Southern Africa Key Message Update, January 2019
Delayed and erratic rainfall marked the first half of the season
Many areas across the region are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to last year’s below average harvest and in some countries political and economic challenges. The rest of the region is facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. Humanitarian assistance is mitigating outcomes in areas of DRC, Madagascar, and Mozambique. Even though in many areas the harvest will likely be delayed to April, food insecurity outcomes are anticipated to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) with the harvest.
As of mid-January, parts of Angola, South Africa, western Zambia, Zimbabwe, northern Namibia, southern Mozambique, eastern Tanzania, western Madagascar, Lesotho, and most of Botswana have significant rainfall deficits of 30 percent or more. As a result, the most affected areas are anticipating a reduction in staple food production. This is anticipated to negatively affect household food security in the long term. Above average rainfall and flooding was received in Malawi, eastern Zambia, and northern Mozambique and Madagascar.
Due to below average rains, agriculture activities and labor availability for planting and weeding are below average in several countries. These are common labor and income sources for poor households, especially from November to January. In-kind payments from better-off households are being withheld to agricultural labors, mostly poor households, as they anticipate a poor season. However, starting in April, poor households are anticipated to start engaging in harvesting activities for income, but opportunities are anticipated to be below average.
Political and economic challenges continue to be the major drivers of acute food insecurity in DRC and Zimbabwe. In DRC, the continuation of localized conflict has displaced nearly 11,000 people and the effects of Ebola continue to disrupt livelihoods. In Zimbabwe, recent fuel price increases of about 150 percent will likely trigger significant price increases for all basic commodities, including food. As a result, poor households will likely struggle to access market foods.