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Poor households in central SNNPR and northeastern Amhara to enter Crisis in July

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Ethiopia
  • June 2015
Poor households in central SNNPR and northeastern Amhara to enter Crisis in July

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through September 2015
  • Partner
    WFP
    Key Messages
    • Despite some Belg rainfall in May, after starting late, the cumulative March to May Belg rains were well below average. As a result, planted area was low, and many crops have not developed as early as is typical. During dry spells in March and April, a significant proportion of Belg crops wilted. 

    • With a likely delayed and well below average Belg harvest, lean seasons are likely to extend in Belg-dominant areas in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) and northeastern Amhara. With little labor income and a delayed harvest, poor households in these areas will enter Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September. 


    Current Situation
    • Despite average to above-average rainfall in May in many areas, cumulative February to May Belg rainfall remained well below average in most of central and eastern SNNPR (Figure 1). Planted area for Belg crops was well below average. While the usual Belg and long-cycle crop planting windows have closed, farmers continued planting in late May and early June. Due to earlier drying up of crops, replanting has occurred in parts of Wolayita, Hadiya, and Kambata Tambaro Zones. The planted area both for Belg crops and long-cycle Meher crops is below average. Planted area is lowest in Wolayita, Kambata Tambaro, Hadiya, Silte, Gurage, Sidama, and Gedio Zones, and Halaba Special Woreda. Stock borers have infested maize on 642 hectares (ha) in Derashe and Konso Woredas of Segen Zone. Most crops are not as developed as they normally would be for this time of year, and they can be found at the flowering to seed-setting and ripening stages. Currently, no green maize is available for harvest, as it would typically be in June.
    • In northeastern Amhara and the highlands and midlands of eastern Oromia, May Belg rains were closer to average in amount and more typically distributed than earlier rains in March and April. This allowed growth of some planted crops, though some crops had wilted during dry spells earlier in the season. In most of Amhara, Belg crops are at the growth stage, and in North Shewa Zone, some crops have reached the seed-setting stage. Land preparation and planting of long-cycle Meher crops is ongoing in eastern Oromia, the northeastern plains of Amhara, and eastern Tigray. About 70 percent of average long-cycle Meher planted area has been prepared in Amhara Region, and planting is continuing. 
    • Following May rains, there was a moderate increase in water and pasture availability, but overall forage has not grown as much as it usually does during the Belg rains in most parts of SNNPR, northeastern Amhara, and the lowlands in central and eastern Oromia. Livestock body conditions remain poor and their productivity low. As pasture is difficult to locate, unusual cattle deaths have been reported in lowland areas of northern, eastern, and central SNNPR, areas in Arsi Zone, and Hawi Gudina Woreda in West Hararghe Zone. Emergency fodder distribution by regional government agencies and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is underway in the lowlands of Gurage, Silte, and Wolayita in SNNPR, and Arsi and East Shewa Zones in central Oromia Region.
    • Cumulative March to May Sugum/Diraac rainfall was well below average in most parts of Afar and Fafan (formerly Jijiga) and Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zones of northern Somali Region. There were heavier rains in May and the beginning of June in some parts of Fenti (formerly Zone 4), western part of Awsi (formerly Zone 1), some part of Gabi (formerly Zone 3), and Khari (formerly Zone 5) of Afar Region, and in northern Somali Region. With high land surface temperatures thus far in June, forage quality is deteriorating faster than usual. Livestock body conditions remain poor, and their productivity remains low. Due to the difficulty of finding pasture and water, unusual livestock deaths were reported to continue in Amibara and Awash Fentale Woredas of Gabi (formerly Zone 3) in Afar Region and Aisha Woreda of Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone in northern Somali Region. The number of livestock being migrated in search of forage and water increased. A large number of livestock were migrated from northern Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone of northern Somali Region southwards towards Dembel Woreda of Sitti Zone, Dire Dawa, Fafan (formerly Jijiga) Zone, and the foothills of eastern Oromia Region. Livestock that have been migrated earlier from Afar to adjacent areas in Amhara, Oromia, and Tigray have remained in migration. These livestock are far from homesteads, so their products such as milk are not currently available for consumption by all household members.
    • Livestock price declined from April to May due to poor livestock body conditions, low demand, and high supply in most of Afar and northern Somali Region. This has caused a decline in livestock-to-cereal Terms of Trade (ToT). For instance, in Shinile, the sorghum price increased 10 percent from April to May, while goat and sheep prices fell 20 percent.
    • Gu rains ceased in mid-May in most of southern Somali Region, following the usual seasonal pattern. Pockets of light showers fell in late May and early June in Jarar (formerly Degehabur), Shebelle (formerly Gode), and Afder Zones. These showers and associated increase in water and pasture availability attracted livestock in-migration from Somalia to Shilabo, Gashamo, Daror, and Ferfer Woredas in Shebelle (formerly Gode) Zone. This season, camel and cattle calving rates have been low, as there were fewer conceptions than usual during the below-average March to May 2014 Gu rains. However, lambing and kidding rates are normal, thus far. In riverine areas and areas where flood-recession cultivation takes place in Shebelle (formerly Gode) and Liben Zones, planted area was slightly higher than average. These crops are developing normally, and agricultural labor demand for land preparation, planting, and weeding has been typical.
    • The Genna rains started later than usual in March in Borena Zone, and cumulative March to May rainfall was below average. However, despite being below average, the rains did increase water and pasture availability. As a result, livestock body conditions improved slightly, and milk availability increased slightly. Body conditions though are poorer than usual for this time of year, and milk availability is still much lower than usual. The late start of the rains and the poor body conditions of draft animals delayed land preparation and planting. However, following the May rains, crops have reached the vegetative stage and are not very far behind their typical development.
    • Market supply for staple cereals from local production continued to seasonably decline in most southern and eastern parts of the country. Following the seasonal pattern, many markets are now being supplied with cereals from western, surplus-producing areas. Accordingly, staple cereal prices generally increased between March and May in most areas of Amhara, Tigray, Oromia, and SNNPR. For instance, in Shoa Robit market in Amhara Region, the maize price increased eight percent from April to May. Similarly, maize and sorghum prices increased around five to 10 percent from April to May on most markets in SNNPR.
    • Signs of malnutrition increased by June, especially in SNNPR. 700 severely malnourished children were admitted to stabilization centers (SC) in April, 40 percent higher than last year. Similarly, outpatient therapeutic program (OTP) admissions data indicates that there has been a continuous increase in the number of admissions since January in Arsi, West Arsi, and East and West Hararghe Zones in Oromia Region. For instance, from January to April OTP admissions per month increased 127 percent in West Arsi and 43 percent in West Hararghe. In March, therapeutic feeding program (TFP) admissions in Amhara Region were 15 percent higher than in January. TFP admissions in Wadla Woreda of North Wollo Zone in Amhara Region were 70 percent higher from January to March 2015 than they were from October to December 2014. In Afar, the number of nutrition hotspot woredas identified as “priority 1” by the government and nutrition partners increased from 10 woredas in February to 24 woredas in May (Figure 2). 

    Updated Assumptions

    Most of the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the April to September 2015 Outlook remain unchanged. 


    Projected Outlook Through September 2015
    • Lowlands of Gamo Gofa, Wolayita, Hadiya, Kambata Tambaro, Gurage, Halaba, and Sidama in SNNPR: Much of the Belg crop has had moisture stress or failed to mature. Due to the late start of the rains, the likely well below average harvest will be later than usual in August/September instead of in July. With few root crops and vegetables left due to the moisture stress and no green maize expected in June/July, households will have declining food access. Income from agricultural labor is likely to remain low as Belg crops remaining in the field, low long-cycle Meher planted area thus far, and likely average to below average June to September Kiremt rainfall are likely to lead to lower planted area under Meher crops. While incomes are likely to remain low, staple food prices though are still likely to rise seasonally. Households are likely to continue to use coping strategies to acquire food, including excess livestock sales. In lowland areas, food consumption gaps are likely to occur from July to September. These areas are that are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) will likely move into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September.
    • Segen and the highlands of Gamo Gofa, Wolayita, Hadiya, and Kambata Tambaro in SNNPR: Similar to the lowlands, the Belg harvest is likely to be late, and to be one factor, along with a possible reduction in planted area, leading to fewer agricultural labor opportunities in July and August. With less income than usual, and the likely seasonal rise in staple food prices, households will need to reduce their dietary diversity, forgo some essential non-food expenditures, and use some coping strategies to acquire food. Therefore, these areas are likely to move into Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from July to September.
    • Lowlands in the Tekeze River catchment in Wag Himra and North Gondar Zones in Amhara Region: Following the early exhaustion of stocks earlier this year and with only average to below-average June to September Kiremt rainfall expected, low planted area is likely to the lead to less income from agricultural labor than usual, a key source of income to buy food from July to September. Staple food prices though are likely to seasonally rise, leading to abnormally low food access. Poor and very poor households will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September.
    • Lowlands of East Shewa, West Arsi, and eastern Oromia, and some midlands in West Arsi Zone: With only average to below average June to September Kiremt rainfall expected, planted area and agricultural labor demand may be lower than normal. With less income from agricultural labor and seasonal increases in staple food prices, households are likely to still have or develop food consumption gaps. Thus, poor and very poor households will likely remain or move into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July through September. 
    • Belg-producing areas of northeastern Amhara: Usually, the March to May lean season would be coming to an end in June with the start of the Belg harvest. This year though, the Belg harvest will start late due to the late start of the rains, and the harvest will be well below average due to low planted area, the late start, and below-average February to May rainfall. As staple food prices seasonally increase from July to August, food access will decline, and households will develop food consumption gaps. Poor households will move into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September.
    • Northeastern and southern Afar, Harshin Woreda of Fafan (formerly Jijiga) Zone, and Aisha, Meisso, Afedem, Erer, and Shinile Woredas of Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone in northern Somali: Despite the anticipated average to below average June to September Karma/Karan rains, pasture and water availability will likely increase during the rainy season. A slight improvement in livestock body conditions and increase in milk availability is expected, leading to a slight increase in household food access. Northeastern Afar will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September though, as in this area, poor households own too few livestock to have the increased income and milk access be adequate enough to purchase sufficient quantities of food food. Poor households in the remaining areas will move from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in June to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with humanitarian assistance from July to September as their food access increases.
    • Northwestern and central Afar Region and the rest of northern Somali Region: Despite the below-average March to May Sugum/Diraac rains, some pasture and browse from earlier seasons has remained, and there is enough to continue to sustain livestock body conditions, production, and productivity. Following the start of Karan/Karma rains in July, livestock body conditions are expected to improve slightly and productivity to increase. However, cereal prices are likely to remain higher than last year, keeping poor households Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September.
    • Lowlands of Borena, Guji, and South Omo Zones: Although there was some rainfall in May that increased pasture and water availability, livestock body conditions are poorer and livestock production is far lower than it typically would be at this time of year. These body conditions will deteriorate and productivity will likely decline during the June to September dry season, until the start of the Hageya rains in October. Moreover, livestock prices remain well below average due to poor livestock body conditions and fewer export-oriented traders sourcing livestock in these areas. Due to low planted area, far below average maize production is expected in agropastoral areas in July. Most areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the presence of humanitarian assistance through September, but the southern lowlands of Borena will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September, as there is an even lower availability of rangeland resources there and livestock have much worse body conditions and thus values there.
    • Southeastern pastoral areas: Despite the improvement in livestock body conditions and the seasonal increase in livestock production and productivity following the near average to above average March to May Gu rains which caused an increase in forage (Figure 3) and water availability, continued seasonal increases in staple food prices and still small herd sizes will continue to limit purchasing power.  Therefore, most poor households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September. However, in some southern parts of Korahe, Afder, and Liben Zones, lower water availability and a low level of camel calving during the June to September Xagaa dry season may reduce livestock production further. In these areas, poor households will be Stressed (IPC Phase2!) but only with the presence of humanitarian assistance from July to September. As there has been livestock in-migration to some of these areas, early depletion of rangeland resources is likely during the upcoming June to September Xagaa dry season.
    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. March 1 to May 31, 2015 rainfall anomaly in millimeters (mm) from 2000-2014 mean, using Climate Hazards Group Infra

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. March 1 to May 31, 2015 rainfall anomaly in millimeters (mm) from 2000-2014 mean, using Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) data

    Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)/FEWS NET

    Figure 2. Nutrition hotspot woredas, June 4, 2015

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Nutrition hotspot woredas, June 4, 2015

    Source: Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector/Emergency Nutrition Coordinat…

    Figure 3. June 11 to 20, 2015 eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly from 2001 to 2010 mean

    Figure 4

    Figure 3. June 11 to 20, 2015 eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly from 2001 to 2010 mean

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 5

    Source:

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an 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 over the next six months. Learn more here.

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