Mozambique Staple Food Market Fundamentals, September 2018
This Market Fundamentals report for Mozambique presents findings to inform regular market monitoring and analysis for all regions of the country. The information gathered serves as essential input to food security monitoring and analysis and can be used to support the design of food assistance programs.
This report is based on desk research, fieldwork using Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) techniques, and a stakeholder workshop held in Maputo from August 9–11, 2016.
Since the end of the 16-year civil war in 1992, Mozambique’s economy has grown steadily at an average annual rate of 7.4 percent in real terms, among the highest rates of growth and performance in southern Africa. Such sustained economic growth reflects a strong macroeconomic environment, policies in support of economic reform, international support, and political stability. However, economic growth has not been inclusive — poverty rates lag behind those expected given the country’s economic progress. While poverty fell by 0.5 percent for each 1.0 percent increase per capita GDP in sub-Saharan Africa from 1997 to 2009, poverty fell by less than 0.3 percent in Mozambique. Thus Mozambique remains among the countries with the highest levels of poverty in Africa, along with Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Madagascar (World Bank 2016).
Agriculture remains a dominant part of the economy given its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) and employment. Mozambique’s favorable natural resource endowments and geographic location on the coastline with access to ports for trade lend themselves to a strong agricultural climate. The majority of agricultural production takes place in the northern and central regions of the country; the southern region produces far less and agriculture plays a smaller role in the economy and livelihoods of households there.
The major staple foods consumed and produced in Mozambique include cassava, maize, rice, groundnuts, and pulses, which are the focus of this report. Wheat, millet, and sorghum are also consumed, but to a lesser extent. At the aggregate national level, Mozambique is a deficit country in terms of staple food availability. Cassava is by far the most produced crop. While cassava, maize, groundnuts, and cowpeas requirements are sourced from domestic production, rice, although increasingly produced domestically, is still largely imported. Mozambique generates a surplus of millet and sorghum, but production falls short of consumption for maize, rice, wheat, cassava, pulses, and groundnuts.
Poor road infrastructure limits the movement and distribution of produce from the surplus-producing northern and central regions to the southern region. Infrastructure improvements in the country, especially transportation-related infrastructure, could help to alleviate the effects of local food shortages in deficit areas of the country.
Data gaps, prolonged periods for data processing, difficult access, and slow or no dissemination of data are significant constraints to market analysis in Mozambique. This is especially evident for production data, which have not been reported at the subnational level since 2012. Annual and consistent data collection and distribution would improve monitoring and reporting efforts and accuracy. Political stability and its impact on activities along key trading corridors are important factors to monitor for ongoing analysis, as well as climate, production, international markets (especially for rice), supply of and demand for commodities in neighboring South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania, and staple food import and export levels.