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Food security deteriorated in some areas in Amhara, Afar, and Oromia

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Ethiopia
  • January - June 2015
Food security deteriorated in some areas in Amhara, Afar, and Oromia

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Partner
    WFP
    Key Messages
    • Following the average to slightly above-average Meher harvest from October to January, household food access increased in most central, southern, western, and northwestern areas.

    • However, the Meher 2014 harvest was below average primarily due to below-average June to September Kiremt rains, including in the Tekeze River catchment in eastern Amhara and Tigray and the lowlands of East and West Hararghe and West Arsi Zones in Oromia Region. In these areas crop production was well below average, and as households deplete their food stocks, food security is expected to deteriorate from Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with the presence of humanitarian assistance to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between January and June.

    • In Borena Zone of southern Oromia and northeastern Afar, consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall have led to poor rangeland and livestock body conditions. Households are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until the next rainy season starts in March. However, following the start of the rains, livestock body conditions will slowly improve and livestock production increase from March to May, moving these areas to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with humanitarian assistance.


    National Overview
    Current Situation
    • Harvesting of Meher crops has been completed in most areas. The cumulative normal to above normal June to September Kiremt rains (Figure 1) were followed by unseasonal rain in October, leading to high yields in many areas. The Meher harvest, overall, is likely average to slightly above average.
    • The recently completed multi-agency seasonal emergency needs assessment findings estimated that overall Meher production is higher than last year. In Amhara and Tigray Regions, Meher production was estimated to be around 10 and 14 percent above last year, respectively.
    • Cumulative June to September Kiremt rainfall was below average (Figure 1) and distribution was erratic in some areas, including in the Tekeze River catchment in eastern Amhara and Tigray Regions and some lowlands of East and West Hararghe and West Arsi Zones in Oromia Region. In these areas, crop production has been below average.
    • Unseasonal rainfall in October (Figure 2) led to floods and hailstorms, which damaged crops in some highland areas of Amhara and central and eastern Tigray. Unseasonal rain also damaged sesame in Western Tigray and western Amhara, reducing demand for migratory harvest labor.
    • Following near average October to December Deyr rainfall (Figure 3), livestock body conditions improved and livestock production and productivity increased in most parts of Somali Region and lowland areas of Bale, Guji, and Borena Zones in southern Oromia Region. However, not all areas received sufficient rainfall, and as a result of poor pasture, browse, and water availability, livestock body conditions deteriorated and productivity declined in parts of Afder, Liben, and Dollo (formerly Warder) Zones of southern Somali Region and some lowland areas of Borena and Bale Zones in southern Oromia Region, mostly along the borders with Kenya and Somalia. Households in these areas have very little food and income from livestock right now. As a result of low forage availability, early livestock migration was reported in Bokh and Galadi Woredas of Dollo (formerly Warder) Zone and from some lowland woredas of Borena Zone in Oromia.
    • The average Karma/Karan rainfall in August and September (Figure 4) regenerated pasture and browse and refilled water points. These improved rangeland conditions led to improved livestock body conditions and increased livestock production and productivity in most northern pastoral areas including much of Afar and Sitti (formerly Shinile) and Fafan (formerly Jijiga) Zones of northern Somali Region. Households now have more stable access to food and income. Also, the unusual extension of the rains into October and normal Dadaa rains in December helped support continued fair to good livestock body conditions in southern Afar.
    • Prices of staple foods started to decline slightly or were stable in most eastern parts of the country in January. With normal agricultural performance in most parts of the country, labor wage rates were mostly a little more than last year. However, livestock-to-cereals Terms of Trade (ToT) declined as food prices have increased since June in pastoral areas, reducing the purchasing power of pastoralists.
    • With the average Meher harvest, most areas in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) including the western surplus-producing areas are at the seasonal peak of their food availability and access. They are currently in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).
    • As a result of near average rainfall for both the March to May Diraac/Sugum rainy season and the July to September Karan/Karma rainy season, livestock body conditions improved and production, and productivity increased in the northern pastoral areas in the northern zones of Somali Region and most of Afar. With nearly stable cereal prices and normal income from other sources, poor households are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, poor households in northeastern and southern parts of Afar remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to successive seasons of below-average rainfall and still shrinking herd sizes, which have decreased their ability to purchase food.
    • Poor households in the Tekeze River catchment in eastern Amhara and Tigray Regions and some lowland areas of East and West Hararghe and West Arsi Zones in Oromia Region currently are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the presence of humanitarian assistance. Their food insecurity is primarily due to the lack of high yielding long-cycle crops this year that was caused by below-average February to May Belg rainfall and the late start of Kiremt rains in July instead of June.
    Assumptions

    From January to June 2015, the projected food security outcomes are based on the following national assumptions:

    • Using global models and forecasts along with information about current conditions, it is assumed that February to June Belg/Sugum/Gu/Genna 2015 rains are anticipated to be both near average in amount and typically distributed over space and time.
    • Following the anticipated normal climatic conditions from January to June, agricultural labor opportunities and wage rates are likely to increase seasonally starting in March.
    • Staple food prices are likely to remain stable in January due to increased market supply from the Meher harvest, but they likely will start to rise in February. This will continue to as supplies are consumed through June. Livestock prices are expected to be stable through June in most areas.
    • Resource transfers through emergency programming as well as the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) are expected to take place following the typical schedule from January to June.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    The expected near average February to June Belg/Sugum/Gu/Genna rainfall is likely to allow normal agricultural and livestock husbandry activities in many areas. These rains are also expected to result in increased forage and water availability, leading to improved livestock body conditions and seasonally normal livestock productivity across the country.

    The food security situation in most central, southern, western, and northwestern parts of the country is expected to improve due to the recent near average crop harvest and livestock production, Belg seasonal activities, and typical transfers from safety net programs. Most households in the western, surplus-producing areas and in the midland and highland areas of SNNPR, Oromia, central and western Amhara, and Tigray Regions are expected to meet their food and non-food requirements from their own production and using income from different off-farm activities including self-employment, migratory labor, and labor during the Belg. These areas are likely to remain at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from January to June.

    Food security is expected to deteriorate in several areas, including the Tekeze River catchment in eastern Amhara and Tigray, the lowlands of East and West Hararghe and West Arsi, woredas bordering Kenya in Borena Zone of Oromia, and northeastern Afar. In crop-growing areas, household food stocks are expected to be depleted earlier than normal. This drawing down of households stocks and lack of income will increase the number of food insecure people, particularly from April through June.

    Households who exhaust their stocks early in eastern Amhara and Tigray, central and eastern Oromia, and areas along the Rift Valley of SNNPR will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from January to March, and in the worst affected areas, they will move into Stressed (IPC Phase2!) but only with assistance from April to June. However, due to the large production failure in the Tekeze River catchment and successive seasons of below-average production and low incomes, these areas will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from January to June.

    Most pastoral areas in Afar and Somali Region received unseasonal rains during October and November that helped sustain pasture and water availability. Livestock production and productivity are likely to follow typical patterns from January to June, but with slightly better than normal availability of rangeland resources. Poor household in most parts of these areas will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, the consecutive seasons of very low livestock production and productivity due to persistently dry conditions in northeastern parts of Afar and in woredas bordering Kenya in Borena Zone of Oromia Region have reduced access to food and income. These areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from January to March but improve to Stressed (IPC Phase2!) with the presence of humanitarian assistance from April to June following improvements associated with the start of the rains in March.

     

    For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, January 2015

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, January 2015

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. July 1 to September 30, 2014 rainfall anomaly in millimeters (mm) from 2000-2013 mean, using Climate Hazards Group

    Figure 3

    Figure 1. July 1 to September 30, 2014 rainfall anomaly in millimeters (mm) from 2000-2013 mean, using Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) data

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

    Figure 2. October 1-30, 2014 rainfall anomaly in mm from 2000-2013 mean, using CHIRPS data

    Figure 4

    Figure 2. October 1-30, 2014 rainfall anomaly in mm from 2000-2013 mean, using CHIRPS data

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3. October 1 to December 31, 2014 rainfall anomaly in mm from 2000-2013 mean, using CHIRPS data

    Figure 5

    Figure 3. October 1 to December 31, 2014 rainfall anomaly in mm from 2000-2013 mean, using CHIRPS data

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 4. August 1 to September 30, 2014 rainfall anomaly in mm from 2000-2013 mean, using CHIRPS data

    Figure 6

    Figure 4. August 1 to September 30, 2014 rainfall anomaly in mm from 2000-2013 mean, using CHIRPS data

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 7

    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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