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Near normal Belg rains led to average area planted outside of eastern Oromia

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Ethiopia
  • April - September 2014
Near normal Belg rains led to average area planted outside of eastern Oromia

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Areas of Concern
  • Events That Might Change the Outlook
  • Partner
    WFP
    Key Messages
    • In general, the performance of February to May Belg rains had been near normal in terms of amount and temporal distribution from February until early April. However, since mid-April, almost no rain fell in Belg-growing areas. With early forecasts for the June to September Kiremt rainfall being mostly normal in terms of likely total rainfall, western, eastern, and southern agricultural areas are expected to have average agricultural production this season, if the Belg rains resume in a timely fashion. Food security should start to improve in the Belg-producing areas in June and in October in areas further west.
    • Household food security in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) is expected to improve from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from April to June to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from July to September. Similarly, Belg-dominant areas of northeastern Amhara will likely improve from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from April to June to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from July to September, if the Belg rains resume.
    • The March to May Sugum/Diraac rains started late in the northern pastoral areas whereas Gu/Genna rains in southern pastoral areas started on time and have been near normal in terms of amount. Pasture, browse, and water availability is expected to improve, helping increase household food and income access from livestock, and thus their food security, especially from July to September. However, very low livestock holdings due to recurrent droughts since 2010 in northeastern Afar along with the rising costs of food will likely keep that area in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least September.

    National Overview
    Current Situation
    • Shortage of pasture and water persists in the northeastern parts of Afar, and the March to May Sugum rains have been below average so far. Pasture and water availability have deteriorated since January, caused by poor performance of the July to September 2013 Karma rains coupled with the long dry season.
    • The cumulative February to May Belg rains were mostly normal in most of the Belg-growing areas. The onset of the Belg rains was near normal in most Belg-growing areas. However, there was a  two to three weeks delay in eastern parts of Oromia Region that led to delays in planting. In most areas, area planted approached normal, though it is currently low in eastern Oromia, and the planting window closes shortly.
    • The onset of the Gu/Genna rains was one week early in most of the southern and southeastern pastoral areas. Moreover, cumulative rainfall and temporal and spatial distribution has been near normal thus far in most of the southern and southeastern pastoral areas. This has contributed to pasture and browse regeneration and the replenishment of water points.
    • Staple food prices declined from December 2013 to February 2014. However, they have started to increase slightly since then in a mostly seasonal pattern. This is mainly due to the drawing down of the supplies from the Meher harvest, including households exhausting their stocks and starting to purchase from markets as their primary source of food. According to the Central Statistical Agency (CSA), food inflation in March was 6.1 percent at the annualized rate, compared to 4.7 percent in February.
    • In general, the food security situation in the country is stable. However, food insecurity in northeastern parts of Afar, the Tekeze River catchment in Tigray and Amhara Regions, Belg-dominant areas of North and South Wollo Zones in Amhara Region, lowland areas of East Hararghe Zone, ginger-producing areas in SNNPR, and Dassench Woreda in SNNPR are food insecure, primarily due to below average rainfall or poorly distributed rainfall in 2013 along with other shocks such as plant disease and flooding.
    Assumptions

    From April to September 2014, the projected food security outcomes are based on the following national assumptions:

    • The Belg rains started somewhat late in a few areas of eastern Oromia and eastern Amhara, but overall, they were fairly normally distributed in March and early April. The rains have since subsided. However, the overall cumulative February to May Belg rainfall is likely to be near normal, based on international forecasts and those of the National Meteorological Agency (NMA) of Ethiopia.
    • The June/July to August/September Kiremt/Karma/Karan rainfall is anticipated to be near normal in terms of cumulative rainfall based on recent long-range forecasts.
    • Staple food prices are likely to continue to rise through July following the normal seasonal pattern but with a higher magnitude than usual, especially for sorghum. Then staple food prices are likely to remain high though September.
    • Both emergency food aid and food and resource transfers from the Productive Safety Nets Program (PSNP) are likely to continue as scheduled from April to June. Emergency assistance is likely to continue after this in some areas.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    In the western and central surplus-producing areas of the country, households are able to meet their essential food and non-food needs from their own Meher harvest in 2013 and income generated from sale of the Meher production. These areas are expected to remain at Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    Lowland areas of East Hararghe Zone in eastern Oromia Region, the Tekeze River catchment in Amhara and Tigray Regions, northeastern parts of Tigray Region, and ginger-producing areas in SNNPR had locally below-average Meher harvests due to below average Kiremt rainfall and other shocks. Poor and very poor households in this area will likely remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September as below average production will lead households to be more dependent on markets. With anticipated price increases, households will not be able to address their minimal food needs. Similarly, due to the well below-average 2013 Belg harvest in June/July 2013, poor and very poor households in North and South Wollo Zones in Amhara Region will not be able to address their minimal food requirements and will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from April to June. The significant reduction on income from ginger sales due to well below-average ginger production in 2013 will keep the ginger-producing areas of SNNPR Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from April to June.

    With the anticipated normal Belg harvest, poor and very poor households in North and South Wollo Zones in Amhara Region and ginger-producing areas in SNNPR will be able to address their minimal food needs from the Belg harvest in July/August. However, households in these areas will not be able to address their non-food needs, and they will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from July through at least September. However, with the anticipated near average Belg harvest, households’ food access and income is expected to improve in most Belg-producing areas of SNNPR. In addition, in these areas, prices may decline as the Belg crops enter the market, effectively increasing household purchasing power Many areas in SNNPR have already had successful vegetable production due to rains thus far. Moreover, households in Meher-producing areas in SNNPR will have additional food access from enset, potatoes, and green consumption of maize from August onwards. Therefore, most areas in SNNPR will enter Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from July to September 2014.

    In pastoral areas, the anticipated normal Sugum/Gu/Genna rains are expected to further regenerate pasture and browse and increase water availability, resulting in improved livestock body conditions and milk availability. Following several seasons of near average or above average conditions, herd sizes are expected to slowly increase, increasing household purchasing power and eventually food security. However, the anticipated increase in staple food prices will still lead to a decline in the livestock to grain Terms of Trade (ToT) with households needing to sell more livestock to purchase cereals. Household income from self-employment, charcoal production, and other sources will not be able to keep up with the increasing prices. Despite some recent improvement in herd sizes, poor households will still not be able to address all necessary non-food needs. Therefore, most households in pastoral areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, in northeastern pastoral areas in Afar Region, following below average Karma rains last year and the poor performance of March to April Sugum rains so far, households will need to increase their livestock sales beyond a sustainable level in order to purchase food. This area will continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September 2014.


    Areas of Concern

    Northern pastoral and agropastoral areas in Afar and northern Somali Region

    Current Situation

    The onset of March to May 2014 Sugum/Diraac rains was late by about two to three weeks in northern pastoral and agropastoral areas. However, rainfall has been somewhat near average with fairly regular temporal and spatial distribution in most parts of Kari (formerly Zone 5), Gabi (Formerly Zone 3), and Fenti (formerly Zone 4) Zones in Afar Region. Cumulative rain so far has been below average in Awsi (formerly Zone 1) and eastern part Kilbati (formerly Zone 2) Zones in Afar Region and in Sitti (formerly Shinile) and Fafan (formerly Jijiga) Zones in northern Somali Region. The current rain has not yet fully replenished vegetation, so in many areas there are still shortages of forage. Forage shortages are most severe in Dalul, Abala, and Megale Woredas in Kilbati Zone, Yallo, Gulina, and Ewa Woredas in Fenti Zone, Chifera and Mille Woredas in Gabi Zone in Afar Region, and Kabribeyah, Gursum, and Awbare Woredas in Fafan Zone, and Ayesha, Afedem, and Shinile Woredas in Sitti Zone in Somali Region.

    Accordingly, livestock body conditions, productivity, and livestock product availability continued to decline, particularly in Afdera, Erebti, Abala, Berhale, and Dalul Woredas in Kilbati Zone in Afar Region. Though the forage shortageaffects all livestock species, the lack of pasture has most affected grazing animals like sheep and cattle.

    Almost no Dadaa rains fell in December and January. Then there was a late onset of the March to May Sugum/Diraac rains, which cause early depletion of forage, a level of livestock migration, and extended the dry and hot Jilaal season. To feed their livestock, households have migrated their livestock in search of pasture and water, gathering tree branches for fodder, used wild-collected tree fruits as fodder,made hay purchases. Unseasonalbly high levels of livestock migration have been observed from Awsi Zone to Chefa Woreda in Amhara Region. Similar migration has been observed from Kibleti Zone to Wajerat, Raya, Mehoni, Agula, Wukro, and Atsebi Woredas in Tigray Region. Livestock from Gabi Zone have been migrated to Fentale Woreda in Oromia Region. As early as January, livestock had been migrated from Yallo, Berhale, Erebti, and Sumurobi Woredas. These livestock are now returning to these woredas due to the onset of the rains.

    Water availability for livestock and human consumption improved following the onset of March to May Sugum/Diraac rains. Water availability remained stable for livestock and human consumption along the major perennial rivers in Afambo, Asaita, Dubti, Mille, Awash Fentale, Amibara, Buremudayitu, Gewane, and Dulecha Woredas in Afar Region. However, some areas where the current rains have not fully become established had water shortages. In some of these areas, the regional education bureau has reported 25 percent of students dropped out of school, including Bidu, Kori, Erebti, and Elidar Woredas. The recently conducted water need gaps survey in Afar Region identified about 24,000 people for water assistance at a time of year when usually water trucking is not needed.

    Since January 2014, cereal supply increased in most of Afar Region and Sitti and Fafan Zones  as a result of the start of PSNP and emergency food aid transfers. This has stabilized market prices. However, compared to the same period last year, relief wheat prices in March 2014 increased by 25, 18, and 13 percent in Ababa, Jijiga, and Shinile, respectively, due to high demand. On the other hand, livestock prices in March declinee or remained stable in most parts of Afar due high supply as result of the prevailing dryness and poor body conditions. Livestock to cereal terms of trade (ToT) declined in Awsi, Kibleti, and Hari Zones in Afar Region. However, goat and sheep prices in Jijiga have increased 44 percent from March 2013 to March 2014.

    Child malnutrition increased at the end of the dry season in most areas. The situation was exacerbated as result of poor hygiene, sanitation, more limited assistance from the World Food Program (WFP), and a lack of therapeutic supplementary food (TSF) supplies in some areas.

    The average to above average 2013 Karma rains and the start of the 2013 Sugum/Diraac rains improved the availability of water, pasture, and browse in most parts of Afar and the northern parts of Somali Regions. Consequently, livestock body conditions, productivity,y and livestock product supply should sustain household food and income. This will enable households to address their minimal food needs, and therefore poor and very poor households in Afar and northern parts of Somali Regions are currently in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), consuming food but unable to meet all necessary non-food expenses. However, poor and very poor households in Dalul, Berhale, Erebti, Afedera, Elidar, Bidu, and Kurri Woredas in northeastern Afar are unable to address all their food needs. Poor and very poor households in northeastern part of Afar are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Assumptions

    In addition to the national assumptions above, the projected food security outcomes for the northern pastoral and agropastoral areas are based on the following assumptions:

    • As result of improved livestock body conditions, livestock prices will likely slightly increase from July to September.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    The average Sugum/Diraac rains between now and the end of May  coupled with the expected near normal July to September Karma/Karan rains will likely increase livestock production and productivity. This will enable pastoral and agropastoral households to attain more food and income from livestock products, livestock product sales, and livestock sales. In addition, emergency food assistance and PSNP food assistance are expected to continue until June, helping keep cereal prices stable. Though income from salt mining labor is not expected to increase over the next six months due to the expected increase in surface and sub-surface water in the salt mining areas, the income obtained from improved livestock products and sale of livestock will enable poor households to fulfill their minimal food consumption needs. However, still having small herd sizes, poor and very poor households have not yet fully recovered enough livestock to generate adequate income for households to address all of their non-food needs. Therefore, poor and very poor households in the northwestern and southern part of Afar Region and Sitti and Fafan Zones in Somali Region will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September 2014.

    Though the current Sugum/Diraac rains is anticipated to perform normally in the northeastern part of Afar Region, livestock body conditions and productivity are not expected to fully recover from previous poor seasons, hindering households to address their minimal food needs. Moreover, despite the start of the rains in some parts northeastern parts of Afar,  migration stress along with the particularly hot and long dry season have made them less saleable at this point. Therefore, poor household in Dalul, Berhale, Erebti, Afedera, Elidar, Bidu, and Kurri Wordas in Afar Region are likely to continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least September 2014.

    Southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas in southern Somali, southern Oromia, and South Omo Zone in SNNPR

    Current Situation

    The onset of the March to May Gu/Genna rains in mid-March was one week earlier than usual in Filtu, Dollo Ado, Deka Suftu, and Hudat Woredas in Liben Zone, Gorobakaksa, Guradamole, Karsadula, Elkare, and West Imey Woredas in Afder Zone, northern parts of Jarar Zone, Fik, Hamaro, Duhun, Kubi, and Segag Woredas in Fik Zone, Borena, Guji, and most of Bale Zones in Oromia Region. The rains started on time in some pockets in Degehabur, Liben, Afder, Korahe, and South Omo. However, the Gu rains has not yet started in Dollo Zone, most of Korahe, most of Gode, or in Bare and Hargelle Woredas in Afder Zone. Despite early or normal onset of the rains in most areas, the rains have been erratic, and some areas have already had dry spells. Areas that received rains earlier have already had some increase in pasture and water availability. No major unusual livestock migration or disease outbreaks have been reported.

    Starting in March, immature swarms of locusts began to appear in Ararso, Daroor, Gashamo, and Birkot Woredas in Somali Region. The immature swarms came from an the northwest coast of Somalia where local breeding caused several bands of hoppers and immature swarms to form in February/March. As vegetation dried out, the locusts moved crossed the dry Somali Plateau into eastern and southeastern Ethiopia. They have concentrated in some areas in Jarar, Dollo, Fafan, and Sitti Zones where they are maturing and laying eggs. However, both aerial and ground control operations are underway.

    Prices for export and local quality goats and sheep shave declined, but maize and other staple food prices of maize have increased over the past year. For instance, price of an export quality goat or sheep declined 10 percent in Chereti in Afder Zone, 34 percent in Deghabur in Jarar Zone, and 26 percent in Filtu in Liben Zone from February to March. At the same time, the price of a local quality goat or sheep declined between five and 45percent in those markets. The price of maize increased between 16 and 48 percent while wheat flour increased between, six and 16 percent. With rising cereal prices and lower livestock prices, livestock to cereal Terms of Trade (ToT) have declined.

    Out of three rounds food aid distribution planned from January to March, only the first round of emergency food aid and PSNP had been delivered and distributed by Aprils. This delay in distribution has contributed to the increases in cereal prices since January.

    Poor and very poor households are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In Dassench Woreda in South Omo Zone in SNNPR, below average rains from October to December last year along with flooding and the late onset of the season has harmed livestock body conditions and productivity, reducing food access. Poor and very poor households in Dassench Woreda are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Assumptions

    In addition to the national assumptions above, the projected food security outcomes are based on the following assumptions:

    • Both local and export livestock prices expected to remain fairly stable through August. They will likely to start rise in September due to the increase in export demand from the Middle East for the Hajj.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    With anticipated near normal total Gu/Genna 2014 rains, pasture will regenerate and water points should be refilled. These resources should remain available during the July to September Jilaal dry season in most areas. Accordingly, no significant declines in livestock body conditions or productivity are anticipated. Households’ income from livestock and milk sales will seasonally increase, and this will be particularly true for better-off households. At the same time, the increased livestock productivity should allow poor households to receive higher wages for labor and more gifts from better-off households.

    However, the anticipated higher than seasonal increases in cereal prices will continue to limit food access. Despite some increase in herd sizes over the past several years, most herds remain smaller than they were during the livelihoods baselines in 2004-2005. This low herd sizes do not allow poor and very poor households to receive enough income from livestock sales and livestock product sales to cover their food needs, their essential non-food needs, and to protect their livelihoods. Therefore, poor and very poor households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through at least September 2014.

    Eastern, marginal, Meher- and Belg-producing areas in eastern Tigray, Amhara, and Oromia

    Current Situation

    The Belg rains started at a mostly normal time during the first week of March in the receiving areas in eastern Tigray, eastern Amhara and North Shewa. However, the rains were two to three weeks late in East and West Hararghe Zones in Oromia, which has delayed planting. In March and early April, the rains were of mostly near normal amounts and distribution, especially in Amhara and Tigray. In these areas, the normal rainfall has allowed for improvements in pasture and water availability for livestock. Also, planting has been mostly completed. However, in the middle of April, the rains stopped, and they had not resumed by the end of the month.

    As of early April, about 80 percent of the average Belg planted area was already planted North and South Wollo Zones in Amhara Region. Most of these crops are still in the early growth phases or early in the vegetative phase. In these regions, unusually low seed availability may be preventing planting from reaching full coverage. On the other hand, planted area is only a little bit over 60 percent of average in parts of Tigray, and both North Shewa Zones in Amhara and in Oromia. Similarly, planted area is below average in East and West Hararghe Zones, but planting is still ongoing in these areas. The crops that have been planted in these areas are primarily at the germination or emergence stages. The delay of the start of the rains in these areas or somewhat erratic performance has led to the below average planted area.  Especially in the lowlands of northeastern Amhara and eastern Oromia, planting of long-cycle crops including maize and sorghum began in April.  Land preparation for long-cycle Meher crops is ongoing and planting has started in highland and midland areas of East and West Hararghe Zones.

    While livestock are still being migrated from Afar to the northeastern parts of Amhara and Tigray, so far no major conflicts over resource access have been reported. Livestock. Forage and water availability are mostly normal. Meher crop residues are still available in some places, and the mostly normal performance of Belg rains has increased pasture availability.

    Water availability has also improved in most parts of East and West Hararghe Zones. However, some lowland areas, water trucking is ongoing, including in Meyu Muluke and Qumbi Woredas in East Hararghe Zone and Burka Dimtu Woreda in West Hararghe Zone. However, in West Hararghe Zone, water trucking recently ceased due to the availability of water both for human and livestock consumption.

    However, conditions for livestock have not been universally near average with normal water availability. In East Hararghe Zone, some livestock have been migrated to river valleys in lowland areas in Meyu Muluke, Qumbi and Burka Dimtu Woredas. These livestock have not been returned to their normal wet season grazing areas as water points are not yet replenished. Also, while there was conflict in February/March between owners of livestock in-migrated from Somali Region, that conflict appears to have ended.  Boundary demarcation p is ongoing in all woredas by a team composed of the federal and regional governments’ representatives. The actual demarcation is almost completed in Chinakson and Gursum Woredas. However, this demarcation has not yet started in these areas where outbreaks of conflict are most frequent including Meyu Muluke and Qumbi Woredas. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled the conflict in four kebeles of Meyu Muluke and six kebeles of Qumbi have not yet returned to their areas or origin. Due to the displacement, planting of both Belg and long-cycle Meher crops has not been on schedule or with a near normal planted area in either woreda.

    Immature swarms of locusts have been seen in fields in nine kebeles in Jarso Woreda in East Hararghe Zone and some areas in Dire Dawa Administration. Efforts by the government to control the locusts are ongoing.

    Market supplies from the above average 2013-2014 Meher harvest remain available in most of northeastern Amhara, Tigray, and eastern Oromia. In some marginal agricultural areas in Tigray and Amhara, markets are being supplied from surplus-producing areas in Humera in the northwestern part of Tigray Region, western Oromia, and Raya Alamata in Southern Tigray Zone. With mostly normal supply, prices of major staple foods have been stable on most markets.

    Chat in East and West Hararghe Zones in Oromia Region is being supplied at a higher volume than recent years to the market. This is due both to increased yields from irrigation and from recent rainfall in the rainfed areas. Consequently, the price of chat declined in March/April, and farm gate prices are less than the same time last year. However, households selling chat are still making some income due to the larger volume. In March/April, nominal wage rates were higher than last year and they have increased over the past couple of months. Wage rates in March were about 20 percent more than last March in most of Amhara and Tigray Regions.

    Livestock prices have also been mostly stable in recent months. Sheep and goat prices have declined very slightly, by less than 5 percent, probably driven in part by the Lent fast from February to April among believers in the Orthodox Church. However, ox and cattle prices have slightly increased in some markets, probably linked to growing demand for land preparation.

    Emergency food relief and PSNP operations are ongoing in many woredas in eastern Tigray, Amhara, and Oromia Regions. While the first and second rounds of PSNP cash transfers are being carried on, the first round emergency relief distribution is not yet completed in most woredas. This is behind the typical schedule for emergency relieve and the plan. Some woredas in North Shewa Zone in Oromia Region have not yet dispatched the first round, and the first round distribution rate in Tigray Region stood at 16 percent of the plan in early April.

    Currently, poor and very poor households’ food access is better than usual due to stocks remaining from own production during the slightly above normal Meher 2014 harvest from October to January. Livestock body conditions and productivity are also average to good due to favorable production conditions following the June to September Kiremt rains and improvements in conditions following the start of the February to May Belg rains. Stable market prices,  and labor wage rates above last year also have increased purchasing power.

    However, some areas that had below average production during the Meher harvest due to erratically distributed June to September Kiremt rains or their early cessation. This includes the Tekeze River catchment in northern Amhara and southern Tigray and some areas in northern and northeastern Tigray Region. In these areas, households have already consumed their stocks, and they switched to market purchases earlier than usual. In the Belg-dominant areas of Amhara Region, household stocks, if present at all, were exhausted even earlier in the year. In addition to these areas, the conflict-affected areas in Meyu Muluke and Qumbi Woredas in East Hararghe Zone has seen a sudden reduction in food access and lack of typical, seasonal, income-earning activities during a time when residents are almost entirely market-dependent for food. These areas are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Most other areas are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    Assumptions

    In addition to the assumptions at the national level that appear above, the projected food security outcomes for eastern, marginal Meher- and Belg-producing areas in eastern Tigray, Amhara, and Oromia are based on the following, local assumptions:

    • Agricultural labor demand and urban labor demand will remain stable in April/May, but they will likely increase in June/July during the Belg harvest.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    As the April to June lean season starts, poor and very poor households’ food access decreases as households deplete their own stocks and become more dependent on markets as their primary source of food. Following a mostly seasonal pattern, staple food prices are expected to increase from April to June. On the other hand, poor and very poor households will have additional cash from PSNP transfers though June and other local agricultural labor like weeding and harvest labor from June to September. Also, some households will have income from sales of livestock and livestock products .

    In the Belg-growing areas of northeastern Amhara and Tigray and eastern Oromia Regions, likely mostly normal Belg rains in May should enable households to obtain a near normal Belg harvest along with income from associated agricultural labor. However, seasonally normal progress will depend on Belg rains resuming in the next several weeks.

    With little income and not remaining stocks, those in the Tekeze River catchment, northeastern Belg-dominant areas in Amhara and Tigray Regions, and Meyu Muluke and Qumbi Woredas in East Hararghe Zone will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from April to June 2014.

    Following the anticipated near average Belg harvest in June/July, food access in northeastern Tigray and Amhara Regions will likely improve. As that harvest becomes available,  households will move from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from July until at least September 2014. However, poor and very poor households in northeastern Tigray and in the Tekeze River catchment will continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September 2014. The other areas will likely be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from April to September 2014.

    Sweet potato- and Belg-producing areas of SNNPR

    Current Situation

    February to May Belg rains in SNNPR started at a normal time in early February, and their spatial and temporarily distribution has also had normal patterns. Generally, the cumulative rainfall from February 1 through April 10 was slightly below average, but so far, no shocks associated with the amount of rainfall have been reported.

    Land preparation and planting of Belg crops were carried out at normal times. Planting came to an end towards the end of March. Crops are currently at normal stages of development. Sweet potatoes, taro, and vegetables are being harvested, mainly in Wolayita, Dawro, Gamo Gofa, Hadiya, Dawro, and Kambata Tambaro Zones. The crops planted in February are mostly at vegetative stages while later planted crops are mostly still at the germination or growth stages. In Meher-dominant areas, the planting of some long-cycle Meher crops is underway, including in parts of Gurage, Silte, Segen Zone, and Halaba Special Woredas land preparation and planting. Coffee is flowering for the second time, a normally timed occurrence this year, in Sidama, Gedeo, and Wolayita Zones. No large-scale pest infestations or plant disease outbreaks have been reported.

    Since the start of the Belg rains, water and pasture have been available, and livestock body conditions and productivity improved. Water sources for human consumption are also fully recharged in most highland areas, and waiting time at water points has decline. Livestock disease outbreaks have been mostly contained, but pasteurellosis and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) have caused cattle deaths in Badawacho Woreda in Hadiya Zone and Boloso Sore Woreda in Wolayita Zone.

    Staple food supply on markets started to decline at the end of March, as market stocks from the Meher were exhausted. At the same time, demand increased as households rely more on purchases and less on their own stocks. Prices have increased. For instance, the maize prices in Sodo increased by four percent from February to March. This is eight percent higher than last year. However, coffee prices are also rising, probably due to increased export demand. Livestock prices have been mostly stable.

    The Number of malnourished children admitted to Therapeutic Feeding Programs (TFP) increased by nine percent from January to February. However, the February admissions number was four percent less than last year and 39 percent less than two years ago. This improvement has been attributed to a variety of causes, including the near average Meher harvest from October to January, the PSNP transfers including those from the contingency fund, and the implementation of targeted supplementary feeding (TSF) programs for children and pregnant and lactating mothers.

    With increased food prices, and income from different sources, including agricultural labor, firewood sale, and petty trading normal but at its seasonal low during the March to May lean season, households have had to forgo some non-food expenditures such agricultural inputs and  health or social services to purchase food. Therefore, most areas are currently Stressed (IPC Phase2).

    However, the outbreak of a plant disease affecting ginger, led to very poor ginger production last year. This important cash crop then led to very low incomes in Hadero Tunto, Kacha Bira, and Tambaro Woredas in Kambata Tambaro Zone and a few woredas in Wolayita and Dawro Zones. With high staple food prices, these areas are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Assumptions

    No additional assumptions have been made other than the national assumptions made above.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Following the expected normal end of the Belg rains in May and June, a near average Belg harvest is expected. The Belg harvest will also provide fodder and residue for feeding livestock.

    The expected normal June to September Kiremt rains should allow normal growth of the long-cycle Meher crops planted in April and May in Gurage, Silte, and Halaba Zones. After these rains start, short-cycle Meher crops will be planted, primarily in August and September.

    With near average rainfall expected through September, pasture availability should remain near or above average and water sources for both livestock and human consumption should remain recharged. Livestock body conditions and their productivity are likely to be improved, particularly from July when the rains peak.

    Staple food prices will continue to rise in May and June. While prices typically rise at this time of year, the magnitude –of the increase will be more than usual due to high, underlying inflation. However, after the Belg harvest in June/July, prices will likely fall a bit through September and beyond.

    Income-generating opportunities for the poor and very poor are very limited in May and June before demand for harvest increases. However, with start of the Belg harvest in June/July and land preparation and planting of Meher crops, demand for labor is likely to increase by July.

    During the remainder of the lean season, most areas will remain at Stressed (IPC Phase 2), but these areas will improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) as households harvest Belg crops and labor demand increases. The ginger-growing areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from April through June, but they will likely improve to Stressed (IPC Phase2) from July to September 2014.


    Events That Might Change the Outlook

    Table 1: Possible events over the next six months that could change the most-likely scenario.

    Area

    Event

    Impact on food security outcomes

    Belg-producing areas

    Failure of the Belg rains to resume in May

    Belg production would be less than anticipated, and household food access will be less than anticipated, particularly from July to September.

    Pastoral areas

    Poor performance of Sugum/Gu/Genna/Karma/Karan rains

    Pasture and water availability will decline, leading to poorer livestock body conditions and productivity, affecting households milk access and income from sales of livestock and livestock products.

    Nationwide

    Further delays of PSNP and emergency assistance distributions

    This would reduce food access, and it would likely lead to higher staple food prices on markets in the areas where the most assistance is received.

     

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Source:

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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