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Winter planted wheat conditions are improving, supported by good precipitation in March

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • March 2024
Winter planted wheat conditions are improving, supported by good precipitation in March

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • As winter concludes, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing in northern, northeastern, and western parts of the country as the lean season peaks and household reliance on market purchases remains high while seasonally low labor opportunities and limited income-earning opportunities keep household access to income for food purchases low in most rural areas. Relatedly, below-normal inflows of remittances from Iran are affecting poor household access to market food purchases, mainly in parts of the western and central highlands. In urban areas, limited labor opportunities also keep household food access lower than normal. The influx of returnees from Iran and Pakistan also provides additional competition for already limited casual labor opportunities in urban markets. However, the upcoming wheat harvest and increased agricultural labor opportunities will provide gradual seasonal improvements to household access to food and income, particularly in the country's eastern, southeastern, and southern parts, supporting Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through the scenario period. 
    • Average to above-average precipitation in March has reduced cumulative precipitation deficits across most of the country. Cumulative precipitation is largely average, but precipitation is 75 to 90 percent of the 40-year average in parts of the south, west, and northern highlands. The good precipitation is improving crop conditions and residual soil moisture, with the upcoming winter wheat harvest expected to be near average. However, the above-average precipitation and snowfall have delayed the spring wheat planting process in the higher elevations of northern Afghanistan. Based on key informants, heavy rainfall and above-average temperatures may negatively impact the standing vegetable crops in the southern and eastern parts of the county. Overall, the precipitation in March positively contributed to the standing crops in the eastern, southern, northern, and western parts of the country and ensured water availability, mostly in irrigated lands. 
    • In February, staple food prices in Afghanistan increased by 1 to 3 percent, following seasonal trends as the lean season peaks. However, staple food prices remain 25 percent lower than last year and 30 percent lower than the three-year average, supported by the appreciation of the Afghani currency and imports from Kazakhstan, Iran, and Pakistan. The ongoing imports from neighboring countries ensure a stable food supply and contribute to the low wheat, wheat flour, and cooking oil prices. Although the low food prices support household purchasing power, the limited number of labor opportunities and low wages keep household purchasing power low. 

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Afghanistan Key Message Update March 2024: Winter planted wheat conditions are improving, supported by good precipitation in March, 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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