Seasonal Monitor

Poor seasonal progress reduces harvest prospects for Gu and Belg crops in Somalia, Ethoipia

July 13, 2016

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Not mapped
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 2.0 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 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
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
Not mapped
Concentration of displaced people – hover over maps to view food security phase classifications for camps in Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda.
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.
Partners: 
USGS

Key Messages

  • Improved rainfall in April and early May helped to offset rainfall deficits that had become significant in many parts of the Eastern Horn, largely due to a late start of season and below-average rainfall in March. However, prospects for Belg cereal production in Ethiopia are moderately below average, and prospects are for below average Gu cereal production in Somalia, where Gu crops were worse affected by more erratically distributed rainfall and an early end to the season.  

  • June generally marks the onset of main season rainfall in Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Sudan, as the tropical rainfall system (ITCZ) pushes further north. In Ethiopia and South Sudan, rainfall generally began on time, while rainfall in Sudan began slightly earlier than normal in southern areas.  Rainfall since June 1 has been above average in most areas, except in parts western and northeastern Ethiopia, southern South Sudan, and South Kordofan in Sudan. 

  • Based on recent forecasts, moderate to heavy rainfall is expected to continue over much of South Sudan, southern Sudan, western and central Ethiopia, northern Uganda, and western Kenya.  

Seasonal Progress

Overall, total rainfall between March and May, which is an agriculturally important period in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and southern Somalia, was average to slightly above average (Figure 1), despite  a delayed onset and early season rainfall deficits in March. In addition, rainfall was above average for much of western, central, and northeastern Ethiopia, Djibouti, northern Somalia, and Yemen. The increased rainfall even led to flooding in areas of northeastern Ethiopia worst affected by drought in 2015. However, total rainfall in most parts of the Eastern Horn, such as southern Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northeastern Tanzania, was between 50 and 80 percent of average. In southeastern/coastal Kenya, rainfall was less than 50 percent of normal, with rainfall in some areas less than 25 percent of average.   

June generally marks the onset of main season rainfall in Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Sudan, as the tropical rainfall system (ITCZ) pushes further north. In Ethiopia and South Sudan, rainfall generally began on time, while rainfall in Sudan began slightly earlier than normal in southern areas.  Rainfall since June 1 has been above average in most areas, except in parts of western and northeastern Ethiopia, southern South Sudan, and South Kordofan in Sudan (Figure 2). 

The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) suggests vegetation levels are above average over much of Ethiopia, parts of southwestern and central Somalia, and northern Kenya (Figure 3). Meanwhile, vegetation in southeastern Kenya, and the southern coastal strip of Somalia remains below average following below-average seasonal rains.

The following is a country-by-country summary of recent seasonal progress to date:

  • In Ethiopia, rainfall increased substantially in April and May in Belg-dominant areas following a delayed and below-average start to the season in March. The increased rainfall led to flooding in parts of Oromia, Afar, and Somali Regions, where some crop and livestock losses have been reported. Overall, Belg production is expected to be moderately below average due to the poor start of season and flood-related losses. In a few areas where Belg production is minor, such as East and West Hararghe, agricultural households did not plant for the Belg at all due to the poor start of season and instead have planted longer-cycle crops that will be harvested with the rest of the Meher crops. Kiremt (June to September) rainfall began 10 to 20 days early in many areas, and has been above average since June 1 in Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambela, and western areas of Amhara and Oromia. In other Kiremt-receiving areas, performance has been more mixed, with pockets of above-average and below-average rainfall emerging.
  • In Somalia, the April to June Gu season has been below average in much of southern and central Somalia. In the south, cumulative rainfall in parts of Bay, Bakool, and Gedo was average or above average, depending on the area, but was poorly distributed over time. In Hirran, Lower and Middle Shabelle, and Lower and Middle Juba, rainfall began late, was below average, and had poor temporal and spatial distribution. Gu rainfall ceased atypically early in May. As a result, Gu crop production is expected to be below average in most southern and central regions. In the northwest, rainfall was average in most areas, improving rangeland conditions and water resources. However, in the northeast, rainfall was largely below average and failed to restore pasture and water resources. In southern Somalia where irrigated agriculture schemes benefit from upstream rainfall and river flows, eMODIS/NDVI images show significantly above-average vegetation and cropping conditions.
  • In Kenya, the long rains (which peak between March and May) were above average in terms of total rainfall in most high-to-medium potential agricultural production areas of western Kenya. Despite the favorable cropping conditions, production is expected to be only average due to the late delivery of subsidized and sub-standard fertilizer. However, below-average rainfall is expected to result in significantly reduced yields in southeastern and coastal marginal production areas. This also includes parts of the pastoral zones of northern Kenya, with Marsabit and eastern Sambura Counties, which resulted in limited pasture regeneration.  
  • In South Sudan, the April to June rainy season in Greater Equatoria started and time and has been largely above average in terms of cumulative rainfall. In parts of central and eastern Equatoria States, rainfall was slightly delayed and erratically distributed, but above-average rainfall in late May and much of June has compensated for early season rainfall deficits. These improvements should continue as seasonal rainfall continues in the coming weeks. The June to September main rainy season in northern South Sudan has started on time and been above average in terms of total cumulative rainfall.
  • In Sudan, seasonal rainfall has begun between 10-30 days early in many southern areas of Sudan, while rainfall in isolated areas of western Sudan was delayed by about 10 days. The season has not yet begun in northern areas of the country, which is climatologically normal. Since June 1, most areas of Sudan (reaching up to northern North Kordofan) have received rainfall above average by 25 to 100 mm, including high-producing areas such as Gadaref. The exception is South Kordofan, where rainfall in some areas has been below average by 25 to 50 mm.
  • In Uganda, first season (March to June) rainfall in bi-modal areas improved significantly during April and May, despite an erratic onset and early season rainfall deficits. However, an early end to seasonal rainfall in mid to late May has reduced first season harvest prospects in eastern, bi-modal areas of Uganda. In unimodal areas of northeastern Uganda, the start of main season (April to September) rainfall was delayed by 10 to 20 days. As in bi-modal areas, rainfall improved in April and May, but then a longer-than-usual dry spell stretching from mid-May to mid-June has reduced harvest prospects.
  • In Tanzania, Msimu (February to April) rainfall in unimodal areas was generally well above average starting in early April, but then subsided in May and was mainly confined to coastalal areas. Meanwhile, in bimodal areas, Masika (March to May) rainfall was mostly average or above average, but rainfall in northeastern Tanzania was below-average, leading to prospects for below-average green and dry harvests from June through August.
  • In Djibouti and Yemen, total rainfall between March and May was generally above average, with a few localized areas in southeastern and northwestern Yemen receiving below-average rainfall. Vegetation conditions remain above average, as depicted by NDVI.
  • Main season (February to April) rainfall in Burundi, and Season B (February to May) rainfall in Rwanda was also generally slightly above average starting in early April. Overall, cumulative seasonal rainfall was generally average, and the rainy season ended as normal in early June.

Forecast

With the end of El Niño conditions in May and the increased likelihood for mild La Niña conditions to start to be present in July and August, there is an increased likelihood for rainfall to be above average over many northern areas of the region between July and September, especially in western and central Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, northern Uganda and western Kenya, where June to September rainfall is important for agricultural and pastoral production.

The short-term NOAA/GFS rainfall forecast (Figure 4) through July 27, 2016 shows the continuation of June to September seasonal rains. In northern areas, rainfall is likely to be widespread and reach up 75 to 100 mm in many areas. In many areas of western Ethiopia and isolated areas of western Sudan, rainfall is forecast to exceed 200 mm.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Horn and much of Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are expected to be normally sunny and dry in the coming weeks, but with the highlands remaining relatively cool with light rains. Parts of southern Somalia are also expected to experience light rains in the coming weeks. This should help ease the long dry spell observed since May and generate some pasture. 

About this Report

The seasonal monitor, produced by the FEWS NET USGS regional scientist and FEWS NET Regional Technical Manager, updates rainfall totals, the impact on production, and the short-term forecast. It is produced every 20 days during the production season. Find more remote sensing information here.

 

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