Food Security Outlook Update

Normal performance of June to September Kiremt rains continues in most parts of the country

August 2013
2013-Q3-1-1-ET-en

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The Kiremt rains and Meher crops have been largely normal in terms of schedule and progress in most areas of the country. However, the northwestern parts of Amhara and Tigray, some lowland areas in East Hararghe Zone in Oromia, and Segen and the northern parts of South Omo Zone in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) have received below average total June to September rainfall so far. 

  • Floods, hailstorms, and landslides among other weather-related hazards have been reported from several parts of the country, resulting in deaths, affecting planted crops, and causing some displacement. With anticipated above normal rainfall in August in some areas, there is likely to be additional flooding. 

  • Though the cumulative June to September rainfall in northwestern parts of the country remains below average, rains started at near normal levels from mid-July that has enabled farmers to plant sesame and short-cycle sorghum. However, planting was delayed by more than four weeks, which consequently has delayed crop development. 

Current Situation

  • The Belg harvest has almost concluded in Amhara, Tigray, and Oromia Regions. Below average production is reported in most of the Belg-producing areas. However, in SNNPR, Belg crops such as teff, barley, haricot beans, and Irish potatoes are being harvested with near average yields. Green consumption of maize has started in many areas of Gamo Gofa, Wolayita, Kambata, Dawro, and Sidama Zones, and the dry harvesting of Belg maize has started in some areas of Segen and the western parts of SNNPR.
  • Kiremt rainfall has been performing normally and allowed for normal timing of agricultural activities in most areas. The cumulative rainfall from June 1 through August 26 was above normal over much of Amhara, Tigray, Oromia, and SNNPR. The rain facilitated timely land preparation and planting of Meher crops. Planting is nearing completion in many areas with the exception of some of the crops that will be planted in September using residual moisture, such as chickpeas. For instance, in Amhara Region about 95 percent of normal planted area has been completed. The crops planted earlier in May and June in SNNPR, Amhara, Tigray, and Oromia are continuing to grow, and the majority of the planted crops are at the vegetative and growth stages. However, slightly below average total rainfall has been reported in the lowlands of Gamo Gofa and most parts of Segen Zones, particularly in Konso, Burji, Derashe, Alle, and Amaro Woredas. The rainfall in these areas has not been evenly distributed over time; there has been torrential rainfall on a few days and only light showers on others.
  • In the northwestern lowlands of Amhara and Tigray Regions, the onset of the June to September Kiremt rains was delayed by three to four weeks, but the performance of the rains improved in late July, enabling the planting of Meher crops, particularly sesame and short-cycle sorghum. While crops are developing, they are at earlier stages of development due to late planting. The planting window for higher-yielding, long-cycle sorghum was missed in April and May. Income for poor households from neighboring areas is likely to be affected as labor migration to sesame farms will be timed differently and the total harvest volume is likely to be somewhat below average.
  • Weather hazards including flooding, landslides, and hailstorms were reported from different parts of the country. These have caused displacement and damage of planted crops. In particular, flooding in mid-August in Kemise and Dewa Chefa Woredas in Oromia Zone in Amhara Region caused losses of life, livestock losses, and property damage. Above normal rainfall at the end of July and early August caused flooding in Sankura Woreda in Silte, Shashego Woreda in Hadiya, Humbo Woreda in Wolayita, Robe Woreda in Bale, Sire Woreda in Arsi, Girar Jarso Woreda in North Shewa, and some woredas surrounding Lake Tana in Amhara Region. Landslides in Dara Woreda in Sidama and Boloso Bombe Woreda in Wolayita Zones and hailstorms in two kebeles in Halaba Special Woreda in SNNPR and Tarmaber Woreda in North Shewa Zone in Amhara Region have damaged some planted crops.
  • The total June to September Karma/Karan rainfall has been normal to above normal in most parts of Afar and northern Somali except in Kibleti Zone in Afar and Fafan Zone in Somali Region where the amount of rain has been below normal and where the distribution has been uneven. In addition, the timely onset of the 2013 Karma/Karan/Kiremt rains in most part of Afar, Sitti Zone in Somali, and the lowland of Bale and Guji Zones in Oromia has helped the regeneration of pasture, browse, trees, and water. This has contributed to the improvement of livestock body conditions and productivity. With the exception of some woredas in Nogob Zone, Dolobay, West Imey, Hargelle, Cherati, and Bare Woredas in Afder Zone, and Dolo Odo in Liben Zone that have had poor Gu rains, the pasture, browse, and water available from the previous Gu/Genna season has kept both livestock body conditions and productivity stable in most southern and southeastern pastoral areas. However, the number of water trucking operations has doubled in July from six to 12, serving over 22,900 people in Kori, Elidar, Berhale, Erebti, and Dubti Woredas in Afar Region.
  • Most agropastoralists and riverine farmers in Asaita, Afambo, Buremoditu, Dubti, Gewane, Amibara, Ewa, Awra, Cheno, and Abala Woredas in Afar, Sitti and Fafan Zones in Somali, and the lowlands of Bale and Guji Zones in Oromia have completed planting. So far, the planted crops are performing well, and the crops vary in their stage of development between the germination to the vegetative stages.
  • Cereal prices in most markets increased from June to July and were above last year’s July prices. For instance, the price of maize in Sodo in Wolayita Zone in July was about 12 percent higher than June with demand remaining high.  Similarly, field reports indicate that the price of maize increased in the range of four to 10 percent on most markets in SNNPR, mainly due to the delay in the Belg harvest. Currently, maize is being supplied to SNNPR from wholesalers in Shashemene and Addis Ababa. However, the price of haricot beans slightly decreased in Wolayita, Kambata Tambaro, and Hadiya Zones due to increased supply from the ongoing Belg harvest.  
  • While livestock prices are stable or slightly increased in most highland areas, a more significant increase has been observed in most markets in pastoral areas due to high livestock demand during Ramadan in July.
  • Nutritional status has generally been stable and no large-scale human disease outbreaks have been reported. However, admissions of malnourished children to the Therapeutic Feeding Programs (TFPs) continued. Total TFP admissions in June 2013 in SNNPR as a whole was over 8,100, which was 14 percent higher than May, but 28 percent lower than last June. The increased admissions in June were higher in Segen, Sidama, and Silte Zones than other areas in SNNPR. Similarly, according to the recent ad-hoc Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) nutrition surveys conducted in four woredas in Amhara Region in May, a global acute malnutrition rate (GAM) of 15.7 percent (confidence interval (CI) at 95 percent confidence from 12.3 to 19.8)  was reported in Sekota Woreda in Wag Hemira Zone. On the other hand, an improvement in nutritional situation has been observed in southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas. Accordingly, the total number of malnourished children admitted to TFPs in June decreased by 20 and 12 percent compared to May in Somali and Afar Regions, respectively.

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not affected most of the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of July to December 2013.

Projected Outlook through December 2013

  • Eastern, marginal, Meher-producing areas: Below average Belg production from June to August means that most households will continue to depend on market purchases as their primary source of food from now until September when the green harvest starts and more substantially in October when the expected near average dry harvest of Meher crops will start. In order to fund market purchases, some households may have to sell additional livestock in the meantime. In these areas including the northeastern parts of Amhara and Tigray Regions, parts of North Shewa Zone, and the midlands and highlands of East and West Hararghe Zones in Oromia, poor households will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September, and then moved to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as the harvest starts in October.
  • However, Belg-dominant areas in South Wollo Zone in Amhara will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from now through December due to the expected poor Belg harvest.
  • SNNPR: With continued normal Kiremt rain likely through September, Meher crop production is likely to be normal in most parts of SNNPR except for localized areas where crops have been or will be damaged by flooding, landslides, hailstorms, or other weather hazards. Both the Belg harvest from June to August and the Meher harvest from October to December will continue to support normal availability of labor opportunities. With income from labor and livestock sales, most areas will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from August through December, with the exception of Halaba Special Woreda, Silte, and Gurage which will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until the start of the Meher harvest in October when they will improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
  • Afar and northern Somali Region: The remainder of the June to September Karma/Karan rains are expected to continue on a normal schedule and with near normal total rainfall. Despite some improvements to livestock body conditions with the rains, neither herd size nor livestock productivity are expected to fully recover from poor seasons over the last three years over the course of this rainy season. Poor households in Sitti Zone in northern Somali and in northern Afar will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least December.
  • Southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas: Livestock prices are expected to continue to increase slightly or remain high due to high domestic and export demand through October. Pasture, browse, and water from recent rainy seasons are expected to be enough to maintain livestock body conditions and productivity until the October to December Deyr/Hageya rains start. Despite these improvements, poor and very poor households in most pastoral areas of the country will not be able to fully rebuild their herds, which were affected by consecutive droughts over the past three years. Therefore they will only be able to address their minimal food needs and will have difficulties to address most of their nonfood essential needs, placing them in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). On the other hand, milk availability and income from livestock sales are not expected to provide adequate food in parts of Nogob Zone, Dolobay, West Imey, Hargelle, Cherati, and Barey Woredas in Afder Zone, and Dolo Odo Woreda in Liben Zone, all of which will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least December.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

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