Food Security Outlook

Despite improvements, 870,000 likely in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phase 3 and 4) through December

August 2013

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
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
Concentration of displaced people
Remote monitoring
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.
European Commission
UK Aid
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Cooperazlone Italiana alo Sviluppo
CHF Somalia

Key Messages

  • The number of people in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phase 3 and 4) is now at its lowest since Famine (IPC Phase 5) was declared in parts of southern Somalia in 2011. The fall in the food insecure population is the result of several successive seasons of average to above average rainfall, low food prices, increased livestock prices, increased livestock herd sizes, and sustained humanitarian response. Despite improvements in food security, acute malnutrition rates continue to remain very high, especially in the South.

  • An estimated 870,000 people will be in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phase 3 and 4) from August to December 2013. An estimated additional 2.3 million people, one-third of Somalia’s population, are classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2), and their food security remains fragile.

  • Critical levels of acute malnutrition, defined as global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates exceeding 15 percent were reported in 18 out of 42 population groups surveyed and persist in many parts of South-Central Somalia and among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). One out of six children under the age of five are estimated to be acutely malnourished.

  • Despite an overall nearly average Gu grain harvest, an early end to the unevenly distributed March to June Gu rains led to a very low harvest in agropastoral areas in Hiraan Region. Agropastoral households currently have no cereal stocks, and they are expected to fall into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) at some point between August and December.

  • Sustained lifesaving humanitarian assistance, coupled with interventions aimed at protecting livelihoods and building resilience are essential to prevent further deterioration of food security in Somalia.

National Overview

Current Situation

Rural Areas

The near average to above average total March to May 2013 Gu rainfall in most areas was followed in July and August by a near average Gu harvest in the South. The harvest increased household cereal stocks, helped improve livestock reproduction and value, and helped sustain average milk production levels. Exceptions to the generally favorable climactic conditions include Northwest Agropastoral livelihood zone, which had below average total Gu rainfall. As a result, maize production has been very poor in this area, though the Gu is the secondary season and the Karan harvest in October/November is the primary harvest.

In addition to increased income in recent months and increased access to food in many areas, humanitarian interventions continued between January and July 2013, supporting food access.

There have been some regional variations in the March to June 2013 Gu rains, including:

  • Northwest: In most rural livelihood zones, there were average rains from March to May, which started slightly earlier than the normal seasonal pattern but ceased a month earlier in mid-May. However, above average unseasonal rains fell in most of Guban Pastoral livelihood zone between March and July, which led to pasture regeneration and replenished water sources, thereby improving conditions for livestock.
  • Northeast: The rainfall performance in pastoral areas was fairly average in terms of amounts and evenly distributed, except in Bari Region and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in Nugal and northern Mudug, which had well below average total rainfall during the Gu rainy season. Also, the rains in the eastern sector of Sool and Sanaag Regions were less well distributed both over the area and in terms of their timing.
  • Central regions: Rainfall in most of Hawd and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones and in Central Agropastoral livelihood zone, also known as the cowpea belt, were below average in terms of total rainfall, with poorly spatially distributed during the season. In Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone only sporadic, light showers fell throughout the Gu rainy season.
  • South: Largely spatially well distributed, average to above average total rain fell over most of the South with the exception of Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone and rainfed, agropastoral areas in Lower Shabelle where poor rainfall distribution caused inadequate crop development due to dry spells which coincided with critical periods for crop growth.

As a result of the mostly favorable Gu rains, both the local cereal and cash crop harvests happened on a seasonally normal schedule in most of the South. Total output was near average despite a month delay in planting in the flooded areas along the Shabelle River (Figure 3). Normally, Somalia produces slightly over a quarter of its annual cereal requirements with the Gu harvest historically contributing somewhat more than the Deyr. Maize constitutes nearly two thirds of total Gu cereal production. Gu 2013 maize and sorghum production was estimated at 125,900 metric tons (MT), which is near average at 95 percent of the 1995 to 2012 Gu post-war average (PWA) and 24 percent higher than the 2008 to 2012 five-year average.

However, there was some regional variability in crop performance. Most southern regions, including Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Bakool, Middle Shabelle, and Gedo Regions, had regional Gu cereal production above the 1995 to 2012 PWA. In other regions, cereal production was only slightly below average, including being 97 percent of the PWA in Bay and 85 percent of the PWA in Lower Shabelle. Hiraan Region had the poorest regional performance in the South, as cereal production was only 38 percent of the PWA. In addition to cereals, close to 35,150 MT of cash crops were harvested, which included sesame, rice, groundnuts, cowpeas, and watermelons. Cash crops were also grown in Lower and Middle Shabelle Regions,and there was significant cash crop production in Hiraan, Gedo, and Lower and Middle Juba Regions.

Average to good rangeland conditions were observed in most pastoral livelihoods zones. These have led to improved pasture and water accessibility and consequent improvement in livestock body conditions. However, in Sool Plateau, East Golis, and Dharoor Valley Pastoral livelihood zones in Bari Region and the eastern part of the Nugal Valley in Sool Region below average total Gu rainfall resulted in below average rangeland conditions, which led to faster than usual deterioration of pasture and browse resources and accelerated water depletion.

Pastoral and agropastoral households’ purchasing power as approximated by the livestock to cereals terms of trade (ToT) increased due to high livestock prices relative to reduced cereal prices. However, a decline in ToT was observed in the Shabelles since January due to a sharp increase in maize prices.

Daily casual labor wages play an important role in poor households’ income. They facilitate access to food purchases. Daily labor wages to local cereals ToT for both rural and urban day laborers in most of the regions have increase slightly since February 2013. Notable exceptions include in Awdal, Bari, Bay, Lower Shabelle, Sanaag, and Togdheer Regions where declining daily wage to cereals TOT were observed. In July, across much of the country, urban and agricultural day labor wages to cereals ToT remained significantly higher than last year.

The results of Gu 2013 assessment’s nutrition surveys in June and July showed consistently high levels of acute malnutrition, with global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates exceeding 15 percent in many parts of Somalia. This was true in 18 out of 42 population groups surveyed. Significant regional differences were noted in the prevalence of acute malnutrition, with higher GAM and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rates in South-Central and the Northeast compared to the Northwest.

Due to near average Gu crop production, improved livestock reproduction and productivity, increased livestock market values, and stable or increased casual daily labor rates, food security outcomes for most rural areas of the country have improved significantly since December 2012. Most rural areas of the country are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2) though an estimated 825,000 people are still in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Deterioration to a worse phase is expected during August to December 2013 in Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone. There are also pockets in Mudug, Galgadud, and Lower Shabelle where similar deterioration is expected. While significant improvements have been witnessed since December 2012 in many areas, a significant proportion of the population remains Stressed (IPC Phase 2) (Figure 1).

Urban Areas

Similar to developments in rural areas, the July 2013 Gu assessment indicated improved food security in urban areas as a result of improved terms of trade (ToT), reduced costs for basic goods and services, sustained but gradual increases in income, and the availability of labor opportunities between December 2012 and July 2013.

Most households in urban areas of Somalia have acceptable levels of food consumption.

  • In the capital city in Banadir Region, where almost one-third of the urban population lives, more than 75 percent of the population had acceptable food consumption. The remaining 25 percent were classified as having poor to borderline food consumption. This figure represents a slight decline since December 2012. These percentages were based on a food consumption score (FCS), a proxy measure for food consumption which uses dietary diversity and frequency of consumption.
  • Survey results from July in Mogadishu also indicate that only five percent of the population employed severe or very severe coping strategies to access food such as relying on food donations from relatives, their clan, or their community, or sending household members to eat elsewhere among others.

In general, consumer prices declined from December to July. The major exception was in the central regions where prices have increased since January. However, even in areas where consumer prices rose, poor urban households reported that they were able to cover their basic expenditures.

  • In urban areas in the North and the South, consumer prices declined between three and 12 percent from January 2013 to June 2013. The largest declines were in Elberde in Bakool at 34 percent, Lowyaddo in Awdal at 25 percent, and Jillib in Middle Juba at 16 percent. In general, declining consumer prices reflected the decline in staple food prices, the slight appreciation of the Somali shilling (SOS) against the US dollar in the South which contributed to lower imported food prices, and steady food imports through the ports.
  • In the central regions, consumer prices increased during the first half of 2013. This could be attributed to poor local seasonal performance, high costs of transportation during the March to June Gu rainy season, and reduced cross-border supply from Ethiopia due to a poor harvest in the nearer crop-producing areas.

In most regions, purchasing power of the poor as measured through the terms of trade (TOT) between casual labor wage rates and cereal prices remained stable or increased slightly from January 2013 to June 2013. This was primarily due to declining or stable food prices. Exceptions included Mogadishu, Middle Shabelle, and Bay, where security concerns have limited trade and market access and led to a decline in TOT (Figure 4). However, ToT remained well above their five-year averages as a result of successive seasons of rising labor wages and falling staple cereal prices.

The urban poor devote a very high proportion of their expenditures to food. On average, surveys in July continue to indicate that across urban areas, households spent between 75 to 86 on food. As they typically buy almost all of their food, this means they are vulnerable both to high food prices and to shocks which reduced their income.

Malnutrition rates are lower in urban areas than in rural areas. In July, GAM rates exceeded 15 percent in only three out of 13 urban locations.

Settlements of internally displaced persons (IDPs)

In June 2013, FSNAU and partners conducted joint food security and nutrition assessments in 11 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) settlements. Surveys were carried out in Hargeisa, Berbera, and Burao in the Northwest, Bossaso, Qardho, and Garowe in the Northeast, Galkacyo and Dhusamareb in the central regions, and Mogadishu, Baidoa, and Dhobley in the South. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 1.1 million IDPs were displaced as of June 2013. Of these, around 625,000 live in settlements in the 11 assessed urban centers. The majority of these IDPs are in and around Mogadishu.

The majority of IDP households in the assessed settlements had a somewhat diverse diet including consumption from four or more food groups over the last day. The survey results indicate improved food access as measured through Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS), a proxy measure for food consumption using dietary diversity. The most commonly consumed food groups included cereals, vegetable oil, sugars, milk, and less frequently meat. The improved dietary diversity for the IDPs is in line with food security improvements in the urban areas where the IDPs are concentrated.

IDP have very minimal assets and employ ad-hoc livelihood strategies for survival. Approximately 40 to 60 percent of households across all surveyed settlements, cited casual labor as their main source of income, which was followed to a lesser extent by self-employment and petty trade. In most settlements, the majority of IDPs, between 50 and 75 percent of households, reported having only one or no income sources. IDPs tend to have little or no productive assets. IDPs primarily purchase food, but food aid and food gifts are also important sources of food. In all settlements, on average, IDPs spend over 75 percent of their expenditures on food, a very similar spending patterns to other urban households.

Poor housing conditions prevail in IDP settlements, and many settlements have poor water access. The largest proportion of IDPs continue to live in non-permanent housing often only protected from the elements by tarpaulin or other makeshift materials. Even those with slightly better housing conditions live in shelters made of corrugated sheets or occupy rooms in abandoned public or government buildings. There is no significant difference in the housing conditions between the short-term IDPs who have been in a settlement for less than a year and the longer-term IDPs who have lived over a year in a settlement. In the majority of settlements in the North, IDP households have access to safe water sources, apart from Hargeisa and Garowe where about 25 percent of households report lack of access to safe water. This is similar to the findings in December 2012 survey. However, the situation is different in Mogadishu and Baidoa where slightly over 50 percent and less than 10 percent of the IDPs, respectively, confirmed access to safe water.

Current food security status of IDPs in the settlements has improved since December. Overall improvements in labor wages and in the demand for casual labor in urban areas has led to improved casual labor to cereal terms of trade (ToT). IDPs are accessing some labor opportunities, leading to some improved access to food and income. IDPs were also able to access humanitarian interventions. These contributed to the food security phase classification of most IDP settlements moving from Emergency (IPC Phase 4) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). However, the IDP settlements in Dhusmareb and Dhobley remain classified at Emergency (IPC Phase 4). In Dhusamareb, poor access to health and nutrition services following Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) withdrawing in March/April has impacted the food security and nutrition situation. The nutrition situation is classified as Very Critical, defined as having a GAM rate above 20 percent. In Dhobley, over 50 percent of IDPs are newly arrived. They have been displaced by recurrent clashes between armed groups in parts of Middle and Lower Juba. The influx of new IDPs continues to overwhelm the capacity of organizations serving the camp, and the large number of new arrivals limits livelihood options through competition. The nutrition situation is classified as Very Critical.

Despite moderate improvements in the overall food security status of IDPs in Somalia, they continue to experience persistently high rates of malnutrition. GAM rates exceeded 15 percent in 9 out of 13 IDP settlements in June and July.

Nutritional Status

FSNAU and partners conducted 50 nutrition surveys across Somalia in June and July 2013. The results indicate that Critical levels of acute malnutrition, defined as GAM rates exceeding 15 percent, persist in many parts of South-Central Somalia and among IDPs. Nutrition surveys conducted in June and July indicate that more than 206,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. This is a slight reduction in the number from during December 2012 when an estimated 215,000 cases existed. This includes an estimate 40,950 cases of SAM among children under the age of five in Somalia. About two-thirds of the acutely malnourished children are in Southern Somalia. The assessment results indicate that morbidity is a major factor behind the Critical levels of acute malnutrition in South-Central Somalia and among IDPs.

Nationwide, high levels of acute malnutrition continue with a median, national GAM rate of 14.4 percent. One in six children under the age of five required nutritional support. Despite very high levels of acute malnutrition in many areas, for the most part, the under five death rate (U5DR) was not elevated.

Regional differences in acute malnutrition did emerge in the data. Higher GAM and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rates were seen in South-Central Somalia than in the Northeast or the Northwest. The highest GAM recorded was in Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone in Bakool Region at 27.4 percent (with a confidence interval (CI) of 22.8 to 32.5) with the second highest being in agropastoral areas in Bay Region at 22.6 percent (CI 18.5 to 27.3) (Figure 6). Southern Somalia accounting for 68 percent of the cases of GAM and 78 percent of the cases of SAM despite being home only to 56 percent of Somalia’s population. Acute malnutrition among IDPs was higher than among the urban populations and higher, overall, than in rural areas.


The August to December 2013 outlook is based on the following national assumptions:


  • In the areas where the March to June Gu rains were poor (Figure 7), including the Sool Plateau in Bari Region, Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in the central regions and the Northeast, and parts of northern Gedo, the dry July to September Hagaa will likely lead to very fast exhaustion of water resources, especially since many berkads did not get refilled during these Gu rains. High cost water trucking is likely to be observed in these areas during the June to September Hagaa dry season.
  • Near normal October to December Deyr rainfall performance is expected across Somalia. Total rainfall is expected to be near average to below average, and distribution is expected to be near normal with no unusually late start or unusually early completion of the rains. With likely El Niño-Southern Oscillation- (ENSO-) neutral conditions as forecast, there will be limited strong climactic forcing, leading to a higher likelihood of near normal conditions. However, in ENSO-neutral conditions, rainfall patterns can change quickly, so close monitoring will be necessary.
  • With the forecast being for near average to somewhat below average October to December Deyr rains, increased pasture availability and reduced water shortages and distance to water points are expected across many areas of Somalia from October to December. This should support livestock production, and the earning of cash income from livestock sales may enable poor households to buy food from the market.


  • July 2013 Gu crop production was largely average in the cereal-producing areas. Poor households are likely to access food from their own crops through October 2013, outside of the few areas that had well below average Gu production. In part due to the mostly near average production, current staple cereal prices are very low and are likely to remain at those low levels through October 2013.
  • Between October and December 2013, agricultural labor demand in crop producing zones will likely seasonally increase from low Hagaa season demand and reach near typical Deyr demand due to the expected near normal Deyr 2013/2014 rainfall forecast. Land preparation activities will increase labor demand in September/November while planting, weeding, and the green harvest will continue to have demand for labor through December.
  • An expected normal timing of the start of season, near average planted area in the typical areas, and typical labor demand are anticipated. Farmers in the surplus-producing areas for cereals such as Bay and Lower Shabelle are likely to plant additional area with cash crops such as sesame, cowpeas, and groundnuts due to the high potential profits. Some better off and middle income households will likely substitute cash crops for some grain. However, poor households will continue to plant grain, primarily for their own consumption.


  • With the expected near normal October to December Deyr 2013 rainfall, grazing conditions are likely to be seasonally average, deteriorating some during the dry August to September Hagaa season, then improving following the start of the October to December Deyr rains.
  • Between August and October 2013 livestock prices, particularly for goats, sheep, and camels, will seasonally increase as livestock exports to the Middle East peaks due to seasonally high demand for the Hajj.
  • With average grazing conditions and the likely absence of large-scale livestock disease outbreaks, relatively good livestock body conditions are assumed to prevail through at least December.
  • Camel and goat milk availability and access will likely to remain average in pastoral livelihood zones as a result of expected average calving and kidding, normal expected rainfall, subsequent water availability, and pasture conditions.

Markets and trade:

  • Locally produced sorghum and maize prices will likely decrease or remain stable at their current low levels (Figure 8) through October due to the seasonal decreases that will likely follow the largely average Gu 2013 harvest in July and August. These prices will follow their usual, seasonal trend of a slight increase from October through December during the lean season in agricultural areas when demand increases. Upward pressure on prices will then ease as green consumption of Deyr crops begins in late December in riverine and agropastoral livelihood zones.
  • Declining or stable international prices of rice, vegetable oil, sugar, and diesel over the remainder of 2013 will likely contribute to reduced domestic prices of these commodities over the remaining months of 2013. This is due to average or above average global production in major exporting countries, slight loosening of international supply constraints, and slowing global economic growth and demand.
  • Imported red rice prices are also likely to follow their normal seasonal trend. There are likely to be slight increases in price from July through September due to the monsoon winds limiting imports from smaller boats in the ports. There is a high probability that imported red rice prices will remain stable or likely fall slightly as there will be downward pressure on supplies starting in October as imports by smaller boats resumes and demand falls slightly. The seasonal trend of decreasing between October to December will also be due to international factors such as peak export season for some suppliers and increased production in some exporting countries.
  • Cross-border re-exports of sugar, wheat flour, and rice among other products from Somalia to Kenya and Ethiopia will likely decline slightly from now through December. Tightening border controls and tax collection by both Kenya and Ethiopia will likely reduce the total volume of these exports. The reduced exports will increase domestic food supplies, especially in the border regions.
  • The Somali shilling (SOS) is likely to stabilize near its current rate at around SOS 20,000 for each U.S. dollar (USD) or continue to slightly depreciate against major foreign currencies. This is driven by attempts by the Federal Government of Somalia to stabilize the foreign exchange market. The Central Bank has been selling Somali Shilling at higher rate at around SOS 18,000 to 20,000 per USD 1 than the city markets where USD 1 typically gets around SOS 15,000. So far, appreciation of the Somali shilling against the U.S. dollar has slowed from its more rapid rate during the first half of 2013.

 Humanitarian assistance:

  • Based on the Somalia food security cluster’s (FSC) intervention plans that are funded and likely implemented as reported by partners to the FSC for August to December, humanitarian assistance will support livelihoods, improve access to food, or provide social safety nets to one million to 1.5 million people monthly over the entire country. However, the specific likely impacts of humanitarian support in particular areas of the country has not been included in the projected analysis and mapping.


  • Insecurity is likely to continue at an increased frequency compared to the beginning of the year in Mogadishu and other locations in the country. These conflict-related disruptions will be concentrated primarily in Mogadishu, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Bay, Bakool, Gedo, and Lower and Middle Juba Regions. Conflict is likely to continue to restrict humanitarian access and disrupt trade and movements of people, including labor and livestock migration in conflict-affected areas.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

According to Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), an estimated 870,000 people will be in food security Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) from August to December 2013. Also, an estimated 2.3 million people will likely remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) (Figure 2). The slight increase is likely in the number of people in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) from 825,000 to 870,000 mainly due to expected deterioration in food insecurity in Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone as well as pocket areas in Mudug, Galgadud, and Lower Shabelle.

Rural Areas

From August to October, most of Somalia will be in the Hagaa dry season. Though Hagaa is a dry season, dry pasture will likely remain available in pastoral areas. However, while pasture resources will likely remain available through October, water resources are already becoming scarce in the North, particularly on the Sool Plateau, so there will likely be a fairly rapid exhaustion of water sources between now and when the Deyr rains start in October.

According to the 35th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD’s) Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), the October to December 2013 Deyr rainfall forecast recently indicated that most parts of Somalia are likely to experience near normal to below normal total rainfall over the course of the season (Figure X). They posit a 45 percent probability of experiencing near normal total rainfall and a 35 percent probability of below normal total rainfall. However, coastal areas in Lower and Middle Juba and Shabelle are expected to experience normal to above normal total rainfall during the Deyr. Based on the likely impacts of this forecast, many households are likely to continue meeting their food needs from their own near average crop production and their own livestock production and sales. If total rainfall falls below normal, this would have the largest affect in rainfed areas in southern Somalia, particularly agropastoral areas in Hiraan, Gedo, and the Shabelles, which were already affected by less favorable agricultural production conditions during the Gu season. Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone and agropastoral areas in Gedo Region would see the most impact on food security as these areas also had well below average and very small Gu 2013 harvests in July and August.

Between August and December 2013, the food security outcomes in most pastoral livelihood zones are expected to remain stable at Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, though food security improvements were observed compared to the last Deyr assessment in December 2012 in Guban Pastoral livelihood zone in the Northwest, nearly half of the poor households there are still owe average debts of USD 157, similar to debt levels reported in December 2012. Some households are selling their breeding stock to cover food needs. Nevertheless, due to unusual Gu rains in April/May and Karan rains in July/August that fell in areas they normally do not, along with run-off water and flash floods from the Golis Mountains, pasture availability has improved. The number of saleable livestock with good body conditions has increased. This trend of having available pasture and saleable livestock is likely to continue through December. A high level of kidding is expected in October, increasing milk availability, which will likely improve food consumption in the area. Guban Pastoral livelihood zone is expected to receive the Hays rains in December, which are expected to coincide with a medium to high level of camel calving, further boosting milk availability.

Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in the central regions is another area where food security outcomes improved compared to what they were during the 2012 Deyr season. However, due to the reduced number of saleable animals during the successive droughts from 2010 to 2011, limited access to humanitarian assistance attributed to the presence of opposed armed groups in the region, and increased debt levels compared to same time last year, poor households in Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in the central regions still remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

In the Sool Plateau in Bari Region, food security is expected to deteriorate through September due to a significant reduction of pasture availability and virtually no milk availability. Despite some deterioration in food security outcomes in some pastoral areas, continued favorable livestock prices during the August to early October export period for the Hajj and reduced staple commodity prices are likely to continue to result in improving livestock to cereals terms of trade, specifically the price of a local quality goat in terms of kilograms (kg) of cereals. The food security outcomes of most pastoral livelihood zones are expected to remain stable at Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

Based on crop harvest estimates for the July/August 2013 Gu harvest, crop-dependent, poor households in Bay and Lower and Middle Shabelle Regions are expected to access their cereal needs for consumption from their own production and stocks through December. However, the other agropastoral and riverine areas in southern Somalia will have only two to four months of cereal stocks. These households will start making market purchases by October to supplement their stocks. The major exceptions are agropastoral households in Hiraan and northern Gedo who currently have no stocks. Also, due to significantly below average crop production in Northwest Agropastoral livelihood zone during the July/August Gu harvest, cereal stock availability will remain low until the Karan harvest of long-cycle cereal crops occurs in September. Karan rains since June have had above average total rainfall. Cereal supply in Northwest Agropastoral and neighboring areas is likely to be replenished in October due to the expected near average Karan harvest.

Based on near normal rainfall prospects for the October to December Deyr 2013 and the improvements following the March to June Gu 2013 rains, food security outcomes in the country will remain mostly stable through December 2013. However, exceptions to the stability include areas that received below average total Gu rainfall in Hiraan, northern Gedo, Guban Pastoral, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral in the central regions, and the Sool Plateau in Bari Region. In these areas, food security outcomes are expected to deteriorate in both the riverine and agropastoral areas from October to December during the agricultural lean season. On the Sool Plateau, food security outcomes are likely to deteriorate between now and October due to poor availability of water, which will consume a large amount of households’ income as pressure on land is likely to be a result of the large-scale inmigration from Sool Plateau in Bari Region that occurred during the Gu rains.

Urban Areas

For August to December, most urban populations are projected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to likely mostly stable food prices and casual wage labor to cereals terms of trade. In addition, improved access to labor opportunities due to the improved economic opportunities in urban areas will likely lead to continued increases in the food security of urban households. However, insecurity will remain a major risk factor for food access of urban households, particularly in South-Central. Continued conflict along with violent disruptions of urban life will continue to increase the costs and risks associated with trade and other market activities.

Settlements of IDPs

Many factors are likely to continue to lead to instability in the sources of food and income for IDPs. Political instability, government plans for the eviction of IDPs from public buildings in Mogadishu and other towns in South-Central, and possible clan conflicts will likely leading to further displacements. IDPs come to major towns such as Dhobley and Mogadishu sometimes in search of humanitarian assistance when such assistance is not accessible in their original place of residence due to insecurity. IDPs are vulnerable to several types of shocks following displacement including contagious diseases outbreaks, high disease risk due to poor hygiene and sanitation in congested informal settlements, physical insecurity, and adverse exposure to extreme temperatures and rain due to poor housing conditions. The current number of the IDPs in Somalia was estimated at 1.1 million people in July, but over the projected period, the number is likely to slightly increase. IDPs are likely to remain in either Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) as only limited improvements are expected between now and December.

Most Likely Nutrition Outcomes

The nutrition forecast for September to December 2013 is based on four factors: 1) historical, seasonal trends, 2) current levels of malnutrition as of June and July, 3) the likely evolution of food security in an area, and 4) the current health situation and health infrastructure in an area.  Iin the Northwest, the nutrition situation is expected to remain stable at Serious, defined asa GAM rate between 10 to 15 percent, in rural areas in Northwest Agropastoral livelihood zone, the situation may deteriorate from Alert to Serious due to low, local Gu cereal production in July/August and associated reductions in income from cereal sales.. In the Northeast, the nutrition situation is expected to remain stable except in Addun Pastoral livelihood zone where it is expected to slightly deteriorate from Alert to Serious, consistent with typical, seasonal trends.

In Southern Somalia, malnutrition is expected to remain at Critical in rural areas of both northern and southern Gedo

Region due to high morbidity, low immunization coverage, and poor access to water and sanitation. Malnutrition rates will likely remain at Serious levels in pastoral areasand at Critical levels in agropastoral and riverine areas in Lower and Middle Juba Regions. Malnutrition rates among IDPs in Kismayo and Dhobley and among urban households in Kismayo are expected to deteriorate from Critical to Very Critical due to expected disease outbreak such as measles and the withdrawal of Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF). The nutrition situations in both agropastoral and pastoral areas of Bay Region are likely to remain Very Critical due to declining access to humanitarian interventions, specifically health and nutrition interventions, and high morbidity. In Dinsor District, this will be exacerbated by the withdrawal of MSF.

Areas of Concern

Hiraan Agropastoral Livelihood Zone

Current Situation

Due to March to June Gu 2013 rains performing poorly in terms of temporal and spatial distribution followed by already dry Hagaa winds starting in July, water and pasture resources had depleted quickly by July in Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone. Communal dams and water reservoirs have already dried up. In July, field reports indicate that due to the poor access to water points, pasture, and browse, livestock have migrated to Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone within Hiraan Region. Despite the current poor pasture and water availability, cattle milk availability increased since the end of the Gu rains in May, and by July milk prices in Halagan were 60 and 66 percent below July 2012 and the five-year average, respectively. This milk availability is likely a result of a medium rate of cattle calving in May/June.

As a result of poor March to June Gu rainfall performance, crop germination levels in agropastoral areas in Hiraan were significantly below average and about one-third of the planted area was actually harvested. The crop wilted due to the discontinuity of rains, resulting in significantly below average production (Figure 10). The estimated July/August sorghum and maize harvest volume in Hiraan Agropastoral is around only 38 percent of the PWA and around 65 percent of 2012 production. In addition, agricultural labor opportunities ceased in early May when the rains ceased. The very poor, far below average harvest in July failed to provide households with much grain. Market purchases have also been curtailed as market supply is weaker than normal. Below average cereal production in the neighboring Shabelle basin in Kalafo Woreda in Shabelle (formerly Gode) Zone in Somali Region in Ethiopia was less than normal due to flooding along the Wabi Shabelle River, which has resulted in low cereal availability and supply from cross-border trade. In addition, one of the main sources of income in Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone is fodder production, much of which is sold in Beletweine for livestock in transit to the ports in the North. Due to poor rains during Gu 2013, fodder production and availability remain very poor, affecting livestock body conditions and milk production.

As result of deteriorating livestock body condition, livestock prices are lower than last year. The local quality goat price in July was six percent lower than last year, but there were still 54 percent higher than the five-year average. Local cereal prices are not following the seasonal trend of decreasing following the Gu harvest, but, rather, they were at the highest they have been after the 2011 price shock and 2008 records in July. White sorghum prices in July in Beletweine were 19 and 36 percent above last year and the five-year average, respectively. Imported commodity prices, particularly rice, increased sharply from May to July in Beletweine. This could be attributed primarily to the increase in the SOS exchange rate to US dollar due to the circulation of counterfeit SOS notes and to an increase in taxation and roadblocks in the region by armed groups. The July rice price was 11 percent higher than July 2012, but still 21 percent lower than the five-year average. As a result of decreased livestock prices and increased staple food prices, terms of trade (ToT) for local quality goat to white sorghum started sharply decreased from May to July. The July ToT were 38 percent lower than July 2012 but still 42 percent higher than the five-year average. Despite the recent decline in ToT and purchasing power, a local quality goat can still fetch 119 kilograms (kg) of white sorghum, which remains nearly four times more food than a goat was worth during the 2011 southern Somalia Famine (IPC Phase 5). Daily wage rates decreased 31 percent from July 2012 to July 2013, and a day of agricultural labor yielded enough to purchase 11 kg of white sorghum in July. While lower than recent times, this wage rate was 22 percent higher than the five-year average.

Current debt levels for poor households increased from an estimated USD 85 in December 2012 to USD 100 by June 2013. Poor households continued purchasing food and other essential non-food items on credit both during the January to March Jilaal dry season and the March to June Gu rainy season. Counterfeit Somali shilling (SOS) notes printed in Adado town in Galgadud Region had been circulating in Beleitweine since February 2013. With a limited supply of genuine SOS notes or U.S. dollars (USD), trade and other business activities throughout Hiraan Region were adversely affected through July and trade both locally and between Beleitweine and other regions was reduced. The Hiraan Regional Administration stopped accepting the counterfeit notes in July. This has affected poor households’ ability to make market purchases as many households had, during this period, sold their labor or livestock in exchange for counterfeit SOS notes.

Insecurity: Most parts of Hiraan Region including Buloburte and Jalalaqsi Districts are under the Al Shabaab’s control. No major clashes between Government of Somalia (GOS) or African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) troops and Al Shabaab have been reported during the last three months. Targeted assassinations are frequently occurring within the region and in neighboring regions in the South. Increased roadblocks since the expulsion of Al Shabaab from Beleitweine town along the roads that link the main towns have led to increased levies on traded commodities. This has led to increasing essential commodity prices for items such as rice, sugar, and vegetable oil since beginning of the year.

Humanitarian assistance: FAO and the World Food Program (WFP) are implementing Cash for Work (CFW) and Food for Work (FFW), respectively, in Beleitweine District. Poor households are benefiting. However, almost no humanitarian assistance is reaching to the other two districts in the region due to insecurity and humanitarian access issues.

Nutrition surveys in July in Beletweine District which includes the northern portion of Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone found a GAM rate of 20.2 percent (CI 17.3 to 23.5) and a SAM rate of 4.4 percent (CI 3.1 to 6.1).

Due to the early end of the Gu rains in early May and the poor spatial and temporal distribution, Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone experienced crop failure and below average pasture and water availability. Poor households have no cereal stocks, and they are depending on food purchases on the market, often on credit. Despite some recent increase in milk consumption, the nutrition situation has likely deteriorated since the Deyr assessment in December 2012, particularly in Buloburte and Jalalaqsi Districts where neither health nor nutrition services are available. In July 2013, poor households’ herd sizes are well below baseline levels from 1996, but herd size grew slightly following a medium rate of kidding, lambing, and cattle calving both during the October to December 2012 Deyr rains and during the March to June 2013 Gu rains. Livestock to white sorghum and labor to white sorghum terms of trade (ToT) have declined, decreasing poor households’ access to food. Based on these factors, poor households’ food security outcomes has deteriorated. However, less than 20 percent of the population is thought to have food consumption gaps and unusually high malnutrition rates, so the livelihood zone is currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as of July.


In addition to the national assumptions described above, the following assumptions have been made about Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone:

  • Insecurity is likely continue to increase compared to the late last year and the beginning of this year, following the swearing in of the new Somalia Federal Government. Insecurity will likely result in an increase in the number of roadblocks in the region.
  • Staple food prices are not likely to follow the seasonal trend and will sharply increase through December due to anticipated limited cereal stocks on markets both from local production and from cross-border trade as well as increased tax collection at roadblocks, which add additional costs for transportation, which will be passed on into consumer prices.
  • Distress sales of animals will be likely in order to buy food and essential non-food needs and to repay debts, especially from October to December. This will likely further reduce the total livestock herd size, especially the herd sizes of poor households.
  • Agricultural labor opportunities are likely to seasonally increase between September and December due to normal to below normal Deyr rains forecasted and expected near average planting and weeding labor demand, primarily in neighboring, riverine areas.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Food security outcomes for poor households will likely be affected by the significantly below average July/August crop harvest for the Gu 2013, leading to limited household and market cereal stocks. Despite cattle milk availability between August and early September, income from the milk sales is likely to decline from mid-September through December as some cows quit milking and milk production falls. This will further reduce poor household income. In addition, due to lack of own produced crops for consumption through December, poor households will have an extended lean season from August to December. Poor households will primarily depend on food purchases on credit between now and December.

Milk gifts and zaka in the form of locally produced crops for the poor will likely be well below average due to the impact of the failed season on better off households. However, in November/December, some poor households may receive small ruminants as zaka, but this type of food source will likely be limited to a very small number of particular households. Humanitarian assistance within Hiraan Region will be concentrated in Beleitweine District, so outside of that District, it will likely remain insignificant due to insecurity issues surrounding humanitarian access to areas under Al Shabaab’s control. Following poorly distributed March to May Gu rains and a dry and windy July to September Hagaa season, wild fruit availability is likely to be very low, and this will not represent a very effective source of food for poor households.

To respond the declining food security outcomes, poor households will likely seek cash and food loans, further increasing their debt burdens. They will also reduce their use of preferred foods such as white sorghum and rice and opt for red sorghum. However, from October to December with normal to below normal Deyr rains forecast, agricultural labor income will likely support some poor households’ access to food, but it will be unlikely that this income will be enough to eliminate food consumption gaps.

From August to December ,due to increased debt levels, reduced income from livestock sales, and an exhaustion of saleable animals for many poor households, reduced access to food loans, and overstretched social support systems, poor households’ food security outcomes will likely deteriorate. Many poor households will fall into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between August to December and will remain there until the Deyr harvest starts in January.

Sool Plateau Pastoral Livelihood Zone in Bari, Sool, and Sanaag Regions

Current Situation

Due to below average total March to June Gu 2013 rainfall over the Sool Plateau in Bari Region and near average rainfall over the Sool Plateau in Sool and Sanaag Regions, significant livestock outmigration from Bari Region to Sool and Sanaag Regions has placed additional pressure on land resources in those areas. Currently, average pasture is still available on the Sool Plateau in Sool and Sanaag Regions, but water availability is low (Figure 11), resulting in high water trucking costs and increased water prices during the Hagaa season. Water prices of up to SOS 100,000 per 200 liters have already been reported. Poor households’ livestock holdings are near the 2012 baseline of around 50 to 70 goats, and herd sizes have slightly increased over the past two seasons.

As a result of average livestock body conditions, livestock prices have increased starting in April 2013. In July, the price of a local quality goat was around USD 60, a trend which is noticed in most parts of the country with exception in Middle and Lower Juba where prices are still higher than last year but lower than the rest of the country. These high prices have followed a similar trend to last year of rising due to high export demand. Imported commodity prices have been mostly stable from the start of the 2013, and they were generally lower than last year in July, being about one fifth less for allcommodities, including rice, sugar, and vegetable oil. This is mainly driven by falling international prices, the result of strong production in exporting countries since 2012. Decreased staple food prices and increased livestock prices resulted in increased livestock to cereals terms of trade. A local quality goat in July which could be sold at USD 60 could fetch 50 kilograms (kg) of sugar which cost around USD 33, 50 kg of rice which cost around USD 30, and a three liter container of vegetable oil which cost around USD five.

Milk prices in July increased in the Sool Plateau due to decreased availability from June 2013 and were higher than last year by 12 percent, using the average price for the reference markets of Iskushuban in Bari Region, Erigavo in Sanaag Region, and Lasanod in Sool Region. Due to near average total Deyr 2012/13 rainfall on the Sool Plateau in Bari Region, livestock from Sool and Sanaag regions outmigrated to Bari Region from May to June 2013 as there was still pasture leftover from growth during the Deyr in Bari. A medium level of goat kidding and camel calving was reported, leading to near average milk availability in Sool and Sanaag Regions. However, milk availability is below average in Bari Region due to livestock outmigration during the Gu. They have not yet returned to Bari Region.

Humanitarian assistance is limited to pastoral settlements on the Sool Plateau. According to Food Security Cluster (FSC), 14,000 poor households were supported in July in Bari Region, while Sanaag and Sool regions had 16,000 and 6,000 households assisted, respectively.

Civil insecurity on the Sool Plateau has largely subsided since the last Deyr rainy season in December. Livestock migration patterns that have often triggered conflict in the past have not for the past two seasons. During both the October to December Deyr and March to June Gu rains, livestock were welcomed into wet season grazing areas from outside the area, and livestock outmigration patterns were assisted by different clans allowing migrant sub-clans access to land and water resources based on reciprocity. However, political tension between the Somaliland and Puntland administrations in both Sool and Sanaag Regions limits trade, especially limiting transportation between larger towns.

On the Sool Plateau, during the July 2013 assessment, observers and interviewers found several cases of poor, pastoral households who had dropped out of pastoralism and moved to towns for labor opportunities who had recently returned by acquiring livestock, mainly goats and sheep. They have returned to living in pastoral settings. Of course, their livelihoods are still very marginal, and the number of pastoral returnees is not yet significant. This livelihood change has been observed on the Sool Plateau in Sool and Sanaag Regions but not in Bari Region. Despite these examples of positive livelihood revival, poor pasture and water availability as well as increasing livestock movements in search of pasture on the Sool Plateau in Bari Region, the number of poor pastoral households who lost significant numbers of livestock from their herds during the 2011 drought are increasing. Many are become xaafeyn--those who keep around 20 to 30 goats, less than half of the 2012 baseline holdings for the poor, and live on the peripheries of towns and villages.

Nutrition surveys in July on the Sool Plateau found a GAM rate of 10.8 percent (CI 8.5 to 13.6) and a SAM rate of 1.5 percent (CI 0.8 to 3.0).

Despite improved food security outcomes in this livelihood zone outside of Bari Region, debt levels rose from April to July, driven primarily by livestock transportation and water expenditures. Average household debt was already around USD 300 in April and rose to around USD 400 by July as households continued to acquire debt to meet basic expenditures. Despite receiving some humanitarian assistance and taking on additional debts, households only have minimally adequate food consumption. They remain unable to afford some essential non-food expenditures and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).


In addition to the national assumptions described above, the following assumptions have been made about Sool Plateau Pastoral livelihood zone:

  • Very low water availability is likely to continue through the end of September. As a result, a large portion of poor households’ income would be devoted to water purchases, a scenario which reduces poor households’ access to purchased food.
  • Increased international rice production coupled with the seasonal increase in imports, as well as the possible release of old stocks in rice-producing countries will likely drive down prices on international markets. This would likely lead to lower rice prices on the Sool Plateau. Poor households’ terms of trade would likely remain favorable.
  • The rate of camel calving in October is likely to be medium. This is atypical as camels on the Sool Plateau usually calve during the March to June Gu season, and less commonly during the October to December Deyr rains. The shift in seasonal patterns is due to an atypically high rate of camel conceptions during Deyr 2012/13, when livestock from Sool and Sanaag Regions on the Sool Plateau migrated to Bari and Nugal Regions.
  • Camel and goat milk availability is likely to increase between October to December following births at the beginning of the Deyr rains. Hence, poor households’ access to milk will improve and acute malnutrition rates may decline slightly.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Between August and early October increased water purchases will likely reduce poor households’ access to market-purchased foods as they divert funds for water. However, during this period, livestock sales will increase due to Hajj exports, and households will likely be able to repay some of their debts and access new credit lines as well as have some cash with which to purchase food. During this time, casual labor and self-employment income are typically low due to limited demand. Poor households’ access to gifts will increase as improved livestock conditions and values lead to larger gifts from the better off to the poor. Between October to December, near normal total October to December Deyr rainfall with near normal timing across the country will likely increase pasture availability and increase water availability on the Sool Plateau. Hence, livestock production and values are likely to increase, increasing the number of saleable animal and poor households’ purchasing power. Zaka, a religious practice of providing the poor with two and a half percent of the wealth of the best off members of the community, will typically take place in November. With these gifts, poor households will gain additional access to food. Milk availability will likely decline from August to October due to reduced pasture and water availability as well as the declining number of milking animals. However, a medium level of camel calving and high level of kidding is expected in October, which would most likely increase milk availability and milk sales through December.        

Average own produced milk and meat will primarily be consumed between October and December due to camel and goat calving and kidding. A moderate number of non-government organization- (NGO-) run safety net programs are likely to benefit poor households between now and December. Between August and September with no goat milk available and access to market purchases typical, the nutrition situation is likely to remain stable. Between October and December there is likely to be an increase of milk availability.

Despite somewhat typical livestock production and value, poor households in Sool Plateau face large seasonal variation in food and water access, and water access remains difficult for many. Water purchases significantly reduce the amount of cash available to buy food. Livestock herd sizes are near their baseline levels, but there are not livelihood protection strategies other than selling their herds; hence, one shock can reduce the herd size significantly and can easily reduce income to below the livelihood protection threshold. Debt levels remain high and are expected to increase seasonally during the August to October lean season. In addition, poor households mainly access food through credit and gifts during the lean season. Based on these above factors, food security outcomes for poor households are classified at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from now through at least December.

Events that Might Change the Outlook



Impact on food security outcomes

Sool Plateau

Below average total October to December Deyr rainfall or very poor temporal or spatial distribution of Deyr rains

The poor season would offset the expected food security outcome improvements. This scenario will most likely exacerbate pressure on limited water and pasture resources. In some areas, dry conditions and water stress would result in a significant number of unusual livestock deaths, particularly on the Sool Plateau in Bari Region. Water access would become extremely limited, contributing to livestock abortions rising. Poor households’ income will likely significantly drop as the number of saleable animals declined due to declining body conditions Milk and meat consumption would fall, and acute malnutrition rates would likely rise. Access to food would likely significantly decline, increasing the number of poor households that would have food consumption gaps and face Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


All areas of Somalia, especially urban and pastoral areas that depend on rice as a staple food

Below average rice production or exportable supply from exporting countries

Adverse climatic conditions or governments policies could decrease the ongoing release of old rice stocks. Decreased competition between rice-exporting countries could place upward pressure on the currently low export rice prices. Rising export prices would likely be quickly transmitted to Somalia’s markets, hence, reducing poor households’ purchasing power and thus, food access.

Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone

Below average total October to December Deyr rainfall or very poor temporal or spatial distribution of Deyr rains

This would reduce agropastoral crop production during the Deyr along with reducing livestock productivity and value. The reduced crop and livestock production would affect the availability of agricultural labor opportunities, reduce cereal market supplies, and likely result in additional increases in locally produced cereal prices, in excess of those already anticipated. Poor households’ sources of income and of food would become smaller. Therefore poor households may face extreme food consumption gaps with high acute malnutrition or excess mortality, which would likely result increased number of households that can falling into Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between October and December 2013.

Hiraan Region

Decreased insecurity and increased security in Hiraan Region

Stability would likely increase humanitarian access and trade movements. Security would also likely increase the number of reconstruction and rehabilitation activities, increasing labor demand and incomes and food access for poor households. A halt in population displacement would also likely result in improved food security outcomes.

About Scenario Development

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.


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.
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