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High Food Prices, Particularly in Ta’izz and Shabwah Governorates, Limit Purchasing Power

  • Key Message Update
  • Yemen
  • September 2016
High Food Prices, Particularly in Ta’izz and Shabwah Governorates, Limit Purchasing Power

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • A major food security emergency continues in Yemen as an estimated 7 to 10 million people face difficulties meeting basic food needs, in line with Crisis (IPC Phase 3 or 3!) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity. Food insecurity will remain most severe in Ta’izz Governorate, as well as amongst IDP populations throughout the country. 

    • Current large-scale food assistance programs are playing an important role in mitigating higher levels of food insecurity. In the absence of these programs, additional areas (Hajjah, Sa’dah, Sana’a, Amran and Ad Dali’) would have likely faced Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity.

    • September data from WFP’s mVAM surveys indicate that, nationally, the percentage of households with “poor” food consumption continues to remain relatively stable compared to the past year while the median reduced coping strategies index (rCSI) has increased slightly. At a sub-national level, trends for both indicators vary. According to WFP’s August 2016 report, IDP populations continue to report higher levels of food insecurity.

    • As of August 2016, the official exchange rate was stable at 250 YER/USD, though rates on parallel markets have increased, ranging from 270 to 320 YER/USD. A FEWS NET rapid assessment conducted in August 2016 found that difficulties accessing international remittances have increased compared to past months, including delays, lack of currency, closed offices, and banks often being unwilling to process remittances at official exchange rates. Additionally, an announcement in mid-September was made that Yemen’s Central Bank would be moved from Sana’a to Aden. Potential implications for food security in Yemen are still being assessed. 

    • Although wheat flour was either available or somewhat available in all governorates in August 2016 (WFP, FEWS NET), high food prices continue to limit household food access. According to WFP price data, August wheat flour prices generally remained above pre-conflict levels but fell compared to the previous month. Exceptions, however, include the governorates of Ta’izz (+9 percent), Shabwah (+5 percent), Socotra (+30 percent), and Ibb (+18 percent). Wheat flour prices in Ta’izz and Shabwah remain particularly elevated compared to the rest of the country and were 38 percent and 52 percent, respectively, above the national average. 

    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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