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Assistance needs decline in post-harvest period but remain atypically high

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • July 2022
Assistance needs decline in post-harvest period but remain atypically high

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Since the beginning of the year, Afghanistan has been significantly impacted by multiple earthquakes and flash floods. On June 22, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck Paktika and Khost provinces, affecting an estimated 361,634 people. The earthquake damaged or destroyed 4,500 homes and many people continue to live in makeshift shelters or in open spaces as of late July. Meanwhile, in July, atypically heavy rainfall during the dry season has caused flash flooding in many areas. Many natural disaster-affected households have lost traditional sources of food and income and are expected to need humanitarian assistance. Conflict in Panjsher and Baghlan also continues to disrupt livelihoods and drive displacement. For some worst-affected poor households who have been displaced, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes would be likely to persist through at least January 2023 in the absence of assistance due to limited income-earning opportunities and high prices in the winter and lean seasons.

    • Wheat harvesting has concluded in most lower elevation areas and is expected to last from early August to around mid-October in higher elevation areas. Planting of second-season crops—mainly maize, rice, and some other cash crops, including cotton—has started in lower elevation areas. In northern parts of the country, harvesting of fruit such as melon and watermelon is supporting seasonal improvements in income-earning from crop sales and labor opportunities. Fruit production is likely to be near average and better than last year given the use of groundwater for irrigation and the absence of pests, diseases, or periods of frost. In much of the central highlands, particularly in Bamyan Province, the area planted with potatoes during the 2021/2022 season is reported to be almost the same as the previous year, with average harvests likely in the coming couple of months.

    • Due to prolonged dryness during the spring and above-average temperatures in June across much of the north, northeastern, western, and central highlands regions, pasture conditions are expected to be worse than normal across most of the country, with northern areas worst affected. However, many pastoralist households are reportedly grazing their livestock in failed rainfed wheat fields or buying fodder from the northeastern provinces (Kunduz and Takhar). Though fodder prices are above average, pastoralists are generally able to recover the costs from above-average livestock prices, according to key informants, though this is resulting in higher-priced meat and dairy products for consumers. However, WFP data suggests that livestock prices are below average in western Badghis and Herat provinces and central Ghazni and Wardak provinces, which could be indicative of atypical livestock sales due to scarce pasture and water resources.

    • Fuel prices have risen sharply in June and July, according to data from WFP. At the national level, the price of diesel averaged 119 AFN/L in the last two weeks of July 2022,[1] 24 percent higher than the June 2022 average and more than double prices recorded in July of last year. This is exerting upward pressure on prices of food and non-food commodities. Despite the harvesting period, prices of wheat flour (low price) increased by 7 percent from May to June and declined by only 4 percent from June to July, on average at the national level. Though prices of cooking oil and pulses declined by 6 percent and remained stable (declined by 1 percent), respectively, from June to July, the cost of WFP’s minimum food basket[2] in July remained 43 percent higher than the same time last year. Prices have increased significantly in both urban and rural areas.

    • Current and upcoming harvesting of wheat, potatoes, fruits, and other crops—along with some income from the sale of livestock and livestock products—is expected to continue providing rural households with food and income, with the number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected to continue declining as harvesting progresses before the onset of the winter. Around August, harvesting in higher elevation areas is expected to improve outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, very poor macroeconomic conditions, reduced access to typical sources of income (including from labor and remittances from Iran), and above-average prices will continue to drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes for worst-affected market-dependent households in both rural and urban areas. In rural areas worst-affected by poor crop and livestock production, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to re-emerge by January 2023.

      [1] Data for the first two weeks of July are not available

      [2] Includes 100 kg of wheat flour, 9.1 kg of cooking oil, and 12.5 kg of pulses

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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