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Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity due to a sufficient and diverse availability of foodstuffs

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Liberia
  • December 2015
Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity due to a sufficient and diverse availability of foodstuffs

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2016
  • Key Messages
    • According to the World Health Organization’s December 23rd situation report, Liberia has seen no new confirmed cases of Ebola during the last 21 days. Given ongoing surveillance measures, a significant resurgence in new Ebola cases is not expected. This favors the continuation of seasonally normal livelihood activities, such as harvesting and labor work, and is strengthening household purchasing power compared to last year’s levels. 

    • The joint CILSS/FEWS NET/FAO/WFP/Government mission conducted in September estimated that 2015/16 crop production would be similar to the five-year average and above last year’s production levels for rice and cassava. Continued imports of rice from international markets will also be sufficient to meet local consumption needs and maintain food prices on local markets at relatively average levels through March 2016.

    • Household food security is being reinforced by the ongoing harvest and the income-generating opportunities from off-season cropping activities. Moreover, the gradual recovery of livelihood activities and regular rice imports will enable most households to meet their essential food and non-food needs. Therefore, most households are expected to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through at least March 2016.


    Projected Outlook through March 2016

    The joint CILSS/FEWS NET/FAO/WFP/Government mission conducted in September concluded that 2015/16 crop production would be similar to average and above last year’s levels for rice and cassava. Several factors contributing to this average production include favorable rainfall conditions and increased labor availability during the weeding and harvest periods compared to last year when there had been a ban on the gathering of people due to the Ebola crisis.

    In December, agricultural activities continue with harvests of upland rice and some vegetables (ex. lettuce) in major production areas. These harvests are improving the availability of staple food products, increasing incomes through labor work, and are enabling households to diversify their diets compared to the pre-harvest period.

    According to price data collected by WFP, food commodity prices remained relatively stable between August and September, which is helping to maintain food access for poor market-dependant households. However, cross-border flows with neighboring countries have not yet returned to normal levels because of the fear of some actors to visit areas previously affected by the Ebola outbreak. This is contributing to below-average incomes for some producers and traders who depend on cross-border trade for their livelihoods.

    Key informant information indicates that many other livelihood activities, such as fishing, charcoal gathering, crop sales and petty trade, are providing seasonally normal incomes for households, which in turn are helping them maintain their food access through market purchases. However, income from certain sources, such as hunting/trapping, exports of palm oil to neighboring countries, and migration/casual labor work in Cote d’Ivoire still remain at below-average levels due to residual market disruptions and Ebola-related fears. Therefore, even though the economic situation within Liberia will likely continue to improve in the coming months as the country recovers from the recent Ebola outbreak, incomes for certain households reliant on these sources will likely still remain below average throughout the scenario period (December 2015 to March 2016).

    With the ongoing harvests and regular rice imports from the international market, food availability at this time is sufficient to meet local demand. Moreover, labor opportunity from off-season cropping and the recovery of many seasonal livelihood activities will provide most households with sufficient incomes to meet their essential food and non-food needs and remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through at least March 2016. However, a relatively small number of poor households (ex. bush meat sellers, farmers, and petty traders) who lost or abandoned their livelihoods due to the effects of the recent Ebola will have limited food access due to their below-average incomes and will be unable to fully meet their non-food expenditures. Consequently, these small populations, making up less than 20 percent of the total population in all counties, will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through at least March.  

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1

    Source:

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an 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 over the next six months. Learn more here.

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