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Assistance needs during the 2017/2018 lean season expected to be greater than last year

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • September 2017
Assistance needs during the 2017/2018 lean season expected to be greater than last year

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Although estimates for aggregate 2017 domestic wheat harvests indicate near-average production, rainfed wheat production was very poor in a number of provinces, due to below-average cumulative precipitation and extended periods of dryness during crop development. This is likely to have an adverse impact on household food reserves for many poor households in these areas as they enter the 2017/2018 winter. Provinces that were severely affected according to MAIL production estimates include Takhar, Balkh, Badakhshan, Samangan, Jawzjan, Baghlan, Sar-i-Pul, and Ghor.

    • Widespread conflict between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) and various anti-government insurgent groups has continued throughout 2017, after causing greater displacement in 2016 than in any year since 2002. Although the number of people displaced by conflict has been lower in 2017 through September, the conflict continues to have substantial adverse impact on normal livelihoods, particularly in contested areas. Recently, insurgent groups have also interfered with the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including in Badakhshan Province.

    • Although staple food prices have remained fairly stable and near or below the five-year average, available information from WFP monitoring and field reports indicates that casual employment opportunities have remained weak since 2014. Coupled with the impacts of poor rainfed harvests and conflict-related disruptions to livelihoods, it is likely that the number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes or worse during the coming winter and lean season will be greater than last year.

    • Forecasts from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) indicate an increased likelihood for La Niña conditions during the northern hemisphere winter. This increases the risk for below-average precipitation over much of Central Asia during the 2017/2018 wet season, including Afghanistan. However, there remains a large spread of possible precipitation outcomes for the season.

    • In much of the country, farmers have begun preparing for the winter wheat planting season. In insecure areas, some farmers are experiencing constraints in accessing their lands, which could affect their ability to prepare for the effective planting of winter wheat. There is a risk that area planted for winter wheat could be reduced as compared to recent years due to ongoing insecurity disrupting land preparation in some areas, and due to the increased likelihood of below-average rainfall during the beginning of the wet season.

    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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