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Assumptions for Quarterly Food Security Analysis

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • East Africa
  • January 2015
Assumptions for Quarterly Food Security Analysis

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  • Preface
  • Seasonal Performance
  • Regional Trade and Price Dynamics
  • Cross-border Conflict and Displacement

  • Preface
    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET uses scenario development. In this methodology, an analyst uses current evidence to develop assumptions about the future and compare their possible effects. The following report outlines assumptions at the regional level. Assumptions are also developed at the country level; these are likely to be more detailed. Together, the regional and national assumptions are the foundation for the integrated analysis reported in FEWS NET’s Food Security Outlooks and Outlook Updates. Learn more about our work here.FEWS NET’s Food Security Outlook reports for January to June 2015 are based on the following regional assumptions:

    Seasonal Performance
    • The remainder of the October-to-February Xays/Dadaa rains over coastal areas of Djibouti and northwestern Somalia are likely to be near average.
    • The February-to-May Belg rains in the northeastern highlands, central and eastern Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) in Ethiopia are expected to be near average in terms of cumulative rainfall and to have a normally timed start of the rains.
    • The March-to-May rains in Rwanda, Burundi, and northwestern Tanzania are likely to be near average in terms of cumulative rainfall and to have a normally timed start of the rains.
    • The March-to-May rains in the eastern Horn of Africa are likely to be near average in terms of cumulative rainfall and to have a normally timed start of the rains.

    Regional Trade and Price Dynamics
    • The wholesale prices of maize and rice in the main collection markets in the southern highlands of Tanzania are the lowest that they have been since early 2012. They are expected to remain about the same as 2013 and near their five-year averages between January and June 2015 (Figure 2). These low wholesale prices are attributed to surplus production in the region and to the following:
      • Well above-average July-to-September Masika harvests in the northern parts of the country including Tanga, Kilimanjaro, and some parts of Arusha and Manyara Regions
      • Above-average production in 2014 in the countries south of Tanzania, especially in Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe
    • From January to June, the volume of Tanzania’s maize and rice exports are expected to be far above average due to the above-average harvest and relatively lower prices. The exports will likely continue to moderate price increases in northeastern and eastern Rwanda and Burundi and southwestern, southeastern, and coastal Kenya.
    • The June-to-August maize harvest in Uganda was above average. The November-to-January harvest is also expected to be above average at the national level. However, exports to South Sudan will likely be less than they have been since South Sudan gained independence in 2011. This will result in lower maize prices in Uganda. These prices mean though that exports will increase to both Kenya and Rwanda where recent harvests were moderately below average. However, in both countries, Uganda’s maize exports will face competition from Tanzania’s exports. Ugandan maize exports will likely be competitive and be the dominant source of imported maize in western Kenya and as far as Nairobi, but not in southeastern and coastal areas of Kenya.
    • Dry bean prices will likely vary in most markets in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda based on varied domestic production in recent seasons in all the countries. However, average-to-above-average production in Uganda and Tanzania in recent seasons will most likely result in an increased volume of exports to Kenya between January and June 2015.
    • Since independence in 2011, Upper Nile and Jonglei States of South Sudan have been a destination for grain imports from Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda. Trade to the conflict-affected areas is expected to gradually increase from currently very low levels between January and June 2015. This will primarily be due to traders adjusting to the conflict. Average-to-above-average national harvests in Sudan and Ethiopia, and especially high levels of production in regions neighboring these areas of South Sudan will likely result in the following:
      • Increased exports from Ethiopia through Matar town in Gambella to Nasir, Ulang, and Akobo Counties in South Sudan
      • Increased informal imports of sorghum from Sudan, following the easing of restrictions on cross-border trade by the Government of Sudan and expected above-average harvests in the eastern, surplus-producing Blue Nile, Sinar, White Nile, and Gadarif States in Sudan
      • Increased supply of staple food commodities in Bor being supplied from Juba and from Uganda due to the area being more secure and the improvements on the Juba-to-Bor road since October 2014
      • More food stocks held both by traders and humanitarian organizations in the conflict-affected areas, likely an amount more than in 2014 but lower than during the pre-conflict period before December 2013
    • Market supply to the conflict-affected states of South Sudan will continue to be constrained by high levels of tension and lawlessness which are likely to increase over the course of the December to May dry season. Supply will be further limited by a lack of transport facilities, high levels of formal and informal taxes, tariffs, and fees, and other factors that increase marketing costs. Barge and railway transport from Sudan are unlikely to resume.
    • Exports of grain, mostly informal, from Sudan and Uganda to areas of South Sudan not currently affected by the conflict will likely be more than in 2014. The increased volume will be due to traders adjusting to new levels of risk for this trade and above-average supplies in the exporting countries. However, volume may continue to be less than it was in 2013.

    Cross-border Conflict and Displacement
    • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 483,000 people fled South Sudan between December 15, 2013 and December 4, 2014. Due to a combination of ongoing fighting, expected high phases of acute food insecurity in Greater Upper Nile, and the growth of political instability and inter-communal conflict elsewhere in South Sudan, cross-border outmigration from South Sudan to neighboring countries, including refugee flows, over the course of 2015 are likely to reach levels similar to or slightly below 2014.
    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. March to May rains as percent of annual totals using Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CH

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. March to May rains as percent of annual totals using Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHRIPS) data for the 1981-to-2010 climatology

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

    Figure 2. Wholesale maize prices in Mbeya, Tanzania, Tanzanian shilling (TZS) per metric ton (MT)

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Wholesale maize prices in Mbeya, Tanzania, Tanzanian shilling (TZS) per metric ton (MT)

    Source: Ministry of Industry and Trade of Tanzania, FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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