Ethiopia flag

Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

Crisis (IPC Phase 3) expected in parts of Oromia, SNNPR, and southern pastoral areas

October 2016 to May 2017

October 2016 - January 2017

Ethiopia October 2016 Food Security Projections for October to January

February - May 2017

Ethiopia October 2016 Food Security Projections for February to May

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.
Partners: 
WFP

Key Messages

  • Meher harvests starting in October are significantly reducing the number of people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse. However, poor Kiremt rainfall in eastern and central Oromia and SNNPR, low livestock holdings in pastoral southern Afar and Shinile, and expected poor performance of October to December rainfall in southern pastoral areas are likely to lead to above-average food assistance needs in 2016/17.

  • Below-average Kiremt rainfall and dry spells in the lowlands of central and eastern Oromia and the Rift Valley in SNNPR is likely to lead to below-average Meher harvests. The expected below-average production, coupled with low income from agricultural labor, is likely to drive poor households into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between February to May 2017 in these areas.

  • In southern pastoral areas, below-average October to December rainfall is likely to lead to a substantial deterioration of pasture and water resources. Long-distance migration of livestock and below-average food and income from livestock products will limit houeholds’ food access. Parts of southern SNNPR and Somali Region will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the pastoral lean season in February and March 2017.  

  • Overall Meher production is expected to be near to slightly below average. Performance of Kiremt seasonal rainfall was near or above-average in many areas, although waterlogging reduced yields in some localized areas. Expected near-average harvests will support normal food access in many western and northwestern areas of the country, which will be face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between October 2016 and May 2017.

National Overview

Current Situation

Kiremt (June – September) 2016 rains started on time in most areas of the country, except in Humara and Metema areas of Western Amhara and Tigray, where the onset of seasonal rainfall was slightly earlier than normal. In addition, the onset of seasonal rainfall was delayed in the lowlands of eastern and central Oromia and along the Rift Valley in SNNPR. In most Kiremt-benefiting areas, seasonal rainfall totals were near average and rainfall was generally well distributed over time. However, in the lowlands of eastern and central Oromia and in SNNPR along the Rift Valley, seasonal performance was further compromised by the erratic distribution of rainfall and seasonal totals that were 25 to 50 percent below average. Rainfall deficits were particularly significant in these areas between July 1-20 and August 21-September 10, 2016. In addition, rainfall in the lowlands of Waghimra and in nearby woredas was highly erratic and marked by several dry spells. Meanwhile, Kiremt rains in some highlands of Amhara, Tigray, and Oromia were very heavy and resulted in waterlogging, floods, and hail damage. Toward the end of September, the amount and coverage of rainfall improved in most places.

Kiremt rainfall in most Kiremt-receiving areas was generally favorable for seasonal agricultural activities. Land preparation and planting of most Meher crops was on time and no significant issues with the supply of agricultural inputs were reported. Currently, most Meher crops are in their normal stage of development. However, in the lowlands of eastern and central Oromia and in parts of SNNPR along the Rift Valley, the late onset and below-average amounts of rainfall led to significant moisture stress and stunting of crops, particularly maize and haricot beans. In addition, a lack of adequate moisture in the lowlands of Waghimra and neighbouring woredas resulted in below-average crop growth and reduced yields. In localized highland areas of northern and western Ethiopia, waterlogging from excessive rainfall in July also affected normal crop development.

In Belg-receiving areas of Amhara and the Oromia highlands, excessive rainfall negatively impacted Meher crop production, leading to below-average cropping prospects following a below-average 2016 Belg season. In SNNPR, delayed harvesting of Belg crops caused a significant delay in planting of Meher crops, which forced many agricultural households to use short-maturing, but low-yielding, seed verities. This is expected to reduce Meher production to below average levels in some areas, especially for maize.

Following good March to May seasonal rains in most pastoral areas of Afar and northern Somali Regions, the average to above-average June to September 2016 was the second consecutive season to recharge water sources and regenerate pasture and browse. As a result, body conditions of livestock have significantly improved compared to the same time last year. Productivity and herd sizes of small ruminants, such as sheep and goats, have returned to normal. Body conditions for larger ruminants such as cattle, have improved to normal, but herd sizes have not yet recovered following significant livestock deaths last year. Livestock births and milk production per individual animal are also normal, but total births and milk production remain low compared to average for the area, since herd sizes are lower than normal. Livestock body conditions and productivity in the remaining parts of the country remain normal. 

In general, prices of livestock are generally stable or slightly higher than the recent five-year average, but significantly higher compared to last year (2015) due to improved body conditions and increased livestock demand on local markets. In Shinile market, for instance, goat prices in September 2016 were about 800 Birr/head, which is about 15 percent higher than the five-year average and double the September 2015 price. Prices of staples are generally stable, but above the recent five-year average in most rural markets of the country. The Central Statistical Agency (CSA) price data indicates that September 2016 maize prices in Addis Ababa were six percent higher than in August 2016, and 14 percent higher than the recent five-year average. Meanwhile, sorghum prices in Addis Ababa were 12 percent higher than in August 2016 and 27 percent higher than the recent five-year average. The delivery of large amounts of humanitarian assistance may be a factor contributing to a moderation of price increases.

In general, prices of livestock are generally stable or slightly higher than the recent five-year average, but significantly higher compared to last year (2015) due to improved body conditions and increased livestock demand on local markets. In Shinile market, for instance, goat prices in September 2016 were about 800 Birr/head, which is about 15 percent higher than the five-year average and double the September 2015 price. Prices of staples are generally stable, but above the recent five-year average in most rural markets of the country. The Central Statistical Agency (CSA) price data indicates that September 2016 maize prices in Addis Ababa were six percent higher than in August 2016, and 14 percent higher than the recent five-year average. Meanwhile, sorghum prices in Addis Ababa were 12 percent higher than in August 2016 and 27 percent higher than the recent five-year average. The delivery of large amounts of humanitarian assistance may be a factor contributing to a moderation of price increases.

However, in southern and southeastern pastoral areas of Ethiopia, rainfall performance during the start of the October to December 2016 season has been very poor. The onset of seasonal rainfall has been delayed by up to four weeks in many areas of southeastern SNNPR and southern and central Somali Region. Cumulative seasonal rainfall totals have been less than 25 percent in most areas. Satellite-derived vegetation indices (NDVI) suggest vegetation levels are significantly below average for late October (Figure 1), suggesting pasture and browse and likely at below-average levels, particularly as the late start of seasonal rainfall has effectively extended the dry season (typically June to September) by a month more than usual.

Nutrition outcomes have likely improved in most parts of the country due to improved food access from recent Belg harvests earlier in the year, the start of green consumption in October from the current Meher season, and ongoing humanitarian assistance. A total of 9.7 million beneficiaries are being assisted in the country based on the revised humanitarian assistance for the period July to December 2016. In July 2016, the total number of children admitted to the Therapeutic Feeding Program (TFP) declined by 18 percent compared to June 2016, was 32 percent lower than in July 2015, and was 23 percent below the recent five-year average for July.

In southern Afar and Sitti Zone of Somali Region, poor households’ livestock holdings remain lower than normal as herd sizes have not fully recovered following significant losses due to drought in 2015. The food and income obtained from the available livestock is not currently meeting household food needs, and income from other sources (below-average income from charcoal production, for example) is contributing to lower than usual food access. Most poor households in these areas continue facing food consumption gaps and large livelihood protection deficits, and are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Whereas in Northern Afar, with relataively better livestock holding with poor and very poor households and improved livestock production from two consecutive average seasons would likely to keep them marginally food secure but not able to meet their essential livelihood expenditure so that these areas remain at Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

In southern and southeastern pastoral areas including lowlands of East and West Hararghe Zones of Oromia Region, lowlands of Waghimra and Belg benefitting wordas of Amhara together with available food from Meher 2016 production and income access from their livestock particulary from small ruminant and the humanitarian assistance in this area will help them to cover their food consumption gaps marginally. Therefore, these areas are either in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!).

The new harvest from Belg season, green harvest of some Meher crops, available milk access from livestock and available humanitarian assistance particulary in Rift Valley areas of SNNPR, are at Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) with assistance whereas most of western Oromia, Amhara and Tigray and other western surplus-producing areas of the country are able to meet their food and non-food needs and are in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

Assumptions

The most-likely scenario from October 2016 to May 2017 is based on the following national-level assumptions:

  • Mostly favorable Kiremt (June to September) seasonal progress in northern and western Ethiopia will result in near-average Meher harvests in most high-producing areas of the country. However, erratic and below-average Kiremt rainfall in the lowlands of eastern and central Oromia, areas along the Rift Valley of SNNPR, the lowlands of Waghimra zone in Amhara, and a few adjecent woredas in Tigray, and localized water logging in areas of northern and western Ethiopia, will likely reduce yields. This is likely to lead to near to slightly below-average Meher production at the national level.
  • The generally good Kiremt rains helped the regeneration of pasture and browse, which will likely lead to the maintenance of normal livestock body conditions and productivity in northern, western, southwestern, and central areas of the country through May 2017.
  • Although an official La Niña may not be declared between October and December 2016, global climate forecasts, forecasts for a slightly negative Indian Ocean Dipole through November, and NMME seasonal forecasts suggest La Niña-like impacts are likely to result in below-average rainfall during the October to December 2016 season in southern and southeastern pastoral areas.
  • Beyond December 2016, ENSO neutral conditions are expected and La Niña-like conditions should no longer be a main driver of rainfall performance through the rest of the outlook period. Global climate forecasts, in combination with available seasonal forecasts, suggest Sapie rains in January 2017 and Belg and Gu seasonal rainfall totals between March and May 2017 will be average.
  • In southern and southeastern pastoral areas, livestock body conditions and productivity are expected to decline due to the impact of long seasonal dry condition since May 2016. Livestock body conditions and productivity will likely be below average following expected below-average October-December 2016 rainfall. However, body conditions are likely to improve from April onwards with the anticipated normal Gu 2017.
  • Prices of locally produced cereals, particularly maize and sorghum, tend to show some declines because of increased market supply from during and following the harvests that begin November/December. Maize and sorghum prices are expected to remain stable at above-average levels or may show slight declines between October and February, but will likely increase seasonally from March onward. For example, maize prices in Shashemene are likely to increase by about 17 percent between November/December 2016 and May 2017, and will be about 11 percent above the recent five-year average for May. Similarly, in Mekele market, sorghum prices are likely to increase by 12 percent between December 2016 and May 2017, and will be about 18 percent than the recent five-year average. Similarly, livestock prices expected to be stable in most parts of the country, except in southern and southeastern pastoral areas, where they will likely be below average.
  • Seasonal agricultural labor opportunities and income between October 2016 and May 2017 are likely to be normal in both Meher and Belg growing areas of northern, northwestern, and western Ethiopia. In SNNPR, eastern and central Oromia, and localized areas of Amhara, Meher harverst labor opportunities between October and December 2016 are likely to be below average, followed by near-normal agricultural labor opportunities between February and May 2017 for the Belg season.
  • PSNP resource transfers will normally occur between January and June 2017.
  • Humanitarian assistance is planned, funded, and likely through December 2017. According to the revised HRD, 567,000 MT of emergency food assistance is required between October to December 2016 for 9.7 million people. More than 46 percent of this assistance will be provided by WFP and JEOP, while the remaining 54 percent will be covered by NDRMC on a month by month basis. Humanitarian assistance from January through May 2017 will depend on the findings of the multi-agency assessment scheduled to be released in December 2016. As a result, humanitarian assistance is not yet planned for January to May 2017.

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

In southern Afar and northern Somali Region, the loss of significant numbers of livestock due to drought in 2015 continues to constrain household food access as household livestock holdings have not yet returned to normal levels. Though herd sizes of small ruminants (sheep and goat) have shown some improvement due to two consecutively good rainy seasons, the overall livestock asset owned by the poor and very poor households will not provide adequate access to food and income in order to be able to meet their minimum food and livelihoods protection needs, and households will contine to face food consumption gaps, although households will continue to consume humanitarian assistance that may limit the size of the gaps. Therefore, southern Afar and Sitti of Somali are likely to remain at Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The two consecutively average seasonal rains in northern Afar enhanced livestock production there by households’ food and income acces improved. Therefore, these areas are likely to be at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October 2016 to May 2017.

In the lowlands of central and eastern Oromia, the Rift Valley of SNNPR, the lowlands of Waghimra Zone, and a few adjacent woredas in Tigray, own production from Meher harvests is likely to lead to short-term improvements in food access. However, household food stocks are likely to be exhausted earlier than normal due to below-average production. Particularly in East and West Hararhge and lowland of central Oromia, poorer households have reduced coping capacity following three consecutively poor production seasons and asset holdings are low. As a result, these areas are likely to be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with assistance from October 2016 to January 2017. With the exhaustion of household stocks two months earlier than normal and seasonal increases in staple food prices, poor households are likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from February to May 2017.

In Belg-dependent areas of South and North Wollo Zones of Amhara Rregion, households are likely to exhaust their stocks of own-produced foods one to two months earlier than normal, due to below-average Belg 2016 harvests. These areas are likely be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October 2016 to January 2017. As households increasingly rely on markets to access staple foods and staple food prices increase seasonally, households will move to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from January to May 2017. With the expected near-average Meher harvest, access to food is highly likely to improve from October onwards in most other eastern marginal areas of Tigray, Amhara, and adjacent Zones of Oromia. Stable food prices and average income from agricultural labor will also contribute to maintaining food access by poor households. Therefore, these areas will be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through May 2017. However, those areas with localized waterlogging or moisture deficit problem will lead them to be marginally food insecure and likely be to in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the outlook period.

In pastoral areas of southern Somali Region and southeastern SNNPR, poor livestock body conditions and reductions in milk production and the market value of animals starting in October will limit household access to food and income. Between October 2016 and January 2017, most households will be able to meet their food needs but will likely be unable to afford some essential nonfood expenditures, and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) during this period. Between February and May 2017, livestock body conditions, prices, and productivity will reach their seasonal lows, exacerbated by the anticipated poor regeneration of pasture conditions following expected below-average October to December 2016 rains. This will result in below-average food access during the peak of the pastoral lean season in February-April, and poor households in parts of South Omo, Borena, and parts of Somali Region bordering Somalia and Kenya will likely face food consumption gaps. Therefore, these areas are likely to move to Crisis (IPC Phase 3), particularly during the peak of the pastoral lean season in February/March 2017.

The carryovers stock from the previous harvest, the expected near-average production from the current season and income from different sources in the western half of the country including western SNNPR, Oromia, Central and Western Amhara, Tigray and most parts of Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz Regions is likely to maintain adequate access to food and income of most households. Therefore, these areas are likely to be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) between October 2016 and May 2017. 

 

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

 

 

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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