Agricultural marketing is under way in Mozambique’s northern and central regions and there is a marked change to the agricultural trade this season, the latest Famine Early Warning Systems Network report on the country says.
The changes, according to the systems report, are:
- limited trade with neighbouring Malawi, unlike last season when Malawian traders were actively buying from Mozambique’s northern region;
- potentially lower than expected maize surpluses;
- the unexpected movement of maize surpluses from central Zambezia province to Mozambique’s southern markets due to road improvements, especially the national road between Inchope and Caia in Sofala; and
- increased trade with Zimbabweans in Manica province, in competition with Mozambican traders from the southern areas.
Staple food prices in Mozambique show a slight, but steady rise consistent with normal seasonal patterns, the report said.
“Wholesale prices in the centre and north are lower this year than last, due mainly to the lack of demand in Malawi. In general, grain supplies on retail markets are still good, but high prices in the drought-affected areas limit poor consumers’ access to food,” the report said.
A supplementary feeding programme is in place in drought-affected districts of Gaza, Inhambane and Tete provinces.
Contingency planning for the next agricultural season will get under way with the seventh Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum held in Lusaka, Zambia, between 1 and 5 September.
Scientists will develop a regional forecast for the October 2003-March 2004 rainy season.
“La Nina conditions are no longer forecast,” the report said and neutral conditions are expected instead.
Based on the climate outlook, users will be drawing up their respective contingency plans.
“These plans will cover different areas such as agriculture, disaster management, health strategies (especially on malaria control programs) and food security as a whole,” the report said. — I-Net Bridge