GIEWS Country Briefs: Mozambique 22-March-2012

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  • An average maize crop expected in the 2011/12 season, but localised production declines anticipated in southern and central areas due to flooding and dry spells

  • Maize prices remain generally stable, despite some seasonal increases

  • Food security situation is satisfactory, but populations affected by production losses in 2011 and cyclone damage remain a concern

Average production prospects, but dry spells and flooding cause localised crop damage

Harvesting of the main maize crop began in March in some parts of the south, while the crop stage ranges from vegetative to maturity in the centre and north. Crop conditions across the country are generally satisfactory. However, interior parts of Inhambane, Gaza, Tete and Sofala provinces received below average precipitation since the start of 2012, which reportedly caused crop stress and may negatively impact local production. Concurrently, the passing of four consecutive tropical cyclones (Chandra, Dando, Funso and Irina) during the first quarter of 2012 resulted in flooding, affecting 141 000 hectares of cropped land in southern and central provinces, including 42 000 hectares that were destroyed. The torrential rains, in addition, also helped to alleviate some moisture deficits emanating from irregular rains between October and December 2011. In spite of the impact resulting from tropical cyclones and dry spells, a near average harvest is anticipated.

Prices remain generally steady

Maize prices across the country have exhibited comparatively stable trends during the 2011/12 marketing year (April/March), showing some seasonal increases since mid-2011. In February 2012, prices were generally below levels of the same month in 2011, on account of good national supplies. In southern markets, prices are generally higher than those in the centre and north, however, price variations in south are much less pronounced.

Stable food security conditions, but areas of concern in southern and central provinces

Despite improved food security conditions in 2011, pockets of vulnerability exist in some central and southern provinces, where an estimated 245 000 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. The relative stability of maize prices however, is expected to have a positive impact on food security conditions of the vulnerable population. In addition, flooding caused by successive tropical cyclones in early 2012 that resulted in damage to crops, homesteads and infrastructure, affected 119 471 person, including an estimated 83 000 people who require food assistance. Furthermore, the recent dry spell and cyclone damage may cause a drop in local food production, aggravating food insecurity conditions in the next marketing year.