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Favorable March to May rains expected to improve food security in many areas

  • Food Security Outlook
  • East Africa
  • May - October 2013
Favorable March to May rains expected to improve food security in many areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Regional Overview
  • Areas of Concern
  • Events that Might Change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • Food security outcomes are improving in many areas even as 12.9 million people remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Rwanda (Figure 1). The current figure is less than the 14.9 million food insecure people from December 2012, the most significant improvements occurring in Somalia and Kenya, principally attributed to favorable production prospects from the second average to above average rainy season in a row. 

    • Although food security outcomes are anticipated to improve further from July through September in many parts of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania due to favorable March to May seasons’ production, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely to persist through September in parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Sudan. Some conflict-affected parts of  Sudan will move into Emergency (IPC Phase 4) (Figures 1 and 2). 

    • Conflict in Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia, heightened food prices in South Sudan, Ethiopia, and northeastern Uganda compared to normal post-harvest price trends, limited labor opportunities among many poor households in the region—often due to flooding and conflict, and the impacts of a succession of poor seasons in 2011 and 2012 along with underlying chronic food insecurity will mitigate more substantive improvements after a succession of good seasons since October 2012.

    Regional Overview
    Current Situation

    Improvements in household food security that started toward the end of 2012 and in early 2013 are consolidating in many areas including in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda. However, food security remains precarious for the estimated 12.9 million people in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi who continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of acute food insecurity. Although the number remains high, it is a substantial reduction from the estimated 14.9 million people at the end of 2012. Factors that have improved food security in significant areas include the normal to above normal March and April rains, average to above average food and livestock production during the last season, improved access to trade, grazing, and humanitarian response, increased milk availability, improved macroeconomic indicators such as lowered consumer inflation rates, and declining civil insecurity.

    In Ethiopia, the Belg rains that normally start in February were delayed by three to four weeks in the northeastern highlands and parts of East and West Hararghe Zones in Oromia Region. The March to May rains have been mostly well above-normal in terms of amount in the receiving areas, including in Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, parts of eastern Ethiopia, and southern and central Somalia. The onset of the rains was largely timely or even slightly early in March. Most areas that experienced a slightly delayed onset have recovered from early season rainfall deficits.

    Favorable early and mid-season rains in most cropping areas in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Somalia have raised prospects for normal to above normal production, assuming that rains will continue through the end of the cropping season. However, crop damage has occurred in localized areas of Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, due to flooding and the absence of sufficient seeds and fertilizer. Late rains in some Belg-producing areas of Ethiopia are also expected to cause a reduction in yields and overall production in the affected areas.

    Grazing resources, pasture, water, and browse have regenerated across most areas that depend on the March to May rains except in localized areas of Afar and northern Somali Regions in Ethiopia. Livestock in pastoral and agropastoral areas of Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Tanzania have returned back from dry-season grazing areas. Body conditions are average to good. Milk availability has improved as small stock that conceived during the dry season begin to kid and lamb in many pastoral and agropastoral areas of the region that receive the March to May rains.

    While many parts of the region have experience significant improvements in food security, areas of concern remain. The southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas, the major sweet potato-growing zones and dominantly Belg-producing southern woredas of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), the eastern marginal Meher-producing areas, and Afar and northern Somali Region in Ethiopia have all had a succession of poorly producing seasons, and they are likely to remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Adverse impacts of ongoing conflict in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur in Sudan, in Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile States in South Sudan, and in parts of southern Somalia such as the Juba Valley will likely sustain food insecurity at Stressed and Crisis (IPC Phase 2 and 3) through September. Higher than normal food prices are reducing purchasing capacities in parts of Ethiopia, South Sudan, northeastern Uganda, and Burundi. Flooding has caused displacement, loss of life, and loss of productive assets in the flood plains of Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, and Ethiopia. In most of these areas, at least Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity will be prevalent through September. The individual country sections below provide further detail on exact classifications for affected areas and livelihood zones. However, underlying the recurrent shocks and hazards is a situation of chronic food insecurity among the majority of poor households in East Africa.

    • The current, above normal rains will continue through the end of the season in late May or early June in northern and western Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, the Lake Victoria basin, in western, southern, and northeastern Kenya, in southern and central Somalia, and in parts of eastern Ethiopia, facilitating crop and livestock production.
    • Normal June to September rains are expected in the northern sector including western and central Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, northern Somalia, and Djibouti, strengthening the recovery process. However, poorer rains could occur in northeastern Amhara, South Tigray, northern Afar, and northern Somali Regions in Ethiopia.
    • Anticipation of good rains in Sudan, South Sudan, western Ethiopia, and northwestern Somalia is likely to cause an increase in area put to crops during the sowing period for the June to September rainy season.
    • Staple food prices are likely to increase between April and June in most markets in Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, northern Uganda, and Somalia as the past season’s harvest is exhausted.
    • Conflict is expected to continue and in some instances intensify in West Darfur, in Jonglei, especially in Pibor County in South Sudan, and in southern Somalia, especially in the Juba Valley, causing additional displacement and constraining access to trade, humanitarian assistance, and labor opportunities.
    • There is likely to be an influx of people from South Sudan into Abyei Area in preparation for the referendum in October, further constraining resources and access to food and labor. This may exacerbate the already precarious food security situation.
    • An expected increase in oil production following the restart of oil production in April and a subsequent increase in oil revenues is anticipated to lower the rate of inflation and slow down the depreciation of the currencies of South Sudan (SSP) and Sudan (SDG) against the U.S. dollar (USD).
    • Delivery of humanitarian assistance will likely be constrained by conflict in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur in Sudan, Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile States in South Sudan, and southern Somalia. Delays in delivery of humanitarian assistance and nutritional support may continue in Ethiopia.
    • Agricultural labor is likely to decline between April and June as the labor-intensive land preparation and planting seasons are over, particularly in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, Belg-producing areas in the southern special woredas in SNNPR in Ethiopia, and Burundi.
    • In some other areas, agricultural labor opportunities have been delayed due to flooding including in riverine areas in Somalia and Ethiopia and in parts of Kenya and Uganda.
    • Livestock prices in the eastern sector are anticipated to rise due to improved livestock body conditions and productivity, coupled with increased demand during Ramadan during July/August in the pastoral areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti.
    • Cross-border inflows of food commodities from Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda into Kenya and South Sudan are anticipated to increase between June and September, lowering food prices in adjacent markets of both countries as supplies increase.
    • Migration of livestock to dry-season grazing areas is likely to begin later than usual in August, instead of late June or early July, because of mostly above normal rainfall and extensive regeneration of pasture, browse, and water in the pastoral areas of Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.
    • The Productive Safety Nets Program (PSNP) will continue for 6.89 million people in Ethiopia from January to July, while humanitarian assistance will continue to support about 60 percent of Djibouti’s population.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Favorable March to May rains have consolidated the recovery process that began in late 2012 in much of the region. Poor households in several areas are anticipated to experience improvements in household food security, through September. Food security is likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in most of Somalia, eastern Ethiopia, central Djibouti, in the pastoral and marginal cropping areas of Kenya, in South Sudan outside the eastern, central, and western equatorial zones, in most of Darfur, in northeastern Sudan, in Karamoja region in Uganda, eastern Rwanda, and parts of Burundi through September. However, food insecurity is likely to deepen or be maintained at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in the conflict-affected areas of South Sudan, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and the southern Darfur States in Sudan, and among internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia. It is likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in northern Afar, southern and western Somalia, southern Tigray, eastern Oromia, eastern Amhara, and eastern SNNPR in Ethiopia, in some agropastoral areas in southern Somalia, and in Djibouti’s Northwest Pastoral livelihood zone. 

    Areas of Concern


    About 3.5 to 3.7 million people in Sudan are at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in April at the beginning of the typical lean season. A precipitous decline in food security is anticipated to occur in the conflict-affected areas controlled by the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Blue Nile and South Kordofan States, primarily due to the continued adverse impacts of conflict. In South Kordofan State, 400,000 to 500,000 people have been affected adversely by conflict, about 150,000 to 200,000 in SPLM-N-controlled areas and about 160,000 to 180,000 displaced in the Government of Sudan (GoS)-controlled areas. An additional 11,000 people have been displaced as a result of fighting between pastoral Messeriya clans in South Kordofan State.

    Poor households in SPLM-N-controlled areas face heightened food prices due to restricted trade flows, limited access to labor opportunities due, in part, to constrained population movements. Household food supply is not expected to meet consumption needs even with increased consumption of wild foods during the coming rainy season. Poor households are likely to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between June and September in SPLM-N-controlled areas as compared to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for poor households in GoS-controlled areas.

    Poor households and IDPs in GoS-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile States have better access to humanitarian assistance and income from urban and agricultural labor. Food prices are relatively more stable in these areas, though high. Similarly, 100,000 people in SPLM-N-controlled areas of Blue Nile State will face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) during the peak lean season from June to September. These poor households have little or no source of cash income, primarily due to constrained labor opportunities due to limited movement to GoS-controlled areas. With the Implementation Matrix likely improving relationships between Sudan and South Sudan, in Blue Nile State, the SPLM-N are likely to move forces further into Blue Nile State increasing the risk of new violence and additional displacement.

    About 200,000 people have been displaced by fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and factions of various Darfur rebel groups in South and East Darfur States over the past three months. The fighting has resulted in death, destruction, and looting of property and household assets in contravention of an April peace agreement between the GoS, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) splinter group, and the Darfur donor meeting. The security situation in Darfur could worsen as rebel groups are likely to move their bases further into Darfur, if the Implementation Matrix between Sudan and South Sudan is fully implemented. Subsequently, food insecurity is likely to remain at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September because of limited income sources, constrained humanitarian access, and constrained food supply to markets impeded by trade disruptions due to the conflict. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will continue among host families and the 1.4 million IDPs in the Darfur States through September, but this will be accentuated by a deterioration in food consumption during the June to September lean season beyond the normal lean season declines in food consumption. Household food stocks will progressively diminish during the lean season, increasing dependence on markets amidst high and rising prices and constrained income-generating activities.

    The recovery process is anticipated to strengthen in the more secure areas of Sudan outside the conflict-affected areas in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and the Darfur States. As oil production restarted in April, oil revenues should gradually increase, reducing inflationary pressure. In addition, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan are easing, in general, facilitating migration of herders into South Sudan thus mitigating the recent deterioration in livestock body conditions and productivity among the Messeriya pastoralists. Expectations of normal June to September rains and a reduction in consumer price inflation are also expected to provide incentives to farmers who are likely to cultivate an average to above average cropped area. Prices of sorghum have already declined in secure areas, and this should further ease pressure on household purchasing capacities. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected to prevail in the secure areas of Sudan through September.

    South Sudan

    About two million people in South Sudan face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The key areas and populations of concern include parts of the Western Flood Plains livelihood zone in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Unity States, parts of the Eastern Flood Plains livelihood zone in Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity States, the Pastoral livelihood zone in Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria States, refugees in Pariang County, in Unity State, and in Maban County in Upper Nile State, and people returning to Abyei ahead of the referendum in October. Below average agricultural production in 2012 in many of the areas of concern resulted in early exhaustion of household food stock, culminating in a one-month earlier-than-normal start to the lean season in April instead of in May. Food prices have risen substantially from March to May and are well above their five-year averages. Trade and migration restrictions have also constrained the availability of various income sources, lowering the purchasing capacities of poor households in the areas of concern. The resumption of oil production and the peace agreements reached between Sudan and South Sudan through the Implementation Matrix is likely to ease increasing food prices by better supplying markets and reducing inflationary pressure, but the positive impacts of agreements could be derailed by ongoing conflict.

    Poor households and areas with large refugee populations in the northern areas of the Western Flood Plains livelihood zone including in Aweil North and East in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, in Twic, in Gogrial West, and Tonj North and East in Warrap State, and in Abbiemnhom and Mayom in Unity State face Crisis (IPC Phase 3). High staple food prices resulting from high transaction costs due to dependence on food imports from Sudan and Uganda, the inability to migrate in search of labor opportunities in Sudan due to border closures, and reduced livestock productivity due to persistent livestock raids in local areas, primarily in Jonglei State, have all combined to accentuate food insecurity for poor households. Livestock raids are likely to increase in other areas with the influx of Messeriya pastoralists from Sudan. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will persist through at least August, when the early maturing sorghum and green harvest is obtained. However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is the likely outcome in areas not directly affected by conflict.

    Similarly, poor households in the Eastern Flood Plains livelihood zone in Akobo, Uror, Nyirol, and Ayod Counties in Jonglei State, in Maban, Manyo, Maiwut, Longechuck, and Nasir Counties in Upper Nile State, and in Pariang County in Unity State face Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Conflict and livestock raiding have displaced an estimated 23,000 people in Akobo County, while floods have caused further displacements leading to loss of life, livestock, and other assets. Poor households also face high food prices due to a combination of poor past seasons in those areas and constrained market access, a result of continued insecurity. Poor households, IDPs, and refugees in Jonglei and Upper Nile States are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September because income sources will be further constrained by conflict, coupled with reduced access to food sources as the May to July lean season intensifies.

    Pastoralists in Pibor County in Jonglei State and Kapoeta County in Eastern Equatoria State currently face Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Insecurity has disrupted livelihoods in Pibor County, causing substantial displacement of an estimated 9,000 people. Conflict has persisted through the past couple of years and planted area was only 24 percent of usual in 2012, precipitating an expansion of the size of the local cereal deficit, which has caused a widening consumption gap for poor households. The conflict has also resulted in increased sales of livestock to facilitate purchase of food at high prices due to constrained ability to supply markets in areas of conflict. Normal grazing patterns have been disrupted by conflict, and livestock are unable to return to normal, seasonal grazing areas. Poor households will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September because conflict continues to impede livestock production.

    Excessive rains in Kapoeta County caused below average crop output during the October to December 2012 harvest, resulting in increased reliance on wild foods. Food prices have increased by up to 40 percent from November 2012 to April 2013, limiting access to food for poor households. While livestock conditions are favorable, livestock are far from homesteads. Poor households have little access to milk and meat. Poor households are likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from August through September as livestock begin to return closer to homesteads, increasing households’ access to milk. Food insecurity is likely to remain at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) for about 73,000 refugees in Pariang County in Unity State, due to the rising numbers of refugees who are residing in very poor sanitary conditions. While the increase in refugee numbers is likely to be lower in Maban County in Unity State, acute food insecurity is likely to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) for about 115,000 refugees from April through June, due to the expected influx of more refugees as fighting continues or intensifies in Blue Nile and South Kordofan States in Sudan.


    An estimated 1.05 million poor people in Somalia face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity, likely to persist through September. There are two key areas of concern, namely, the agropastoral livelihoods in Lower Juba and northern Gedo Regions and Guban Pastoral livelihood zone of the Northwest.

    The majority of poor households in the agropastoral areas of Lower Juba and Gedo are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The main maize-producing Jamame District in Lower Juba is facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as households overwhelmingly depend on maize production, which was very far below average during the January/February Deyr harvest. The locally poor Deyr harvest in February and March increased dependence on markets for most poor households whose purchasing capacities are dampened by low livestock holdings. In addition, most agropastoral areas are controlled by Al Shabaab, and access to trade and humanitarian interventions is limited. Household incomes are likely to increase following the early onset in March of the April to June Gu rains. Income sources have seasonally expanded, including wage labor from land preparation, planting, and weeding, as well as income from sales of milk and livestock. The local green harvest will become available from June. However, trade disruptions due to insecurity may lead to heightened prices of imported food commodities. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will likely persist in Jamame District through June, but it will improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in July with green consumption of Gu crops and the off-season harvest, along with better pasture conditions from June to September Hagaa coastal rains. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will remain in other agropastoral areas through September. However, a number of poor households outside of Jamame District may also face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) at least until June.

    Poor households in Guban Pastoral livelihood zone in the Northwest are coming out of a succession of poor seasons since 2010, and currently are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). While average to above average rainfall amounts in late March caused improved livestock body conditions and increased terms of trade, poor households have low livestock holdings that can hardly support household food access. Fighting between clans within Guban Pastoral livelihood zone have eased, but tensions remain, which may be compromising access to markets and population movements. About a third of poor households in the Guban Pastoral livelihood zone are destitute pastoralists, dependent on remittances, food loans, and collecting construction materials. They are living in temporary housing outside of the villages in West Golis Pastoral livelihood zone. Although significant improvements in livestock terms of trade and food access are anticipated, poor households are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due, in part, to the lag time between livestock conceptions and births.


    An estimated 2.4 million poor people in Ethiopia are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and are likely to remain in these phases through September. The southern and southeastern pastoral areas in southern Somali Region and Borena and Guji Zones in Oromia Region experienced a two-week early start to the March to May Gu/Genna rains. Pasture, browse, and water regeneration have led to the return of livestock to wet-season grazing areas. However, livestock holdings for poor households are low, and pastoralists have experienced a succession of droughts, leading to low livestock productivity. Sorghum and maize prices have increased in the pastoral and agropastoral areas since February due to tightened supplies from previous, locally poor seasons in nearby agropastoral areas and increasing efforts to collect customs duties and tariffs on food imported from Somalia. Flooding has also displaced about 42,000 people in Shabelle (formerly Gode) Zone. Although livestock production is likely to improve over the course of the March to May Gu rains, small herd sizes due to losses in previous droughts will keep most poor pastoralists at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September while the worst-affected poor and very poor households in southern Somali Region are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Although the Belg rains started on time in February in western SNNPR, they were up to four weeks late in other areas. Apart from delayed Belg rains, the March to May sweet-potato harvest has been very low as cuttings were not widely available during the planting period in November/December 2012 and the Sapie rains in December/January, while occurring, did not provide enough soil moisture to lead result in normal yields. Although livestock conditions have improved, livestock holdings per household remain low. Staple food prices are increasing during the February to April lean season. Poor food consumption and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) are likely to persist through June, but reduce to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from July through September as income from labor during the Kiremt rains increases and as food supply increases from the Belg harvest in July.

    Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to remain in the eastern, marginal, Meher-producing areas through September with some exceptions. Poor February to May Belg rains in eastern Amhara and Tigray have resulted in planting of only around 30 percent of average cropped area with Belg crops. Only 15 to 30 percent of average Belg planted area has been planted in East and West Hararghe, attributed to a seed shortage among other factors. However, water, pasture, and browse are more readily available since the start of the Belg rains in March. Food prices increased since February, and poor households are at their most market-dependent. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely to be sustained through September in eastern Amhara, eastern Tigray, and the highlands in East and West Hararghe, even with ongoing humanitarian assistance and safety net programs.

    Following an especially hot and dry January to March dry season, water, pasture, and browse were extensively depleted in Afar. The March to May Sugum rains have yet to relieve water and pasture shortages in central and northeastern Afar, though the rainfall has been somewhat more favorable in other parts of the region. Poor households have benefited from improved income from strong livestock demand in May and food security has improved. In contrast, poor households in the Fafan (formerly Jijiga) Zone in northern Somali have had favorable March to May Gu rains so far, and are anticipated to experience good July to September Karan rains, leading to improved livestock body conditions, milk availability, and heightened livestock prices, facilitating the purchase of staple food. Subsequently, poor households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September.


    An estimated 70,000 poor people are at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in Northwest Pastoral, Central Roadside, and Southeastern Pastoral Border livelihood zones, rural areas in Obock, and Djibouti City and other urban centers. The Southeastern Pastoral Border livelihood zone has experienced a succession of poor rainy seasons including the October 2012 to March 2013 Heys/Dadaa coastal rains. Livestock production prospects are poor, compounded by the likely poor performance of the March to May Diraac/Sugum rains. These rains, so far, have performed erratically with every uneven temporal and spatial distribution. Poor households in the Southeastern Pastoral Border livelihood zone and rural areas in Obock depend on humanitarian assistance and imported food, mostly from Ethiopia. Imported food purchases are primarily paid for by sales of livestock products, a limited amount of urban labor, and charcoal production. Household dietary diversity has declined since March, and poor households are adopting coping strategies, including sharing relief food, increasing sales of livestock, and migration of household members to urban centers in search of labor opportunities. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to persist for poor households in Southeastern Pastoral Border livelihood zone and rural areas in Obock through September.

    Rains in March in Northwestern Pastoral livelihood zone are expected to lead to improvements in livestock productivity and the purchasing capacities of poor households but only for a limited time due to the brevity of the rains in March and April. Little restocking is anticipated before September, suggesting that current improvements will only be sustained through June. About 40 percent of pastoralists are estimated to have poor food consumption, according to Food Consumption Scores (FCS) collected in April 2013, while up to 60 percent of the population depends on humanitarian assistance. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) will prevail through June, deteriorating to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September as the lean season starts in July and food prices increase during Ramadan due to higher demand. Food security for poor households in Djibouti City is upheld by regular food distributions maintaining households at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September. Food security is likely to deteriorate as high prices during the lean season limit the quantity of food purchased, so poor households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).


    Major improvements in food security have occurred since the October to December short rains season in the northern, northwestern, southeastern, and southern pastoral and agropastoral areas and the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas. The recovery process has been further consolidated by the mostly above normal amounts of the March to May long rains across most areas of the country. However, flooding has displaced households in Kwale, Kilifi, and Tana River in Coast, Turkana and Baringo in the Northwest, Narok and Kajiado in Southern Pastoral livelihood zone, and in the flood-prone Lake Victoria basin, resulting in displacements and loss of life, crops, and livestock. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is expected to prevail from April through September for poor households in the pastoral, agropastoral, and marginal agricultural areas. While substantial improvements in sources of income from increased labor and crop and livestock output are anticipated to occur, following the succession of two generally good seasons with the October to December short rains and March to May long rains, poor households are coming out of an extended period of up to four consecutive poor seasons.

    Poor farm households in the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas are likely to have own produced supply for a longer period than usual starting in June/July because of increased planted area during the minor, March to May long rains season. Although poor households have few livestock holdings, milk availability at the household level is also likely to increase. Macroeconomic indicators have generally stabilized or improved after the conclusion of the elections and political transition. However, food prices in April are 28 to 45 percent higher than their five-year averages in major reference markets. They are expected to remain high until the long rains harvest in July and August in western, high potential areas. Households will be able to minimally meet their needs through September, without engaging adverse coping strategies. Similarly, poor pastoral households are anticipated to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September, even as livestock body conditions and terms of trade improve. Poor pastoral households are beginning to rebuild their herds after losing livestock to drought and distress sales over an extended period of four seasons that ended in October 2012. Although livestock prices are improving, food prices are well above average, moderating the anticipated improvement in terms of trade. Increasing insecurity around Kismayo in Somalia will likely reduce access to markets in Somalia for Kenyan livestock, primarily from northeastern Kenya. Nevertheless, the recovery process is likely to extend unusually because livestock are expected to remain in wet-season grazing areas for a longer period because of the current favorable pasture and water conditions in those areas.


    Most areas of Rwanda face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through September with the exception of the Western Congo-Nile Crest Tea, and Eastern Congo-Nile Highland Subsistence Farming, and the Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood zones. The lean season started one month earlier than usual in these livelihood zones due to a below-average December to February season 'A' harvest, a result of below average rainfall amounts that were poorly distributed. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is anticipated to prevail among poor households in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood zone through June, improving to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from July to September after the expected normal season ‘B’ harvest in June. The below average season ‘A’ harvest led to an early depletion of household food stocks and increased dependence on markets.

    An outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) led to imposition of an official quarantine from January through March that prevented cattle movement and trade. The slowed trade’s impact on income from livestock sales was compounded by declining livestock to cereal terms of trade. Wage rates are also currently low because labor supply exceeds the demand and the labor-intensive farm activities like land preparation and planting have already been completed for season ‘B’. Food security for poor households is expected to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from July through September as the season ‘B’ harvests will replenish household food stocks. Poor households who live along the western and eastern Congo-Nile Crest are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through June, because heavy September to November season ‘A’ rains caused flooding and soil erosion, resulting in a below normal season ‘A’ harvest. The presence of over 67,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have also increased competition for labor opportunities, decreased wage rates, and increased the demand for and price of food for poor households. Poor households are meeting their food needs by increasing sales of small stock and migrating to adjacent livelihood zones in search of labor. Those still unable to cover their food needs are reducing their frequency and quantity of consumption. However, poor households will be able to access food again from July through September once harvests begin in June, improving food security to Minimal (IPC Phase 1).


    Most areas of Uganda have received a succession of good seasons, and poor households outside of Karamoja will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through September. However, poor households in Karamoja face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through June. Crop production is increasingly important in Karamoja since livestock holdings have steadily declined since 2008. The October to December harvest was below normal in Karamoja, in part due to extensive waterlogging and fungal plant diseases, both of which reduced yields. Poor households are purchasing between 40 and 60 percent of their food on markets, and food prices peak in April/May. Many poor households are increasing their consumption of wild foods, and they are also depending on humanitarian assistance, increased livestock sales, and intensifying labor migration. Food insecurity is expected to decline from August onward when the green harvest begins.


    Poor households in the bimodal areas and some central areas have low food stocks due to poor Vuli harvests in January/February. High food prices and low households stocks will keep households Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through May, when their food security will improve as the Msimu harvest from southern, unimodal areas begins and leads to decreasing prices across the country. Increased incomes from additional labor opportunities from Masika production are also expected to result in improved food security outcomes with poor households improving to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from May through September. Poor households in the banana-growing areas of Kagera Region are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to reduced banana and cassava production as a result of banana bacterial wilt (BBW) and cassava mosaic virus (CMV). Well below average production of cassava and bananas reduces a key source of both food and income. However, food security is expected to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from May through September when household food stocks are replenished from the Masika harvest in July and incomes increase from labor migration to unimodal areas during the  May to July Msimu harvest.


    Most poor households in Burundi are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to well below average crop yields from the poor December to February season ‘A’ harvest. Poor agricultural output is attributed to crop diseases such as the banana bacterial wilt (BBW) and poor total rainfall that was erratically distributed, which led to unusually high staple food prices. Household food stocks lasted only three months until March as compared to the normal five months through May after the season ‘A’ harvest in December. Market-dependent households have limited access to labor opportunities since land preparation and planting for season ‘B’ had been completed by March. However, food insecurity is likely to lessen after June, and most areas will move into Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from July through September as the season ‘B’ harvest begins in April/May.

    Poor households in the Dépressions de l'Est and Plateaux Humides livelihood zones face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through June, following a below normal season ‘A’ harvest. Household food stocks were exhausted two months earlier than normal in March. Extremely small land holdings averaging only around a quarter of a hectare (ha) limit households’ ability to diversify the crops grown, and this year crop diseases and erratic rains led to a poor harvest in December. An influx of returnees from Uganda and other areas into the Dépressions de l'Est livelihood zone and expectations of an additional 13,000 returnees through September will place additional demand on the seasonally tightening food supply. However, food supply is expected to improve from July onward, when harvesting for season ‘B’ begins. Subsequently, poor households are expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from July through September. 

    Events that Might Change the Outlook



    Impact on food security outcomes

    Sudan, South Sudan, and Meher-producing areas in Ethiopia

    Poor June to September rains

    Limited agricultural production would lead to a rise in food prices and reduction in labor opportunities. A decline in livestock body conditions and productivity would also be likely, leading to constrained purchasing capacities and a substantial deterioration in food security outcomes.

    Southern Sudan, northern South Sudan, and southern and central Somalia

    Conflict and civil insecurity declines in key conflict epicenters

    Increased access to markets, trade,  humanitarian assistance, cropping land, labor opportunities, and grazing resources would lead to improvements in food security outcomes.

    Southern and central Somalia, Belg-producing areas in Ethiopia, cropping areas in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania

    Premature end to the March to June rainy seasons

    Crop development is stunted, leading to poor yields and subsequent earlier than usual depletion of household food stocks. This would lead to increasing food prices as there would be less local market supply and increasing demand for market purchases earlier in the year. Labor opportunities are often limited by the reduced volume of the harvest, reducing purchasing power, resulting in a deterioration of food security outcomes.

    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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