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Famine Early Warning Systems Network

Famine Early Warning Systems Network

Southern Africa food security brief

December 2004


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  • Executive Summary
  • Food Security Situation
  • Current Interventions
  • Regional price movements and trade flows
  • Start of season and updated rainfall outlook

Executive Summary

As the hunger season progresses in Southern Africa, food security in the region continues to deteriorate, especially in those countries where food crop production was insufficient to meet domestic requirements. In more severe cases (as in some areas of Zimbabwe), staple cereals are increasingly unavailable countrywide, causing retail food prices to rise and exacerbating food access problems for the most vulnerable households. Intra-regional trade continues to play an important role in filling import requirements in some food deficit countries, but this option is not available in Zimbabwe, where barriers to informal trade, specifically high import levies, constrain trade with neighboring countries. Although delivery of formal imports has been slow, with the hunger season peaking, delivery rates should pick up. Continued close monitoring is recommended.

Following an erratic start to the 2004/05 rainy season, many areas received normal to above normal rains in December, which improved conditions for agriculture in many areas across the region. Agricultural activities are reported to be underway throughout the region, although there are reports of shortages of or lack of access to requisite farm inputs (especially seeds and fertilizers), constraining farmers’ ability to plant sufficient crops to meet their requirements.

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