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Minimal food insecurity through at least December 2013

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Liberia
  • July 2013
Minimal food insecurity through at least December 2013

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Despite the onset of the lean season for the majority of households in Liberia, poor households are currently able to meet essential food and non-food needs through normal livelihood strategies. Between July and December 2013, households are expected to face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. 

    • The majority of Ivorian refugees living within the country will continue to be active in income-generating activities and/or crop production over the upcoming months. However, households living within refugee camps will remain partially dependant on food assistance. 

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Southeast

    • The Ivorian refugee population (estimated at 58,848 and mostly concentrated in the southeast) has been relatively stable since September 2012. Of this population, approximately 20,458 refugees are living in camps and remain partially dependant on food assistance.
    • There is no indication that the majority of refugees will return to Cote d’Ivoire in the near future. Refugees will continue to improve their living conditions by participating in cropping and/or income-generating activities, although those in camps will continue to partially rely on food assistance.

    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    Cumulative rainfall estimates between early April and the end of June suggests that rainfall levels have been above-average (Figure 2), which has enabled crops to develop normally. The seasonal forecast from PRESAO indicates that the rains will be relatively normal for the remainder of the season and as a result, an average and on-time harvest is expected between August and October.

    Seasonal incomes are generally average to above-average. Currently in July, weeding is the major agricultural activity in Liberia, involving both family and external labor. In addition, while palm oil harvesting activities ended in June, traders who still have stocks are selling this commodity at high prices, as market supplies have seasonally declined and demand remains strong. Other typical livelihood activities at this time of the year include hunting, petty trade, and labor activities related to the rubber sector.

    Household food stocks in most areas of the country are either depleting or have already been exhausted (for poor households). Similar to a normal year, the lean season started in April in southeastern counties and in July for the rest of the country. Market supplies of imported rice are generally normal across regional markets. Rice prices in May were 7-24 percent below May 2012 prices, following international trends for this commodity.  Declining prices, combined with average to above average household incomes, are causing labor-to-rice terms of trade to improve and are facilitating household access to this important staple food. Starting in August, the early harvest of rice in southeastern areas will also help to further improve poor households’ access. Cassava, a crop that is harvested year-round and serves as a substitute for rice during the lean season, is currently available for consumption at both the household and market levels. In addition, the ongoing, early harvest of cowpeas, as well as plantains in the Nimba area and parts of the southeast, are improving food availability and are providing incomes for households selling their production.

    According to the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and UNHCR, the Ivorian refugee population was approximately 58,848 at the beginning of July. This population continues to remain stable compared to September 2012 (58,965) and includes some 20,458 refugees living within camps. Field information indicates that refugee camps are slowly morphing into more permanent settlements with most refugees intending to live in Liberia until the next Ivorian presidential election in 2015, despite ongoing efforts to encourage low levels of voluntary repatriation. Ivorian refugees in Liberia are continuing to improve their living conditions through various income-generating activities. For example, the majority of refugees who are residing in host communities and outside of camps are active in crop production, as well as other activities such as petty trade, labor, skilled work, mining, and hunting. Many refugees in camps are also earning incomes from some of these sources as many camps are located near major towns and markets. However, refugees residing in camps will, in general, continue to rely partially on food assistance from the World Food Programme (WFP) through the upcoming months.

    Average market supply of imported rice, coupled with normal cash income levels and favorable 2013 harvest prospects, will enable poor households to meet essential food and non-food needs through the coming months. As a result, poor households throughout the country are expected to face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) during the entire outlook period (July to December 2013).   

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Cumulative rainfall estimate anomaly, April 1 – June 30, 2013

    Figure 2

    Cumulative rainfall estimate anomaly, April 1 – June 30, 2013

    Source: USGS/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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