Despite regional wide favorable 2021 harvest, conflict and drought likely to drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3)
Southern Madagascar is among FEWS NET's countries of highest concern due to consecutive droughts driving extreme losses in food and income access. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing in the post-harvest period. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to emerge in Ambovombe and Ampanihy districts in October. Madagascar was affected by consecutive droughts leading to extremely low cereal and tuber production in the 2020/21 season. The forecast for the start of the 2021/22 rainy season is being closely monitored, given concerns about a possible late start of rainfall, which would have further negative effects on agricultural labor opportunities, wild food availability, production, and prices 2022.
Conflict in eastern DRC and Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, continue to disrupt livelihood activities and disrupted the 2020/21 agricultural seasons. In DRC, clashes between the national army and rebel groups continue, and the number of displaced people continues to increase. This is leading to disruption of livelihoods and increased food insecurity. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will therefore persist in Eastern DRC and Cabo Delgado through January 2022. In the rest of the region, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to be widespread as households consume food from own production. Although, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to emerge in some deficit areas while Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes become more widespread.
Violent protests erupted in South Africa, resulting in more than 200 deaths, many injuries, massive looting, burning of trucks, buildings, destruction of property and infrastructure. The unrest resulted in the sudden loss of labor opportunities and employment for many vulnerable South Africans, let alone regional migrants. Among the affected areas was the Port of Durban, which could lead to some short-term impacts on regional supply chains as most regional markets depend on this port.
Southern Africa is at the peak of the third wave of COVID-19, with a high number of cases and deaths being experienced across the region. As of July 1, 2.5 million COVID-19 cases and 72,000 associated deaths were reported across the region since the start of the pandemic. Most countries, including South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, DRC, and Malawi, have placed restriction measures to avoid further spread of the pandemic. The restrictions have slowed down economic activities and are negatively impacting trade, labor, and employment. In particular, labor migration and remittances have slowed down due to restriction measures in South Africa, the main regional labor market.
Despite civil unrest, conflict, and the pandemic, the 2021 harvest was favorable, with many countries recording surplus cereal production. Zimbabwe and Malawi are expecting a surplus, which is in part driving the above-average regional cereal supply. Owing to above-average cereal production, staple food prices are expected to be stable and declining in some areas. Nonetheless, Southern Madagascar was affected by a severe drought, with very poor production of cereal and tubers.