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Food insecurity will ease after harvests and October to December rains

  • Food Security Outlook
  • East Africa
  • October 2014 - March 2015
Food insecurity will ease after harvests and October to December rains

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  • Key Messages
  • Outlook by country
  • Events that might change the scenario
  • Key Messages
    • About 12.4 million people in East Africa are in need of humanitarian assistance. As of October, the majority were in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in northeastern Djibouti, eastern and northeastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, southern and central Somalia, western and southern Sudan, and the Greater Upper Nile States in South Sudan. Significant populations remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in these countries and in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and northeastern Uganda.

    • Average to slightly above average October to December rainfall is forecast for most of the eastern Horn of Africa, including southeastern Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, eastern Kenya, and northern Tanzania. As a result, many areas are expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from January to March.

    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will continue through March in areas that have had drier recent seasons including pastoral areas in northern and southern Djibouti, southern and northeastern Afar, eastern Amhara and Tigray Regions, and the lowlands of East and West Hararghe and West Arsi Zones in Oromia Region in Ethiopia.

    • Overall, staple food prices have declined in areas where green and dry harvests are ongoing, including in Sudan, South Sudan, western Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. However, atypically high food prices have persisted in Rwanda and Burundi, attributed to successive poor harvests in 2014. Constrained production and limited market access have sustained above average food prices in the conflict-affected areas including the Greater Upper Nile States in South Sudan, localized parts of southern and central Somalia, and northern Kenya.

    • Prolonged conflict and insecurity in many parts of the Greater Upper Nile States in South Sudan, southern and western Sudan, southern and central Somalia, and localized areas of northern Kenya have led to reduced labor income, limited access to humanitarian assistance, and limited market access for poor households. In some areas, Crisis or Emergency (IPC Phase 3 or 4) is likely to persist through at least March 2015.

    • Levels of global acute malnutrition (GAM) persistently exceed 15 percent in many areas of East Africa. Areas of particular concern include northern Kenya, southern and central Somalia, conflict-affected Greater Upper Nile States of South Sudan, and North Darfur and Red Sea States in Sudan. The high burden of acute malnutrition is attributed to household food insecurity, a high prevalence of child morbidity, and chronic underlying factors. The onset of the short rains will likely cause an upsurge in disease, heightening acute malnutrition.


    Outlook by country
    Djibouti
    • The near-average Karan/Karma rains between July and September helped regenerate pasture and improve water resources in most rural areas, with the exception of the Southeastern Pastoral Border livelihood zone (3B) and rural areas in Obock Region, where there was a poorer distribution of rainfall.
    • Based on forecasts for normal to below-normal Xays/Daada rains between October and March, there should be a slight improvement in the food security situation, but households in Southeastern Pastoral Border livelihood zone and rural areas of Obock will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) or in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
    • Poor households have been resorting to unsustainable coping strategies to meet their food needs since reductions in food assistance took effect in 2013.

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

    Ethiopia
    • Following average to above-average June to September Kiremt rainfall, an average Meher crop 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 (Figure 1) 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.

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

    Kenya
    • Food security deteriorated during the August to October lean season, especially in the northern pastoral areas and the marginal agricultural areas. An estimated 1.5 million people remain acutely food insecure in these areas.
    • Household food security is expected to improve in the southeastern marginal agricultural areas starting in November due to availability of short-cycle crops, increased household incomes, and the expected stability or decline in food prices. The majority of households will move to None (IPC Phase 1) by January or February, when the short rains harvest becomes available.
    • In the pastoral areas, improvements in rangeland conditions due to the short rains are expected to improve household food security, as livestock products become available and household income increase. Most households will move from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) by March 2015.

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

    Rwanda
    • Poor households in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral, Eastern Congo Nile Highland Subsistence Farming, and Bugesera Cassava livelihood zones currently are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to increased market dependence during the lean season, above-average food prices, and below-average wages.
    • Despite erratic rainfall in September, Season A planting continued in October, and harvests are expected to be near average, except for cassava. Below-average cassava production is expected due to the spread of Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) in Bugesera.
    • Food security is expected to improve across the country starting in January 2015, as harvesting begins. Season A harvests will replenish household food stocks, stabilize staple food prices, and increase income earning opportunities for the poor.

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

    Somalia
    • Over one million people will remain in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) through December 2014. The most food insecure people are in northern Gedo (Figure 2), Bakool, Hiraan, and the coastal areas of the central regions. The primary drivers of food insecurity in these areas are hot and dry conditions during recent seasons, the low supply of locally produced cereals, and disruptions to trade.
    • Food security is expected to improve between January and March 2015, particularly in pastoral areas. Expected improvement will come from improved livestock body conditions and production, the anticipated average to above-average Deyr harvest in January/February 2015, and income from agricultural labor opportunities. Some pastoral areas in the central and northern regions are expected to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1).
    • In the event of severe river floods along the Shabelle and Juba Rivers, a strong possibility with heavy Deyr rainfall in the area and in the rivers’ catchments in the Ethiopian highland, food security outcomes in riverine areas are likely to deteriorate from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3), if floods hinder agriculture and trade.

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

    South Sudan
    • Harvests are underway country-wide, improving household access to food. However, in the conflict-affected states of Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Unity, production deficits of 30 to 50 percent have limited recovery from prolonged food deficits earlier this year, especially among poor and displaced households who rely on sharing through kinship to access food.
    • Nearly one million people will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in the Greater Upper Nile region during the harvest period from October to December.
    • Escalation of conflict in early 2015 is expected to cause new, large-scale displacement, prevent market recovery, and limit access to food and income sources. An early onset of the lean season and significant reductions in food and income sources will result in growing food gaps from January to July. Very poor households will likely deplete assets in order to offset food gaps.
    • A rapid deterioration in food security outcomes is expected starting in early 2015 and will worsen from April to July when an estimated 40 percent of the population in Greater Upper Nile will face significant food consumption deficits. During this period, acute food insecurity will intensify and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in much of Unity, central Jonglei, and southern Upper Nile.

    An Outlook report is not available for South Sudan, but additional information can be found here.

    Sudan
    • Harvests in October improved food availability and access as well as the incomes and purchasing power of poor households. Increased supplies of cereals to markets have put downward pressure on prices, although sorghum and millet prices remain well above average (Figure 3). Insecurity and displacement limited improvements in food security in Darfur and South Kordofan, where acute food insecurity persists.
    • An estimated 3.5 million people in Sudan are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) or in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). This represents a reduction in the size of the food insecure population by roughly one third since the peak of the lean season in September.
    • Above-average 2014/15 harvests are expected across most of Sudan. Favorable rainfall performance, increased access to credit, and high prices this year encouraged farmers to expand area planted. Especially in central and eastern surplus-producing areas, area planted for sorghum crops increased by up to 20 percent. Above-average production will continue to improve consumption and ease food insecurity through the first quarter of next year.

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

    Uganda
    • In bimodal areas, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) is expected through March 2014. Most of the country received average to above-average seasonal rainfall and had a timely start of season. Normal land preparation, planting, and weeding activities are ongoing, and households will likely start green harvest consumption early, by November.
    • In Karamoja, households are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) after the third year of below‐average harvests and extended lean seasons. Seasonal incomes are below average. Livestock prices remain favorable, but sales are limited by a quarantine for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). The situation will likely continue through March 2014, with a one to two month early start of the lean season in January.
    • Markets nationwide are well-stocked with staple commodities, which have been keeping prices low since August. This trend is likely to continue through December with the anticipated early start of the harvest. Food access for the poor remains favorable. National stocks are expected regionally to help meet food needs for Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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

    Countries monitored remotely1

    Burundi
    • Season A 2015 planting is almost complete across the country. Average to above-average rainfall is expected from October to December, and Season A harvest prospects are favorable. Average production is expected.
    • Staple food prices remain above their five-year averages in many markets across the country. High prices are due to Season B production deficits, particularly in Northeastern livelihood zones.
    • Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is expected to persist among poor households in the Northeast until December, when food availability and access will improve with the Season A harvests. Most poor households will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from December through March.

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

    Tanzania
    • In the northeastern, bimodal lowlands, low maize production has weakened agricultural labor demand. Poor households who supply this labor will have less income for food purchase and will likely be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) starting in December.
    • In the Central Rift Valley in Dodoma and Singida Regions which had very low Msimu production this year, assistance will likely not arrive until December, a month later than originally expected.
    • Most households nationwide will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through March due to adequate household stocks from recent harvests in both bimodal and unimodal areas, abundant labor opportunities, and low and stable food prices. Milk availability and favorable livestock conditions will ensure food access for pastoralists and agropastoralists.

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

    1 With 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.


    Events that might change the scenario

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

    Area

    Event

    Impact on food security outcomes

    Eastern Horn of Africa including southeastern Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, eastern Kenya, and northern Tanzania

    Below-average October to December rains

    Below-average October to December 2014 rains would be the second or third below-average season in succession in some parts of the eastern Horn, resulting in well below-average crop harvests and reduced livestock production. Food security for a significant number of poor households would likely deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse.

    South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda

    Implementation of peace agreements, leading to reduced conflict in South Sudan forestalling population displacements refugees from South Sudan into neighboring countries

    Improved cross-border trade between South Sudan and Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda, access to grazing for livestock from Sudan to South Sudan, and increased access to humanitarian assistance for displaced populations and poor households would likely follow. Peace agreements that were kept would likely lead to increased household food supply and milk availability. Producer prices would also improve for surplus producers in both Sudan and South Sudan where marketing was curtailed by conflict and insecurity. Overall food security outcomes would likely improve from Crisis or Emergency (IPC Phase 3 or 4) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    Northeastern Kenya, southern and central Somalia, and Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile in Sudan

    Increased conflict and insecurity

    Limited access to markets, pasture, water, and humanitarian assistance would likely deepen food insecurity to Crisis or Emergency (IPC Phase 3 or 4) in spite of favorable rainfall prospects in the eastern Horn and favorable production in Sudan.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Mature, stunted maize in Shala Woreda, West Arsi Zone, Oromia, September 24, 2014

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Mature, stunted maize in Shala Woreda, West Arsi Zone, Oromia, September 24, 2014

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2. Local quality goat to red sorghum terms of trade (ToT) in Dolow, Gedo Region, June 2011 to September 2014, in kg of sorghum per goat sale

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Local quality goat to red sorghum terms of trade (ToT) in Dolow, Gedo Region, June 2011 to September 2014, in kg of sorghum per goat sale

    Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit-Somalia (FSNAU)/FEWS NET

    Figure 3. Nominal retail sorghum price in Kadugli in 2014 compared to last year and the five-year average

    Figure 4

    Figure 3. Nominal retail sorghum price in Kadugli in 2014 compared to last year and the five-year average

    Source: FEWS NET/FAMIS

    Figure 5

    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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