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Historic precipitation deficits are likely to dissipate with precipitation in mid-to-late January

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • January 2024
Historic precipitation deficits are likely to dissipate with precipitation in mid-to-late January

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing in northern, western, and central highlands as households have decreased access to typically relevant income sources, and food stocks are limited from the 2023 harvest. Household purchasing power remains lower than normal in urban areas, associated with below-average access to labor opportunities despite declining food prices. However, the warmer-than-normal winter temperatures in urban areas support some atypical casual labor opportunities at an abnormal time in January. Households earning income from labor opportunities are expected to meet their food needs in the lean season, but the lack of labor opportunities limits income-earning opportunities. Households are, on average, working around three days a week. Additionally, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely ongoing among many returnees from Pakistan and Iran, as most face difficulty engaging in their typical livelihoods to earn income for food purchases. 
    • Despite the expectation for above-average precipitation associated with the ongoing El Nino, cumulative precipitation from October 2023 to January 2024 remains well below the 40-year average. Most of Afghanistan has received 60 to 90 percent of average precipitation for the October 2023 to late January 2024 period, with areas in northern and eastern Afghanistan recording less than 60 percent of average precipitation. In particular, much of eastern Afghanistan has recorded historically low precipitation between October 1, 2023, and January 25, 2024. However, moderate to heavy precipitation from mid-to-late January to early February is expected to ease precipitation deficits, even resulting in cumulatively average to above average precipitation in central Afghanistan. International forecast models indicate that average to above-average precipitation is expected from January to March, which will likely further reduce precipitation deficits.  
    • Crops planted in October are currently under stressed conditions in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan due to below-normal water availability for irrigation. Meanwhile, crop conditions in the southern part of the county are promising, supported by groundwater irrigation systems, while rainfed crops are likely stressed. Additionally, local media reports that irrigated winter wheat in areas of eastern and western Afghanistan, mainly Nangarhar and Herat province, remains unplanted due to inadequate soil moisture. Key informants have also reported that crops planted in October 2023 in Kunduz and Baghlan provinces have been damaged by pests, particularly cut warms (Agrotis ipsilon), with the damage from the pests likely to impact the expected harvest.
    • In December 2023, wheat flour, rice, cooking oil, and pulse prices declined, with prices nearly 25 percent lower than the three-year average. Similarly, high-quality wheat flour, primarily imported from Kazakhstan, retails for 32 AFN per kilogram, around 4 percent lower than prices in November 2023, 34 percent lower than last year, and 27 percent lower than the three-year average. The Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC) food basket price was 5,831 AFN per basket, 24 percent and 18 percent lower than last year and the three-year average, respectively. The lower-than-average prices are supported by ongoing market supply from remaining stocks from the last 2023 harvest, a steady supply of imported food commodities, the appreciation of the AFN currency, and government regulations.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Afghanistan Key Message Update January 2024: Historic precipitation deficits are likely to dissipate with precipitation in mid-to-late January, 2024.

    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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