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Spring precipitation reduces cumulative precipitation deficits in many areas of Afghanistan

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • March 2021
Spring precipitation reduces cumulative precipitation deficits in many areas of Afghanistan

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • After most of the country experienced dry weather from December 2020 to February 2021, the start of the spring wet season in March brought widespread precipitation to Afghanistan. This reduced cumulative precipitation deficits across much of the country, especially in the northern and central regions. However, cumulative precipitation is still significantly below average in many areas, with the southern and western regions continuing to face the worst deficits.

    • Spring precipitation in March eased water stress of crops in vegetative stages — except in some southern areas — and supported the start of spring wheat cultivation in northern Afghanistan. However, uninterrupted spring precipitation is delaying spring cultivation in some areas, particularly in parts of Badakhshan Province. In other areas of Badakhshan that have received less precipitation in March, farmers have reportedly recultivated their winter wheat that was lost due to dryness in the winter season. Meanwhile, cold temperatures and hailstorms in March have reportedly damaged horticulture trees in flowering stages, mostly in the north and northeast.

    • According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, prices of key food commodities in main markets of Afghanistan remained above average in February 2021. Higher prices of imported food items in source markets — including, notably, wheat prices in Kazakhstan — are putting additional upward pressure on food prices during Afghanistan’s typical lean season. At the national level, wheat flour prices in Afghanistan were stable from January to February 2020, though at levels 14 percent higher than last year and 30 percent higher than the four-year average. These higher prices are reducing purchasing power among households relying on market purchases, especially poor urban households and rural household who have exhausted food stocks.

    • Conflict and insecurity incidents continue to affect local livelihoods and displace households in Afghanistan. In January 2021 alone, 52,500 individuals were displaced according to data from UN OCHA. This is 35 percent higher than the five-year average of individuals displaced in January. To date in 2021, most recorded displacements have occurred in Nangarhar, Kandahar, Baghlan, and Faryab provinces.

    • In rural areas, the start of harvesting around May/June in lower elevation areas and July/August in higher elevation areas will likely improve outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for many rural households. However, in the June to September period, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely in some areas expected to be worst affected by below-average agricultural and livestock production. In urban areas, increased economic activity is expected to improve access to income for poor households, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in the May to September period.

    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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