cereal plantings point to a slight increase relative to the last campaign, but more firm estimates are not yet available.
Larger cereal output in 2011
Aggregate cereal production in 2011 is estimated at 2.84 million tonnes, some 5 percent above the previous season’s output, with central provinces contributing about 50 percent of the total national cereal production. Rice production registered the largest increase over 2010’s output at 6 percent.
Prices remain steady at the end of 2011
Maize prices across the country have exhibited comparatively stable trends during the last quarter of 2011, showing slight seasonal increases. Prices were generally below levels of December 2010, but some markets registered higher prices, such as Chokwe where monthly maize prices were 9 percent higher in December 2011. The lower prices have been supported by the improved harvest gathered earlier in 2011.
Monthly imports of maize from South Africa during the current 2011/12 marketing year (April/March) are lower compared to 2010/11, reflecting improved domestics supplies and therefore a reduced import requirement.
Pockets of food insecurity remain in southern and central areas
Despite improved food security conditions in 2011, pockets of vulnerability exist in some central and southern provinces, where an estimated 200 000 to 250 000 persons are in need of food assistance. Production losses caused by climatic shocks in 2011 resulted in an early depletion of households’ food stocks, aggravating the conditions of the affected populations. Following a government assessment in October/November 2011, involving FEWSNET, the districts of Chigubo and Massangena in Gaza province were identified as areas requiring urgent humanitarian assistance. T he relative stability of maize prices however, is expected to have a positive impact on food security conditions of the vulnerable population.