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Rainfed crops and pasture significantly impacted by drought in north and northeast

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • May 2022
Rainfed crops and pasture significantly impacted by drought in north and northeast

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Cumulative precipitation (mostly rainfall) in the March to May 2022 spring season has been below average across Afghanistan, with dry weather forecast to continue until the end of May. Cumulative precipitation for the entire 2021/22 wet season from October 2021 to May 2022 ranged from 75 to 90 percent of the 1981-2010 average across most of the country as of May 20, according to data from CHIRPS, though totals were less than 75 percent of average in most of central Afghanistan and much of northern Afghanistan.

    • Below-average precipitation has already stressed rainfed crops and rangeland areas in the north and northeast regions, the hub of rainfed production. Vegetation conditions are also below average in some downstream irrigated areas as of mid-May, reflecting the severity of the below-average precipitation season this year. Overall, crop production in both the first season (mostly wheat) and second season (mostly rice, maize, and cash crops) will likely be below average, with northern rainfed areas and downstream irrigated areas worst affected. Production of livestock and livestock products will also likely be below average, particularly in the north and northeast regions. Many rural households will likely exhaust foods stocks atypically early in the post-harvest season, though the worst impacts will be felt during the next lean season prior to the 2023 harvest.

    • Despite recent appreciation, the value of the Afghani against the USD remains lower than during the period before the Taliban takeover in August 2021, putting upward pressure on the cost of imported goods, including food and fuel. Rising fuel prices are also driving general inflation due to higher production and transportation costs. After declining slightly in February and March 2022, prices of wheat grain and flour increased again in April 2022 across main markets of Afghanistan, likely driven by higher export prices in Kazakhstan, higher transportation costs, and poor harvest prospects in Afghanistan. Across major markets, staple wheat flour prices in April were at least 60 percent higher than the five-year average. Though wheat prices typically decrease with the arrival of the new harvest around June, the trajectory this year is uncertain due to the aforementioned factors, and prices are likely to remain significantly higher than average.

    • Above-average food prices and reduced income-earning opportunities are significantly constraining purchasing power among market-dependent households across the country. Humanitarian assistance continues to support food access for a significant share of the population, with the World Food Programme targeting 18 million people in May 2022. With the start of harvesting (around May/June in lower elevation areas and July/August in higher elevation areas), seasonal improvements in availability of food and income are expected to improve outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in most rural areas. However, households worst affected by drought will likely remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to re-emerge in worst-affected areas by September. Despite some seasonal improvements, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will likely persist in urban areas due to significantly below-average purchasing power.

    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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