As the hunger season begins in earnest in Southern Africa, the food security situation is rapidly deteriorating in those countries facing severe food shortages as a result of a poor 2004/05 crop production season. Whatever household food stocks that were available have been drawn down, and levels of purchases are constrained by very high food prices, limited purchasing power and lack of employment opportunities.
While vulnerability assessments conducted in May 2005 revealed high levels of food insecurity (with an estimated 10 million people in the region requiring humanitarian assistance); it is believed that these numbers have significantly increased as the situation deteriorates more rapidly than had been assumed.
Food access problems are most pronounced in Southern Malawi, Zimbabwe and parts of Zambia and Mozambique. With the onset of the rainy season, it is recommended that governments and partners intensify efforts to ensure timely delivery of adequate requisite inputs so that farmers can take full advantage of the predicted good rains this season.