FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Land preparation for and planting of 2020 cereal crops started in September
Cereal production in 2019 adversely affected by rainfall deficits, resulting in below average harvest
Food prices increased throughout 2019, on back of reduced agricultural output and weaker national currency
Food insecurity situation deteriorated in southern provinces due to impact of dry weather conditions on agricultural production and uptick in food prices
Planting of 2020 crops underway, with mostly favourable seasonal weather outlook
Land preparation for and planting of the 2020 cereal crops, to be harvested from March next year, are underway. Early seasonal rains have been generally scattered and mainly concentrated in western and northern provinces during September and early October. For the coming months, November 2019 to March 2020, weather forecasts indicate an increased likelihood of average to above average rains in the main cereal producing central provinces, with likely positive impacts on yields.
Cereal production in 2019 estimated at below average level
The 2019 cereal crops were harvested last June and production is estimated at a below average 2.1 million tonnes. The 2019 outturn is 16 percent below the bumper level achieved in 2018 and 9 percent lower than the five year average. The production decline mostly relates to a reduced maize output, the main cereal grown in the country, reflecting erratic and below average seasonal rainfall in the first quarter of 2019 that caused a reduction in yields.
In the southern minor cereal producing provinces of Cuando Cubango and Cunene, severe moisture deficits in early 2019 caused a decline in the production of millet and sorghum, the main cereals grown in these provinces, and affected grassland, resulting in a deterioration in livestock body condition.
Above average import requirements in 2019/20
Imports cover on average about 40 percent of the national cereal consumption needs. In the 2019/20 marketing year (April/March), import requirements of maize, the main food staple, are estimated at 200 000 tonnes, about 15 percent above the average, reflecting the reduced 2019 maize harvest. Import requirements for wheat and rice, which are only produced in small quantities in the country, are estimated at 700 000 and 520 000, respectively, slightly above the five year average.
Cereal prices continued to rise in 2019
Since early 2018, prices of maize flour have increased steadily and, in August 2019, they were about 15 percent above their values in the corresponding month last year, standing at record high levels. Prices of cassava flour have been stable since May 2019 and in August were 12 percent above their year earlier values. The lower cereal output in 2019 and the depreciation of the national currency were both contributory factors to the high prices of these food staples.
Poor food security conditions in southern provinces
According to the latest Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s (VAC) evaluation, about 1.14 million people are estimated to be food insecure in 2019/20 (April/March). Most of the affected people are located in southern provinces of Cunene, Huila, Namibe and Cuando Cubango, reflecting the 2019 below average cereal output and the record high prices of food staples.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations