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Mozambique Food Security Outlook, June 2019 to January 2020

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Atypically high humanitarian assistance needs will persist through the start of the lean season


• Mozambique is experiencing its worst food insecurity emergency since the 2015/16 drought with an atypically high number of households in need of emergency assistance. This is the result of multiple shocks including tropical cyclones Desmond, Idai, and Kenneth with associated torrential rainfall and severe flooding and drought in southern semiarid areas. These shocks have significantly impacted crop production across the country and livelihoods, specifically in Cyclone affected areas.

• Most of the country is facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. In southern semiarid areas this is the second consecutive poor season and households have little to no food stocks, which is atypical for this time of year. Tropical Cyclone affected households lost their crops for the 2019/20 consumption year and are continuing to rebuild their livelihoods. The rest of the country is experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes due to a normal harvest.

• Due to the significantly below-average harvest, the lean season is expected to begin atypically early. Household food stocks are likely to be exhausted by September, even though efforts are ongoing to maximize the second season, which typically contributes a small portion to the annual households’ food stocks, particularly for cereals. In October/November, agricultural labor opportunities are expected to seasonally increase with the start of the rainy season, but is expected to remain below average.

• In areas most affected by this year’s shocks, namely in Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, Manica and parts of Zambézia provinces, poor households are expected to continue engaging and increasing their reliance on livelihood coping strategies to meet their minimum food needs. The poor and very poor households are expected to continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes in January 2020, with humanitarian food assistance needs most likely increasing until the harvest in April 2020.


Current Situation Current estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA) indicate over a million MT of crops were lost including corn, rice, groundnuts, beans, and vegetables were destroyed nationwide as a result of the poor rainfall in the southern semiarid areas and three Tropical Cyclones, Desmond, Idai, and Kenneth. MASA estimates nearly 800,000 MT loss in national maize grain production, representing a reduction of more than 30 percent as compared to the last two years’ average. MASA also estimates, this year’s shocks caused the death of nearly 120 cattle, 1,120 small ruminates and more than 22,000 chickens. The tropical cyclone damaged fishing boats and equipment for fishing as well as infrastructure, a key livelihood for thousands of households along the coast. Based on available information on losses caused by this year’s multiple shocks, combined with the remote sensing analysis particularly of the Water Requirements Satisfaction Index (WRSI) (Figure 1), the 2018/19 crop production will be significantly below last year’s production and the 5-year average.

Current household food stocks are much lower than average in southern semiarid areas as well as areas affected by tropical cyclones. In southern areas, as a result of the second consecutive poor season households have little to no food stocks. Most of the markets are relatively well supplied thanks to the flow of food commodities from surplus areas, including some remote areas, resulting in abnormally higher retail prices. In the rest of the country markets and households have average stocks.

As many households continue relying on markets for food, particularly in shock affected areas, poor households continue to engage in self-employment activities to access incomes. However, as more and more people engage in self-employment activities, opportunities to sell are reduced and prices decrease; limiting incomes.

Second season planting and production is progressing in the flood affected areas where households have been planting following the receding flood waters. On the other hand, in the southern semiarid areas, second season production is limited due to lack of residual moisture. As of late May, in cyclone affected areas various organizations provided nearly 150,000 kilograms of maize grain seeds and 78,000 kilograms of beans seeds to about 20,000 households. FAO is also providing agricultural inputs (assorted vegetable seeds, beans seeds and agricultural tools) to slightly over 65,900 households for second season planting. The total number of beneficiaries is most likely to be around 95,000 households with other organizations’ contribution. In the flood affected areas, prospects for second season are good due to existing residual moisture and water bodies from where households can get water for irrigation. However, production from second season is for rapid consumption and does not guarantee durable food stocking.