The food security situation has significantly deteriorated for the second year in a row. At least 725,000 people (39 per cent of the population) will likely be food insecure in 2012/13, up from 514,000 people last year. Low levels of food production imply that the bulk of household food will be acquired through purchases. The poor performance of the agricultural sector has limited casual labour opportunities, the main livelihood source for poor households.
2012/13 aggregate cereal production will cover less than 10per cent of the annual requirements. Production of maize, sorghum and wheat declined by 77 per cent, 80 per cent and 52 per cent respectively compared to last year. Food and fuel prices are also increasing. Since the beginning of the year, prices of maize meal increased by 12 to 25 per cent. Since December 2011, and petrol prices are up by 12 per cent. Diesel and paraffin prices increased by 4 per cent in September.
Weather forecasts issued by the Southern Africa Climate Outlook Forum and from a number of other forecasting institutions indicate below normal rainfall through the coming growing season, which would aggravate the effects of last season’s poor crop performance.