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Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)

Southern Africa: Food security update

Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)

June 2006

SARPN acknowledges FEWS NET Southern Africa as a source of this report.
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  • Summary and implications
  • Cereal harvest estimates
  • Food security summary and outlook
  • Regional price analysis
Summary and implications

Food security over the 2006/07 consumption period is expected to significantly better than it has been over the last few years, as a result of improved domestic supplies of the maize and other food staples across many countries. Reports from across the region indicate that the food security of many of the region’s vulnerable populations has been steadily improving since the end of the hunger season in March, when seasonal crops became available; and the new harvest started coming in from April onwards. Improved harvests are attributable to better crop growing conditions experienced during the 2005/06 season, which in some countries (like Malawi), was enhanced by improved availability and access to farming inputs. Since April, food prices have been dropping significantly, easing access for the poor and market dependent households. In general, food supplies even for households previously faced with critical food shortages are expected to remain comfortable until the start of the hunger season later on in the year. Despite this positive picture, however, there are pockets of vulnerable groups that have been assessed through the ongoing national vulnerability assessments in most southern African countries. Preliminary indications conclude that vulnerable groups requiring some assistance have been identified in Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Swaziland, Namibia, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. Although the numbers (and the amount and type of assistance required) are yet to be determined, it is clear that no major emergency food aid distributions will be required, with the possible exceptions of Angola, and perhaps Zimbabwe, where the cereal production shortfall may be exacerbated by the current economic melt down leading to critical food access problems.

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