Special report: FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment mission to Mozambique


Mission Highlights

Cereal production for 2005 in Mozambique estimated to be about 1.92 million tonnes (with rice in paddy terms) is 3 percent lower than last year's harvest due to 43 percent and 4 percent reductions in the cereal harvest in the southern and central provinces respectively, partially compensated by an estimated increase by 12 percent in the three northern provinces.

Production from the two main cash crops produced by the peasant sector, cashews and coconuts, is expected to be higher than, and similar to, last year respectively. Tobacco and cotton crops are also expected to improve and sugar cane production is noted to have been sustained at last year's level

Rains started early or on-time but were irregular and erratic being heavy in December and January and often ended early in February and March.

Revised cassava yield estimates place the quantities theoretically available for use at a higher level than in previous assessments; therefore, the mission recommends that opportunities for local purchases of dried cassava and cassava flour for food aid requirements be investigated.

Harvest time maize prices fell and reached in May same level as last year, except in the south where they had begun to rise due to poor harvest. Prices in the north may improve during the year owing to stronger demand from neighbouring Malawi.

Maize exports, formal and informal, mostly from the surplus provinces in the north and centre are forecast at 190 000 tonnes, mostly to Malawi.

However, maize imports, in the order of 175 000 tonnes, are still necessary, given the high costs of moving grain from north to south. Of these, about 130 000 tonnes are expected to be through commercial channels, leaving about 45 000 tonnes deficit, which will need to be imported with international assistance.

As a result of drastically reduced harvests in the southern and central regions of the country combined with the effects of HIV/AIDS, recurrent disasters, low level of savings, weak health services and limited capacity of community based safety net, an estimated 70 000 tonnes of relief food aid (cereals) will be required for 587 500 food insecure people between July 2005 and March 2006. This is in addition to the annual recovery, rehabilitation and development food aid of 44 000 tonnes. The difference of about 69 000 tonnes (114 000 tonnes of total food aid needs minus 45 000 tonnes of national food deficit) will be met through local purchases.

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