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Weak household purchasing power drives Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Guinea
  • May 2015
Weak household purchasing power drives Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2015
  • Key Messages
    • The 2015/16 growing season is off to a normal start with abundant rainfall, particularly in the forest zones. Activities such as land preparation work, farm labor, and the planting of early crops are ongoing and are providing poor households with normal incomes, enabling them to maintain their food access through market purchases.

    • However, food security outcomes for households directly or indirectly affected by the Ebola epidemic have started to deteriorate with the gradual depletion of their food stocks, a harsher than usual lean season, and below-average incomes due to the general economic slowdown. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to continue for these households in large parts of the country through September 2015.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Ebola epidemic

    • Below-average incomes from certain sources such as petty trade, crafts, hunting, palm oil exports to neighboring countries, mining labor, and animal sales (livestock and poultry)

    • Atypical decline in cross-border trade with neighboring countries due to Ebola-related fears

    • Steady decline in the number of new Ebola cases compared with previous weeks throughout the outlook period

    • Continued below-average incomes, limiting the food access of poor households


    Projected Outlook through September 2015

    According to the World Health Organization’s May 27 Ebola Situation Report, there have been a total of 43 new confirmed cases of Ebola in the last 21 days in Guinea. Most of these new reported cases were in Forecariah, Dubréka, and Boke prefectures. For its most likely scenario, FEWS NET is assuming that there will be a steady decline in the number of new Ebola cases compared with previous weeks throughout the outlook period (May to September 2015). This will help revitalize income-generating activities as Ebola-related fears begin to subside, enabling households to improve their food access through market purchase and, thus, preventing a deterioration in food security outcomes during the peak of the lean season (July to September).

    Satellite rainfall estimates (RFE) are currently showing average to above-average levels of rainfall from the central to the southern reaches of the country (Figure 3). This is creating favorable conditions for the gradual start-up of the growing season. Activities such as land preparation work, farm labor, and the planting of crops are ongoing and are providing poor households with average incomes. This, in turn, is enabling households active in these activities to maintain their food access through market purchases.

    For the current rainy season (April to October), seasonal forecasts from various meteorological agencies (NOAA/CPC, IRI, ECMWF, UK MET, and the PRESAO Forum) are showing mixed projections, with some showing an increased probability of above-average rainfall while others are showing an increased probability of below-average rains. However, given the relatively large amounts of rain that normally fall over the country, FEWS NET is assuming that rainfall will be adequate for the 2015/16 growing season.

    According to FEWS NET’s key informants in Guinea, seasonal incomes from typical sources such as fishing, charcoal sales, and wild plant sales are helping households maintain their food access. Meanwhile, income levels from other sources such as petty trade, crafts, hunting, exports of palm oil to neighboring countries, mining labor, and animal sales (both livestock and poultry) remain below average due to slow business on markets and weak household purchasing power. Sales of livestock and poultry, in particular, are slower than average due to 1) weak purchasing power that has reduced local demand and 2) Ebola-related fears that are limiting exports to normal destination countries, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, and Guinea Bissau. This trend will continue for the remainder of the outlook period, driven by an unfavorable economic climate which could curtail household food access.

    Average harvests and commercial imports have been providing markets with adequate supplies of locally produced foodstuffs such as rice, maize, onions, yams, palm oil, eggplants, dried peppers, and fonio for the month of May. In addition, prices for locally grown cereal crops (rice and maize) were generally stable or in decline between March and April with the regular influx of imports from the international market and good market inventories of local crops. This price stability is helping to facilitate food access for poor and market-dependent households. However, prices for locally grown rice in Nzérékoré and maize prices in Labé are reportedly up by 12 percent and 18 percent, respectively, between March and April, driven by a seasonal rise in demand. On the whole, prices are down from the same time last year, particularly in surplus crop-producing areas. More specifically, prices for locally grown rice in Nzérékoré, prices for potatoes in Labé, and yam prices in Kankan are down by 14 percent, 18 percent, and 20 percent, respectively, due to disruptions in trade between these areas and normal destination areas and the below-average industrial demand as a result of the Ebola epidemic. This is also contributing to the below-average incomes for farming households in these areas and the stabilization of food prices for market-dependent households.

    With the gradual depletion of their food stocks, a harsher than usual lean season, and below-average incomes as a result of the nationwide economic slowdown, the food security situation of poor households and households affected by the Ebola epidemic in most parts of the country will continue to be poorer than usual for the remainder of the outlook period (May to September 2015). These households will succeed in meeting their basic food needs, but will be unable to afford essential nonfood expenditures such as health services and social events (trips, marriages, baptisms, and social or school celebrations). They will not have a properly diversified diet and may resort to eating larger than usual quantities of wild plant foods. Thus, the majority of these households will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity through at least the month of September.

    However, due to limited impacts of the Ebola outbreak up until recent weeks, remaining household food stocks, regular market supplies, and flows of seasonal income, most households in the Boké area are able to protect their livelihoods and meet at least their basic food needs. Therefore, they should experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between now and September 2015.

    Figures Figure 1  Projected food security outcomes, May to June 2015

    Figure 1

    Figure 1 Projected food security outcomes, May to June 2015

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2  Projected food security outcomes, July to September 2015

    Figure 2

    Figure 2 Projected food security outcomes, July to September 2015

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3 Estimated cumulative rainfall anomalies (RFE) in May 2015 (mm)

    Figure 3

    Figure 3 Estimated cumulative rainfall anomalies (RFE) in May 2015 (mm)

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 5

    Source:

    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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