Skip to main content

Food assistance needs will continue to rise in Somalia due to multiple shocks in 2020

  • Key Message Update
  • Somalia
  • July 2020
Food assistance needs will continue to rise in Somalia due to multiple shocks in 2020

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Multiple shocks are contributing to high food assistance needs in Somalia, with further deterioration expected in late 2020. The below-average gu harvest beginning in July, a forecast of below-average deyr rainfall from October to December, and persistent threat of desert locust dictate a negative outlook for crop and livestock production. Due to international and local COVID-19 movement restrictions, the associated declines in business activity, external remittances, annual livestock exports, and investment are resulting in an economic contraction. The acutely food insecure population is expected to rise between October 2020 and January 2021, characterized by widespread deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and an increase in the population in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Further, preliminary forecasts suggest a consecutive below-average rainfall season is possible from March to May 2021, which raises the likelihood of heightened food assistance needs through late 2021.

    • In southern Somalia, above-average hagaa rainfall in July has modestly improved gu crop production prospects. The rains are contrary to earlier forecasts that the July to September hagaa rains would be below average. On the one hand, high-intensity rainfall caused floods in riverine areas that displaced many households and inundated farmland, especially in Afgoye, Balcad, Jowhar, Jamaame, and Jilib districts. On the other hand, the rains have alleviated crop moisture stress in some areas and maintained soil moisture for recessional cultivation. The gu harvest is now expected to be 20-30 percent below average, compared to previous estimates of 30-40 percent below average. Nevertheless, the below-average gu harvest and forecast of below-average deyr rainfall is still most likely to lead to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in agropastoral and riverine livelihood zones through early 2021.

    • Gu/karan crop production prospects in Togdheer Agropastoral and Northwestern Agropastoral livelihood zones in northwestern Somalia remain similar to the June outlook. Low capacity to afford tractor tillage costs, erratic gu rainfall, and fear of desert locust led to below-normal planted area, while windy, hot, and drier-than-normal conditions in July affected maize and sorghum development. The below-average maize harvest in August is expected to provide 1-2 months of food stocks, leaving poor households reliant on income from fodder and cash crops and goat/sheep sales. In Toghdeer Agropastoral zone, deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected by October. In Northwestern Agropastoral zone, the karan harvest in November will most likely sustain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.

    • In pastoral livelihood zones, locally above-average gu rainfall is currently mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19. Desert locust presence is also declining, due to a scale-up in control operations and swarm migration toward South Asia. Recent livestock births and enhanced pasture and water availability are permitting livestock sales, boosting milk consumption, and sustaining normal migration patterns. Despite these seasonal improvements, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are likely in parts of central Addun, central Hawd, East Golis, Guban, and Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zones, where imported rice prices are above-average and lower livestock holdings, limited lactating camels, high levels of accumulated debt, and the loss of Hajj-related livestock export demand are limiting poor households’ access to loans and social support. Below-average deyr rainfall will place additional pressure on pastoralists’ food and income sources, leading to more widespread deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    • IDP and poor urban households face continued difficulty meeting their minimum food needs due to below-normal income from petty trade and labor, overstretched social support, and above-average staple food prices. Although sustained humanitarian food assistance to IDP sites is expected to play a critical role in mitigating further deterioration in food insecurity, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected through January in both IDP sites and urban areas.

    • Household purchasing power is broadly below normal, primarily due to higher staple food prices. In July, locally produced and imported staple food prices are above the five-year average in areas affected by gu and hagaa floods in the South and in north-central Somalia. In flood-affected areas, including Hiiraan, Middle Shabelle, and Lower Juba, maize and sorghum prices generally range from 20 to 55 percent above the five-year average. However, the steepest price increases are reported in Bu’aale market in Middle Juba, where maize costs 16,300 SOS/kg or 160 percent above the five-year average. In north-central Somalia, imported rice and wheat flour prices are highest in the Northeast, ranging from 20 to 35 percent above July 2019 and the five-year average.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top