• The 2017-18 rainfall season was characterized by a late start, an extended mid-season dry spell (December-January) and heavy rains from February into April. The dry spell caused moisture stress and wilting of the early planted crops in many areas in Botswana, south-western Madagascar, southern Malawi, southern and some central parts of Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Cereal production during the upcoming harvest season in Southern Africa is expected to be below average, despite the heavy late rains, which benefitted the late planted crops. This is due to a late start of the rainy season, minimal to no rains during the critical planting season (December -January), high temperatures and the prevalence of Fall Armyworm (FAW).
In Eastern Africa, staple commodity prices generally followed seasonal trends in Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia, but atypical price trends were observed in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Tanzania (FEWS NET Price Watch, March 2018). Prices are expected to follow seasonal trends through June 2018, remaining below last year and five year USD prices due to a combination of currency depreciation, better production than 2017, and regional imports.
- White maize grain was as usual, the most regionally traded commodity between October and December 2017 because of increasing supply from the previous June-to-July, and ongoing November-to-January harvests (see Figure 1). Recurrent conflict-related trade disruptions from southern to northern markets in South Sudan encouraged alternative imports from Sudan in the north.
Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in southern Africa.
In the absence of consistent rains for the remainder of the season, dry conditions experienced in December to January will further diminish water supplies for domestic, agricultural and commercial use.
These conditions are likely to have far reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition and ability of farmers to produce in the 2018/19 consumption year.
Maize grain as usual was the most traded commodity in the region followed by dry beans, rice and then sorghum. See Figure 1.
Staple commodity prices especially for maize are expected to remain above last year and five year average prices despite near average harvest in the region with spatial pockets of deficit within and between countries because carryover stocks are low, tightening supplies available for trade.
- Tanzania’s ban on maize grain exports to assure the country’s food security and to encourage value addition through exports of flour, would likely move regional cross-border trade to informal channels because of porous borders, and increase the maize export prices because of additional of costs of circumventing the ban.
Maize grain was the most informally traded commodity in Eastern Africa in the first quarter of 2017 accounting for 33 percent of total trade, but volumes traded in the region were lower when compared to 2013-2016 average due to tight supplies following below average harvests across most countries.
Maize grain was the most informally traded commodity in Eastern Africa in the fourth quarter of 2016 but its share of total trade decreased slightly from 35 percent in the third quarter to 31 percent in the fourth quarter because of average production and supplies in Kenya, Tanzania,
Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
West and Central Africa Regional Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (August 2016)
• The June 2016 FSNWG update indicates that approximately 28 million people in the Horn of Africa region are severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3 Crisis and Phase 4 Emergency) in selected countries and are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The majority of them are in Ethiopia (10.2), South Sudan (4.8), DRC (4.5) and Sudan (4.4). Key areas of concern remain the northeastern parts of Ethiopia previously hit by drought, parts of Sudan, northern Somalia,
Djibouti, and Karamoja in Uganda.
Maize grain remained the most traded commodity in Eastern Africa in the second quarter of 2016 since it is consumed by a large percentage of the population. However, the quality of maize available in the region is of poor quality resulting in significant rejection rates by millers.
Locally produced rice mostly from Tanzania was the second major crop traded in the region but is still grappling with issues of origin since some of it is mixed with Asian attracting the full East Africa common external tariff.
About This Report
• El Nino related rains has improved food and nutrition security in many parts of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, southern Ethiopia and south and central Somalia during the last season (Oct-Dec 2015).
Maize grain, was the single most traded commodity in the East Africa region in 2015 as depicted in Figure 1. There were also significant informal cross-border trade of dry beans, cooking bananas, locally produced rice, sorghum, sesame; imported sugar, wheat and flour.
Most of the primary staple food commodities were informally traded while a majority of the processed food commodities were formally traded in the region in 2015.
The August 2015 FSNWG update reports indicate that approximately 19.2 million people in the Greater Horn of Africa are facing crisis and emergency food insecurity and are in urgent need of assistance.
A. REGIONAL UPDATE