Download the Report
Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected to persist in Afghanistan through at least May. Most households have insufficient food to meet their needs due to dwindling own-produced food stocks and high food prices during the ongoing lean season, which coincides with winter. FEWS NET assesses that ongoing humanitarian food assistance is a key factor preventing worse area-level outcomes, but millions of households are still experiencing food consumption gaps as the level of need outpaces available resources for assistance. In the areas of highest concern, including Badakshan, Badghis, Bamyan, Daykundi, Faryab, and Ghor provinces, some households are likely facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4), meaning they have large food deficits or are using emergency coping strategies to mitigate them.
Households are expected to become increasingly reliant on markets and humanitarian assistance for food until the start of the next harvest. At the same time, reduced labor opportunities, lower wages, and high food prices will continue to drive low household purchasing power. In lower-elevation areas, food availability and access is unlikely to notably improve until when the start of the harvest in April and May. In higher-elevation areas, the next harvest begins as late as mid-July.
According to WFP, over 22.6 million people received humanitarian food, nutrition, and livelihoods assistance in 2022. In December, WFP reported that around 3.5 million people received monthly assistance, while five months of supplies were pre-positioned for delivery to an additional 1.5 million people in areas that are hard to reach during the winter season. Households received rations that range from 50 to 75 percent of their kilocalorie needs. Based on available information from WFP as of December, funding constraints will limit the targeting of food assistance to 11 million people over the first six months of 2023. Humanitarians will likely continue to prioritize areas worst affected by the multi-season drought during the ongoing lean season. However, the impact of the government’s directive banning female NGO workers – issued on December 24 – on humanitarian assistance deliveries is being closely monitored.
While precipitation was somewhat favorable at the start of the winter wet season in October and November, precipitation in December was minimal, resulting in cumulative precipitation deficits in early winter (October to December). Furthermore, snowpack across all highland areas of the country is lower than normal for this time of year. Planting for winter wheat is ongoing in December in low-lying areas of the country, while planting has concluded in higher-elevation areas due to the onset of winter and freezing temperatures. Nationally, winter wheat planting is at below-average levels due to dry soils from consecutive years of drought and below-normal access to agricultural inputs.
According to key informant interviews conducted by REACH in October/November, a significant number of respondents indicated that their communities experienced both an economic shock and drought or precipitation deficits within the past six months. Households also reported that staple food prices have increased in the past 30 days and that their access to markets is limited by physical distance and financial constraints. The findings align with WFP price monitoring data, which indicate that wheat grain and flour prices remain well above the two-year average, while rice is nearly 20 percent more expensive than at the same time last year.
As food availability and access reaches an annual low at the peak of the lean season in early 2023, humanitarian assistance is expected to prevent worse acute food insecurity outcomes by mitigating the size of food consumption deficits for millions of recipients. However, levels of assistance are expected to be insufficient to fully prevent household food consumption deficits, especially in the highland areas of the country. Millions of people are expected to predominantly rely on markets and food aid, along with some food stocks stored for the winter season, but they will be unable to cover their minimum kilocalorie needs.
As the winter and lean seasons progress, an increasing number of rural households will exhaust their food stocks atypically early due to below-average production in 2022, and they will become increasingly dependent on market purchases. However, market access is expected to be limited both by financial constraints and physical access, given rising food prices during the winter, lower-than-normal purchasing power, and winter conditions that limit population movement. While households are also likely to earn some income from livestock and remittances, these income sources are not expected to be sufficient to compensate for the reduction of other typical sources of food and income resulting from the multi-season drought and economic shocks. Many urban poor households will also increasingly struggle to meet their needs amid high food prices, seasonal declines in labor opportunities, and lower wages. Across rural and urban areas, many will rely heavily on humanitarian assistance and borrowing or selling remaining assets — including livestock — with detrimental impacts on the sustainability of their livelihoods and their coping capacity.
In areas worst affected by drought, including Badakshan, Badghis, Bamyan, Daykundi, Faryab, and Ghor provinces, province-level Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are likely to persist through at least May. Increased levels of acute malnutrition are possible in some areas as households face reduced dietary quality and quantity during the lean season. Households are likely to rely heavily on humanitarian food assistance to prevent worsening food consumption deficits, with only minimal ability to supplement aid through market purchases or available food stocks.
In other areas of the country, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are likely. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in higher-elevation areas and among households with below-average purchasing power that are unable to stock food for the winter, becoming increasingly widespread across more areas of the country in January/February as household food stocks are depleted. Improvement in acute food insecurity outcomes is not expected to occur until the start of the next harvest. As the harvest and associated labor activities begin in April and May in lowland areas of the country, access to food is expected to slightly improve, driving decreases in the share of the population facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. In higher-elevation areas, the next harvest begins as late as mid-July, which falls outside the projection period for this report.
In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.