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Southern Africa Food Security Outlook: October 2011 through March 2012

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Regional food security conditions remain stable even as lean season sets in

Key messages

  • As the lean season sets in, food security conditions remain generally stable over most of the region. This is due to the improved regional food availability on account of good harvests this season in most SADC countries. Adequate on‐farm and market availability has contributed to relatively stable food prices facilitating adequate access by market‐dependent households. The generally stable conditions are expected to continue through the next harvest in April/May 2012, and lean season food access problems will be less pronounced than usual lean season conditions.

  • Despite the projected stable conditions across the region, concern remains for populations in localized areas facing crop production and other livelihood shocks as indicated in the food security and vulnerability assessments completed in July 2011 (including parts of southern and central Mozambique; southern Malawi; Masvingo and Manicaland provinces and parts of Gokwe North, Kariba, and Binga districts in Zimbabwe; central, north, and northeastern Tanzania; Lesotho; and northern Namibia). Due to the impacts of these shocks, many of the affected households are facing food access problems, have already stretched their normal coping capacities, and require external assistance.

  • Conditions are most concerning in southern Malawi where a combination of factors has contributed to local market supply bottlenecks and subsequent anomalous spikes in food prices, exacerbating food access problems and resulting in some households slipping into Stressed (IPC Phase 2) while others (notably in Chikhwawa district) have slipped already into Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Households here will remain highly food insecure throughout the outlook period unless adequate mitigatory measures are put in place.