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Floods damaged significant riverine and rainfed cropped areas

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Somalia
  • May 2013
Floods damaged significant riverine and rainfed cropped areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Despite the improvements in the current food security conditions due to good Gu rains since March, over one million people estimated by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit-Somalia (FSNAU), FEWS NET, and partners during January 2013 will likely still remain food insecure through September, primarily at Stressed or Crisis (IPC Phases 2 or 3) (Figures 1 and 2).

    • High productivity riverine and agropastoral areas of the South will likely experience a below average crop harvest due to flooding. Early estimates are for up to 6,000 hectares (ha) of crops being flooded and up to 1,500 households displaced. This situation will likely result in increased local cereal prices and deteriorating food security outcomes.

    • Improved livestock production and values in most pastoral areas of the country will likely result in increased access to milk and meat. As a result, pastoral food security outcomes will likely improve through September. However, coastal areas of the central and northeastern regions will likely face deteriorating food security between now and September due to declining livestock production.


    Current Situation
    • Gu rains started in late March, slightly earlier than usual. Overall, the Gu performance has been favorable, but with varied amounts, intensity, and coverage in different regions of the country. Moderate to well above average rains were received in most parts of the country. The major exception to the good rains is the Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in northeastern, central, and southern Somalia. Rainfall totals have also been below average in parts of Bari, Sanag, and the central regions. Rains have refilled water catchments, shallow wells, and communal dams in pastoral areas, and they have helped improve browse availability and grazing conditions. Heavy downpours and increased river levels in Wanlaweyn, Qoryoley, and Jowhar Districts as well as river embankment breakages have resulted in both flash floods and river flooding.
    • Due to flash floods and river flooding in April, a significant area of rainfed, lowland crops was destroyed. A rough estimate of 4,000 to 6,000 hectares (ha) of planted area was inundated by flooding. Recession cultivation has started as the flood waters have receded. These floods displaced between 1,000 and 1,500 households and isolated several villages.
    • Despite high agricultural labor demand, the availability of workers is limited as many poor households relocated to internally displaced person
    •  (IDP) camps in and around Mogadishu during the January to March Jilaal dry season this year. Higher labor prices are increasing the cost of agricultural production. The costs of tractor rental is also high, and in some areas it costs as much as SOS 400,000 per hour, a rate which is reducing tractor usage, especially by poor households.
    • In the Northwest, both the short-cycle sorghum and maize are at the establishment stage and performing well. Long-cycle sorghum is at the vegetative stage. In Central Agropastoral livelihood zone, the cowpea belt, the cowpea crop is performing well. It is currently at the flowering stage.
    • Largely due to the earlier than usual start of the Gu rains, vegetation conditions in most parts of the country including Guban Pastoral livelihood zone in the Northwest are rejuvenating well and are average to above average. However, in the areas where rainfall totals are below average, vegetation is also below average. Medium to high kidding and lambing in most of key pastoral areas of Somalia were reported during March and April
    • The prices of locally produced cereals in surplus-producing markets, such as Dinsor in Bay Region and Qoryoley in Lower Shabelle Region, continued to increase in April. Retail sorghum and maize prices in these two markets increased by 14 and 11 percent, respectively, in line with seasonal trends. The gradual rise in sorghum and maize prices from February to April is the result of reduced supply due to decreasing household and market stocks during the current April to June agricultural lean season. Farmers have withheld their remaining stocks from markets as pest and rodents have consumed some of the germinated crops. Additionally, heavier rains earlier in April have waterlogged farms, temporarily delaying some activities such as planting and weeding. This adds upward pressure on prices due to likely harvest delays and yield reductions. However, current sorghum and maize prices are still 40 to 60 percent lower than their 2008 to 2012 five-year averages.
    • The essential, imported food items such as red rice, vegetable oil, wheat flour, and sugar were relatively stable or decreased slightly in price from March to April in most regions. However, in the Juba Valley trade catchment, unlike in the rest of the country, the average price of imported food items increased between eight and 20 percent. These increases were likely due to poor road access due to the rains and due to insecurity in rural areas outside of Kismayo. Nevertheless, these prices are significantly lower than last year and their five-year averages.
    • Livestock prices, particularly for goats and camels, continued to seasonally increase in April. Cross-border livestock movement from Ethiopia to Somalia has been reported in April. This is likely in preparation for Ramadan and Eid in July and August when the livestock would be re-exported to the Arabian Peninsula.
    • Despite the seasonal increase in cross-border livestock exports from Ethiopia to Somalia, cross-border trade movements between Kenya and Somalia have significantly declined from March to April. For example, total tonnage of cereals exported from Somalia to Kenya through the Doblei border point declined by 56 percent from March to April. The quantity of livestock traded was also reduced by 11 percent. This decline is attributed to the poor road infrastructure linking Kismayo and the Kenyan border during the Gu rainy season, increased insecurity in Garissa, Kenya--a key destination for border trade, and increased trade restrictions imposed by the Government of Kenya, including increased border security, increased enforcement of import restrictions, and an increasing number of requests for the identity documents of traders.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected most of the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for April to September 2013. However, the following assumptions have been updated:

    • In April, it was assumed that the rains would be well distributed and that planted area would be near average. With continued likelihood of average Gu 2013 rainfall performance, average planted area is still likely. However due to flooding over a large cropped area of both rainfed and riverine cropping lands in Middle and Lower Shabelle and insect pest infestations in Bay Region, the overall, national, July Gu crop harvest will likely be below average. Despite this, the assumption remains that the off-season crop harvest in August and September would be above average, and due to recession cultivation, this harvest will probably increase further. However, both availability and economic access to cereals through September 2013 is likely to remain near normal.
    • In April, it was assumed that the Somali shilling (SOS) would continue to appreciate against the U.S. Dollar. Despite the limited supply of Somali shilling notes available in markets, the Somali shilling (SOS) exchange rate has become more stable against the U.S. dollar. While the Somali shilling had been appreciating against the U.S. dollar, the dollar started regaining slightly in April. This trend is expected to continue with a slight appreciation of U.S. dollar against the Somali shilling, possibly leading to very small increases in the prices of imported goods.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    Despite no significant change in most areas of the food security classifications expected from FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of April to September 2013, food security in agropastoral areas of the Jubas and Gedo will likely improve due to the positive impact of the early onset and early, heavy rains on crop production. However, in the Shabelle Regions due to the effect of floods, a below average July cereal harvest will be likely. However, cereal availability will not significantly reduce due to the likely above average off-season harvest in August and September. Agricultural labor opportunities will likely exist through July at favorable rates, supporting poor riverine and agropastoral households.

    In the Northwest, maize and other short-cycle crops harvested in July will likely be average, but the prospect of average or above average long cycle sorghum harvest will depend on the continuity of moderate Gu rains and the June to August Karan rains, which are expected to be near average. In Central Agropastoral livelihood zone, the cowpea belt, average cowpea production is expected as long as moderate rains are received in late May.

    Pasture and rangeland conditions are expected to be good to average, and dry pasture will likely be available through September. As a result, livestock production and value in most of the pastoral zones will likely be good. Good to average livestock body conditions and milk availability are expected to maintain poor households’ access to own consumption and market purchases through September. However, low to medium calving is expected between June and July, so both camel and cattle milk availability will likely be below average. However, this will not likely significantly affected poor households’ access to food due to the number of saleable animals available. Livestock prices are expected to increase through September as livestock export demand in the Middle East increases for Ramadan and Eid in July and August and the Hajj in October. Restocking by traders both in Somalia and the Middle East steadily grows between now and early October in anticipation of the large spike in demand during the Hajj. Hence, access to income from livestock sales by poor households will likely persist through September.

    Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in the central and northeastern regions has experienced poor and erratic distribution of rainfall since March, unlike most areas of Somalia. This has resulted in poor pasture redevelopment and limited replenishment of water sources. As a result, milking animals and their offspring are at increased risk of mortality due to poor nutrition and access to feed. Livestock are likely to outmigrate to neighboring Addun Pastoral livelihood zone and the Sool Plateau, where pasture and water availability are better. Poor households who remain in this zone will remain at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September (Figures 1 and 2) and not improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as was expected in April if the April to June Gu rains had been more regular and better distributed.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    Source: FEWS NET Somalia

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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