FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Unfavourable weather conditions characterized by dry spells and excessive rains, weakened production prospects of 2020 cereal crops
Aggregate cereal import requirements estimated slightly above-average in 2019/20 marketing year
Prices of maize continued to increase in early 2020 and well above year-earlier levels
Food security conditions worsened significantly in 2019 and effects of COVID-19 may further contribute to increase food insecurity in 2020
Unfavourable weather conditions weaken production prospects of 2020 cereal crops
Harvesting of the 2020 maize crop is ongoing in the south, while it is expected to start soon in central and northern provinces.
As of March, remote sensing vegetation indices indicated stressed conditions in parts of the main cereal producing areas of central and northern provinces, reflecting an erratic distribution of rains. Between November 2019 and January 2020, the provinces experienced periods of below-average rainfall, followed by heavy rains in late January and February that triggered localized floods and caused damage to standing crops. The most affected provinces were Cabo Delgado, Manica, Zambezia and Sofala, which were also affected by cyclones in 2019.
In the southern provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane, minor cereal producing areas, cumulative rainfall levels between October 2019 and January 2020 were between 30 percent and 50 percent below the long-term average. In February, heavy rains increased soil moisture levels across most of the southern provinces. However, the effects of the early seasonal rain shortages were not reversed, resulting in reduced crop productivity and, in more extreme cases, in permanent crop wilting.
Although reports from the country indicate an increase in the area sown with cereals, the national production in 2020 is likely to remain at levels comparable to the 2019 harvest due to the low yields that reflect the erratic rainfall distribution.