According to a recent alert from FEWS Net , southern Africa has seen a below average start to the 2019-2020 agricultural season, with rainfall only 55-85 percent of normal levels from October through early December. This decrease in precipitation has negatively impacted planting and germination rates throughout much of the region. The most impacted areas include Lesotho, central and southern Mozambique, Madagascar, South Africa, and western and southern Zambia.
Southern Africa could face an early start to the 2019-2020 lean season and abnormally high food assistance needs, according to a new alert from FEWS Net . Due to a significant delay in the start of the rainy season and predicted below-average precipitation through March, the region is likely to experience cumulative seasonal rainfall significantly below average. This deficit may negatively impact maize production, livestock conditions, and agricultural labor opportunities in the region.
As crop prices move throughout the year, they influence households’ consumption decisions, farmers’ production decisions, and traders’ marketing decisions. As such, it is important to understand price seasonality in local contexts in order to design appropriate policy interventions.
In April 2016, the President of Malawi declared a state of emergency in response to the second consecutive year of failed maize harvests. Domestic maize production in early 2016 only reached 2.4 million metric tons, compared to the 3.2 metric tons harvested in an average year. The international aid community and the private sector responded with the Food Insecurity Response Program (FIRP), which provided aid to almost 40 percent of the Malawian population.