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Food security likely to improve in most areas following normal Meher harvest

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Ethiopia
  • October 2014 - March 2015
Food security likely to improve in most areas following normal Meher harvest

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Partner
    WFP
    Key Messages
    • Following average to above-average June to September Kiremt rainfall, an average volume of Meher crop production is expected. This will result in improved food security, particularly from October to December in most crop producing areas of the country. However, starting in January, food security will likely decline in areas where long-cycle crops like maize and sorghum failed due to poor March to May Belg rains and the delay in the start of the Kiremt rains.

    • Due to prolonged dry weather, shortages of pasture and water continued in some areas in Afar Region. Livestock have poor body conditions and productivity, and many households now only have small herds. Some households are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through March.

    • In the areas that had below-average long-cycle crop production, including the Tekeze River catchment in eastern Amhara and Tigray Regions and the lowlands of East and West Hararghe and West Arsi Zones in Oromia Region, food security is expected to deteriorate from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October to December to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from January to March as households quickly deplete their stocks.


    National Overview
    Current Situation
    • Cumulative June to September Kiremt rains were near average to above average in amount and distributed normally in most parts of the country (Figure 1). Almost all of the available Meher land was cultivated. Inputs were available, and agricultural activities took place at mostly normal times. Planted crops are currently at seasonally normal developmental stages in most areas. The start of the green harvest has already increased household food access.
    • However, long-cycle maize and sorghum that were planted during the Belg are not performing well. These crops may not reach maturity in some areas in the Tekeze River catchment in eastern Amhara and Tigray Regions and some lowland parts of East and West Hararghe and West Arsi Zone in Oromia Region. These areas had a long dry spell from May to July at the end of the Belg and beginning of the Kiremt rains.
    • According to the Central Statistical Agency (CSA), Belg cereal production from June to August at the national level was about sixteen and fourteen percent above the five-year average and 2013, respectively. Much of the increase was due to increased production in Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). The harvest was 76 and 31 percent higher than the five-year averages in Amhara and SNNPR, respectively. However, 2014 production was 18 percent less than 2010, the most recent year of relatively high Belg production.
    • Rainfall in coffee-growing areas in Oromia and SNNPR has allowed mostly normal growth. There were no unusual pest infestations reported. Currently, the coffee plant is at its normal ripening stage. The five-year average of national coffee production tends to be around 3 million quintals (300,000 metric tons (MT)) with around 70 percent being produced in Oromia and most of the rest being produced in SNNPR.
    • In most southeastern pastoral areas in Somali Region, household level food access increased slightly in October, following the normally timed start of the Deyr rains. After below-average March to May Gu rainfall and the long June to September dry season, recent livestock births and better access to pasture and browse have increased household milk access.
    • Household food access increased in most parts of Afar and northern Somali Region due to improved livestock body conditions following average Karma/Karan rains in August and September, unlike the drier start of the season. The extension of the rains into October has also contributed pasture and water availability increasing in these areas. However, some areas in northern and southern Afar have been drier and have not had these increases in food access.
    • Staple food prices are still higher than last year and their five-year averages. According to the CSA’s September consumer price index (CPI) report, food price inflation in September 2014 was 3.6 percent at an annualized rate, a rate very slightly lower than in recent months.
    • With the Meher harvest having started, most areas in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and SNNPR including the western surplus-producing areas of the country are at the seasonal peak of their food availability and access, and they are currently in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).
    • In most parts of Afar and Somali Region, households are able to address their minimal food needs and are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Poor livestock body conditions and productivity still persists in southern and northeastern Afar Region, Shebelle Zone in Somali Region, South Omo Zone in SNNPR, and Borena Zone in Oromia Region, and the associated restricted food access places poor households in these areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the presence humanitarian assistance.
    • The Tekeze River catchment in eastern Amhara and Tigray Regions and some lowland areas of East and West Hararghe and West Arsi Zone in Oromia Region are Stressed (IPC Phase 2), primarily due to poor performance of both Belg and long-cycle crops this year.
    Assumptions

    From October 2014 to March 2015, the projected food security outcomes are based on the following national key assumptions:

    • Following near average to above-average total June to September Kiremt rainfall with somewhat normal distribution in most areas, both soil moisture and temperatures supported mostly normal crop development. Therefore, a near average October to January national Meher harvest is assumed.
    • According to the latest, seasonal forecasts by the National Meteorological Agency (NMA), regional forecast centers, and global centers, the October to December Deyr/Hagaya rains are expected to be near normal in the southern and southeastern parts of the country. These rains are expected to result in seasonal increases in forage and water availability, leading to improved livestock body conditions and normal, seasonal livestock productivity. They will also support cropping in agropastoral areas.
    • In addition, the September/October to February Bega dry season is expected to be near normal in terms of temperature in most parts of the country.
    • With the anticipated near-average, national Meher production and near average Deyr/Hageya rains, the availability of local labor opportunities is expected to seasonally increase from October to January.
    • The Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) for 2015 to 2019 has had planning completed, and it is expected to take place on a normal schedule from January to June 2015. PSNP is the government’s cash and food transfer program for the chronically food insecure.
    • Staple food prices are expected to decline from November 2014 through January 2015 due to increases in market supply from the Meher harvest, but they will likely to rise in February and March, following a normal, seasonal pattern.
    • Average coffee production is anticipated, so demand for coffee harvest labor from October through December is likely to be near normal. Coffee exports from Ethiopia are likely to increase, in part due to competitor countries’ below-average coffee production and prices. As a result, domestic coffee prices are also likely to increase due to the additional demand.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Food security is expected to be stable in most parts of the country from October 2014 to March 2015. However, this is unlikely to be the case in some areas in Afar Region, the Tekeze River catchment in eastern Amhara and Tigray Regions, and the lowlands of East and West Hararghe and West Arsi Zones in Oromia Region. The number of food insecure people that need assistance is currently less than last year and the five-year average, showing a slight decrease in acute food insecurity at the national level. The average number of people that need assistance at national level during October 2014 to March 2015 is estimated to be around 2.5 million people. This improvements are mainly attributed to the relatively better seasonal performance both during Belg and Meher seasons this year, especially in most parts of SNNPR, northeastern Amhara, and Tigray Regions. All these areas had near average Belg production and will follow this with an anticipated near average Meher harvest over the coming months, leading to sufficient household stocks and income from labor and crops sales.

    The humanitarian assistance requirement as of January 2015 are anticipated to be identified by the government-led multi-agency assessment in November/December. Emergency humanitarian response is likely to be delivered in a timely manner and at an appropriate level.

    With anticipated near average October to January Meher production at the national level, households, particularly in the western surplus-producing areas as well as the highlands of eastern Oromia and SNNPR , are expected to address their food and non-food needs from their own production and from normal access to income, including local and migratory harvest labor and Meher crop sales. The expected average coffee production, and the anticipated higher global prices will encourage farmers and cooperatives to pay better prices to laborers in order to speed up the harvesting and processing. The number of coffee labor opportunities is likely to increase. Poorer households can earn more income than usual during the coffee harvest in November and December. Accordingly, the majority of the population would be able to meet both their essential food and non-food needs without engaging in atypical, unsustainable coping strategies to access food and income. As such, these areas will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from October 2014 to March 2015.

    Following the October to January Meher harvest, food availability from own production will also increase in the eastern parts of Amhara and Tigray Regions as well as the lowlands of eastern Oromia and SNNPR. Therefore, most of eastern Amhara and Tigray Regions and the lowlands of eastern Oromia and SNNPR will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from October to December as households have adequate food and income for the time being. Early exhaustion of stocks from the last Belg harvest in Belg-dominant areas in Amhara Region and the expected below average production for long-cycle maize and sorghum in some parts of eastern Tigray and the lowlands of SNNPR along the Rift Valley, food security is expected to deteriorate from Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from October to December to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from January to March 2015. Similarly, as stocks run out more quickly than typical, the food security situation is expected to deteriorate further from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in October to December to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from January to March 2015 in the Tekeze River catchment in Amhara and Tigray Regions, the lowlands of East and West Hararghe, and the lowlands of West Arsi Zone in Oromia Region.

    For more information on areas of concern during this outlook period, please download 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, October 2014

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, October 2014

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Percent of normal rainfall, June 1 to September 30, 2014, using African Rainfall Climatology-2 method (1981 to 2011

    Figure 3

    Figure 1. Percent of normal rainfall, June 1 to September 30, 2014, using African Rainfall Climatology-2 method (1981 to 2011 mean)

    Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/Climate Prediction Cente…

    Figure 4

    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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