According to a recent FEWS.net alert, Mozambique is currently facing severe drought and food insecurity through much of the country as a result of El Niño-driven weather patterns.Weather forecasts predict that El Niño conditions will continue to cause below average rainfall in southern and parts of central Mozambique for the remainder of the season; the northern part of the country will likely see average to above average precipitation.
The impacts of the drought on food security in the country could be serious, says the alert. Food insecurity has already been high during the lean season, due mostly to reduced agricultural labor opportunities and thus lower incomes with which to purchase food. FEWS NET is currently estimating that approximately 600,000 people are in Crisis-level food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) and need immediate food assistance, while another 600,000 are in Stressed levels (IPC Phase 2).
Maize prices are being particularly impacted and are expected to stay well above average through September; some markets could reach more than 100 percent above average prices due to reduced supplies and higher demands from households that are not able to produce enough food on their own land. The alert predicts that demand will remain above average through May and will increase even further in August and September as households throughout the country exhuast their food stocks. Prices for other staple crops are also expected to be high throughout the remainder of the year as households look for alternatives to maize.
The alert states that the majority of rural households in Mozambique will be able to meet their basic food needs through markets and seasonal foods, but Crisis-level food insecurity is expected to continue in the central and southern regions of the country; this insecurity will be made worse if adequate emergency food assistance is not provided. The food security could be improved as llate-planted crops are harvested from June to September, particularly if second season planting is possible due to improved weather.
By: Sara Gustafson, IFPRI