Food security status report (October – December, 2019)

By Alefa Banda and Brian P. Mulenga

Three districts namely, Lunga in Luapula Province, Gwembe in Southern Province and Shang’ombo in Western Province were classified as being in the emergency phase by the Vulnerability Assessment Committee. However, this bulletin highlights the food security situation and responses in drought hit districts of Gwembe and Shang’ombo. Flooding contributed to the food insecurity situation in Lunga district whereas prolonged dry spells resulted in crop failure that affected food production in some parts of Gwembe and Shang’ombo districts.

Relief efforts are ongoing in areas affected by the prolonged dry spells and floods during the 2018/2019 season as established by the vulnerability assessment (VA) outcome. Current relief activities have intensified and are being implemented in the affected areas by the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) in collaboration with other stakeholders including the World Food Programme (WFP), World Vision (WV), Development Aid from People to People (DAPP), RED CROSS, CARITAS, World Renew and various faith based organizations. Relief aid provided include food stuffs and Emergency Cash Transfers (ECT). The relief activities are helping to cushion vulnerable households against deteriorating food security in areas identified by the VA.

The supply of the main staple crop, maize, in most parts of Zambia has generally remained tighter than usual, pushing prices steeply upwards. Consequently, the price of mealie meal has risen above average. This upward trend in the price of maize grain and mealie meal is likely to continue until the main maize harvest period of April/May 2020.

Between January and October 2019, the drawdown of maize grain by DMMU from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has been higher and more frequent, on average than other bad years. Western Province followed by Southern Province accounted for the largest share of the relief food distributed from January to October 2019 while the FRA community sales were highest in Southern Province. The ECT intervention is running alongside the existing Social Cash Transfer (SCT) programme with each beneficiary household entitled to ZMW 100 per month for six months.

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