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Southern Africa: food security update - November 2006
November 2006
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET)

Acknowledgements: Comments on this report can be sent to Ms Phumzile Mdladla at:


Contents:

  • Summary and implications
  • Food security summary
  • Regional trade and price analysis
  • 2006/07 seasonal outlook
Summary and implications

The food security status of many households across the region remains stable, although there are signs that household food supplies are now tightening as the hungry season sets in. Food prices have generally remained stable and below last year and the past five years’ average, but prices noticeably increased in November in select markets, indicating decreasing market supplies and raising concerns about growing food access problems among vulnerable populations. This is particularly true in Zimbabwe, where markets are generally inadequately supplied following below-normal harvests and a slow import program. Elsewhere, intra-regional trade (formal and informal) continues to play an important role in filling import requirements, though delivery rates are currently quite low.

The Updated Rainfall Outlook issued by the SADC Drought Monitoring Centre for December to February suggests an enhanced likelihood of normal or reduced rainfall in much of Botswana, southwestern Zambia, southeastern Zimbabwe, southern Angola, Madagascar, western Swaziland, most of South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia. The rest of the SADC region is forecast to have enhanced chances of normal or above-normal rainfall. In comparison, forecasts from IRI for December to February suggest weakening forecast signals, and much of southern Africa has a forecast of climatology, while the northern half of Tanzania and the eastern half of DRC are forecast to have above-normal rainfall. These forecasts come in the context of an El Niño that is currently active in the Pacific Ocean, which is traditionally associated with poor rains in many parts of southern Africa. Areas most vulnerable to drought include central and southern Zimbabwe, adjacent parts of South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and northern Namibia. Since specific impacts of any single El Niño vary from incidence to incidence depending on the prevailing atmospheric and oceanic conditions, it is important to monitor the situation closely as the season progresses.

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