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Informal cross border food trade in Southern Africa - February 2007
February 2007
World Food Programme (WFP), Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)


Overall summary of trade flows

With one month to go before the end of the 2006/07 marketing season, the Southern Africa informal cross border food trade monitoring system has captured close to 113,800 MT of trade in maize (97,000 MT), rice (6,500 MT) and beans (10,000 MT) since the start of the marketing season in April 2006. The overall maize trade in February at 5,400 MT was the lowest ever recorded by the monitoring system. The February trade in maize was 33% lower than the previous month and nearly five times lower than last year at the same time.

Figure 1: Recorded Informal Cross Border Maize Trade in DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa Tanzania, Zambia & Zimbabwe
Figure 1: Recorded Informal Cross Border Maize Trade in DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa Tanzania, Zambia & Zimbabwe

Trade in rice continued to be erratic. In February, trade in rice rose to 641 MT compared to 547 MT in January. In December, trade in rice was recorded at 1,127 MT. In general, the pattern of trade in rice this year shows that from April to October, the volume traded has been lower than the past two years but from November, the volume of rice traded has been higher than last year but still way below the volume traded two years ago.

Figure 2: Recorded Informal Cross Border Food Trade in Rice & Beans DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa Tanzania, Zambia & Zimbabwe
Figure 2: Recorded Informal Cross Border Food Trade in Rice & Beans DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa Tanzania, Zambia & Zimbabwe

Trade in beans dipped (by 63%) to 500 MT in February from 1,360 MT January. The volume of bean trade between April 2006 and February 2007 is 29% below the volume traded during a similar period last marketing season (see Figure 1). February is one month to the close of the agricultural marketing season in Southern Africa and given the satisfactory maize supply situation in major importing countries such as Malawi and Zambia even before the new harvest comes on stream, the general decline in trade (maize and beans) is expected.

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