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Southern Africa Food Security Update
March 2010

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as the source of this document


  • Most parts of the region remain generally food secure even as the hunger season reaches its peak. The green harvest and targeted food distribution programs are helping to ameliorate food insecurity conditions in areas facing critical food shortages due to poor harvests during the last agricultural production season. For most parts, conditions over the outlook period to June 2010 are expected to remain satisfactory on the back of the current projections for generally favourable harvest prospects.

  • The dry spell extending from December 2009 to mid- January 2010, ended in the last dekad of January when significant rains were received across the region bringing the much needed moisture relief to the wilting crops. However, the impact of these rains on crop production is varied - ranging from no effect in areas where permanent wilting had occurred to positive impact on the late and replanted crops still at vegetative stages. Rapid assessments in affected areas indicate negative food security impacts on a large number of households.

  • Preliminary crop production forecasts in South Africa point to yet another bumper harvest, potentially even better than that of last year. Prospects in the other main maize-producing countries (Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique) at this stage remain mediocre due to erratic rainfall performance where both dry spells and excessive rains have been a key feature. Significant tracts of land under summer crops have been adversely affected either through moisture stress or through water logging and soil nutrient leaching, leading to yield reduction and, in some cases, complete crop failure.

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