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United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET)

Informal cross border food trade in Southern Africa

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET)

April 2006 - Issue 20

SARPN acknowledges the United Nations World Food Programme as the source of this document.
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Highlights

  • A new marketing season for cross border food trade begins in Southern Africa.
  • Relatively better harvests in monitored countries likely to change trade dynamics and volume of flows.
  • Maize prices fall as supply of the commodity increases with new harvest.
Overall summary of trade flows

Figure 1: Recorded Informal Cross Border Trade in DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia & Zimbabwe

Recorded Informal Cross Border Trade in DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Source: FEWS NET and WFP Malawi and Regional Technical Steering Committee (TSC)


April marks the beginning of the new marketing season for most agricultural commodities in Southern Africa. During the month of April, about 7,000 MT of informal trade in maize (6,700 MT), rice (133 MT) and beans (238 MT) was recorded by the Southern Africa Informal Cross Border food Trade Monitoring system. As shown in Figure 1, trade in all the three monitored commodities has begun at much lower levels compared to last year. The volume of maize traded this April is 25% down on last year's volume; trade in rice has declined from 2,500 MT to 133 MT whereas trade in beans has decreased from 1,450 MT to 238 MT. Several factors could explain the slow start of the new marketing season including the better than average production in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. Although Zimbabwe had a generally better season this past year, the indications are that the country will still need to import some cereals to meet its national requirements.



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