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Poor early season precipitation has delayed the planting of winter wheat

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • November 2016
Poor early season precipitation has delayed the planting of winter wheat

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The beginning of the 2016/2017 wet season in October and November has been well below average throughout the country, with precipitation estimates below 30 percent of average in all but four provinces. The lack of precipitation is likely leading farmers to delay planting of winter crops, primarily wheat, due to very poor soil moisture. Precipitation during the remainder of the season through May is expected to be below average, particularly in southern and eastern Afghanistan, due primarily to the ongoing La Niña as well as warm sea surface temperature anomalies in the western Pacific Ocean.

    • Conflict and civil insecurity remain the primary drivers of acute food insecurity. The insecure environment has caused the displacement of more than 500,000 people in 2016, and has disrupted livelihoods activities for many more. Although conflict continues in most provinces, areas of greatest concern for conflict-related food insecurity include Nangarhar, Hilmand, Farah, Faryab, Badghis, Sari Pul, Kunduz, Badakhshan, and Zabul Provinces, where control measures on the movement of people and goods are limiting the ability of households to maintain their normal livelihood activities. These areas are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the outlook period, with many of the most affected households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    • Although prices for staple foods remained mostly stable during the month of October, low wages and weak labor opportunities have increased the real cost of market purchases in several markets in recent years, particularly in 2016.  Five of eight major markets monitored by WFP have registered significant reductions in casual labor to wheat flour terms of trade, with Faizabad (- 27.7 percent), Mazar I Sharif (- 18.5 percent), and Maimana (- 18.4 percent) the most adversely affected compared to the five-year average for October.

    • More than 630,000 undocumented Afghanistan nationals and over 370,000 documented refugees have repatriated from Pakistan and Iran in 2016, with October being the month with greatest population flow so far as households attempt to move and settle before the onset of winter. Although UNHCR is providing the majority of the documented refugees with some humanitarian assistance, the majority of the undocumented returnees have not received assistance from any official agency. Many of these households are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse throughout the winter and lean season.

    • FEWS NET estimates indicate that populations in need of urgent humanitarian assistance are present throughout the country, due primarily to the impact of conflict and weak labor opportunities. Most areas are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from November through at least May 2017. However, the number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes or worse is likely to increase over the course of the scenario period. Some areas are likely to reach Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the first months of 2017, primarily in the Central Highlands and Northeast regions. 

    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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