Food Security Outlook

Near average Karan crop production expected in December/January in the Northwest

October 2013 to March 2014
2013-Q4-1-1-SO-en

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
countries:
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.

Key Messages

  • In September, a better off-season cereal and cash crop than anticipated in July was harvested in riverine areas along the Juba and Lower Shabelle and in agropastoral areas in Bay Region. However, July to September Hagaa rains in the South were significantly below average, which did not support Hagaa crop growth during the off-season and many crops wilted, especially in Lower Shabelle along the coast.

  • Due to increased morbidity, limited health and nutrition services, reduced milk availability and consumption, decreased access of food loans, decreased water availability, decreased income from livestock and milk sales, increasing human displacement and asset losses due to conflict, high food prices, and continued Very Critical malnutrition rates, an estimated 870,000 people will remain in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phase 3 and 4) through December 2013.

  • Above average to near average Karan rains from June to September in agropastoral and pastoral areas of the northwestern regions, are expected to lead a near average Karan harvest in December/January and increased food security in agropastoral areas of the Northwest.

  • Following a poorly distributed March to June Gu rainy season and poor agricultural production, resources are already stretched in Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone where households are underconsuming and already at Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Following the thus far poor start of season and likely second consecutive season of very low crop production, poor households will increasingly be unable to meet their food needs and fall into Emergency (IPC Phase 4) from January to March 2014.

National Overview

Current Situation

Based on the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit-Somalia’s (FSNAU), FEWS NET’s, and partners’ joint assessment and analysis in July and August outcome, 870,000 people were estimated food insecure in Somalia from August to December and 2.3 million people were classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Their food security has remained fragile since August.

The July to September Hagaa rains in areas near the coast in the South were significantly below average. Most of Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle areas received only light showers that were not enough to support Hagaa crops planted in June/July. The majority of the crops wilted or died by September. Approximately 2,400 metric tons (MT) of off-season maize were estimated to have been harvested between August and September 2013 in southern Somalia. About three quarters of this was in riverine areas in the Shabelles and Jubas while the remaining quarter was from agropastoral areas in Bay Region. Off-season sesame was harvested in Lower Juba and Bay Regions.

Currently, dry pasture is available and accessible in most pastoral livelihood zones, helping maintain average livestock body conditions. Poorer pasture conditions are found in Bari Region and the Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone along the Indian Ocean coast. No unusual seasonal livestock migration patterns have been observed, but some livestock concentration has occurred, mostly in areas with operational boreholes. Many livestock have remained this dry season in remote, berkad-dependent areas of Sool, Sanaag, Nugal, Bari, and the central regions. In most of these areas, households are purchasing trucked water. The average water price in rural markets of Sool and Sanaag Regions increased by 33 percent, from July to September, and they are 109 and 43 percent higher than April 2013 and the five-year average, respectively, showing a significant increase in the number of water purchasers in these areas compared to the end of the previous dry season. Despite persistently poor water access both for human and livestock consumption in these areas, dry pasture remains available. Milk availability remains stable in most areas due to a medium rate of camel and cattle calving in July 2013 with many cows still milking. Average dry pasture and water availability during the Hagaa has helped sustain the number of milking animals.

Income from livestock sales in rural areas has increased since August except in the South, specifically in Bakool, Hiraan, and Lower and Middle Juba Regions where goat prices in August fell from July, probably due to an increase in the number of  livestock on markets for Hajj export sales. Staple food prices declined, mostly starting in August, as stocks from the Gu and off-season harvest were sold, at least in part to pay for agricultural inputs for the coming Deyr season. Hence with seasonally high livestock prices, lowered food prices improved access to food. However, a slight increase in food prices from July to August was observed in the central regions, Bakool, Hiraan, Nugal, Sool, and Woqooyi Galbeed Regions. Poor local production conditions or impediments to trade including conflict and poor infrastructure helped drive the slight increase in prices in these areas.

Due to heavy rains in the Shabelle and Juba Rivers’ upper catchments in Ethiopia, flooding occurred during August and September along the rivers in Jowhar District in Middle Shabelle Region and Jamame District in Lower Juba Region. These areas were mostly uncultivated at the time, so crops were not damaged.

The June to September Karan rains in the Northwest were above average to near average. Most of northwest agropastoral areas received moderate to good rains, which supported crop establishment. Currently, an estimated area of 44,000 hectares (ha) were planted in Northwest Agropastoral livelihood zone, seven percent of the planted area being under maize. The Karan crops are at different stages of development in different areas, but they mostly at the flowering and grain filling stages (Figure 4).

Prices of sorghum in the sorghum-producing regions of Bay and Gedo decreased from June 2013 to August 2013 as the Gu harvest became available to markets. However, in Bakool and Hiraan Regions as well as in the sorghum-deficit areas in the central and northern regions, sorghum prices increased due to the overall below average Gu production and trade restrictions by armed groups and insecurity in some areas. Similarly, maize prices in the Juba and Shabelle Regions decreased from June 2013 to August 2013. The decreases followed typical seasonal trends, indicating that both stocks from the Gu harvest and the off-season harvest had reached markets. Imported red rice prices in the South are reasonably stable, probably due to smooth imports through the Mogadishu port along with lower priced local cereal supply on markets, which reduces total rice demand. Similarly, in the Northeast and the Northwest, prices of imported red rice have remained stable since March. Livestock prices are high as is seasonally normal in September due to high demand for exports to the Middle East for the Hajj and Eid al-Adha in October.

According to FSNAU and partner’s nutrition surveys in June/July and health information systems (HIS) data from June and July, the nutrition situation deteriorated from December 2012 to July 2013, especially in the South. More detailed information is available in the FSNAU Post-Gu Food Security and Nutrition Technical Report from October 18.

Despite ongoing water purchases, which have reduced the amount of cash available to buy food, and the fact that increased livestock sales from August to October have reduced in some cases already low herd sizes, most areas remained Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in October (Figure 1).

In Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in the central regions, food security conditions improved over the recent three successive, near average rainy seasons—the April to June 2012 Gu, December to October 2012 Deyr, and March to May 2013 Gu rainy seasons. Some households have restocked livestock, partially with support from relatives. However, herd sizes remain low, primarily due to losses during droughts in 2010 and 2011. The number of saleable livestock remains low. High imported and local cereal prices, limited access to humanitarian assistance at least in part due to the presence of opposing armed groups coming through the area, and growing debt levels since last year have all limited food access. Poor households in Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone in the central regions currently remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

In Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone, poor households’ are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due deteriorating conditions since July with increased debt levels, reduced income from livestock sales because of the exhaustion of saleable animals, reduced access to food loans, and overstretched social support systems.

Assumptions

The October 2013 to March 2014 outlook is based on the following, national-level assumptions:

Agroclimatology and agriculture

  • The October to December Deyr rains are likely to be average to below average in terms of amounts. Rains are expected to start late in many areas and be erratically distributed over time and space, particularly in October and November. However, coastal and adjacent areas in the Shabelle and Juba Regions are more likely to have near average total rainfall with distribution and onset closer to normal.
  • Poor rainfall in agropastoral areas of the southwestern regions (Bay, Bakool, and Gedo Regions) and the central regions are likely to reduce planted area, which will limit labor opportunities over the course of the season and reduce income from crop sales.
  • Some flash flooding and river flooding is likely, primarily in Lower and Middle Juba and the Shabelle Regions from October to December.

As flood water recede, recession cultivation will be practiced, and this will delay some areas from harvesting considerably. In some flood affected areas, this may push back some of the Deyr harvest from January to as late as March.

Agricultural labor

  • Demand for agricultural labor in the southwestern and central cropping areas will be below normal with low demand for weeding and harvesting for the Deyr season in November and December, due to expected below average planted area and crop development. Agricultural labor wage rates will likely be less than is typical in November and December due to low agricultural labor demand.
  • Gradual recession cultivation and harvests in once flooded areas from January to March 2014 will likely result in higher than typical agricultural labor demand and labor wage rates throughout the January to March Jilaal dry season in agricultural areas in the Shabelles and Jubas.

Livestock                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  • In the South, a low level of camel calving and medium level of cattle calving is expected in November/December and mostly normal pasture and water availability following the start of the Deyr rains will improve households’ milk access, as some cows will be milking. Milk availability will then decline from January to March 2014 due to some cows stopping milking due to environmental conditions during the January to March Jilaal dry season. The reduction in milk production during the Jilaal is expected to reduce milk both for household consumption and for sale.
  • Lower than usual conception rates are expected during the November to December Deyr rains. Sheep conceived in November in Hiraan, northern regions, and the central regions will be at greater risk to abortion than usual, leading to an unusually low number of births during the April to June 2014 Gu season.
  • Livestock prices across the country will seasonally decrease in November as demand bottoms out after Hajj exports to the Middle East cease. However, after January 2014, prices and total exports will gradually start to rise through March following their normal seasonal pattern.

Markets and trade

  • Local cereal prices in South-Central will likely increase during the October to December agricultural lean season. Local cereal prices are likely to remain high through at least March due to the expected below average 2013 Deyr harvest in agropastoral areas of the South in January/February. However, local cereal prices are unlikely to follow the 2010 price trend of extreme spikes starting in October/November and continuing for several months. Local cereal prices will likely decline a bit after the harvest in January after fresh supplies from the Deyr harvest enter the market, but they will tend to increase in February to March back to higher levels.
  • Local cereal prices in the Northwest will likely peak in October before green consumption of the Gu/Karan crop begins in November. Prices of these locally produced cereals are likely to decline from December after the supply from Gu/Karan production starts to reach markets. Supplies imported from nearby areas of Ethiopia will likely further this trend of slight declines in price.
  • Imported commodity prices will likely decline due to good production of sugar, wheat, and rice in exporting countries and the possible release of older stocks in those countries. Prices will follow the local seasonal trend of decreasing with the end of monsoon season which limits trade at smaller ports from June to September, and prices are expected to be mostly stable with a slight decline through March.
  • The Somali shilling (SOS) is likely to depreciate slightly against major foreign currencies as demand for U.S. dollars (USD) for Hajj pilgrims to pay their expenses ends in October and livestock traders bring USD back to markets following their livestock exports, which will significantly decline after October. The Somaliland shilling (SLSH) is unlikely to appreciate as foreign currency earnings in the Somaliland shilling-using zone of the Northwest are lowest after Hajj livestock export period ends in early October.

Conflict

  • An increase in conflict in southern and central Somalia is likely during the October to December Deyr rains, which will likely limit access to migratory labor opportunities, domestic and international trade, and humanitarian assistance. The number of internally displace persons (IDPs) will likely increase, and conflict will disrupt refugee movements. The conflict will likely also disrupt typical livestock migration patterns in southern Somalia.
  • Conflict will likely further reduce cross-border trade both with Kenya and with Ethiopia through at least March 2014. Some armed groups may attempt to formally limit trade. Cross-border trade has already declined over the past several months as authorities in both Kenya and Ethiopia have increasingly tried to formalize trade and collect tariffs at the borders.

Humanitarian assistance

  • Despite shrinking humanitarian space in central and southern Somalia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are expected to continue to run safety net programs in areas controlled by the Federal Government of Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) from October to December. Also, some humanitarian interventions are likely in other areas where local NGOs are present from October to December. Life-saving responses are likely to decrease between January and March 2014 in the areas of the South which are under the control of the Government of Somalia and AMISOM, as interventions in these areas are not yet planned, funded, and likely.
  • Humanitarian support may increase in some parts of the North and the central regions, particularly in Sool, Sanaag, Bari, and Woqooyi Galbeed Regions, which are relatively more secure and accessible to humanitarian agencies.

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Due to several successive seasons of near average to above average rainfall, a near average Gu 2013 crop harvest, resulting fairly low food prices, increased livestock prices, increased livestock herd sizes, and sustained humanitarian response, food security outcomes in Somalia improved for much of 2013. However, an estimated 870,000 people will be in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phase 3 and 4) between now and December 2013. An estimated additional 2.3 million people, one-third of Somalia’s population, are classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, average to below average total October to December Deyr rainfall is expected. Agricultural input supply is expected to be mostly usual and similar to last year. However, the Deyr crop harvest in southern Somalia will likely be below average due to average to below average rains, reduced planted area, and reduced investment of labor in the crops. Delays in planting due to flooding along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers and in their basins will further contribute. However, flooded areas will likely practice recession cultivation and eventually have a harvest, but it may be as late as March. Flooding risks remains moderate, so riverine areas in Jowhar, Qoryoley, and Kurtunwarey Districts along the Shabelle River and Jamame and Jilib Districts along the Juba River will likely have a slightly below average harvest due to flood damage and a delay of some cultivation into the off-season in February or March. Agropastoral areas in South-Central Somalia will generally be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), excluding Hiraan Agropastoral which will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from October to December. There is a risk that some agropastoral areas will deteriorate into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) with a significant number of people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) but below 20 percent of the population of an area from January to March, if the October to December Deyr rains were to be particularly far below average in terms of amount or very poorly distributed.

In the Northwest, the Gu/Karan harvest is expected to start in November, a month later than usual, and to be delayed. Experts from district-level Ministry of Agriculture offices in Baki, Borama, Hargeysa, and Gabiley Districts estimate that only two fifths of the standing crop will be harvested in November/December due to some delayed crop development. The bulk of the Gu/Karan crops are expected to be harvested up to two months later than normal in January 2014 instead of in November. Near average off-season production of sorghum and of maize is expected. This is expected to be near both the post-war average (15-year average) and the five-year average. Local cereal prices in the Northwest are expected to decline as fresh harvest enters into the markets in January 2014 and some supplies from Ethiopia continue to arrive, though at reduced levels due to increasing trade restrictions along the border. With good availability from local production, continued livestock production, and mostly normal market access, most poor households in the Northwest will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October to March.

Expected decreased milk availability and increased cereal prices after December will decrease food access in pastoral and agropastoral areas from January through March 2014. However, due to possible river flooding and flash floods, riverine livelihood zones will have deteriorating food access through December that is then expected to improve from January to March 2014, in part due to the impacts of the off-season Deyr harvest on labor and staple food prices.

Based on the assumptions above, especially the impacts of the projected average to below average total October to December Deyr rainfall followed by the hot and dry January to March Jilaal, in the most likely scenario, food and income sources for poor households in northern Somalia are likely to provide less food and income than usual, particularly in the northeastern pastoral areas in Bari and some parts of Sool, Sanaag, and Nugal Regions. In these areas, the March to June Gu rains were poorly distributed and of insufficient quantity to renew pasture and water sources. The severity of the food security outcomes is likely to be worse than usual due to persistently poor rains throughout 2013. From October 2013 to March 2014, the food security situation is expected to slightly deteriorate due to the expected, but below average Deyr 2013 performance and expected, simultaneous, decreases of pasture and water, thus leading to below average livestock production and reproduction, and less favorable livestock prices. In addition, local cereal prices are likely to increase due to the effects of the projected below average Deyr 2013/14 crop production in key producing regions in southern Somalia.

In the central regions, humanitarian access is extremely limited in the coastal strip due to piracy and persistent clan conflict. However, localized moderate rains will likely support enough pasture, browse, and water to support small ruminants. Also, strong social support from major towns and the diaspora will likely continue to prevent further deterioration of food security for poor households in Coastal Deeh Pastoral-Sheep livelihood zone in the central regions, which will likely remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through March.

Despite the decline of household livestock holdings in East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone over the past year, localized light to moderate rains in October have likely already improved the primary income source, frankincense. Access of fishing labor, the secondary income source, restarted effectively in October following the end of the June to September high seas tide/monsoon season in the Gulf of Aden. Fish trade with Yemen has seasonally resumed at a similar level to last year. Imported commodity prices decreased as market supply increases after dhows restarted navigation to northeastern ports in October. Food security in East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone will likely remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October to March.

Nutrition Outcomes

  • In the South, the projected nutrition situation using the FSNAU Nutrition Situation Categorization Framework until December 2013 is likely to remain Critical to Very Critical, with the exception of pastoral areas of Lower and Middle Juba Regions which will be Serious.
  • In the North, the situation is likely to remain Serious from October to December across all rural livelihood zones except for West Golis-Guban Pastoral livelihood zone where it is projected to remain Critical.
  • Waterborne disease incidence is likely to increase from October to December due to the Deyr rains causing a wet environment, mainly in riverine areas and some valleys in agropastoral areas.
  • Further deterioration in the nutrition situation is possible from January to March, especially areas with deteriorating food access.

Areas of Concern

Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone

Current Situation

In Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone, a significant shift in livestock herd composition was observed in July. Using the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit’s (FSNAU’s) post-Gu 2013 livestock herd dynamics analysis, poor households had five cattle and 31 sheep and goats. Of these, approximately nine head were less than one year old, 19 head were reproductive age, and only three head were saleable males. In order to pay for the cost of the minimum basket (CMB) in September, a calculation of minimum cash living expenses in Somalia, a household in agropastoral areas in Hiraan would have needed to sell two goats or sheep per month. Not having enough saleable males, poor households are either selling cattle or sheep and goats of reproductive age, which will reduce future herd size growth. Unable to make market purchases, households are either maximizing their food loans or seeking food gifts from relatives to meet their food needs.

Owing to poor distribution of the March to June Gu 2013 rains followed by the July to September Hagaa dry season, water and pasture resources were depleted in Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone by mid-September. Communal dams and private water catchments have dried up. In September, field reports indicate that there was limited access to water points, pasture, and browse in Hiraan’s Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone and nearby parts of Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone where livestock from Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone had migrated to during July. These livestock have returned to riverine areas along the Shabelle to access water, but being in the riverine area risks disease exposure from tsetse flies, ticks, and mosquitoes.

A medium rate of cattle calving and a low rate of camel calving were reported in July. A high kidding and lambing rate was reported during March and April due to the high number of conceptions at the end and just after the October to December 2012 Deyr rains. Livestock sales between July and October to obtain households food needs offset the increased livestock holdings from the medium births from March to July 2013.

Despite the current poor pasture and water availability, cattle milk availability has stabilized since July, and by September milk prices in Halagan were 16, 54, and 65 percent below April 2013, September 2012, and the five-year average, respectively. This milk availability is likely a result of the medium rate of cattle calving in May/June. Also, some households may be prioritizing selling milk to purchase other foods over consuming it themselves. Similarly, camel milk prices in September 2013 have remained unchanged since February but are 42 and 48 percent lower than September 2012 and the five-year average, respectively.

In September, local quality goat prices in Hiraan Agropastoral livelihood zone remained relatively stable but had decreased by six and 17 percent compared to April 2013 and September 2012, respectively. However, the prices are 40 percent higher than the five-year average. Even though goat prices are higher than the drought years of 2010 and 2011, they are lower than 2012 due to only average body condition and the Hajj export period falling earlier in the year with traders needing most trade to be done by September to reach Saudi Arabia in time for the Hajj in October. Most poor households had exhausted their saleable male animals before the export period this year, so they did not benefit from the higher prices.

Locally produced staples including white sorghum and maize increased in price from April until September this year, atypically rising unlike the usual seasonal pattern of decreases between July and August. Additionally, cereal prices in Halagan, a rural market, were at their highest levels since January 2012 in September, and they were 43 percent higher than April 2013 and last year. High average cereal prices are a result of well below average Gu 2013 crop production both locally and in neighboring Kalafo Woreda in Somali Region in Ethiopia.

Due to lack of their own cereal stocks from the Gu harvest in July/August, households are currently depending on food purchases. However, the marketing of cereals and of livestock have been curtailed by insecurity, especially in Buloburte and Jalalaqsi Districts where key roads have been blocked by armed groups. These trade routes are an important connection between Mogadishu and the South and the central regions and the Northeast.

Land preparation for the Deyr started in September/October in most of the livelihood zone, and the moderate increase in labor opportunities has increased income from agricultural labor. However, households will not be able to earn back the income they did not receive this year from Gu cash crop and cereal sales, which has reduced households’ overall purchasing power.

Purchasing power measured by the terms of trade (ToT) between the local quality goat and locally produced white sorghum in September declined by 34 and 42 percent compared to April 2013 and last year with one local quality goat worth 106 kilograms (kg) of white sorghum in September. The terms of trade in September were 42 percent higher than last year. The labor wage rate in September was 23 percent lower than six months before, falling from one day of labor earning the equivalent of 17 kg of cereal to one day of labor earning the equivalent of 9 kg of cereal.

Sporadic violent incidents are ongoing in Hiraan. Insecurity has led to an increase over the past six months in the number of road blocks, disrupting both trade and population movements and increasing collection of fees and other levies on traded commodities. Targeted assassinations are becoming a frequent occurrence within the region and in neighboring regions. Humanitarian assistance in the agropastoral areas of Hiraan is limited, and humanitarian access is incredibly limited in Buloburte and Jalalaqsi and most parts of Beletweine District.

With low milk consumption and no cereal stocks from their own production from the July harvest, poor households are relying on market purchases of food, funded primarily, by selling livestock and bush products in addition to local agricultural labor for land preparation. The debt level of poor households remains high. Poor households were carrying debts estimated to be around USD 100 in July, and this has likely increased since then due to a high dependence on credit purchases.

In addition, the results of the recent nutrition survey conducted by FSNAU in July in the northern part of Beletweine District found very high malnutrition rates. However, in Buloburte and Jalalaqsi Districts and the southern part of Beletweine Districts, areas controlled by insurgents were inaccessible. In north of Beletweine District in Hiraan, the survey found the global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate was 20.2 percent (with a 95 percent confidence interval (CI) of 17.3 to 23.5), and the severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rate was 4.4 percent (CI 3.1 to 6.1). The under-five death rate (<5DR) was 0.37 per 10,000 under-five children per day (CI 0.08 to 1.65). Persistent diarrhea and measles were reported. In Buloburte and Jalalaqsi Districts, no survey was conducted due to insecurity, however, nutrition levels are likely to be Critical. Based on these factors, coupled with continued insecurity and limited humanitarian assistance, poor households very likely have significant food consumption gaps and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

Assumptions

In addition to the national assumptions described above, the following assumptions have been made about agropastoral areas in Hiraan:

  • Households are expected to source most food from the market, primarily due to not having stocks from the Gu harvest in July/August.
  •  Due to trade restrictions limiting local and imported cereal inflow from Bay Region and other parts of the South, prices are expected to remain high and increase between now and March.
  • Livestock sales to meet food needs and for debt repayment from October to December will further reduce herd sizes.
  • Sales of fodder and other bush product sales will decline due to low supply, reducing income from these sources compared to a typical October to December rainy season.
  • Increased armed clashes and organized killings will lead to losses of life and assets as the insurgents tries to capture Beletweine. Insecurity in the area will disrupt trade in cereals and reduce the volumes traded.
  • Humanitarian space in the region is expected to further shrink due to increasing insecurity, especially during the October to December rainy season.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Agropastoral areas in Hiraan Region are nearly equally dependent on livestock and crops as sources of food and income, so milk and cereal stock availability provide food. Income from sales when there are favorable livestock prices and cash crop sales typically allow poor households to access necessary food from the market. From October to December, most poor households may receive lower than usual amount of cereals and a low number of small ruminants as zakat due to the impact of a poor Gu harvest and declining livestock holdings of middle and better-off households.

Some small ruminants are expected to kid and lamb in November. Following this, milk access will increase slightly, but it will remain suppressed due to expected poor pasture availability. Humanitarian assistance within Hiraan Region will be concentrated only in Beletweine and near its periphery. These areas will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from October to December. However, some of the poorest of the poor may fall into Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between October and December.

Between January and March 2014, agropastoralists in Hiraan are expected to harvest very few Deyr crops due to average to below average rainfall from October to December retarding crop development in addition to the expected reduced area planted. Following the dry and windy July to September Hagaa season and projected below average Deyr 2013 rains, wild fruit availability is also likely to be very minimal. Wild fruits will not be an effective source of food or income for poor households. As the few milking animals dry-up during the January and March Jilaal dry season, poor households will lose milk access either in the form of gifts or from own production. This will also eliminate milk sales income for households that had previously prioritized milk sales in order to purchase other foods. Livestock sales income will be minimal as saleable animals are exhausted as they have been the primary income source for food purchases since July 2013. Limited humanitarian relief including health services will likely increase the acute malnutrition rates.

As imported and local cereal prices are expected to remain high in anticipation of a poor Deyr harvest in January, poor households will use strategies to acquire more food with less income. Poor households will also reduce their use of preferred foods such as white sorghum and rice and opt for the cheaper red sorghum to maximize their food consumption. Households will also reduce the use of imported foods such as sugar, wheat flour, vegetable oil, and rice, in favor of less expensive local cereals to maximize consumption. However, the strategies will not increase consumption enough. As food loans start to be more difficult to obtain, households will have to further decrease their consumption between January and March, falling into Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

Sool Plateau Pastoral livelihood zone in Bari Region

Current Situations

Owing to below average March to June 2013 Gu rainfall followed by the dry and windy July to September Hagaa season on the Sool Plateau in Bari Region, most livestock had migrated to Sool Plateau in Sool and Sanaag Regions. In those areas, the Gu rains had been near normal. However, the large number of livestock that had migrated accelerated pasture and water depletion. As many of these areas depend on water trucked in and stored in berkads, the accelerates water depletion caused water prices to reach their highest level since August 2011. Currently, pasture availability is poor on the Sool Plateau in Sool and Sanaag Regions, and most rain harvested water has been depleted. Water prices reached up to SOS 47,500 per 200 liters have already been reported at rural markets on the Sool Plateau in Sool and Sanaag Regions.

Despite the medium camel calving rate in July, camel milk availability decreased due to reduced milk yield as result of long travel distance between pasture and water during the Hagaa. The poor do not have camels, and they are not currently receiving gifts as they sometimes do of camel milk due to the poor production. Due to increased livestock sales to meet the additional water costs, poor households’ livestock holdings have further decreased from previous season to around 50 to 70 sheep and goats. Of these, approximately 30 head are less than one year old, 20 are adult female, and only five to 10 head are males above one year and suitable for sale between now and December. Holdings have further reduced, as an unusual level of goat abortions were reported during the March to June Gu in the areas of outmigration.

Sustained average livestock body conditions and high demand for export quality livestock for the Hajj and Eid al-Adha in October have kept prices relatively stable at somewhat higher than usual levels. This has counteracted the increased livestock supply in rural markets on the Sool Plateau from livestock being sold from other places. Livestock prices in Sool and Sanaag Regions have been relatively high since June 2013. In September, the price of a local quality goat was SOS 1,262,500 as prices were around 20 percent higher than their five-year averages.

Imported food commodity prices have been moderately stable from the start of the 2013, and they were generally lower than last year in September, being about two to six percent less for imported commodities including rice, wheat flour, sugar, and vegetable oil. This is mainly driven by the release of the old stocks in some exporting countries, the result of ending the high seas season, falling international prices, the strong production conditions and expectations in some exporting countries.

In Sool Plateau’s markets—Dahar, Rako, and Sarmanyo—in September, local sorghum prices decreased by 14 and 21 percent compared to last month and five-year averages, respectively, but sorghum was five percent higher than six months ago. However September sorghum prices remain close to two percent lower than imported red rice prices.

In Sool Plateau in September, the average local quality goat was worth and an average of 72 kg of white sorghum. Livestock to white sorghum terms of trade have been decreasing since May. However, the terms of trade between a local quality goat and white sorghum in September were 20, 13, and 53 percent higher than in August 2013, last year, and the five-year average, respectively. The average daily labor wage rate in September was worth SOS 120,000 and remained mostly unchanged since six months ago but decreased by eight percent from last year. However, berkad construction which is a primary casual labor opportunity normally ceases during the wet seasons.

Malnutrition deteriorated from Alert to Serious from August to September in Sool Plateau Pastoral livelihood zone starting from a July global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate of 10.8 percent (confidence interval (CI) 8.6 to 13.6) and a severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rate of 1.5 percent (CI 0.8 to 3.5) according to FSNAU and partners’ surveys. The crude death rate (CDR) was 0.04 deaths per 10,000 people per day (CI 0.00 to 0.34), with the under-five death rate (<5DR) was 0. In Sool Plateau in Bari Region, data from health facilities (HIS) indicates that acute malnutrition may affect less than 15 percent of children under the age of five, and that the caseload may be decreasing.

Despite favorable livestock prices, most poor households in Sool Plateau faced difficulty accessing water. High priced trucked water purchases over a longer period of time than usual has significantly reduced the amount of cash available to buy food. Livestock herd sizes have been reduced over the past year from baseline levels recorded in 2009-2010 by selling more head to meet food needs. Debt levels have increased as households increased food access through credit during the July to September Hagaa season to preserve some livestock. Based on these above factors, poor households will still minimally access their food consumption requirement but will unable to afford some essential non-food expenditures and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

Assumptions

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

  • Trucked water purchases will be a primary source of water from January to March 2014. Prices are expected to once again be high and somewhat similar to those during the July to September Hagaa. A large portion of poor households’ income would likely be spent on water purchases.
  • With the average to below average total October to December Deyr rains and their erratic timing and distribution, pasture and water availability will further deteriorate. A below average rate of kidding and lambing is expected during the October to December Deyr due to an unusually high level of abortions and miscarriages during the previous wet and dry season.  
  • Despite the possible decline of rice prices during the scenario period, terms of trade between local quality goats and imported rice are likely to decline due to the expected seasonal decrease in livestock export demand and prices along with expected deterioration of livestock body conditions associated with poor pasture and water availability.
  • A medium rate of camel calving is expected in November to December, but milk production is likely to remain below normal due to poor pasture availability. Continued poor access to milk may lead to increased malnutrition.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Between January to March continued trucked water purchases at high prices will further reduce poor households’ access to market-purchased foods. Funds will be prioritized for water over food. In addition, during this period, both the number of saleable livestock and their values will decrease due to low seasonal demand and deteriorating livestock production conditions. Households will likely be unable to repay all of their debts, which will decrease their access to lines of credit with merchants and traders that can be used to purchase food. During this time, casual labor incomes are typically low due to limited demand during the wet season. Poor households’ receipt of milk and food gifts will be below average as poor livestock production leads to smaller gifts from the better off to the poor.

With poor camel and goat milk production as a result of poor pasture and water availability leading to milking animals drying out, the poor are unlikely to access much milk or to receive milk gifts between January and March. Milk will be diverted primarily as feed for newborn animals to survive. A moderate number of non-governmental organization- (NGO-) run safety net programs are likely to benefit poor households between October and March. Access to food loans and gifts will also decline from October to March. Based on the above factors, between January and March 2014 poor households will only access to minimum food needs only with accelerated livestock sales, so poor households will be classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). 

Events that Might Change the Outlook

Area

Event

Impact on food security outcomes

The Sool Plateau in Bari, Sanaag, and Sool Regions

Near normal to above normal October to December Deyr rainfall

Rains with good temporal and spatial distribution would significantly offset the expected food security deterioration and likely result in a medium to high livestock calving and kidding rate resulting in average to above average milk availability during the April to June Gu. This will increase own food consumption and own milk sales from October to March. Poor Households would be able to repay some accumulated debts. Milk and meat consumption would significant increase, hence reducing the current and projected above average and unusual malnutrition rate.

The Sool Plateau in Bari, Sanaag, and Sool Regions

Well below normal October to December Deyr rainfall

Pastoralist would migrate to the Hawd, possibly even to the parts of the Hawd in Ethiopia. Tick-borne diseases would likely lead to reduced animal health and increased livestock mortality. High costs a for trucked water consumption would require increased livestock sales even of productive animals. With extreme deterioration in food security, some poor households would experience significant food consumption gaps and be classified in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

 

 

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.

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.
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