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Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)

Southern Africa Food Security Update

Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)

September/October 2006

SARPN acknowledges FEWS NET as a source of this document:
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  • Summary and implications
  • Food security summary
  • Vulnerability Assessments and interventions
  • Regional trade and price analysis
  • 2006/07 Seasonal outlook
Summary and implications

Updated food production estimates continue to indicate that food availability over the 2006/07 consumption period will be better than the previous year. This is confirmed by latest country reports that point to stable household food security conditions over most parts of the region, especially where food crop production has been favorable. Food prices, which had peaked at very high levels during the hunger season have dropped significantly since the harvest and have generally remained stable up to the end of September. The reports released by individual national vulnerability committees following the vulnerability assessments conducted in April/May also suggest much lower levels of food insecurity across most parts of the region in 2006/07, with the numbers of food insecure dropping from about 10 million to 3 million. Although some cases of transitory food insecurity were identified, the majority of cases are attributable to chronic vulnerability, which in some areas has been exacerbated by growing poverty, the steady erosion of household assets, and reduced resiliency as households deal with adverse impacts of varied shocks. Vulnerable groups have been identified in Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. Many of the VACs are recommending non-food based interventions that have a strong development component to mitigate food insecurity. The VACs recognize that short term interventions, though useful in meeting immediate food needs of the chronically food insecure, are not sufficient to deal with the underlying causes of chronic vulnerability. The August rapid vulnerability assessment in 58 of the affected districts of Tanzania (following a failed vuli and a mediocre msimu season) has also established that 651,655 people will have difficulty accessing food during the months of November and December, and 390,000 of them have been assessed as highly vulnerable and therefore require emergency assistance.

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