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Seasonally normal rice prices will contribute to Minimal levels of food insecurity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Liberia
  • February 2014
Seasonally normal rice prices will contribute to Minimal levels of food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Nationally, 2013/14 rice production was 7 percent below average, primarily due to production shortfalls in southern counties. However, poor households in these areas will continue to meet their food needs normally through purchased imported rice and the consumption of locally produced cassava and plantains.
    • Stable imported rice prices and average income levels are enabling households to access food normally through market purchase. Most households will be food secure (IPC Phase 1) through at least June 2014.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    No current or projected anomalies of concern are expected in Liberia

     


    Projected outlook through June 2014

    Harvesting activities for the main 2013/14 rice harvest, as well as off-season land preparations for market garden crops, have been completed, and households are currently active in land preparations for the next rice growing season.  Nationally, 2013/14 rice production was down 7 percent compared to the five-year average, primarily due to a drop in production in Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Maryland, River Gee, and Grand Kru counties.

    Household food stocks are generally average this year. However, poor households in counties that saw below-average rice harvests are supplementing their diets with purchased imported rice and their own production of plantains (in central and southern Liberia) and tubers, such as cassava. Production levels for these crops were above-average this year. Other typical livelihood activities, such as hunting/trapping, charcoal and palm oil sales, and casual labor work on rubber plantations, are also providing households with normal levels of food and income.

    Similar to a normal year, Liberia will rely on imported rice from international markets to meet domestic demand, particularly between May and the next harvest in October when local rice stocks will be exhausted. At an international level, rice stocks are currently at record high levels, which have contributed to a stability of rice prices internationally and at local markets in Liberia. Through at least June 2014, market supply levels will be normal and food prices will remain within seasonal trends.

    According to UNCHR, there are approximately 52,000 refugees currently in Liberia. Voluntary return of these Ivorian refugees will likely continue in 2014 giving an improvement in security conditions in western and southern Cote d'Ivoire. Meanwhile, the majority of refugees in Liberia are living in local communities and are active in a variety of livelihood activities, including crop production, petty trade, casual labor, skilled work, and hunting. However, those residing in camps are less able to participate in these types of activities and continue to rely partially on humanitarian assistance. For refugees in camps, their food security would deteriorate if ongoing humanitarian assistance programs were to be disrupted. According to the United Nations refugee agency in Liberia, current programs are funded through March 2014.  

    Regular supplies and stable prices for imported rice, coupled with relatively normal incomes, will enable poor households to continue to meet their essential food and non-food needs through June. As a result, households will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    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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