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Famine Early Warning Systems Network

Southern Africa Food Security Brief: October 2004

October 2004

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Executive summary

  • Although the assessed regional cereal supplies indicate an overall improvement in cereal availability in the region when compared to the previous two years, the projected deficit is slightly higher (13 percent) compared to last year. Production is estimated at 24.072 million MT (against 22.752 million MT last year), while total availability (production plus opening stocks is 28.315 million MT (against 26.616 million MT last year). The larger shortfall (3.065 million MT compared to 2.702 million MT last year) comes mainly as a result of enlarging strategic grain reserves.

  • Intra-regional trade continues to play an important role in filling import requirements in the food deficit countries. Trade levels (especially imports into countries facing shortages) are expected to increase as the lean season approaches and on-farm stocks are drawn down. During September and October, retail food prices were reportedly rising in response to dwindling household supplies, raising concerns about growing food access problems among vulnerable populations.

  • The Updated Rainfall Outlook issued by the SADC Drought Monitoring Centre suggests that for period November to January, the DRC, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, north and central Mozambique, north and central Zimbabwe, most of Botswana, and western South Africa will have an enhanced chance of receiving normal to above normal rainfall, while Swaziland, Lesotho, southern Mozambique, southern Zimbabwe and eastern Botswana are forecast to have an enhanced chance of receiving below normal to normal rainfall.

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