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Food consumption scores slightly better in late 2012 than late 2011

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Yemen
  • February 2013
Food consumption scores slightly better in late 2012 than late 2011

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • According to the World Food Program’s (WFP) Food Security Monitoring System (FSMS) food consumption improved only slightly in most governorates at the end of 2012 compared to the end of 2011, despite significantly better labor- and sheep-to-cereal terms of trade and humanitarian assistance. 

    • The food consumption score declined in Al-Hodeidah, Al-Mahweet, and Lahj (Laheg) governorates with significant deterioration in the Coping Strategies Index between 2011 and 2012. 

    • However, the proportion of households with poor food consumption is more than twice as high in Sana’a and Al-Baidah than in Al Hodeida, and the proportion of households with poor food insecurity in Lahj is equivalent to the national average (26%).

    • Seasonal declines in food security are anticipated through June.




    Abyan and the South

    • Despite a formal cessation of hostilities, insecurity prevails in the South.
    • December/January surveys revealed Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates of 16.1 in conflict-affected areas and 11.3 percent in areas not affected by conflict.
    • Seasonal deterioration in levels of acute malnutrition are anticipated when the lean season begins in March.

    Al-Hodieda, Lahj, and Al-Mahweet

    • Declining food consumption scores and coping strategies index.


    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    According to WFP’s Food Security Monitoring System’s (FSMS) survey in eleven governorates of Yemen in late 2012, 27.1 percent of the population has poor food consumption and 24.8 percent has borderline food consumption. This is a slight improvement compared to the same survey conducted in late 2011, which showed poor food consumption score of 31 percent and borderline food consumption score of 23 percent, respectively. The key factors attributed to the improvement included: increased humanitarian assistance, lower staple food prices in 2012 compared to 2011, and increased access to credit by households to purchase food.

    Unfortunately, in Al Hodeida, Lahj, and Al-Mahweet, food consumption scores and the Coping Strategies Index (CSI) worsened in late 2012 compared to late 2011. This is likely a result of the poor performance of the 2012 agricultural season in these areas and is unlikely to improve prior to May/June 2013. Above-average civil insecurity in Lahj may also be a factor.

    It is important to note that though this trend is a concern, the proportion of households with poor food consumption is more than two times higher in Sana’a and Al-Baidah than in Al Hodeida, and the proportion of households with poor food insecurity in Lahj is only average (26%). Sana’a and Al-Baidah are significant areas of concern.

    In particular, the FSMS noted a significant increase in the use of credit to purchase food, particularly in the northern governorates of Hajahh, Amran, and Al-Mahweet. The use of credit to procure food is commonplace in Yemen. The significant increase in its use may be due to increased supply in credit due to humanitarian intervention facilitating greater rates of credit reimbursement, or it may be due to increased demand due to poor 2012 production, or both.

    Preliminary findings of a nutrition survey conducted by UNICEF in Abyan governorate shows Global Acute Malnutrition rates of 16.1 percent in the conflict affected areas and Global Acute Malnutrition rates of 11.3 percent in the areas that are not affected by conflict. It is not clear whether this reflects the impacts of conflict or long-term, structural differences in nutritional status between these areas. Abyan is not covered by the WFP FSMS; however, neighboring Lahj and has some similarity in terms of livelihoods. Abyan is also mentioned as one of the areas of concern in the WFP FSMS report, though not covered by the survey.

    Levels of acute malnutrition are relatively better in Ibb governorate. A nutrition survey conducted by Ministry of Public Health and Population (MoPHP) of Yemen and UNICEF in Ibb between 24 November and 6 December 2012 found Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of 7.6 percent with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) 1.2 percent in Eastern Highlands of Ibb while GAM and SAM rates in the Western Highlands were 8.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively. Ibb was not covered by WFP’s FSMS and was considered at relatively lower risk of food insecurity.

    Though food consumption in Yemen is far from ideal in any governorate, informal exchanges with members of the nutrition community suggest that poor health status and poor care practices are the primary limiting factors to nutritional health in these areas.

    Overall food security typically deteriorates during the lean season between March/April and June. This year’s lean season is likely to be harsher than usual, particularly in areas of the western lowlands and the South, where food security is already precarious.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    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.

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