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Food security expected to deteriorate following forecast below-average Deyr rains

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Somalia
  • October 2016 - May 2017
Food security expected to deteriorate following forecast below-average Deyr rains

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Partner
    Key Messages
    • It is estimated 1,371,500 people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher between January and May 2017. The key drivers of food insecurity during this time include forecast below-average October to December Deyr rains, driven by La Niña-like conditions, and the preceding poor Gu season. Below-average Deyr rains will lead to a second consecutive season of lower than normal production and continued poor livestock body conditions. Food insecurity is expected to be highest in agropastoral areas of southern and central Somalia and in Northern Inland Pastoral and Guban Pastoral livelihood zones. 

    • In southern Somalia, rangeland conditions are significantly below average. Pasture and water resources failed to adequately restore during the poor April to June Gu season. The dry and hot July to September Xagaa season drove faster than usual depletion of rangeland resources and conditions continue to deteriorate given the delay of Deyr rains. As of mid-October, eMODIS Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI), a measure of green vegetation, is at its lowest levels in the past five years in all southern regions. 

    • Near-average June to September Karan rains in agropastoral and pastoral areas of the Northwest are expected to lead to an above-average Karan harvest in November, increasing food security in these regions. Northwestern agropastoral livelihood zone will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the outlook period.  

    National Overview

    Current Situation

    Based on the Post-Gu 2016 Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis, conducted in July/August by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), and partners, an estimated 1,096,000 people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 43,000 in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between August and December 2016. An additional 3,900,000 people are classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The key drivers of current food insecurity include poor March to May Gu rains that led to below-average production and poor livestock body conditions and ongoing conflict that has caused trade disruptions and displacement.

    Since the Post-Gu analysis, most of Somalia remained seasonally dry during the July to September Xagaa season. However, rainfall fell in the Northwest, which typically receives July to September Karan rains, and along the southern coast, which receives July to September Xagaa rains.

    • In the Northwest, near normal Karan rains fell from July to September in most areas of Northwestern Agropastoral and West Golis Pastoral livelihood zones. Although Guban Pastoral livelihood zone does not typically receive Karan rains, some rainfall precipitated in Zeylac and western Lughaya District of this livelihood zone. Northern Inland Pastoral and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zones remained seasonally dry.
    • In the Northeast, most areas remained seasonally dry, although light showers fell in late September in pockets of East Golis and Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zones in Bari.
    • Central regions remained seasonally dry during the July to September Xagaa season.
    • In the South, the July to September Xagaa rains in coastal and adjacent agropastoral areas were significantly below normal. Most areas of Lower and Middle Juba and Lower Shabelle received only erratic, light to moderate rains. The rest of southern Somalia remained seasonally dry.

    Deyr rainfall typically starts in early to mid-October, and by the end of October most areas of the country have received between 30 and 80 mm of rainfall. However, as of October 20, little to no rainfall has been received in most parts of the country (Figure 1).

    • In the Northwest, localized, light rainfall has precipitated in a few areas of Hawd, East Golis, and Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zones in Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool.
    • In the Northeast, light rainfall with poor spatial distribution fell in parts of Bari, but it has not rained in Nugal or north Mudug.
    • In central regions, light rains with poor frequency and distribution were received in localized areas in Central Agropastoral (Cowpea Belt), Addun Pastoral, and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zones.
    • In the South, localized areas of Hiran, Bay, Bakool, and Gedo received light showers. However, most southern areas have yet to receive any rainfall.  

    Pasture availability is significantly below average in many parts of the country, as shown by the eMODIS Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI), a measure of green vegetation (Figure 2). The exception to this is in isolated northern areas. 

    • In the Northwest, due to near-normal Karan rains, pasture and water availability are at average levels in most parts of Northwestern Agropastoral and West Golis Pastoral livelihood zones. However, pasture conditions in most pastoral areas of Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool remain poor. Water prices in Sool have increased: A 20-liter jerrycan in Sarmanyo village increased from SOS 3,000 in July to SOS 4,125 in August. However, this is below the five-year average is SOS 4,925. In most parts of Guban Pastoral livelihood zone, little to no rainfall has been received throughout 2016 and pasture and water resources are far worse than in recent years.
      • Livestock body conditions and milk production are both near normal in Northwestern Agropastoral and West Golis Pastoral livelihood zones. However, livestock body conditions are very poor in Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone and most parts of Guban Pastoral livelihood zone.
    • In the Northeast, the cumulative impact of poor April to June Gu rainfall, the hot and dry Xagaa season, and delay of Deyr rains has led to poor rangeland. In September, unusual livestock deaths due to starvation were reported. Despite some localized rainfall in pockets of Qardho, Calula, and Qandala in late September and early October, pasture and water resources have not significantly improved. Water prices in Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone have increased significantly: In Rako village of Qardho District, a 20-liter jerry can of water increased from SOS 6,000 in July to 10,400 in August, significantly above the five-year average of SOS 4,100.
      • Livestock body conditions are poor throughout the Northeast due to limited availability of pasture and water. The poorest livestock body conditions are in Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone, where increased cases of drought-related livestock disease and small ruminant abortions have recently been reported.
    • In central regions, hot and strong winds during the July to September Xagaa season accelerated the deterioration of pasture and water conditions in Addun Pastoral, Hawd Pastoral, and Coast Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones. Localized light Deyr rainfall has been insufficient to adequate restore rangeland.
      • In central areas, livestock body conditions are atypically poor, having deteriorated faster than normal during the Xagaa season.
    • In the South, rangeland conditions are significantly below average. Pasture and water resources failed to adequately restore during the April to June Gu season, as rainfall was poor. The dry July to September Xagaa season then drove faster than usual depletion of rangeland. In Juba riverine areas, pasture and water resources are atypically depleting due to abnormal livestock migration to the area from other pastoral areas of Juba and Gedo. Furthermore, increased demand for fodder is incentivizing traders to sell pasture from Juba riverine areas. Vegetation deterioration is ongoing given the delay of Deyr rains. As of mid-October in all southern regions, NDVI conditions are at their lowest levels in the past five years.
      • Due to the flood plains in riverine areas, adequate pasture and water resources have supported average livestock body conditions and normal milk production in riverine areas of Hiran, Gedo, Middle and Lower Shabelle, Middle and Lower Juba, and Bay. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to migrate livestock to these areas due to limited pasture and no water along the trekking route. In other areas, livestock conditions are poor. A higher than normal level of livestock disease was reported in Juba Cattle Pastoral livelihood zone.

    Crop performance and land preparation is ongoing in most areas of the country.

    • In the Northwest, the July to September Karan rains in Northwestern agropastoral areas were near normal. Most areas of Awdal and Woqoyi Galbeed received average rains that supported crop development. However, rainfall was below average in September, which negatively impacted some crops, reducing yields from estimates made earlier in the season. According to the Somaliland Ministry of Agriculture, approximately 37,120 MT of sorghum and maize will be harvested in November. Although lower than previously estimates, this is still 66 percent above the five-year average.
    • In the central regions, land preparation and dry planting is in progress for rainfed cowpeas.
    • In the South, agricultural activities, including off-season harvesting, threshing, and land preparation, are ongoing in riverine areas of Hiran, Juba, and Lower Shabelle. The August/September off-season Gu harvest from riverine areas was poor due to below-average Xagaa rainfall, which did not lead to sufficient river flooding to support high off-season production. Approximately 5,750 MT of maize and 2,109 MT of sesame were harvested. Some households sold maize plants that were unable to reach maturity as fodder. Agricultural activities for Deyr production are ongoing.

    Sorghum and maize prices have seasonally decreased in most areas, but remain higher than last year.  

    • In the Northwest, where the currency is the Somaliland Shilling (SLS), the Karan harvest has yet to enter markets and, as a result, cereal prices remain high. In Hargeisa, the price of yellow maize is 5,000 SLS/kg, 25 and 34 percent higher than September 2015 and the five-year average, respectively. Similarly, sorghum prices are 14 percent higher than September of last year and the five-year average.
    • In central and northeastern regions, maize and sorghum prices are seasonally high and above last year. In Abudwak, the price of sorghum is 14,000 SOS/kg, 75 and 40 percent higher than last year and the five-year average, respectively. The average price across regional markets is 17 percent above last year, but similar to the five-year average.  
    • In the South, cereal prices seasonally declined between August and September, as supplies from the Gu main and off-season harvests entered markets. Most cereal prices were either similar to last year or slightly above. The price of white maize in Qoryoley of Lower Shabelle is 28 percent higher than a year ago, while the price of red sorghum in Baidoa of Bay is similar to last year. Although above last year, prices remain similar to, or below, the five-year average. This is due in part to very high prices in 2011 that drive up the five-year average.  
    • However, in areas with limited local production and conflict-related disruptions to trade movements, prices are much higher. In September in Luuq of Gedo, the price of maize was 13,000 SOS/kg and the price of sorghum was 12,000 SOS/kg. Similarly, in Sakow of Middle Juba, the price of maize was 9,000 SOS/kg and in Beletweine of Hiran the price of sorghum was 11,500 SOS/kg. These prices are between 40 and 60 percent above their respective five-year averages. They are also nearly double the price of cereals in Qoryoley of Lower Shabelle or Baidoa of Bay.
    • The price of imported foods such as vegetable oil, wheat flour, and rice have generally remained stable since early 2015. September prices of most of these items were 10-30 percent lower than their five-year averages.

    Livestock prices are seasonally high in most regions of the country, given high export demand for the Hajj. Goat prices in most regions are similar to both last year and the five-year average. However, in Middle and Lower Juba, livestock prices have been declining since June and are 23 percent below the five-year average. This is due to oversupply in riverine markets, as many households are selling additional animals to purchase food and animal drugs from the market.

    • Household purchasing capacity, measured by terms of trade (ToT), is above average in most areas. In Baidoa of Bay, a day of casual labor in September bought 18 kg of red sorghum, a 20 percent increase from the five-year average. In Kismayo of Lower Juba, the daily labor wage bought 20 kg of white maize in September, up from the five-year average of 14 kg. Similar trends exist throughout Somalia, although exceptions are noted in the areas of concern.
    • Similarly, the goat-to-cereal ToT in most pastoral areas in the central and northern regions was similar to September of last year and above the five-year average. In September in Galkayo of Mududg, the sale of local quality goat bought 76 kg of rice, up from 70 kg in September 2015. Similarly, in Togwajaale of Waqqoyi Galbeed, the sale of a goat bought 69 kg of red rice, similar to last year but up from the five-year average of 64 kg. The exception to this is Lower and Middle Juba where the livestock to cereals terms of trade are around 35 percent below average.
    • Conflict in southern and central regions has increased from last year. In particular, interclan conflict in Galkacyo has resulted in the loss of assets and human lives. Humanitarian agencies in Galkacyo estimated that over 75,000 people have been displaced. In addition, 40,000 displaced people living in Galkacyo have faced temporary displacement from their settlements and moved to the nearby villages and small settlements. Insurgents and allied militias continue implementing road blockades, constraining trade and humanitarian access.
    • From assessments conducted by the Kenyan Government and UNHCR in July and August, there were 263,000 Somali refugees in Dadaab in August, a reduction of 75,000 from the number of Somali residents in July. Approximately 18,110 returned to Somalia in 2016. In mid-August, more than 24,000 Somali refugees who left Dadaab were stranded near the border after Jubaland Administration stop receiving them, citing inadequate humanitarian support.

    In many areas, favorable ToT and the arrival of the Gu harvest are supporting seasonal improvements in food access. However, in all areas but the Northwest, rangeland resources are deteriorating faster than normal and remain significantly below average. In many regions, NDVI is the worst on record in the past five years. Consequently, livestock body conditions are weakening. Furthermore, although the Gu harvest is supporting a seasonal decrease in staple food prices, local cereal prices are still higher than last year in most areas, given that the harvest was below average. Typically, the consumption of livestock products improves in October with the onset of Deyr rainfall; however, given that no significant rainfall has precipitated, milk production remains atypically low for October.

    Most pastoral areas are Stressed (IPC Phase 2), as reduced livestock productivity is lowering milk consumption and income from sales. Many parts of Central Agropastoral (Cowpea Belt), Southern Rainfed Maize and Cattle, and Southern Agropastoral livelihood zones are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) because, in addition to the above factors impacting pastoral areas, poor households in agropastoral areas also had significantly poor Gu production. This is lowering food access and household income from crop sales. Many poor households in these areas also had below average harvests in 2015 and have remained atypically market dependent for many months. With low income from livestock and crop sales, many households in agropastoral areas are facing difficulty purchasing adequate food from markets. Additionally, Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone of Bari and Nugal and Guban Pastoral livelihood zone are also in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to several seasons of poor rainfall that has led to atypical livestock deaths, reducing poor household assets below sustainable levels. Most do not have sufficient saleable animals to fund food purchases. In Bossaso of Bari and Gaalkacyo of Mudug, high levels of humanitarian assistance are helping to maintain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes. The most food secure area is Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone, which remains in Minimal (IPC Phase 1). In urban areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) persists in the conflict-affected areas of Hiiraan (Buloburte), Bakool (Hudur, Tayeglow and Wajid), Bay (Dinsor), and Lower Shabelle (Marka). In these regions, conflict has lowered trade flows, restricted market access, and limited the ability of households to move to pursue income-earning opportunities.

    According to the Post-Gu assessment of 13 IDP settlements[1], food insecurity remains high among displaced populations.  Of the estimated 1,200,000 IDPs in Somalia, approximately 638,000 are Crisis (IPC Phase 3). About 28,000 in Woqooyi Galbeed, Banadir, Bay, Gedo, and Juba are likely in Emergency (IPC 4). Poor or borderline food consumption, poor dietary diversity, and ‘Series’ (Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) prevalence 10-14.9 percent) to ‘Critical’ (GAM prevalence 15-30 percent) malnutrition levels were observed in these areas. Food insecurity remains high due to loss of livelihoods, significantly low asset holdings, few income-earning opportunities, and poor access to social services.

    For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

    [1] Baidoa (Bay), Banadir, Berbera (W.Galbeed), Bossaso (Bari), Burco (Togdheer), Dhusamareb (Galgaduud), Dobley (J. Hoose), Dolow (Gedo), Galkayo (Mudug), Garowe (Nugaal), Hargeisa (W.Galbeed), Kismayo (L. Juba), Qardho (Bari)


    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar For A Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, October 2016

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Rainfall anomaly in millimeters (mm) from 2001-2014 mean (RFE2), October 11-20, 2016

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 4

    eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) percent of normal from 2001-2010 mean, October 16-25, 2016

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 5

    Expected percentage of normal rainfall, October to December

    Source: FEWS NET

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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