Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Southern African Food Security outlook: November 2007
November 2007
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET)

Current reports indicate a general tightening of food supplies throughout the region as the hunger season sets in. However, food security conditions continue to be mixed; with the situation remaining generally stable in surplus producing countries; while conditions will deteriorate further in deficit countries as the hunger period intensifies between now and February.

  • FAO/WFP and VAC assessments indicated that from July 2007 until March 2008, 401,200 people in Lesotho were expected to face food shortages, 407,000 in Swaziland, and up to 4.1 million in Zimbabwe. Most of the households identified in these assessments have already exhausted their meager food reserves and some are now employing negative coping strategies. In Mozambique, the GAV estimated that 520,000 people, mostly in the south, are would require food assistance from July through March 2008. Food security conditions in areas identified as food insecure have remained moderate mainly due to a combination of a good second season crop and on-going humanitarian interventions.

  • In Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and northern Mozambique, the food security situation remains satisfactory, due to above average harvests and sizable carryover stocks from the previous season. Consequently, staple food prices have remained stable, and although rising seasonably, are lower when compared to the past five-year average, facilitating adequate food access for market dependant households.

  • Available data suggests that Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania have already exported significant quantities in intra-regional trade with neighboring deficit countries including South Africa. However, overall availability cannot meet the full needs of the region's grain deficit countries; in addition, the limited intraregional market and transport infrastructure, and the costs involved means that deficit countries will still need to import substantial quantities from overseas.

  • The rainfall season is currently being established in southern Africa, and significant rainfall was received mainly in the northern and the southern parts of the sub-region, with the central parts receiving little to no rainfall. Many farmers have taken advantage of the early rains and have started field activities, mainly land preparation. It is critical that adequate inputs be availed to all farmers and especially in vulnerable households so that they can take advantage of the normal rainfall that has been forecast for most parts of the region this season.

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