Mozambique key message update: Humanitarian needs remain high while fuel, transport and bread prices increase – Mozambique

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In June, there was a marked increase in the number of attacks by non-state armed groups in Cabo Delgado, particularly in provinces where little or no conflict had previously been reported. Although some of the displaced have returned home, humanitarian needs remain high. In June 2022, the IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix estimated that about 946,500 people were likely to be displaced in Mozambique, an increase of 21 percent since February 2022. About 70 percent of IDPs live with host communities, and the rest are in displacement sites. There is concern that increased insurgent activity and insecurity may limit humanitarian access and possibly halt activities in the areas of Ankobe, Macomia, Miluku and Nangadi. The increase in the number of IDPs will further strain the response capacity of the humanitarian community. However, WFP secured funding to avoid a supply line disruption in October through January 2023. The program continues to distribute HFA rations equivalent to 39 percent of daily calories in Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa.

In June 2022, corn grain prices in most of the monitored markets remained flat compared to May, when prices usually fall. However, maize grain prices decreased by 12-41 percent in Mutarara, Kaya and Montepuis, likely due to the availability of maize grain in local markets after the late 2021/2022 harvest. Across the monitored markets, prices of maize grain in June 2022 were stable, above or below average compared to their prices in 2021 and the five-year average. As usual, cornmeal prices were stable from May to June 2022 in most monitored markets, with the exception of Kilimani and Chokwe, where prices rose 10 percent. Similarly, rice prices in monitored markets increased by 5 to 18 percent or decreased by 11 to 13 percent from May to June. Monthly differences in cornmeal and rice prices are primarily driven by local supply and demand dynamics.

In June, fuel prices rose an additional 4-19 percent, after previous price increases in March and May. In July, diesel was sold at 87.97 MZN / liter compared to 70.97 MZN / liter in March in Maputo province. Higher fuel prices have increased transportation fees and food prices. Due to the rise in world wheat prices, the prices of bread in Mozambique are increasing; However, bread prices rose at different rates across the country. In Maputo, a bakery contacted by FEWS NET reported that bread prices in July were 12 million zens/loaves ($0.19), compared to 10 million zens/loaves ($0.16) in March. The rise in the prices of bread, fuel, and transportation is likely to begin to constrain the purchasing power of poor households, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas.

The rise in global food and non-food costs has led to a higher cost of living in Mozambique. In June, year-on-year inflation rose to 10.81 percent, the highest value in more than four years, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). Increases in food/non-alcoholic prices and transportation prices further contribute to higher inflation. Since January 2022, the cumulative inflation rate has been 6.44%. Food prices usually fall between May and July, driven by increased market supply after the annual harvest, but higher transportation costs and increased demand for non-wheat products (maize, cassava and sweet potatoes) keep food prices high. In general, a general increase in the prices of basic products and services reduces the purchasing power of most poor households, especially in semi-urban areas. Families are currently adjusting their expenditures, buying less food or non-food items, buying sweet potatoes or cassava instead of bread, and reducing consumption of fried foods.