• Until early November, the current rainfall season has been characterized by much drier than average conditions, leading to delays in the onset of the agricultural season. From mid November, rainfall has improved significantly and these improved conditions should last until the end of the month; this will lead to suitable conditions for planting and early crop development, but drier conditions are likely to return from early December.
• The poor performance of the previous rainfall season of 2018-19 across many areas of the region led to significant shortfalls in maize production across Zambia and Zimbabwe. Only South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi are able to meet cereal requirements for 2019-2020. As a result, maize prices have risen earlier than usual and are now above the 5 year average. Maize prices in half of the monitored markets in the region are in crisis status.
• Over 11 million people are now experiencing "crisis" or "emergency" levels of food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4) in nine countries: Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Eswatini and Lesotho.
• Forecasts for the current season uniformly predict drier than average conditions for most of the region, particularly for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. If this pessimistic outlook is verified, these countries will face a second consecutive poor seasonal performance with likely impacts on national crop production.
• Given the uniformity and convergence of outlook in the seasonal forecasts from all main forecasting centres (ECMWF, NOAA/CPC, IRI, SADC), the most likely scenario is for a worsening of food insecurity conditions across the region.