Alert

A second consecutive year of poor crop production expected in parts of Karamoja

September 2013

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
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
National Parks/Reserves
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.

Summary

For the second consecutive year, poor rainfall distribution and prolonged dry spells early in the production cycle have resulted in planting delays and crop damage throughout the Karamoja region. FEWS NET anticipates that the 2013 main harvest could be 30-50 percent lower than average, providing only temporary relief in areas where food security is already Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The combined impact of poor production, below average incomes, prolonged market dependence, and depleted assets is likely to result in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) by February in northern and central Karamoja.

Situation

The 2012-2013 consumption year in Karamoja began with below-average harvests in August/September 2012. As a result, poor households had significantly less food stocks and less seasonal income than normal from on-farm and casual labor than normal, leading to an early start to the lean season (Jan/Feb instead of Mar/Apr). Poor households are currently in the eighth month of what is typically a five month lean period. Despite ongoing food aid distributions, households have been heavily market dependant for 6 months, straining already low purchasing power despite lower than usual staple food prices. Due to the combined effects of a below-average main harvest in 2012, a delayed green harvest in 2013, poor purchasing power from low seasonal on-farm wages, and depletion of livestock assets over the last year, Stress (IPC Phase 2) is currently prevalent throughout the region.

Heavy, erratic rains at the start of the 2013/2014 agricultural season (March/April) waterlogged newly planted seedlings across the region. These heavy rains were then followed by a 30-45 day dry spell in May-July (Figure 1) which stunted the development of surviving crops (sorghum, maize, beans), particularly in Kotido, Kaabong, Napak, and Moroto Districts. Replanting took place in July and August, but was limited by a lack of confidence among household producers regarding rainfall during the remainder of the season. Currently, the status of planted crops areas is highly variable, with southern Karamoja expecting a near-average harvest, while in the remaining districts, production depends on better-than-average performance of the rainy season through October. Rainfall has been sufficient to allow for normal pasture regeneration.

In the most likely scenario, forecasts suggest that Karamoja will receive average rainfall through October. This will be insufficient for full crop development, particularly in the four districts listed above, given the poor start of season and below average replanting rates. Main and green harvests will be below average and up to two months late (October instead of August), providing only short-term relief to poor households. Poor households who own livestock have already sold animals to increase purchasing power, but these strategies are limited due to small herd sizes and constrained market access. Although food security will improve slightly in the post-harvest period, most poor households are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through December. A small proportion (<20% of households) may reach Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during this period.

In January/February 2014 the lean season is expected to begin early for the second consecutive year as households revert to early market dependence and food security outcomes deteriorate. Crisis (IPC 3) is expected to be more widespread, and humanitarian assistance needs are likely to increase to nearly half a million people by February 2014. Well-targeted and well-timed food and livelihoods assistance should be considered to mitigate the impact of two consecutive years of poor seasonal performance and below average staple food production on poor households.

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.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics