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SADC Food Security Ministerial Brief: 9 May 2003

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FOOD SECURITY PROSPECTS BETTER THAN LAST YEAR
Cereal production estimates just released by SADC and FAO point to an improvement in the food security situation in several countries in comparison to the same time last year. Zimbabwe, however, continues to be of concern, and in Botswana a poor harvest is expected. SADC REWU estimates that total cereal production in the region will be around 22.6 million MT, a 6% improvement over last year and 3% above the past five year average (see table). Notable production increases are expected in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This is significant, as these countries accounted for over-two thirds of food aid requirements in 2002/03 in southern Africa (excluding Angola). Sizable increases are also expected in Angola, Lesotho and Namibia. In contrast, production in Mozambique is forecast to drop slightly compared to last year and Swaziland is expected to have

another below average year. South African production is expected to be the same as last year and 7% above the five year average. This is good news for food security at the regional level as South Africa typically accounts for nearly 50% of regional cereal production. Discussions on production figures continue in Zimbabwe, particularly with respect to maize. On the basis of the FAO estimate (right), cereal production will be 72% up on last year but still 31% less than the five year average and large amounts of food will need to be imported.

This national analysis masks significant sub-national production problems in Mozambique, Tanzania and Swaziland in particular, and also Lesotho (see overleaf for more details). This analysis should be considered indicative until final production estimates are known in June/July.


2002/03 Cereal Production Forecasts
Country
2003 Cereal Production Forecast
COMPARED TO.....
2002 5 year average
Angola
717,000
+31%
+28%
Botswana
13,000
-42%
-16%
Lesotho
162,000
+33%
+20%
Malawi
2,027,000
+21%
-4%
Mozambique
1,579,000
-7%
-2%
Namibia
119,000
+62%
+31%
RSA
11,648,000
0%
+7%
Swaziland
72,000
+3%
-17%
Tanzania
3,910,000
-8%
-1%
Zambia
1,167,000
+57%
+15%
Zimbabwe
1,213,000
+72%
-31%
TOTAL
22,627,000
+6%
+3%
SOURCES: Forecasts from SADC REWU and FAO, GIEWS (Zimbabwe only), May 2003. Historical data from SADC REWU, May 2003.

MAIZE SELF-SUFFICIENCY IMPROVES IN MOST COUNTRIES

The SADC Regional Early Warning Unit (REWU) calculates a maize self-sufficiency ratio based on domestic production plus opening stocks as a percentage of maize consumption requirements. At the aggregate SADC regional level (excluding DRC, Mauritius and the Seychelles), the REWU estimates that 105% of consumption requirements are likely to be met from the 2002/03 production in the coming marketing year, based on preliminary production forecasts. This compares favorably with last year, when only 90% of maize requirements were met through regional production, but is less than the past 10-year average maize self sufficiency ratio of 110%.

Based on the past 10-year average, five SADC countries, (Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe) are normally self-sufficient in maize. This year, Zimbabwe is expected to produce less than 40% of its maize consumption requirements, which is a marked improvement over last years ratio of 26%. Mozambique and Tanzania are both expecting below normal production and an 85% self-sufficiency ratio, which is notably below their average (99% and 97%, respectively). Based on preliminary production estimates, South Africa's ratio is 150%, well above its average of 132%, and an improvement over last year.

Swaziland has met only 48% of its maize requirements for the past two years, compared to 10 year average of 83%. Lesotho and Zambia are expected to be close to their average levels, both showing an improvement over last year. In contrast, Namibia, with a 10 year average self-sufficiency ratio of 34%, is likely to see a further drop this season, although preliminary production estimates have already been revised upwards.


Self-Sufficiency Ratios, Forecast 2003/04 Compared to Previous Year

Source: SADC Regional Early Warning Unit, April 2003


FOOD AID REQUIREMENTS WILL BE LIMITED

Improved cereal production and self-sufficiency ratios mean lower import requirements. As the graph (left) shows, the commercial sector is expected to be the main source of imported grain in the region. Neither Malawi nor Zambia is expected to need food aid, and food aid requirements for Lesotho and Swaziland are very small compared to commercial imports. In Zimbabwe, food aid needs are expected to be 40% of total requirements. This is much lower than the 80% estimated at this time last year. Regionally, food aid is expected to comprise about 13% of imports (compared to 40% at this time last year).


Filling the Cereal Gap, Anticipated Commercial Imports and Food Aid Needs



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