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Belg-producing areas, southern Afar, and Sitti Zone will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3)

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Ethiopia
  • July - December 2015
Belg-producing areas, southern Afar, and Sitti Zone will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3)

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Partner
    WFP
    Key Messages
    • The Belg harvest has been delayed, extending the lean season from its usual end in June into September in Belg-producing areas in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), northeastern Amhara, southern Tigray, and some areas in central and eastern Oromia. With little income from labor and high staple food prices, poor households in these areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September.

    • With humanitarian assistance, poor households in SNNPR, northeastern Amhara, southern Tigray, and some areas in central and eastern Oromia will be able to address their minimal food needs from the delayed Belg and the anticipated below-average Meher harvest, right after that harvest ends. Poor households in these areas will be Stressed (IPC Phase2!) from October to December.

    • Household access to food and income from livestock has been reduced in southern Afar and Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone of northern Somali Region. Dry conditions have led to poor livestock body conditions, declines in livestock production and productivity, and a high number of unusual livestock deaths. With below-average rainfall likely to continue for the rest of the rainy season through September, poor households will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) only with the presence of humanitarian assistance through at least December.

    • The forecast average to above average October to December Deyr rains are expected to further increase pasture and water availability in southeastern pastoral areas in southern Somali Region. As a result, livestock body conditions will improve, and livestock production and productivity are likely to increase. These will increase food and income from livestock. Therefore, with the presence of humanitarian assistance, southern Somali Region will have a large majority of households able to address their food and nonfood needs and be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) from October to December.


    National Overview
    Current Situation
    • In SNNPR, northeastern Amhara, southern Tigray, and central and eastern Oromia Regions, the February to May Belg rains started up to six weeks late. March and April had long dry spells. Cumulative rainfall was as little as less than half of the 1981-to-2011 average in some places.
    • Belg crop planted area was around 60, 48, and 40 percent below average in eastern Amhara, Tigray, and SNNP, respectively. During the dry spells, many crops did not germinate. In many areas, it was too dry to plant long-cycle crops in April, so instead, lower-yielding, short-cycle varieties were planted in June. Belg crops are currently underdeveloped, and they will not be able to be consumed green in June/July. This has extended the lean season, as no green or dry harvest is expected before September.
    • In most of Afar Region and Sitti (formerly Shinile) Zone in northern Somali Region, the March to May Sugum/Diraac rains were far below average. With little pasture regeneration or refilling of water points, most areas remained in the dry season. Accordingly, livestock body conditions have deteriorated, and livestock production and productivity have declined. Unseasonal livestock migration has occurred, reducing milk access for most household members. A large number of livestock deaths has been reported from Sitti Zone of Somali Region and southern Afar Region, which along with an unusually high number of sales for this time of year is reducing herd sizes.
    • On the other hand, most of southeastern Somali received average to slightly above average cumulative March to May Gu rainfall with typical spatial and temporal distribution. The rains regenerated pasture and refilled water sources that  helped improve livestock body conditions and increase livestock production and productivity.
    • Seasonally, staple food prices are higher than in recent months. According to the Central Statistical Agency (CSA), food price inflation in June was 12.4 percent at an annualized rate up  from 10.1 percent in May. On the other hand, due to poor livestock body conditions, the price of livestock in June was less than the same time last year in Afar Region, northern Somali Region, and the southern and eastern lowlands in Oromia Region. This has reduced household purchasing power.
    • Increasing malnutrition has been reported in different parts of the country. For instance, the May admissions rate of malnourished children under five to therapeutic feeding programs (TFP) was 19 and 24 percent above last year in SNNPR and Amhara Region, respectively. Similarly, total outpatient therapeutic program (OTP) admissions from January to April in Gabi and Awsi Zones in Afar Region was 56 and 51 percent higher than last year, respectively. Households in most western, surplus-producing areas are able to meet their essential food and non-food needs from their own production from last year’s Meher harvest. Some March to May Belg rains as well as the timely start of June to September Kiremt rains have helped the normal agricultural activities to occur at normal times. These areas are currently at Minimal (IPC Phase 1).
    • Due to late start and below-average cumulative February to May Belg rains, the Belg harvest has been delayed from June/July into September. This has caused poor households in Belg producing areas in northeastern Amhara, central SNNPR, and some areas in eastern and central Oromia to have large food consumption gaps. With seasonally increasing cereal prices and less income from agricultural labor than usual, poor households in these areas are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
    • Following the long October to February dry season, the below-average March to May Sugum/Diraac rains in Afar and northern Somali Region led to further deterioration of livestock body conditions and declines in production, reducing households’ food and income access from livestock. With high staple food prices and declining livestock prices, household purchasing power has fallen. A large number of unusual livestock deaths occurred in March and April, so herd sizes are smaller, and households have few saleable livestock. In Afar, most areas are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but only with the presence of humanitarian assistance. Poor households in southern Afar and Sitti Zone in Somali Region are in in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) but only with ongoing humanitarian assistance.
    • Despite average to above average March to May Gu/Genna rains in southeastern and southern pastoral areas, households still lack enough income to pay all essential non-food expenses to protect their livelihoods due to high staple food prices. Poor households are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, in southern Shebelle, southern Afder and Liben Zones in Somali Region, and in the lowlands in Borena Zone in Oromia Region, livestock body conditions and production has not recovered well as pasture and water availability have remained lower than usual due to the below- average March to May rainfall in these areas. Households’ food and income access from livestock still remains lower than normal. Therefore, these poor households are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) only with ongoing humanitarian assistance.
    Assumptions

    From July to December 2015, the projected food security outcomes are based on the following assumptions:

    • According to regional and international forecasts, the June to September Kiremt/Karma/Karan rains are likely to be near average to below average in cumulative amount, but in some southwestern parts of the country, cumulative rainfall is expected to be average to above average.
    • An average Meher harvest is expected from October to January in southwestern parts of the country. However, Meher production is expected to be below average in most northwestern, southern, and eastern parts of the country.
    • With a high chance that El Niño conditions will continue through March 2016, the October to December 2015 rains in southern and southeastern parts of the country are likely to be above average in terms of cumulative rainfall with a near normal timing of the start of the rains.
    • Staple food prices are expected to increase from July to September due to seasonally rising demand and tight supply. In particular, in Belg-producing areas in SNNPR, northeastern Amhara, Southern Tigray, and central and eastern Oromia Regions, prices are expected to be unusually high through September due to delay of the Belg harvest and it likely being well below average. Staple food prices are likely to decline slightly from October to December as supplies from the Meher harvest enter markets.
    • The number of opportunities for agricultural labor in general and harvest labor, in particular, are likely to be less than normal in most northwestern, southern, and eastern parts of the country due to the anticipated below-average Meher production through December.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    In the western and central surplus-producing areas, households will continue to be able to meet their essential food and nonfood needs and remain at Minimal (IPC Phase 1). However, in northwestern Tigray and Amhara, the Kiremt rains are likely to be below average to average in amount. This will  mean there is likely to be less sesame planting and production, reducing household income in these areas and in areas where labor migrants go to work the harvest or planting in these areas.

    Due to the delayed Belg harvest, households in Belg-producing areas in SNNPR, northeastern and southern Tigray, and some areas in central and eastern Oromia are expected to have an extended lean season through September. With no own produced crops or income from crop sales, households will need to continue to buy food from markets. With the expected increase in staple food prices through September, households are expected to have food consumption gaps. Therefore, poor households in SNNPR, northeastern and southern Tigray, and some areas in central and eastern Oromia will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from now until September. However, household food access is likely to improve following the late Belg harvest in September and then the Meher harvest in October. Accordingly, the level of food insecurity in these areas is expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with the presence of humanitarian assistance from October to December.

    Household food access in the Tekeze River catchment in Amhara and Tigray Regions will not improve until the next Meher harvest in October. With low income from livestock sales due to poor livestock body conditions, few opportunities were available to do agricultural labor due for land preparation due to the low amounts of March to May rains, and high staple food prices, households will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September. However, despite and the expected seasonal decline in labor opportunities through December, households in these areas will move to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October to December during the Meher harvest, which is likely to be below average.

    With no significant increase in water and pasture availability expected during the likely below-average July to September Karma/Karan rains, income and food from livestock will remain very limited in most parts of Afar and northern Somali. As cereal prices increase, households’ purchasing power will decline. Households have few saleable livestock. Poor households in Sitti Zone in Somali Region and southern p Afar Region will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) only in the presence of humanitarian assistance. Poor households in central and western Afar will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) but with only with continued humanitarian assistance from July to September. While July to September Karma/Karan rains are expected to be below average in amount, s water and pasture availability will likely increase slightly. Livestock production including milk production will increase slightly. Therefore, food insecurity in southern Afar and Sitti Zone in Somali Region will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), but poor households in in most parts of central and western Afar will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October to December. With high staple food prices and fewer saleable livestock due to recurrent high sales and losses of livestock in previous season, poor households in northeastern Afar will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through December.

    The expected average to above average Deyr/Hageya rainfall is expected to increase water and pasture availability in most southern and southeastern pastoral areas. With anticipated improvement in livestock body conditions, and a near normal rate of births expected during the Deyr/Hageya due to a normal rate of conceptions during the March to May Gu/Genna, household food and income access from livestock will likely increase. Therefore, these areas will move from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from July to September to Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) with the presence of humanitarian assistance from October to December. On the other hand, southern Shebelle, southern Afder, and southern Liben Zones in Somali Region, and the lowlands of Borena Zone in Oromia Region will improve from Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) only with the presence of humanitarian assistance from July to September to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October to December.

     

    For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, July 2015

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, July 2015

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Source:

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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