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Above average stocks and normal strategies suggest minimal food insecurity through June

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Sierra Leone
  • March 2013
Above average stocks and normal strategies suggest minimal food insecurity through June

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Average to above average household food stocks continue to allow good access to basic food needs. Poor households will continue to consume their own rice stocks until May and begin market purchases in June.

    • Good harvests and normal income levels will result in Minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) through at least June 2013.





    The 2012/13 major crop harvests have been above-average, and households continue to maintain good access to meet basic food needs.

    The majority of households in rural areas will continue to rely on their own stocks, leading to market dependence and stable prices for basic commodities until the majority lean season starts in July.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    The worst cholera epidemic that Sierra Leone experienced last year remains under control in March after few cases (14) reported in the first week of January. However the risk of resurgence remains due to chronic systemic weakness in water and sanitation infrastructure and poor hygiene practices. Food security has not been significantly affected by the epidemic to-date.

    Land preparation is ongoing across the country for seasonal planting that will begin in April and May. Low land cassava, planted in November, is developing well, and an average harvest is expected in June-July, coinciding with the lean season when household rice stocks are exhausted  and market purchase increases. Household food stocks remain at average and favorable levels due to consecutive good harvests.  Vegetable harvests that started in February and the ongoing harvest of sweet potatos continue to improve diets and incomes. The palm oil harvest is coming to a close in many parts of the country but is currently beginning in the southern districts of Bo, Kenema and Kailahun and will last through May, offering seasonal income earning opportunities to poor households.

    Markets are well supplied in both  local rice and imported varieties; however, the availability of local rice at the household level is reducing demand for imported rice, leading to price stability between December and January and a steady decrease in local rice prices (4-20 percent) over the same period. In March, prices remained stable compared to February prices, given that the surplus post-harvest sales were more significant in December-January. In December, palm oil prices were 27-34 percent higher than last year in the north areas close to Guinea as the demand towards that country and Senegal remain important.

    In March, fuel prices are reportedly stable compared to last year ( 4,500LE/liter in Freetown and district urban centers). Retail prices in remote areas are usually 500-1000LE higher per liter and are not significantly impacting commodity prices.

    Despite the excess of 45,000 MT of local rice in the provisional food balance sheet, Sierra Leone will import 100,000-200,000 MT of rice from the international markets as a significant portion of the local production flows to Guinea where local milled rice is well appreciated. Field information suggests that export restrictions between the two countries does not really affect cross border flows.  

    Above average harvests of other major crops (34-40 percent) are contributing to normal income levels from crop sales, and a reduced dependency on market purchases for staple foods before the lean season starts in July, one month later than normal. The majority of poor households have access to basic food through their own production and are earning normal incomes from staple food sales and other activities, such as petty-trade, local labor, selling forest and farm products,  vegetables, cash crops  such as tobacco and palm oil,and mining activities. These livelihood strategies will remain in place at normal levels throughout the 2012/13 consumption year. Due to the favorable harvest, continuation of normal income levels and livelihood strategies, minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) is likely through the next lean season in June/July. 

    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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