Food Security Outlook Update

Very poor Deyr harvest likely in agropastoral areas of Hiraan, Togdheer, and Lower Shabelle

December 2017

December 2017 - January 2018

Somalia ML1

February - May 2018

Somalia ML2

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
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
Concentration of displaced people
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
Concentration of displaced people
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: 
FSNAU

Key Messages

  • Preliminary findings from the post-Deyr assessment indicate food security has improved marginally for many pastoralists due to seasonally higher milk availability. Food security is expected to improve for agricultural and agropastoral households in January with the Deyr harvest. In both areas, though, improvements will be short-lived and many households will face food consumption gaps through mid-2018. In a worst-case scenario of an extended absence of assistance, Famine (IPC Phase 5) remains possible, and continued large-scale assistance is needed throughout 2018 to protect lives and livelihoods. 

  • October to December Deyr rainfall was below average and erratically distributed, and total national production is estimated at 20-30 percent below average. Production is expected to be well below average in agropastoral areas of Hiraan and Togdheer, and in Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zone of Lower Shabelle. Conversely, production is expected to be relatively better than previously projected in Bay, Bakool, and parts of Lower and Middle Shabelle and marginal improvement to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is now expected through May. 

  • Food security outcomes are expected to be slightly better than previously projected in Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of Nugal, northern Mudug, and Sool. In these areas, livestock body conditions have seasonally improved and are normal. Poor households are consuming milk currently and are expected to sell a few livestock through May to support cereal purchases. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is now expected through May in these areas.  

  • There is increased concern for poor households in agropastoral areas of Hiraan, Togdheer, and Lower Shabelle. Many poor households will not harvest crops in January and some have moved to IDP camps to access assistance. Concern is also increasing for pastoralists in Guban Pastoral, Addun Pastoral, Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones. In these areas, livestock are in very poor condition and pastoralists will be unable to sell livestock during the outlook period. In the absence of assistance, some households in the above-mentioned areas could exhaust their capacity to cope and be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

Current Situation

Rainfall during the October to December Deyr season was below average (Figure 1) and erratically distributed over space and time. In October, typically the month of highest rainfall totals, rainfall was well below average. Heavy rainfall was then received in most areas in early November; however, only minimal amounts of rainfall were received across the country in late November and early December.

The growing season for Deyr crops was shorter than usual and insufficient for normal crop development in some areas. In agropastoral livelihood zones of Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Togdheer, and Hiraan, and Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zone of Lower Shabelle, few crops germinated. Conversely, in Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Middle Shabelle, parts of Lower Shabelle, and Galgaduud, most crops germinated. Although rainfall was below average towards the end of the season, it was sufficient in these regions for normal crop development. In riverine areas, crops are in good condition, though recession cultivation is still ongoing in Lower and Middle Juba due to heavy flooding in November.

Pasture and water availability have improved relative to October, although conditions are still poorer than normal. In parts of Addun Pastoral, Guban Pastoral, Coastal Deeh Pastoral, Northern Inland Pastoral, and Southern Agropastoral livelihood zones, water availability is very low due to significantly below-average rainfall. In all other areas, somewhat below-average pastoral resource conditions exist due to atypically high concentration of livestock. During post-Deyr assessment in December, large-scale, atypical livestock movements were observed from Coastal Deeh and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones of northern Mudug and Nugaal towards Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of the same regions.  

Livestock body conditions have seasonally improved in most areas. All species are currently conceiving and although livestock herd sizes remain below average, a higher than normal proportion of livestock are conceiving during the Deyr season due to low conception rates in past seasons. Camel calving is low; however, goat kidding is occurring and milk availability has increased seasonally. The exceptions to this are Addun Pastoral, Guban Pastoral, Coastal Deeh Pastoral, Northern Inland Pastoral, and Southern Agropastoral livelihood zones. In these areas improvements are less significant and livestock body conditions are poor. Conversely, access to milk is higher than previously expected in Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of Sool, Nugaal, and Mudug due to better than expected livestock body conditions and higher than expected goat kidding.

Between October and November, local staple cereal prices have declined as a result of increased supply from Gu off-season harvests in September and the release of stocks by wealthier farmers and traders. Ongoing humanitarian assistance also continues to put downward pressure on prices. The retail price of maize in Qorioley of Lower Shabelle declined nine percent between October and November, and is now only slightly above average. In Baidoa of Bay, the retail price of sorghum declined roughly five percent between October and November, and is 24 percent above the five-year average. In both areas, the price is below the same time last year.

In November, humanitarian partners distributed assistance to over 2.6 million people, similar to the number of beneficiaries reached monthly since early 2017. However, during the post-Deyr assessment, some households reported a decline in the transfer value of assistance. In general, though, assistance continues to prevent more extreme outcomes in many areas.

Food security has improved seasonally in most areas. In agricultural/agropastoral areas, labor opportunities during the Deyr season have increased household income. Increased income and seasonally declining staple food prices are allowing households to increase staple food purchases marginally. In most pastoral areas, rainfall was sufficient to support some goat kidding and many pastoralists have been consuming milk for one to two months. Food security improvements are better than previously expected in Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of Nugal, northern Mudug, and Sool, where the availability of a few saleable goats and goat milk have supported improvement to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Despite marginal seasonal improvements and ongoing assistance, wide areas of the country remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4). 

Updated Assumptions

The assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for Somalia’s Food Security Outlook for October 2017 to May 2018 remain unchanged except for the following:

  • Overall, total national Deyr production is expected to be around 20 to 30 percent below average. In riverine areas, near average production is likely, although the harvest is expected later than usual, in March/April. Slightly below average production is likely in most agropastoral areas of Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Lower Shablle, and Middle Shabelle. Significant crop losses are likely in most agropastoral areas of Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Togdheer, Hiraan, and Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zone of Lowe Shabelle.  
  • Off-season Deyr cereal production in Lower and Middle Juba is expected to be below average due to increased area under cultivation for sesame crops. 

Projected Outlook through May 2018

Food security has improved seasonally in many areas of Somalia. Despite this, Famine (IPC Phase 5) remains possible in a worst-case scenario of an extended absence of assistance, as access to food and income are likely to remain well below average through the 2018 Gu season, and many households have depleted household assets to cope with past poor seasons. Large-scale assistance is needed throughout 2018 to protect lives and livelihoods.

In pastoral areas, milk consumption is expected to sustain seasonal food security improvements through early January. In Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of Nugal, northern Mudug, and Sool, where livestock recovery has been better than previously expected, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is now likely through May. In addition to milk consumption, pastoralists in these areas are likely to sell a few livestock by May to fund food purchases and repay debts. In many other pastoral areas, though, food security is expected to deteriorate after January, when milk is no longer available and livestock holdings remain too low to purchase sufficient food to meet basic needs. In the absence of assistance, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected in most pastoral areas, though Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is likely in Northern Inland Pastoral, Guban Pastoral, Addun Pastoral, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones. Also in the absence of assistance, risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) exists in pastoral areas of greatest concern including Northern Inland Pastoral. Concern is now growing for household-level Phase 5 in Guban Pastoral, Addun Pastoral, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones, in the absence of assistance. In these areas, most households have few livestock to sell and are heavily dependent on assistance.  

In agropastoral and agricultural areas, food security is expected to improve in January with the start of the Deyr harvest. Labor opportunities for the 2018 Gu season will also improve household access to food towards the end of the projection period. In Bay and Bakool agropastoral areas and parts of Lower and Middle Shabelle, production is expected to be somewhat better than previously projected and field assessments indicate most households cultivated and are likely to harvest. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are now expected through April as a result of increased food availability. However, this excludes IDPs in Baidoa town, who are still expected to remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in the absence of assistance. The risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) is slightly lower than previously projected in Bay and Bakool, though concern remains high concern for IDPs who lack access to harvests and are heavily dependent on humanitarian assistance. In Lower and Middle Juba, although crop losses are expected, most poor households have sufficient livestock holdings to purchase adequate food. Food security is expected to be worse than previously projected for some poor households in agropastoral areas of Beletweyn and Jalalaqsi of Hiraan, Burao, Sheikh, and Odweyne of Togdheer, and Marka, Qorioley, and Barava of Lower Shabelle, where many households will not harvest crops in January. Some of these households have already sold or lost the majority of their livestock during past poor seasons and have moved to IDP camps to access humanitarian assistance. In the absence of assistance, it is expected some of these households could exhaust their capacity to cope and be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work 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 28 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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