Key Message Update

Atypical staple food price increases further limit food access

March 2020

March - May 2020

June - September 2020

IPC v3.0 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 v3.0 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 v3.0 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 v3.0 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.

Key Messages

  • Humanitarian food assistance is expected to continue preventing more severe outcomes across parts of the country through at least May 2020, if distributions continue as planned. Even in the presence of humanitarian food assistance, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist across much of the eastern half of the country. June to September marks the lean season across Meher-dependent areas, and food assistance needs are expected to be highest in eastern parts of the country driven by the cumulative effects of repeated droughts, conflict, floods, and the desert locust infestation.

  • The February to May 2020 Belg rains in parts of SNNPR and Genna rains in parts of Oromia had a timely start with average rainfall. However, central Oromia, Rift Valley areas of SNNPR, eastern Amhara, and southern Tigray have received below-average rainfall to start the season. The below-average rainfall in these areas slightly delayed the start of the Belg season and planting for Belg crops. Gu rainfall over southeastern pastoral areas has yet to start; however, rainfall is forecast to be established in late-March and April and be average throughout the season.

  • According to the North Gondar Agricultural office, as of mid-March, desert locusts spread to some northwestern areas of the country including isolated woredas in Amhara. As January and February are dry across the country, soon after laying eggs, many desert locusts died; however, their progeny have started hatching following favorable breeding conditions in March and will likely continue through April. This is leading to another generation of locusts with higher numbers of locusts than in preceding generations. Thus, the threat from the desert locust remains not only in the lowlands of eastern parts of the country where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form, but also in some lowland central and western parts of the country. This is expected to have localized impacts on Belg and Meher crops. Should, desert locusts migrate towards western parts of the country, this would have devasting impacts on Belg and Meher producing areas.

  • As of March 30, according to the Ministry of Health, there have been 23 confirmed cases and 188 suspected cases of COVID-19. The government has taken a series of measures since the first case was confirmed to contain the spread of the virus, including closing the border except to those bringing essential goods, closing of schools, and requiring work from home mandates for at least 15 days to all federal and Addis Ababa government employees. These restrictions are likely to have negative impacts on casual labor activities as many of economic activities have largely ceased. In addition to the COVID-19 outbreak, health workers are also battling yellow fever, cholera, and measles outbreaks across the country. The multiple ongoing outbreaks are putting pressure on health systems. Many poor households are likely to face a decision of prioritizing income-earning or health and may have to forego typical food expenditures to purchase medicine.

  • Based on information from key informants, stable grain prices significantly increased in many areas of the country, with a 10 to 60 percent increase in March 2020 compared to the same time last year and a 50 to 100 percent increase compared to the five-year average in Addis Ababa market. This is due in part to conflict and insecurity-related restrictions to the movement of staple foods from western surplus producing parts of the country to typical deficit-producing eastern areas. The price increases are also attributed to government measures to restrict movement in response to COVID-19. In response to the price increases, the government has implemented price control measures; however, staple food prices still remain significantly above average due to the depreciation of the currency over time and the poor macroeconomy. High prices continue to limit poor household food access, in particular in urban and eastern deficit-producing areas.

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.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics