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Minimal food insecurity expected to continue through at least next June

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Liberia
  • February 2013
Minimal food insecurity expected to continue through at least next June

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Good harvests, coupled with normal livelihood strategies, are enabling households to meet essential food and non-food needs. Households are expected to be food secure (IPC Phase 1) through at least June 2013.

    • Rice production during the 2012/13 cropping season was slightly above-average. These good production levels, combined with the normal levels of rice imports, will be sufficient to meet Liberia's food needs during the 2012/13 consumption year. Imported rice prices will likely remain stable with little variation over the upcoming months.

    • The Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) reported that approximately 66,871 Ivorian refugees were living within Liberia (38,494 in refugee camps) as of January 2013. Despite engaging in various income-generating activities, refugees living within camps will remain partially dependent on food assistance while in Liberia.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Liberia is continuing to host approximately 66,871 Ivorian refugees with 38,494 of these refugees living within camps. Refugees in camps are partially dependant on food aid.
    • The majority of the Ivorian refugees will likely stay in Liberia to take advantage of the next cropping season. Refugees in camps will continue to remain partially dependent on food aid.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    In southeastern counties of Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland, rice harvests ended in October and land preparation activities have been ongoing since November for the next upland rice and vegetables planting season, which starts in April. In other counties, rice harvests were completed in December and land preparation activities are ongoing at low levels. Liberia's national 2012/13 paddy rice production has been estimated at 298,178 MT, which is a 2.6 percent increase as compared to last year and 2.9 percent increase compared to the four-year average. These slightly above-average harvests, coupled with ongoing harvests of plantains (in central and southern Liberia) and other tubers (throughout the country), have contributed to normal food stock and crop income levels. In the southeast, food stocks from this season's harvests are expected to last a normal, five months, which means household food stocks will deplete in April/May.

    In Lofa and parts of Bong counties, which are major rice producing areas of the country, markets are currently dominated by locally-milled rice. Meanwhile in the rest of the country, markets are currently well-supplied with rice imports. Reduced market demand, due to households consuming their own food stocks, has caused imported rice prices to decline in December compared to November levels. These price decreases have ranged from 3 percent in Monrovia and Voinjama to 15 percent in Foya. Compared to last year's levels, imported rice prices in December remained 2 to 14 percent lower this year. Two exceptions are Pleebo and Buchanan where rice prices displayed a 23 and 41 percent annual increase, respectively. Given that the government of Liberia recently extended an executive order suspending import tariffs on rice, imported rice prices are expected to remain at normal and stable levels during this consumption year.

    The Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) reported that approximately 66,871 Ivorian refugees were living within Liberia (38,494 in refugee camps) as of January 2013. Despite low levels of voluntary repatriations to Cote d'Ivoire (about 405 returnees in January), the majority of refugees will most likely remain in Liberia for the near future. Consequently, many refugees are improving their basic shelters to semi-permanent concrete structures provided by UNHCR and other partners. Most refugees are also improving their food security through income-generating activities such as crop production, agricultural labor, petty trade, the selling of forestry products, mining, and transportation services. However, most refugees will remain at least partially dependent on food assistance while in Liberia. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), its food assistance pipeline will be sufficient to meet refugees and host communities' needs until next May. Market functioning and agricultural production in areas hosting refugees are near average levels, and pressure on host communities is likely to be less in 2012/13 than in 2011/12.

    At this time during the dry season, Liberian households are selling charcoal, palm nuts/oil, bush meat, and plantains to generate cash income. In December, the price of charcoal at markets across the country was 4 to 22 percent higher than last year, improving poor households' income levels. Palm oil production is starting up in February as usual and will last through June. However, current production levels are not yet significant enough to cause prices to decrease. In December, high demand and low supply caused palm oil prices to increase by about 5-55 percent compared to December 2011.  The highest annual increases were observed in Foya (40 percent) and Voinjama (47 percent), which are both markets close to Guinea where demand is particularly high, and in Zwedru in the south eastern (55 percent).

    This season's good harvests, coupled with normal livelihood strategies, will allow households to meet essential food and non-food needs. Households are expected to be food secure (IPC Phase 1) through at least June 2013.

    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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