FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Lower cereal harvest in 2012
Maize prices rise following seasonable declines earlier in the year
Food insecurity aggravated by production losses in 2012 in southern and central areas
Cereal harvest decreases in 2012 compared to last year
Harvesting of the 2012 main season’s cereal crops was finalised under generally dry conditions in June; however, localized heavy rains were observed in parts of the north that may have disrupted harvesting activities.
In the large northern producing provinces, which account for between 30-40 percent of the total national maize output (the country’s main cereal), favourable rains were received during much of the cropping season (October-May). However, generally poor rains were observed in southern and central provinces, particularly the interior areas of Inhambane, Gaza, Tete and Sofala, impacting negatively on crop production. In addition, the passing of four consecutive tropical cyclones during the first quarter of 2012 resulted in localised flooding, affecting 141 000 hectares of cropped land in southern and central parts. As a result of the generally erratic weather conditions, provisional production estimates for the 2012 main cropping season point to a national cereal harvest of approximately 2.3 million tonnes, which is below last year’s record output. The poor rains and a smaller area harvested contributed to a lower maize output, with production estimated to be near the previous five-year average, while declines for millet and sorghum are also estimated. However, rice production, put at 280 000 tonnes (milled terms), is estimated to be slightly up on 2011’s harvest. Increased investment in irrigation schemes in southern provinces supported higher yields, despite some damage from heavy rains.
Furthermore, the second season crops, currently being harvested, were affected by poor residual moisture following the lack of sufficient rains in southern areas during the main rainy season (October-March). Rainfall levels since April – the start of the planting period for the second season – have also been generally below average and may further limit production.