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Food security remains Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in most eastern parts of the country

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Ethiopia
  • November 2013
Food security remains Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in most eastern parts of the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Current situation
  • Updated assumptions
  • Projected outlook through March 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Slightly above average crop production in November/December in most parts of the country is expected to improve food consumption from November to March 2014, including agropastoral areas of Afar and northern Somali Region.
    • The mostly normal performance of the October to December Deyr rains will likely improve the food insecurity from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only due to the presence of humanitarian assistance in some areas in southern Somali Region from January to March.
    • Due to the anticipated below normal Meher harvest in November/December caused by erratic performance of the June to September Kiremt rains in some areas, the food insecurity level will worsen from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the northeastern parts of Amhara, Eastern Tigray, and the lowlands of East and West Hararghe Zone in Oromia Region from January to March.
    • Staple food prices will likely remain near their current levels which are higher than last year through December, after which anticipated increases in supply from the Meher harvest coming into markets will likely reduce staple food prices through February 2014.

    Current situation
    • Rains declined in October and November as Kiremt rains ended in western Ethiopia, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), the northeastern highlands, and central and eastern Oromia. However, unseasonably heavy rains in October and early November damaged some planted crops or delayed harvests in pocket areas in Tigray and SNNPR. Hailstorms and flooding in October and November damaged standing crops in Gulo Mekeda, Ganta-Afeshum, and Hintallo Wajirat Woredas in Tigray Region. Similarly, heavy rainfall and localized flooding in October and early November damaged hot pepper, an important cash crop, in Mareko Woreda in Gurage Zone, Sankura Woreda in Silite Zone, and Shashego Woreda in Hadiya Zone in SNNPR. Wetter than usual conditions in October and early November in some areas in western, central, and eastern SNNPR had caused the shattering of seeds onto the ground of some ripening crops such as teff and haricot beans.
    • Short-maturing Meher crops in lowland and midland areas are mostly at the ripening and harvesting stages. Pulses in highland areas are at the grain filling and ripening stage, which is normal for this time of year. The barley harvest is nearly complete in most midlands in Amhara, Tigray, and Oromia Regions. Maize is being harvested in surplus-producing areas in western Amhara and Oromia Regions.
    • The October to December Deyr/Hagaya rains continued with mostly normal performance in much of the southern and southeastern parts of the country. However, conditions were drier in lowland areas in Borena Zone in Oromia Region. Overall, the availability of pasture and water has increased since the start of the rains. Livestock that had migrated due to poor performance of the March to May Gu rains had largely returned to seasonally normal grazing areas by November in Cherati, West Imey, Bare, Dolobay, and Dolo Ado Woredas in Somali Region.
    • Heavy rainfall in Galana Woreda in Borena Zone and adjacent woredas of SNNPR in September and October caused an overflow of the Galana River, which led to flooding in eight kebeles and affected more than 3,000 households. An overflow of Abbaya Lake in October affected more than 750 households in Lado and Dibbicha Kebeles in Abaya Woreda in Borena Zone. In riverine areas of Kalafo, Mustahil, Ferfer, Cherati, and Hargelle Woredas in Shabelle Zone in Somali Region, floods in October damaged planted crops. In addition, water from the Omo River and Lake Turkana flooded into Dassench Woreda in South Omo Zone in SNNPR in September and October. The government is distributing relief food and fodder for livestock to affected households in South Omo.
    • Following the mostly normal performance of the June to September Karma/Karan rains, unseasonal rains in Afar and northern parts of Somali Region in October and November have further contributed to increased availability of water, pasture, and browse. The conditions have led to good livestock body conditions and productivity. Most livestock are in their usual grazing areas and have not migrated for the dry season or in the recent rainy season. Moreover, following increased water availability for both human and livestock consumption in August many water rationing programs that had been operating were terminated. Three water trucks continue to operate in Elidar Woreda in Afar Region.
    • With improved market supply from the Belg harvest from June to August and the start of the Meher harvest in October, there has been a slight reduction in staple food prices in some areas. However, staple food prices are still generally higher than in recent years. For example, the maize price in Sodo in Wolayita Zone in SNNPR in October was 16 percent higher than last year. Similarly, October sorghum prices were 27, 41, and 46 percent higher than last year in Babile, Dire Dawa, and Hirna, respectively. The increased customs control on goods entering from Somalia to Somali Region since October along with seasonally poor road conditions due to the Deyr rains has decreased the supply of imported food in Somali Region, especially in Dollo (formerly Warder), Liben, and Afder Zones. Livestock prices in highland areas remained stable due to good body conditions and stable market demand over the past several years. Export livestock prices declined in most southeastern pastoral markets due to the seasonal decrease in export demand which follows the end of the Hajj and Eid al-Adha in October. However, prices for breeding goats and sheep have increased due to improved body conditions and increasing domestic demand for restocking. For instance, the price of breeding goats and sheep increased 30 percent from September to October in Gode in Somali Region. 

    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 October 2013 to March 2014.

    Projected outlook through March 2014
    • Eastern, marginal, Meher-producing areas: Most households will likely be able to address their food consumption needs from their own production through March. Due to the improved supply from the new fresh harvest, food prices are anticipated to decline along seasonal patterns from December to March. Households’ purchasing power is expected to increase from income from livestock sales and labor. Households in most areas will be able to address their minimal food needs without selling off assets and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, poor and very poor households along the Tekeze River in Eastern Zone in Tigray Region and in the lowlands in East and West Hararghe in Oromia will have difficulty accessing food due to the expected below average Meher production in November/December caused by poor performance of June to September Kiremt rains in these areas. Areas that are expected to have below average Meher production include the Eastern Zone in Tigray Region, woredas along the Tekeze River in Amhara Region, and the lowlands of East and West Hararghe Zones where households will likely move into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from January to March as their household stocks are exhausted. The Belg-dominant areas in North and South Wollo Zones of Amhara Region will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through March due to poor Belg production in June/July this year.
    • SNNPR: The total Meher harvest from October to January is likely to be near average. This will likely improve supply on markets and lead to a decline in cereal prices from December to February, following the normal seasonal pattern. Prices would likely start to rise again by March. Labor opportunities are likely to remain available at normal levels through March, generating income for poor and very poor households. Despite seasonally normal income patterns, households will still be unable to meet essential non-food needs including expenses for health, education, agricultural inputs and tools, and other expenses. Poor and very poor households are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase2) through March despite some pockets of below average Meher production due to localized weather related hazards this year. However, ginger production is expected to be significantly below average due to bacteria wilt infestations in ginger-producing areas in Angacha, Kedida Gamela, Kacha Bira, and Hadero Tunto Woredas. In these areas since ginger sales are a key sources of income, households’ purchasing power will be reduced from December to March when ginger is typically sold. Poor households in these areas are likely to move into Crisis (IPC phase3) from January through March, lacking much income from ginger sales this year.
    • Afar and northern Somali Region: Livestock body conditions and productivity have been stable due to the availability of pasture, browse, and water, thanks to the average to above average and mostly timely June to September Karma/Karan rains. Recent improvements in livestock body conditions and productivity following further, unseasonal rains in early November are expected to improve household food consumption of livestock products and income from livestock sales. Increased cereal supply from nearby highland areas is expected to stabilize cereal prices from December to February, increasing household purchasing power. Despite these improvements, households will still be unable to address non-food needs as herd sizes remain inadequate. Most households will be meeting food needs but neglecting non-food needs and thus be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through March. However, consecutive poor performance of rainy seasons in northeastern Afar and Ayesha Woreda in Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone in Somali which decreased livestock productivity and reproduction. This further reduced the herd size and the income from livestock sale. Therefore, poor households in these areas will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
    • Southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas: The normal performance of the October to December Deyr/Hagaya rains is expected to continue, which would sustain the recent increases in pasture, browse, and water availability. With these resources, livestock body conditions and productivity can be maintained, increasing the availability of milk and income from livestock sales. Poor households are also expected to receive income from labor, particularly herding labor. Agropastoral households in lowland areas of Bale, Guji, and Borena Zones will consume their recent harvest or purchase food with income from crop sales from December to March. However, staple food prices will likely remain high near their current levels as imported foods from Somalia are already restricted. Most areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through March 2014. However, the March to May Gu rains were less favorable in Cherati, West Imey, Bare, Dolobay, and Dolo Ado Woredas. These areas are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through December, but they will improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only due to the presence of humanitarian assistance from January to March following increased milk access and improved livestock body conditions likely to result from the October to December Deyr rains.
    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET Ethiopia

    Figure 2


    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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