Since April, in drought-affected semi-arid areas of southern and central Mozambique, poor households have been dependent on market purchases for food and continue engaging in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), including reducing the quantity and frequency of meals. The worst-affected households migrate to major trade corridors for better casual work opportunities, including charcoal burning and selling. But increased competition and below-average demand are limiting income and reducing household purchasing power. In Cabo Delgado, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes continue in conflict-affected and surrounding areas as households and IDPs lose access to their typical livelihood activities. Many areas recovering from 2019's Cyclone Idai continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.
In Cabo Delgado, attacks on villages and public infrastructure continue to result in civilian deaths and people fleeing to Pemba city and surrounding districts, where IDPs either settle or are re-located. Government officials estimate that more than 500,000 people have been displaced, but an exact estimate is unavailable due to the situation's volatility. With the start of the seasonal rains, poor households in conflict-affected and surrounding districts will likely not take full advantage of the forecast average rainfall due to the lack of security guarantees. Households in conflict-affected areas are expected to focus on traveling to safer areas. Anecdotal information indicates that fear of the conflict expanding in surrounding districts has led to banks and other commercial services closing and increases in transport costs.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER), planting across Mozambique had not started by the end of October. Through October and early November, erratic rainfall in the interior of Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, and Manica has not allowed farmers to begin planting. By November 20, the necessary rainfall to start the agricultural season has yet to begin across much of Mozambique and is slightly delayed in parts of Maputo, Manica, Sofala, Zambézia, and Tete provinces. However, average cumulative rainfall is forecast for the 2020/2021 rainy season.
From September to October 2020, maize grain prices seasonally increased by 5 to 15 percent in most monitored markets while remaining relatively stable in other markets. Across monitored markets, maize grain prices in October were 13-52 percent above the five-year average and generally following seasonal trends. Maize grain prices have remained above the five-year average due to multiple shocks, including cyclones, floods, droughts, and conflict, leading to successive price increases, which have reduced household food availability in some areas. As typical, maize meal and rice prices remained stable from September to October in most monitored markets.