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Stressed levels of food insecurity, driven by the residual effects of the Ebola outbreak

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Guinea
  • August 2015
Stressed levels of food insecurity, driven by the residual effects of the Ebola outbreak

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2015
  • Key Messages
    • The growing season is progressing normally with good rainfall activity in August creating conditions conducive to good crop growth and development in agricultural areas of the country. August rains also triggered localized floods although the related crop losses are not expected to jeopardize the good harvest prospects at the regional or national level.

    • Despite various programs by the government and its partners, such as distributions of free food, subsidized sales, and cash-for-work programs, food security outcomes will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September 2015 due to the residual effects of the Ebola outbreak on the incomes of most households.

    • With the average to above-average food stocks, regular rice imports, and prospects for average to above-average harvests, acute food insecurity will likely be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) between October and December 2015.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Ebola epidemic

    • Below-average incomes from certain sources such as petty trade, craft trades, hunting, mine work, and sales of livestock and poultry

    • Atypical slowdown in cross-border trade with neighboring countries due to Ebola-related fears

    • Steady decline in the number of new Ebola cases compared with previous weeks throughout the outlook period

    • Continued below-average incomes through the end of September, limiting food access for poor households


    Projected Outlook through December 2015

    According to the August 19th World Health Organization Ebola Situation Report, there were six (6) new confirmed cases of Ebola in the last 21 days in Forécariah, Coyah, Conakry, and Kindia prefectures. Despite the government’s continued imposition of quarantine measures in certain villages and districts within these prefectures in an effort to stop the virus from spreading, there have been no signs that this has caused a deterioration in the food security situation. Furthermore, no major increases in the number of new Ebola cases is expected between now and December 2015.

    As of August 10th, cumulative rainfall totals since the start of the growing season were at or above the seasonal average in all parts of the country. Consequently, the agricultural growing season is progressing normally and is creating normal income-earning opportunities for poor households, enabling them to maintain their staple food access and meet their basic needs. It also helps ensure an average to good harvest outlook. Though seasonal forecasts by major weather forecasting agencies show mixed results, the majority indicate a high likelihood of average to above-average rainfall for the rest of the season (forecasts by the NOAA, ECMWF, and UK MET). There are already scattered reports of localized flooding causing damage to crops, but the severity of the damage is assessed to be below-average. By all accounts, there should not be any deterioration in food security outcomes due to this flooding, as it will have very little impact on crop growth and other livelihood strategies.

    According to FEWS NET’s key informants in Guinea, normal sources of income such as fishing, sales of charcoal and palm oil, and the gathering of wild plant products are providing households with seasonal income, which is enabling them to maintain their food access. On the other hand, income levels from other sources such as petty trade, craft trades, hunting, and mine work are still below-average on account of the slow business activity on local markets and weak household purchasing power. This pattern will continue through September, driven by an unfavorable economic climate, and could limit household food access. However, in the most likely scenario for October through December, a slowly improving economic climate and crop sales from the upcoming harvest should help to normalize income levels from most sources, including petty trade.

    Market supplies are sufficient to meet household demand due to regular rice imports from the international market, average household food stocks, and domestic trade flows of locally grown food crops,. This helped keep prices on most reference markets stable between June and July or in line with normal seasonal trends. However, prices for locally grown rice in Nzérékoré were reportedly up by 16 percent due to the high demand from other domestic markets. On the other hand, prices for potatoes dropped by 25 percent in Labé, driven down by the larger market supplies of this crop. In general, market prices show little movement compared to last year’s levels, due to the good availability of crops on local markets and at the individual household level. This price stability is helping to facilitate food access for poor and market-dependent households. In general, cross-border trade with neighboring countries is still below average due to residual Ebola-related fears (Figure 4).

    With the impact of the Ebola outbreak on the local economy and weak household purchasing power, most households are currently reducing their basic nonfood spending and will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity through at least September 2015. However, the expected good October harvest and normal recovery of certain livelihood strategies such as petty trade and mine work should bring incomes from different sources of income back in line with normal seasonal trends and keep food insecurity in most livelihood zones at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels between October and December 2015.

    Figures Figure 1. Projected food security outcomes for August through September 2015

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Projected food security outcomes for August through September 2015

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2. Projected food security outcomes for October through December 2015

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. Projected food security outcomes for October through December 2015

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3. Estimated cumulative rainfall anomalies (RFE) for August 1 – 10, 2015 as a percentage of the 2010/2014 average

    Figure 3

    Figure 3. Estimated cumulative rainfall anomalies (RFE) for August 1 – 10, 2015 as a percentage of the 2010/2014 average

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 4. Status of cross-border trade flows based on reports from key informants

    Figure 4

    Figure 4. Status of cross-border trade flows based on reports from key informants

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 5

    Source:

    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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