Food Security Outlook Update

Crops are at their normal developmental stages in most parts of the country

September 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.
Partners: 
WFP

Key Messages

  • Following the mostly normal performance of the June to September Kiremt rains, most crops are at their normally expected developmental stage. A near normal Meher harvest is expected in most parts of the country. However, in places where Kiremt rains started late and in areas where some weather-related hazards occurred, some below normal production is anticipated. 

  • Market prices of most staple cereals remain stable at their elevated levels compared to previous months, but prices are likely to fall slightly starting in October due to the expected near normal Meher production in most parts of the country, which, in turn, will also improve household-level food access from October to December. 

  • Overall, current nutritional status compared to June/July has slightly improved or remains the same with exceptions in some areas in northeastern Tigray and Amhara Regions as well as some parts of East Hararghe Zone in Oromia Region. In these areas, there are indications of deteriorating nutritional status due to the well below average Belg harvest and the current absence of a green harvest from long-cycle Meher crops.

Current Situation

  • Cumulative Kiremt rainfall from June to September was normal to above normal and evenly distributed in all of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), in most parts of Amhara, in central and western parts Oromia, and in the central parts of Tigray. This helped crops planted in these areas to perform well and be at their normally timed phenological stage. Most of the crops are at the flowering stage, while teff is mostly at the vegetative or growth stages. However, low soil moisture as a result of a dry spell in late July and early-to-mid-August were reported in parts of eastern Tigray, the lowlands of East and West Hararghe, and lowland areas around the Tekeze River in Amhara Region. Reports from Tigray indicate that parts of eastern Tigray had an erratic distribution over both time and space and prolonged dry spell in late July and early-to-mid-August . This has caused crops, particularly wheat, pulses, and teff, to have inadequate soil moisture to facilitate flowering and seed setting.
  • Above normal precipitation in August and September in highland areas continued to cause weather hazards including waterlogging, flooding, and landslides that have damaged crops, primarily in SNNPR. Flooding in Shashego Woreda in Hadiya, Humbo in Wolayita, and Loka Abaya in Sidama temporarily displaced about 2,700 households and damaged crops in more than 3,000 hectares (ha) of land in total. In addition, torrential rainfall along with hail and strong winds in Shebedino Woreda in Sidama Zone destroyed crops including maize, coffee, chat, haricot beans, and enset on around 4,000 ha. Though damage has not yet been quantified in most instances, landslides were reported from in Wonago in Gedio, Kindo Koyisha in Wolayita, and Gorche, Aroresa, and Malga in Sidama Zone in SNNPR. Feports from North Gondar Zone in Amhara revealed snows and hail fell in Debark, Gondar Zuria, and Adiarkay Woredas, damaging 5,700 ha of crops.
  • There has been mostly normal progress of the June to September Kiremt rains in northwestern Amhara and Tigray Regions in August and September following a late start of the rains in these areas. However, due to the delay of the onset of the Kiremt rains by more than four weeks in June/July, sorghum and sesame planted in these areas are still at early growth stages. Normally, these crops are expected to be at the flowering or seed setting stages by September.
  • Cumulative June to September Karma/Karan/Kiremt rains in most part of Afar Region and Sitti Zone in northern Somali have been near average to above average, as they have been in the lowlands of Bale and the western part of the Guji Zone in Oromia. This helped, to further improve pasture, browse, and water conditions for livestock. However, in Kilbati Zone (formerly Zone 2) in Afar and Fafan Zone in Somali Region, cumulative rainfall was overall below average causing water shortages to persist.
  • On the other hand, despite normal dry and hot weather during September in areas that receive the October to December Deyr rains in southern Somali and the October to December Hagaya rains in Borena Zone in Oromia Region, browse and water resources from the previous March to May Gu/Genna rainy season are continuing to provide resources for livestock. Accordingly, livestock body conditions remains stable across the southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas. However, livestock body conditions have deteriorated in some woredas in Nogob Zone, Dolobay, West Imey, Hargelle, Cherati, and Barey Woreda in Afder Zone, and Dillo, Teltele , Moyale, and Yabelo Woredas in Borena Zone. Livestock migration has generally not been reported except for some internal livestock movements in Dollo Zone, Korahe Zone, Gode and Kalafo Woredas in Shabelle Zone, parts of Barey, Jarati, and Hargele Woredas in Afder Zone, and some woredas in Nogob Zone.
  • Crops in most agropastoral areas in Afar, northern Somali, and the lowlands of Bale, Guji, and Borena Zones in Oromia Region are reported to be performing well. Most crops are currently at the seed setting stage.
  • Compared to previous months, staple food prices are generally stable in most parts of the country with increases in retail prices between three and 10 percent in some markets from July to August. The stability in cereal prices is along seasonal patterns, and it has mainly been attributed to the anticipated start of the Meher harvest in October in highland areas and ongoing humanitarian assistance in pastoral areas. However, sorghum prices increased by more than 15 percent from July to August due to below average market supplies caused by a relatively lower Meher production in 2012 and the failure of most of the Belg sorghum, usually harvested in July in northeastern Amhara and Tigray Regions.
  • Following the end of Ramadan in August, export and internal demand for livestock declined that caused livestock prices to decline slightly from July to August in most southeastern pastoral markets. Accordingly, August 2013 prices for medium-sized sheep or goats declined by about 11, 10, eight, and five percent in Jijiga, Korahe, Liben, and Warder, respectively, compared to their price in July 2013. On the other hand, due to good body conditions and high demand for meat associated with Enkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year holiday in September, livestock prices increased in highland areas, following normal, seasonal patterns.
  • Household-level nutritional status has improved due to increased food access following the Belg crop harvest in July/August in SNNPR. The number of malnourished children of under five years old admitted to Stabilization Centers (SCs) and Outreach Therapeutic Programme (OTPs) in July 2013 declined by about 31 percent compared to June and the same month last year. On the other hand, despite some reported increases of admissions in northeastern Tigray and Amhara Regions due to near failure of the Belg harvest in June as well as due to the well below average Belg harvest in some parts of East Hararghe Zone in Oromia Region, OTP and SC admissions in August remained stable in most parts of Amhara and Tigray Regions as well as in eastern parts of Oromia Region.
  • Resource-based clan conflict in late August and September between agropastoral and agricultural Oromo populations and pastoral Somali populations displaced 67,000 people from 10 kebeles in Meyu Woreda in East Hararghe Zone. Both food and non-food responses are underway to assist the displaced.

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: Overall, near normal to above normal total Kiremt rainfall is likely to support a near average Meher harvest starting in October in most areas. Staple food prices are expected to decline following the harvest. Livestock with good body will also contribute to households’ food sources and as a source of cash income. Poor and very poor households are also expected to engage in local and migratory harvest labor, a major source of income in many areas. However, the poor performance of agricultural activities in northwestern parts of Amhara and Tigray Regions reduced income from labor for the poor and very poor households that usually migrate from the northeastern parts of the country due to unusual timing of the activities and reduced overall labor demand. Despite the anticipated normal Meher harvest in most areas, poor and very poor households will only be able to address their essential food needs from their own production and income from sales of their agricultural products, labor, and livestock. Therefore, these households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October through December. However, Belg-dominant areas of northeastern Amhara will likely remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from October to December due to the near failure of the 2013 Belg harvest.
  • SNNPR: This year’s Meher production from October to January is expected to be near normal in most parts of the region. However, localized areas where weather hazards such as flooding, landslides, and hailstorms damaged crops are likely to have below average production. With generally average to above average June to September Kiremt rainfall, pasture and water availability have been good, improving livestock body conditions and productivity. A key exception is ginger-growing areas, primarily in Wolayita Ginger and Coffee (WCG), Hadero Ginger (HGZ), and Western Coffee and Spices-Western Subzone (WCS) livelihood zones, where ginger, a major cash crop for both export and the domestic market, was severely affected by an infestation of bacterial wilt. Otherwise, labor opportunities and wage rate are a likely to be normal during the Meher harvest, ensuring continued access to income access by poor and very poor household. Overall, food security is likely to improve further due to the availability from the current Belg harvest, and anticipated income from various sources, and a normal Meher harvest expected in November/December. Similarly, Meher-dominant areas of the region including Silte, Halaba, and Gurage are expected to have the green harvest start in October. Though seasonal performance has been largely normal, the majority of poor and very poor households will not have a capacity to fulfill all the essential non-food needs including expenses on health, agricultural inputs and tools, education, or other essential expenses due to recurrent food security problems in the past. Accordingly, the poor very poor households in both Belg- and Meher-dominant areas of SNNPR are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through December.
  • Afar and northern Somali Region: The relatively normal March to May Sugum/Gu rains were followed by near average to above average cumulative June to September Karma/Karan rains, improving livestock production and productivity in most areas. This improvement is likely to sustain the currently good pasture and water availability through December, further increasing the amount of food and income obtained from livestock. However, poor and very poor households in Afar and northern Somali Region will not able to meet their non-food needs due to herd size reductions during recurrent droughts in previous seasons and will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through December. However, the northern parts of Afar and most parts of Sitti Zone will continue to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through December due to lingering effects of below average March to May 2013 Sugum/Gu rainfall.
  •  Southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas: The average March to May 2013 Gu/Genna rains and the expected normal October to December Deyr/Hagaya rains will likely continue supporting the availability of pasture and water in southeastern part of Somali Region and the lowlands of Bale, Guji, and Borena Zones in Oromia. This further maintains livestock production, productivity, and body conditions, improving the food security conditions in these areas. However, poor and very poor households will not be able to recover to their normal herd size as they have been affected by recurrent problems since 2011. While poor households in localized areas in some woredas in Nogob Zone, Dolobay, West Imey, Hargelle, Cherati, and Barey Woredas in Afder Zone that had poorly distributed March to May Gu rains continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), poor households in the remaining parts of southern and southeastern pastoral areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through 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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