Drought leaves half a million Mozambicans facing food shortage, UN agencies warn

Drought leaves half a million Mozambicans facing food shortage, UN agencies warn

Harsh, dry weather during the cropping season in the southern and central parts of Mozambique has left more than half a million people there facing a severe food shortage, the United Nations reported today.

Harsh, dry weather during the cropping season in the southern and central parts of Mozambique has left more than half a million people there facing a severe food shortage, the United Nations reported today.

According to a joint report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), some 70,050 tons of food aid will be needed between now and next April to help approximately 515,000 people facing severe food insecurity caused by drought-devastated agricultural production and the exhaustion of their coping abilities over the past four years.

In contrast, the report notes that abundant and well-distributed rains in other parts of Mozambique led to better cereal crops there.

Emergency agricultural inputs such as seeds are urgently needed to help drought-affected farming families restart agricultural production during the upcoming planting season, according to the report. The promotion of seed multiplication and improved seed storage are recommended measures to further improve food security.

Overall, 2002 cereal output is estimated at 1.77 million tons, 5 per cent above last year, and maize output at 1.24 million tons, an increase of 8 per cent. Exportable maize surplus in northern and central areas is projected at 100,000 tons but high internal transport costs make it uncompetitive to move the maize to deficit areas in the south, the report says.

The report was compiled based on information gathered during an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission from 21 April to 10 May.