GIEWS Country Briefs: Mozambique 20-August-2012

News and Press Release
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  • 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, official production estimates for 2012 main cropping season point to a national cereal harvest of approximately 2.3 million tonnes, about 21 percent lower than last year’s record output. The poor rains and a smaller area harvested contributed to the lower maize output, with production decreasing by 20 percent, while declines for millet and sorghum were also registered. However, rice production, put at 280 000 tonnes (milled terms), is 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.