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Minimal food insecurity continues through September

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Sierra Leone
  • April 2013
Minimal food insecurity continues through September

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Average to above average food stocks at households levels continue to allow good access to basic food needs and will likely delay the start of the lean season by one month to July.

    • Poor, market-dependent households engaged in normal livelihood strategies will continue to access basic food through September. IPC 2.0 Phase 1 (Minimal) acute food insecurity is expected through September.

    No anomaly of significance to food security has been communicated to FEWS NET


    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    Land preparation is ongoing across the country for main-season planting in April/May. Soil moisture is average to good. Maize, sorghum and millet sowing is underway in the North and the southeast (harvest in June-July), as well as yams in the West, groundnut in the East, and tobacco and pepper in parts of the North. Planting of the main staple foods (rice and cassava) will likely occur in May-June as normal. 

    Medium-term rainfall forecasts for the country do not converge well for Sierra Leone (ECMWF, IRI); therefore average rainfall volumes and distribution are assumed. It is important to note, however, that annual rainfall in Sierra Leone, even if below average, is usually more than sufficient to support crop growth. The greatest challenge for rainfed cropping would be the less-likely possibility of poor rainfall distribution and related increases in pest attacks. 

    Harvests of lowland cassava planted in November-December are expected in June-July and are likely to be average in quality and quantity. Own-produced or purchased manioc is the main staple food during the June-July lean season, in addition to own produced millet, sorghum, and fresh maize when prices for the preferred staple, local rice, will be high.

    Household food stocks remain average to above average thanks to consecutive good harvests. The sweet potato harvest, which began in March, continues to improve households’ diets and incomes. The palm oil harvest and marketing season is almost complete in many parts of the country but continues through May in the southern and eastern districts of Bo, Gandorhun, Kenema, and Kailahun. Sweet potato and palm oil sales are important sources of income for poor households in these areas. In April, informal reports indicate that palm oil prices are 20-30 percent higher than last year in the northern areas due to increasing demand and seasonally low supply, providing above-average incomes to households.

    Market supply of imported and local rice is average to good. Household supplies of local rice from the main harvest (October to January) remain, keeping household demand on markets seasonably low. As a result, prices of imported rice (key purchased staple for households) have been relatively stable since January. 

    Above-average 2012/13 harvests, household stocks, and incomes will continue to allow access to minimum food needs for the majority of poor, rural households through September. The lean season (substitution of tubers, traditional cereals for rice) is likely to start in July, one month later than normal. Stable prices of rice, normal labor opportunities, and average incomes from the sales of forest and farm products, petty-trade, local labor, and mining activities will allow most poor households to meet basic food needs from markets throughout the lean season. Typical livelihood strategies are likely to remain in place until September, when the harvest of early-maturing crops begins. Food insecurity will remain Minimal (IPC 2.0 Phase 1) through the analysis period (September). 

    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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