According to a new report from FEWS Net, poor households in several regions of Southern Africa have exhausted their own produced foods earlier than usual in the season due to below-average harvests. The number of households in the region experiencing IPC Crisis (Phase 3) food insecurity is expected to increase with the start of the lean season in September and October.
The reduction in own-produced food has left households in areas of Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Mozambique to rely on markets for food purchases. However, many of these households also face below-average purchasing power, thus further reducing their food access.
Staple food prices increased throughout the region in May and June due to a combination of tropical cyclones and the impact of the 2018-2019 drought. In Mozambique, prices in most areas were higher than the five-year average. Increased demand and rising inflation rates in the region also contributed to higher staple food prices.
Households in some areas throughout the region also face reduced water availability. This is cutting down on food- and income-generating opportunities that typically arise at this time of year, such as gardening, says FEWS. More well-off households that typically provide labor opportunities for poorer households were impacted by the drought and tropical cyclones and are not able to provide the usual work opportunities. Thus, poor households in the region will face reduced food and income sources over the next several months.