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Southern Africa Food Security Update
November 2009
US Agency for International Development (USAID), Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET)

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) as the source of this report: http://www.fews.net


  • As the hunger season sets in, food security conditions remain generally stable over most of the region. This is in line with the improved regional food availability over the 2009/10 consumption period on account of better food crop production in most SADC countries. Adequate on-farm and market food availability has contributed to relatively stable food prices. Price stability has facilitated adequate access by market-dependent households. The generally stable conditions (especially in surplus-producing countries) are expected to last until the next harvest, and the food shortages normally associated with the hunger period will be less pronounced.


  • Despite the stable food security situation, cases of food insecurity exist in many countries of the region, including those with above-average harvests. The June 2009 VAC food security and vulnerability assessments confirmed that many households in areas where crop production was adversely affected by poor growing conditions would face food shortages over this consumption period, some of them as early as July 2009. The assessments also revealed populations that are chronically food insecure and require ongoing assistance. Many households that were moderately food insecure in the July . September period have slipped into highly food insecure status as their limited stocks from own production have run out. They will remain highly food insecure until the next harvest unless adequate mitigatory measures are put in place.


  • The rainfall season is currently being established in southern Africa, and significant rainfall has been received in most areas that normally have an early onset (from September) was received mainly in the northern and the southern parts of the sub-region, with the central parts receiving little to no rainfall. Many farmers have taken advantage of the early rains and started field activities, mainly land preparation. It is critical that adequate inputs be made available to all farmers, and especially vulnerable households, so they can take advantage of the rainfall thus far, given that this season could be adversely influenced by El Nino.


  • Most rural and urban markets are still adequately stocked, as available staple foods continue to find their way to local markets. This has contributed to stable food prices since the main harvests in May/June. With above-average production, food prices have come down considerably from the levels seen last season, although they still remain well above the five-year average. The decline in international food commodity prices has also contributed to this stability. This is expected to continue through the 2009/10 marketing season on the back of the improved outlook of global grain supplies.

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