Food shortages continue until September

07 Apr 2016 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 07 APR (NAMPA) - Poor households in Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, and southern Angola will continue to face livelihood protection and food deficits in the coming months.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) in its food security outlook dated March 2016 for the southern African region noted that in typical years, households normally experience increased food availability from mid-March to April due to access to green foods and the start of the main harvests.
“However this year, poor households in several parts of the region continue to face livelihood protection and food deficits. Poor households in Lesotho, southern Mozambique, southern Madagascar, and southwest Zambia are in crisis and these outcomes are expected to continue through September due to the anticipated below-average harvests.
“Similar outcomes are expected in several other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, including Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, and southern Angola,” warned Fewsnet.
The analysis further said that as the peak of the lean season continues, most countries in the region expect the main harvest to be delayed by up to a month. This extension of the lean season has resulted in an atypically high demand on local markets among all household wealth groups and continued high food prices.
Furthermore, a number of countries in the region experienced increased rainfall from mid-February through March. These rains will likely improve pasture conditions and the availability of water for livestock.
The late season moisture is too late for crop recovery in most drought-affected areas, but may benefit cropped areas that were planted very late in the season. Although national crop estimates are still forthcoming, the region is anticipating a second consecutive year of below average maize supplies.
“Supplies for the 2016/17 consumption year will be significantly below average because of the El Niño related drought. National level cereal deficits are expected to be much higher than normal for the majority of countries. Staple prices continue to be above the five-year average in a number of countries facing an extended lean season period,” Fewsnet added.