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Currently, most households in surplus-producing northern areas are still consuming own-produced cereal and other crops, while maintaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes. However, in parts of the south and extreme north, households have nearly finished own-produced stocks and some have started relying on market purchases and other sources of food. Areas in the south and extreme north are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2). From October through January most surplus-producing areas are expected to maintain Minimal (IPC) Phase 1 outcomes. Whereas some areas in the south and extreme north will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2, others will deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes from October onwards.
Cereal and other crop sales are ongoing in surplus-producing areas. Due to cash shortages, some retailers and traders are exchanging grocery items (mainly cooking oil, sugar, flour and soap), utensils, and other household and personal items for grain. Maize grain prices across the country continue to be stable and below average even in the south, driven mainly by above-average local supplies. The average maize grain prices for August ($0.28/kg) in FEWS NET sentinel markets were 31 percent and 24 percent below last year and the five-year average, respectively. Though the prices of small grains are widely variable ($0.29 - $0.69/kg) by markets in the southern districts, maize grain prices are unusually uniform across most markets in these areas at $5/17.5 kg bucket ($0.29/kg).
Livestock conditions continue to be fair to good across most parts of the country. This is a large improvement when compared to same time over the past two consecutive drought years. Water availability and supply for domestic, livestock, and other livelihood uses is above average this season. However, parts of the typically arid south and extreme north are already facing availability and access challenges. Prevailing cash shortages continue to have widespread negative impacts on livelihoods and access to food, especially among poor households.
The National Climate Outlook Forum (NACOF) has forecasted mainly normal to above normal rains in the northern higher rainfall areas of the country for both halves of the 2017-18 rainfall season. However, normal to below normal rains are expected in the drier southern parts from October to December, which may result in an erratic onset in some areas, and normal to above normal rains from January to March 2018. Most farmers across the country have not started on land preparation for the upcoming cropping season and the majority have not accessed or sourced crop inputs yet.
This Key Message Update provides a broad summary of FEWS NET's current and projected analysis of likely acute food insecurity outcomes in this geography. Learn more about our work here.