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Without sustained food assistance, food security is expected to worsen through January

  • Key Message Update
  • Somalia
  • September 2019
Without sustained food assistance, food security is expected to worsen through January

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In September, sustained, large-scale food assistance continued to prevent worse outcomes, reduce food gaps, and mitigate the depletion of livestock assets for poor households in northern and central Somalia. Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!), Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are present in areas of concern. However, in the absence of confirmed funding for planned food assistance from October onward, food security is expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in many areas through January. Although October-December Deyr rainfall is expected to lead to improved food security in early 2020, Deyr harvests will not be available until November-December and livestock sales are expected to match or outpace livestock births.

    • The main and off-season Gu harvest has been completed in southern and central agropastoral areas. National cereal production is estimated to be the lowest since 1995 and 68 percent below the 1995-2018 average. Most households did not harvest main season crops and are currently highly reliant on market food purchases or food assistance. Areas of high concern include Bay region, where the Gu harvest was poor, and Southern Rainfed Agropastoral livelihood zone, where failed Hagaa rainfall (July-September) led to crop failure except in Qoryoley and Baraawe of Lower Shabelle. These areas of concern are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes until at least December, when the Deyr harvest becomes available.

    • In riverine areas, off-season and late-planted irrigated crop production has been severely affected by poor rainfall, prohibitive irrigation costs, and flooding. In some areas, failed Hagaa rainfall led to high irrigation costs, forcing poor households to forego cash crop cultivation. In other areas, heavy rainfall in the river catchments of the Ethiopian highlands raised Somalia’s river water levels to the bankfull stage, and households suspended dry planting due to high flood risk. In Jowhar of Middle Shabelle, river flooding in mid-September damaged an estimated 7,000 hectares of cash and cereal crops. Heightened flood risk is likely to delay Deyr cultivation and drive low labor demand. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to spread through January due to low household food stocks and below-normal labor income.

    • In Northwestern and Togdheer Agropastoral livelihood zones, above-average Karan (July-September) rainfall has supported partial Gu/Karan crop recovery after the below-average Gu rains negatively affected crop production. The rains facilitated late planting of short-cycle cereals and enhanced the yield prospects of standing crops, despite some maize and stalk borer incidence. However, since temperatures will drop in October and inhibit crop maturation, households are expected to harvest these crops for fodder sales instead of consumption. According to the Somaliland Ministry of Agriculture, the Gu/Karan production estimate has been revised to 28,000 MT, which is 32 percent below the 2010-2018 average. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will persist until the November-December harvest.

    • In northern and central pastoral livelihood zones, poor households are expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from October through January due to below-normal income as a result of low livestock holdings. In the absence of food assistance, many poor households will either face food consumption gaps or further deplete their livestock assets to buy food. Of increasing concern are Addun Pastoral and parts of Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones, where pasture conditions are poor and clan conflict has restricted migration opportunities. In southern pastoral areas, where herd sizes are near normal to above normal, seasonal improvements in livestock production during the Deyr season are expected to support Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes.

    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.

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