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Rains have been delayed in the eastern sector of the Horn of Africa

  • Food Security Outlook
  • East Africa
  • November 2013 - March 2014
Rains have been delayed in the eastern sector of the Horn of Africa

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  • Key Messages
  • Outlook by country
  • Events that might change the outlook
  • Key Messages
    • While food insecurity has declined from a peak in September 2011, an estimated 11.1 people across the region remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) down from 14.5 million in 2011. Significant improvements were found many parts of Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Ethiopia due to access to humanitarian assistance, the succession of near normal production seasons, reduced conflict, and improved macroeconomic conditions.
    • Yet, Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) are likely to persist through March in northeastern Amhara, southeastern Tigray, and eastern Oromia in Ethiopia, some northeastern and southern pastoral areas of Ethiopia, Hiraan Agropastoral and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones, Bari Region in Somalia, South Kordofan in Sudan, and Pibor County in South Sudan. The poorer outcomes in these areas are attributed to below normal rainfall, the impacts of conflict, and limited access to humanitarian assistance among other factors.
    • The October to December rains became established by mid-November across most parts of the region. They were considerably late in southern Somalia, eastern Kenya, and northern Tanzania. Overall, normal to below normal October to December rains are anticipated. However, anomalous warming of the Red Sea is likely to result in improved rainfall in parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, and northern Somalia through December.
    • The general downward trend in food prices in South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania is expected to decrease food insecurity from December through March 2014. However, prices will not decline as much as usual due to below average maize output during the March to June production season in Uganda and high demand for exports. The anticipated below average November to January sorghum harvest in Sudan will similarly result in atypical early depletion of food stocks and reduced exports to Eritrea and South Sudan, increasing the number of food insecure people from January through March 2014.
    • Following the formalization of the September agreement that is intended to improve relations between Sudan and South Sudan, exports of staple foods from Sudan to South Sudan, access to labor opportunities in Sudan by South Sudanese households, access to grazing rangelands in South Sudan by Sudan’s Messeriya pastoralists, and shared oil revenues should all increase, gradually increasing food security in some areas.

    Outlook by country


    Poor households in the Southeastern and Northwestern Pastoral livelihood zones will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only due to the presence of humanitarian assistance through March 2014. Humanitarian assistance is provided to 60 to 80 percent of rural households and is expected to continue through March 2014. About 44,000 of the rural population are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the presence of humanitarian assistance. Regeneration of rangelands and improved livestock body conditions and terms of trade are insufficient support to household food security because of low livestock holdings which contributed up to 15 percent of household income in a May 2013 survey.

    To learn more, read the complete Djibouti Food Security Outlook


    Food security for poor households in most eastern areas is currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and expected to remain that way through December. It will deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from January to March 2014 in northeastern Amhara, eastern and southern Tigray, and in the lowlands of East Hararghe Zone in Oromia. Food access for poor households will be constrained due to a locally below average Belg crop in June, likely below average Meher harvests from October to January, and above average sorghum prices. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is also likely to persist through March 2014 in pastoral areas in northeastern Afar, Sitti Zone in northern Somali Region, and southeastern Somali Region from January through March, attributed principally to limited livestock productivity following a succession of poor seasons coupled with low livestock holdings. Overall, 2.7 million people currently remain in Stressed and Crisis (IPC Phases 2 and 3).

    To learn more, read the complete Ethiopia Food Security Outlook.


    An estimated 850,000 people, predominately poor households in pastoral, agropastoral, and marginal agricultural livelihood zones are anticipated to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through January 2014. Household food security is expected to improve from December through March because of enhanced livestock productivity in pastoral areas and increased household food supply from the short rains harvest from February to March in marginal areas. However, impacts of the expected below normal October to December short rains coupled with constrained labor opportunities will likely moderate improved food security.

    To learn more, read the complete Kenya Food Security Outlook.


    Due to below-average household food stocks, high prices, and increased numbers of refugees and returnees, food security outcomes for poor households in the Eastern Congo-Nile Highland Subsistence Farming livelihood zone, the Western Congo-Nile Crest Tea livelihood zone, and the Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood zone are deteriorating. Although poor households will increase livestock sales and enhance migration in search of labor opportunities, an estimated 260,000 people will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the next harvest in December and January. However, acute food insecurity will decline to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from January to March 2014 for most poor households.

    To learn more, read the complete Rwanda Food Security Outlook.


    Poor households in Hiraan Agropastoral and the Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones in the central regions will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through December 2013. High debt levels, limited livestock holdings, reduced access to markets and humanitarian assistance due to insecurity, and eroded social support will likely lead to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) for poor households in Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone from January through March. Deepening food insecurity is likely to increase the rates of child malnutrition from Critical to Very Critical levels through December. Impacts of a succession of poor seasons, high water prices, declining terms of trade, low livestock holdings, and limited humanitarian assistance will result in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) for poor households in Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone and the Sool Plateau in Bari Region from January through March 2014. Overall, an estimated 870,000 people are expected to remain in Crisis and Emergency  (IPC Phases 3 and 4) through December 2013.

    To learn more, read the complete Somalia Food Security Outlook.

    South Sudan

    Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to persist through December 2013 in Pibor County in Jonglei State as civil insecurity continues to limit access to markets, livestock, and humanitarian assistance. An estimated 100,000 people, or 70 percent of the population are displaced, and they face significant food consumption gaps. From January to March, food security is likely to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with the presence of humanitarian assistance, attributed to likely increases in both humanitarian assistance and access to fish. In Abyei, households will continue to rely on markets and humanitarian assistance to meet basic food needs, and they will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through at least March. Food insecurity for households in flood-affected areas in Jonglei, Unity, Lakes, and Warrap States are expected to deteriorate from Minimal (IPC Phase 1) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from January through March, due to displacement from the floods and the loss of crops. According to the multi-agency food security group, an estimated 1.2 million people in South Sudan faced Stressed and Crisis (IPC Phases 2 and 3) by the end of October.

    To learn more, read the complete South Sudan Food Security Outlook.


    Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely to persist among internally displaced persons (IDPs) and poor households in Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North- (SPLM-N-) controlled areas of South Kordofan. However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) will be prevalent among IDPs and in SPLM-N-controlled areas in Blue Nile and among newly displaced persons in Darfur through at least March. Humanitarian assistance for existing IDPs in Darfur and returnees will maintain poor households in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only due to the presence of humanitarian assistance. The harvest is estimated to be 30 to 40 percent below the five-year average in central and eastern surplus-producing areas of Sudan, which will increase prices of food and fuel. Limit access to labor and humanitarian assistance in conflict-affected areas are expected to sustain Stressed and Crisis (IPC Phases 2 and 3) in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur. However, anticipated implementation of the September agreements with South Sudan could mitigate constrained food access by improving trade and labor exchanges for South Sudan from January through March. Overall, about 3.3 million people in Sudan faced Stressed and Crisis (IPC Phases 2 and 3) mostly driven by the impacts of conflict as of October 2013.

    To learn more, read the complete Sudan Food Security Outlook.


    Stressed (IPC Phase 2) will continue through March 2014 in the Karamoja region in northeastern Uganda, principally due to a succession of poor seasons coupled with this year’s agricultural production being 30 to 50 percent below the five-year average, with especially poor agricultural production in the northern districts of Napak, Kaabong, Kotido, and parts of Moroto. Projected early exhaustion of household stocks, lower incomes from crop sales, atypically high food prices, a lower than normal availability of labor opportunities through the April to July lean season, and low livestock holdings will drive poor households to the market as early as January or February, triggering an early start to the lean season. However, inter-annual humanitarian assistance targeting 155,000 people will likely mitigate further deterioration in household food security. An additional 400,000 people are targeted for a Cash-for-Work safety net program between now and March.

    To learn more, read the complete Uganda Food Security Outlook.

    Countries monitored remotely1


    An estimated 270,000 poor people in the Plateaux Humides and Congo Ridge Millet livelihood zones will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) at least until the start of the December Season A harvests. Household food stocks are low as the lean season began a month earlier than usual in September. In addition, labor opportunities are constrained by fewer local agricultural activities than usual, limited migration to Tanzania due in part to recent expulsions of Burundian nationals accused of being illegal immigrants, and a growing population of refugees, returnees, and IDPs, now nearing 190,000 people. However, food security is expected to improve from December when Season A harvests begin. Subsequently, the areas will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from January through March 2014.

    To learn more, read the complete Burundi Remote Monitoring Update.


    Stressed (IPC Phase 2) will persist through December among poor households in the banana-growing areas of Kagera, following constrained access to food due to lowered yields of banana and cassava which were attributed to plant diseases. However, food insecurity should decrease after the Vuli harvest in December, and most poor households will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1). Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is expected through March in the central marginal areas of Dodoma due to reduced household food access attributed to poor crop production, higher than average maize prices in part due to a higher than average government procurement price, and an outbreak of Newcastle disease among chicken flocks in September.

    To learn more, read the complete Tanzania Remote Monitoring Update.

    Events that might change the outlook

    Table 1: Possible events over the next six months that could change the most-likely scenario



    Impact on food security outcomes

    The Greater Mandera Triangle in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia

    October to December rainfall extends through January, compensating for the late onset

    Livestock kidding, lambing, and calving increases milk availability. Livestock values improve, and livestock migration is limited because of improved rangeland resources. Subsequently, income and milk availability is improved at the household level, improving food security outcomes.

    Sudan and South Sudan

    The September agreements between Sudan and South Sudan are not implemented

    Larger areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to increased tensions and sporadic conflict limiting access to cross-border markets, migration routes for pastoralists from Sudan into South Sudan, labor movement of laborers from Upper Nile State in South Sudan to Blue Nile, White Nile, and Sinar States in Sudan, and access to humanitarian assistance.

    Southern Somalia, southeastern and northwestern Djibouti, and Pibor County in South Sudan

    Absence or delays of planned humanitarian assistance

    Food insecurity deepens to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in areas where worsening outcomes are mitigated by the presence of humanitarian assistance


     1With remote monitoring, an analyst typically works from a nearby regional office, relying on a network of partners for data. Compared to countries above, where FEWS NET has a local office, reporting on remote monitoring countries may offer less detail


    Figure 1


    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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