Mozambique Key Message Update, March 2018
Late season rains do not change projected Crisis outcomes
While the typical lean season extends through March, green food is not available as usual to supplement food needs due to early and mid-season dryness. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are emerging across much of interior Gaza and Inhambane, northern Maputo, southern Tete, and parts of Manica and Sofala provinces due to depleted household stocks and below-average incomes. With crop failure or very low yields in these areas, the upcoming harvest is likely to lead to only temporary improvements, except for parts of northwestern Sofala.
Above-average rainfall throughout February in central Mozambique, particularly in central Manica and Sofala provinces, caused localized flooding that required emergency intervention by the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC). In mid and late February, the entire southern region also received heavy rains, especially northern Inhambane province. Despite this significant rainfall, the outlook for main season production remains unchanged since it was too late to recover wilted crops planted in late January. However, the late rains will provide residual moisture for off-season planting, if poor households can access seeds in suitable areas.
Maize grain prices in February remained relatively stable in most monitored markets, except there was a significant rise in Tete, by 64 percent compared to January, following an increase of 38 percent the previous month, putting it close to the five-year average. According to market monitors in Tete, the increase may be linked with the poor prospects for the 2017/18 harvest. Maize meal and rice prices have generally remained stable. Staple food prices are expected to peak in March and seasonally decline in April with the harvests.