Preliminary results of the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) were presented in Maputo on May 22. The assessment team confirmed that the agricultural production outlook for this year is good in the North of the country, average in the Center, and poor in the South.
Lack of rainfall in the three southern provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane has resulted in the total failure of the staple crops and second harvest crops in that region. Drought-resistent crops like cassava, traditionaly the last hope of the populations, have also failed. One team member described the fields in Maputo Province as looking "like they haven't been planted at all", because all the plants have died in the fields. The CFSAM team mentioned that the total area lost (for agricultural production), is probably greater than the area lost during the floods of 2000.
This fourth year of insufficient crops for this part of Mozambique, after the 2000 and 2001 devastating floods, and last year's weak crop, is having a serious impact on the livelihood of the populations. Vulnerability levels are high and people resort to coping mechanisms such as the consumption of unusual types of wild foods, selling of assets, emigration, prostitution, dropping out of school, robbery, etc. One team member declared: "how long are we going to allow households to rely on such negative coping mechanisms". The next potential crop is not expected until March 2004, in ten months time.
The CFSAM team also highlighted their concern over the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on the food security of vulnerable populations. The team encountered much anecdotal evidence of households with chronically ill adults, unable to work in the fields or elsewhere. The compounding effect of 4 years of bad crops, with diseases such as HIV/AIDS or malaria, has pushed many families into misery.
Humanitarian efforts by the Government of Mozambique, UN agencies and NGOs were commended by the team who called for a reinforcement of such efforts.
Update on Projects
FAO Trade Fairs
A total of 27 Input Trade Fairs have been completed in the provinces of Gaza and Maputo with the objective of supplying the most food insecure and drought affected farming households with access to seeds and other agricultural inputs. Implementing partners have been selected to organise 43 Input Trade Fairs in Gaza, Maputo, and Inhambane provinces, during the period leading up to the main planting season (August-October).
WFP steps up operations in Mozambique
WFP is currently expanding its operations to 7 new districts for a total of 45 in Mozambique. The agency and its partners are currently distributing 6 000 MT of food per month, but this is being increased. The food pipeline will be able to cover cereal needs until September. Partners have been asked to submit requests to WFP for support that could enable them to increase their distri-bution capacity. The agency is prepared to cover additional needs of partners in terms of training, communi-cation and transport equipment, as well as non-food items.
As part of WFP's efforts to address HIV/AIDS, activists have been working with partners at distribution sites to raise awareness and educate communities to combat HIV/AIDS locally. WFP is encouraging partners to generalise this activity to all distribution points.
World Vision Gaza Food Security Project
World Vision Mozambique will soon start a project to assist drought affected families in 2 Districts of Gaza Province to regain their food security through increased agriculture production. The project objectives are to:
- Empower local farmers associations to
effectively carryout sustainable seed multiplication activities in order
to provide improved and drought resistant seeds and vegetative matter to
drought affected families throughout the project area.
- Reduce mortality and morbidity of chickens
through a systematic vaccination campaign against Newcastle Disease.
- Increase the production of vegetable
and other cash crops by promoting the use of pedal pumps for small-scale
- Increase food crop production (mostly rice) through the rehabilitation and maintenance of small-scale irrigation and drainage systems.
Fieldwork for the assessment has already started and will be completed in early June. Three teams are at work in each of the six surveyed provinces (Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Sofala, Tete), for a total of 27 districts visited. Data entry and analysis will take place furing the first three weeks of June. The VAC report for Mozambique is expected in July.
Following a visit with the Minister of Education in Gaza province earlier this year, WFP is launching an emergency day school feeding program through NGO partners and MINED this June. The main objective is to feed up to 150,000 children in EP1, EP2 and EPC schools in the most drought-affected areas to help reduce their absenteeism and the consequent enlarged risk of increased drop-out rates. The areas are also those with high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates. The children are currently not getting any food or meals at these schools. As the rural school conditions do not generally allow a feeding of daily meals cooked at the schools, WFP's partners will initially provide a take home ration to the children. As the capacity to do so increases, either CSB ( a fortified blended food) or fortified biscuits will be provided. The emergency school feeding programme will complement WFP's longer-term school feeding programme. It is expected that once the crisis has subsided, a selection of the schools will transfer into the longer-term school feeding activity. This activity will significantly contribute to achieving the Education for All objectives strived for by MINED.
Maintaining the Momentum
A Regional Consultation on Humanitarian Assistance Needs in Southern Africa will take place on June 11 and 12, in Johannesburg. This meeting, co-facilitated by the UN and SADC, is intended to consolidate consensus around the implications stemming from the latest round of multi-sectoral assessments in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The outcome of the vulnerability assessment will be presented by each country, as well as their implications for assistance.
The objectives of the meeting are:
- To discuss the preliminary results of
the assessments undertaken by the SADC-FANR Vulnerability Assessment Committee
in conjunction with the FAO/WFP Food and Crop Supply Assessments and other
- To consider the outlook and predictions
for the next 12 months.
- To review critical policy issues and
approaches that can be taken to address vulnerability with specific focus
- To review response capacities including resource mobilisation and coordination.
On April 30, a joint Government-UN-Donors-NGOs Disaster Management Partners Meeting was attended by more than 100 participants. The meeting, co-chaired by Mr. Leonardo Sim=E3o, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the UN Resident Coordinator, gave an opportunity for various ministries to present the current country situation and outlook for the next 6-9 months. The low water levels in dams, as well as the crops failure for the second year in a row in the south, were regarded as worrying factors for the food security of the population in drought-affected areas.
An overview of ongoing humanitarian efforts was presented by the National Institute for Disaster Management, the UN System, and Link, an NGO forum. Constraints and expectations were also highlighted by the presenters, in particular the limited donor response and the need for more coordination and information-sharing mechanisms. The UN System offered to facilitate more information sharing meetings with all relevant partners on a regular basis.
Minister Sim=E3o called for more adequate and efficient prevention measures, including the strengthening of the national capacity to prevent and respond to disasters.
Presentations from this meeting are available upon request at the UN Emergency Unit (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Online Updates & Information
UNICEF's emergency page on Mozambique. Regularly updated.
WHO's webpage on Mozambique. See particularly the links on: emergencies and disease outbreaks. Frequently updated.
WFP Regional Logistics (RELOGS) page for Southern Africa. Frequently updated. Weekly Sitreps.
Fews Net Mozambique page. Famine early warning system network. Frequently updated. Monthly reports. Special reports.
Mozambique's National Council for the fight against HIV/AIDS (CNCS). Includes a comprehensive database of HIV/AIDS related projects in Mozambique.
OCHA's Southern Africa Information Management initiative website, Mozambique page. Frequently updated.
OCHA's Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Latest news from Mozambique page. News and feature articles. Updated daily.
OCHA's ReliefWeb pages on the Southern Africa crisis. The most complete resource on this crisis for sitreps and other reports, papers, maps (second link) etc. from UN, government and NGO sources. Updated daily.
MediaFAX and Savana, the two most trusted independent Mozambican newspapers. Updated daily (Savana weekly).
Mozambique News Agency (AIM), English page. Updated daily.
Pan-African Internet media agency, Mozambique page. Updated daily.
Government of Mozambique. Newly updated website.
UN system in Mozambique.
Indian ocean meteorological surveillance (French).
Drought mitigation study manuals from SADC and the Swedish cooperation in Zimbabwe.
30 May: WFP/NGO Partners meeting, Maputo.
11-12 June: Regional Consultation on humanitarian assistance needs in Southern Africa, Johannesburg.
15 June: Final CFSAM report.