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Minimal food insecurity through next harvest in September

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Liberia
  • June 2013
Minimal food insecurity through next harvest in September

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Though the lean season is underway in the south east, country-wide, poor households are able to meet essential food and non-food needs through normal livelihood strategies. From June to September 2013, households are expected to face IPC Phase 1: Minimal food insecurity. 

    • The seasonal rainfall forecast issued in May by national and regional institutions indicates normal rainfall conditions for most of the season with a slight probability of below-average rainfall between July and September. However, an average harvest is anticipated for next August/October as rainfall levels in a normal year are typically high.

    • The majority of Ivorian refugees are active in income-generating activities and/or crop production, however those living within camps will remain partially dependant on food assistance through September. 

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Southeast

    • The number of Ivorian refugees concentrated in the southeast, estimated in early June at 59,642, suggests relatively low return numbers when compared April 2012 refugee estimates of 67,000. Approximately 37,000 refugees living in camps continue to rely partially on food assistance.
    • The majority of refugees are expected to remain in Liberia due to security concerns and livelihoods restoration despite recent developments in Cote d’Ivoire that might otherwise favor returns. Refugees will likely participate in crop production activities leading up to the main season. Refugees residing in camps will continue to rely partially on food assistance.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    Across the country the agricultural season is progressing normally with favorable rainfall since April, allowing for cropping activities to begin on time, and planting is near completion for rice and almost completed for groundnut, cowpea and vegetables.  The seasonal rainfall forecast issued at the regional level by national meteorological agencies and regional institutions with the technical support of IRI and UK MetOffice predict normal rainfall conditions for most of the season with a slight probability of below-average rainfall between July and September. However, an average harvest is anticipated for next August/October. Cumulative rainfall from early April to mid-June already suggests moderate to significantly excessive rainfall compared to average (Figure 2).

    Household food stocks in most areas of the country are seasonally lower than in previous months, but still average to above average due to the strong 2012/13 harvest, with the exception of poor households in southeastern counties where the lean season is underway and household stocks are depleted.  Market supplies of imported rice are generally normal across regional markets, and prices are 7-24 percent below 2012 prices during the same period following international trends for this commodity.  Accessible prices, combined with average to above average purchasing power facilitate household access to this important staple food. In addition, cassava, a substitute for rice during the lean season and harvested year-round or purchased in the market, is available for consumption at both the household level and in the market.  Prices for cassava are stable compared to 2012 levels, except in a few markets where prices are 15-40 percent higher than this time in 2012.  In affected markets (Pleebo, Gbarnga and Buchanan), supply is low due to less offloading of stocked by producers.

    Seasonal incomes are generally average to above average.  Palm oil harvesting is near completion in the center, north, and eastern areas of the country.  Prices are stable compared to April and 2012 levels, and continue to provide average incomes.  Income derived from casual labor and charcoal sales are contributing to improving terms of trade as imported rice prices decrease. Other usual livelihood activities for this period include hunting, petty trade and labor in the rubber production and supply chain.

    According to the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and UNHCR, the Ivorian refugee population was estimated at 59,642 in early June. Since April 2012, only 7,500 refugees have voluntarily repatriated due to persistent civil insecurity in western Cote d'Ivoire. The relative calm observed since May has not proven to be a significant incentive to more returns, as livelihood recovery remains an issue. The majority of refugees remaining in Liberia live among local communities, and are already engaged incomes in seasonal cropping and income generating activities. The proximity of the camps to major towns and markets allows refugees in camps to maintain their livelihoods through various income generating activities.  An estimated 37,000 refugees living in camps will likely continue to remain partially dependent on food assistance.

    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 IPC Phase 1: Minimal food insecurity through September.  

    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 10, 2013

    Figure 2

    Cumulative rainfall estimate anomaly, April 1 – June 10, 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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