The ongoing harvest has stabilized or improved food security, with much of the country facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. However, due to a third consecutive year of drought in the south and armed conflict in Cabo Delgado, many poor households are expected to continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through September. Due to government control measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, income earning opportunities for many poor urban households have been negatively impacted, and these households are likely Stressed (IPC Phase 2), with the worst affected in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Furthermore, restrictions on informal trade with neighboring countries, particularly South Africa, are causing some food price volatility and lower remittances to rural households.
Preliminary estimates by the Crop and Early Warning Unit (DCAP) from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER) anticipate above-average 2019/2020 cereal production. According to MADER/DCAP, Mozambique will produce 2.8 million MT of cereals (maize grain, rice, sorghum, millet), a 7.8 percent increase compared to last year. An estimated 2.1 million MT of maize was produced followed by rice, sorghum, and millet with 376,000 MT, 287,000 MT, and 38,000 MT, respectively. Pulses and tubers are expected to yield 883,000 MT and 19,157,000 MT, respectively, a 7 and 13 percent increase compared to last year. It is anticipated that cereal imports, particularly maize, will be lower than last year; however, almost all national wheat and nearly 50 percent of national rice needs will likely be imported.
The early cessation of rains in February resulted in below average harvests of most late planted crops, particularly in southern Tete Province. Residual soil moisture, crucial for the second season, is below average. This is negatively impacting crop and vegetable production across central and southern Mozambique. Water availability for human and animal consumption is of concern in the interior of Gaza and Inhambane provinces. Water sources are gradually drying up forcing households to travel longer distances; however, access to water is not expected to reach the critical levels recorded in the 2016 El Niño induced drought. Water supplies are expected to begin replenishing with the start of the 2020/2021 rainy season, which is forecast to be average.
In April, the incoming harvest resulted in a decrease in the price of maize grain in central and northern Mozambique by 10 to 60 percent compared to March. In the south, maize grain prices remained atypically stable following a third consecutive year of below-average or failed harvests. Compared to April 2019, the price of maize grain in the southern region was 10 to 13 percent higher, while in the central and northern regions maize grain prices were 6 to 26 percent lower. When compared to the five-year average, maize grain prices had mixed trends. In most monitored markets, maize grain prices were 6 to 46 percent above the five-year average while in Chimoio and Mocuba in the central region, maize grain prices were 25 and 8 percent below the five-year average, respectively.