Zambia food security report: September 2018

By IAPRI

The current food security situation at national level is stable, whereas it is mixed at the sub-national level. Whilst most areas in the northern half of the country that experienced good rains will remain largely food secure, the southern half has areas that are likely to experience food deficit and may need food relief as identified in the vulnerability assessment. Increased
food stress levels are likely to be experienced in areas where agricultural output dropped due to the effects of the prolonged dry spells. Among these areas are Sinazongwe, and Mambwe districts where food stock levels are expected to drop going into the lean period (November 2018 to March 2019).

Local markets have generally been supplied with maize grain at a slow rate due to the below-average crop supply for the 2018/19 marketing season. Prices for the staple crop have continued to exhibit an upward trend as erratic supplies continue. The price for the staple is above average for this time of the year with further price increase expected during the lean period. As a consequence, access to the main staple, for the most vulnerable, is likely to be threatened by this anticipated increase in the price.

The 2018/19 rainy season forecast by the Zambia Meteorological Department indicates potential El NiƱo induced normal to below normal rainfall especially over the southern half of the country. The season is likely to be established late November with early starts expected over the extreme western, southern half and north-western parts of the country and intervals of dry spells. Given this forecast, farmers may not prepare as much land as normal due to the fear of less rain. They may plant their crop late and reduce on the area planted which may lessen labor opportunities as the agricultural season progresses. To counter some of the risks posed by below-normal rainfall; timely access to inputs is critical, so is the implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices, crop diversification, use of improved crop varieties with droughttolerant characteristics and other traits such as early maturation, and staggered planting.

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