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Ethiopia: Food Security Outlook, Oct. 2011 to March 2012

FEWS NET distributed last Friday its latest food security situation assessment, titled ‘Ethiopia Food Security Outlook, October 2011 to March 2012’.

FEWS NET, or Famine Early Warning Systems Network, is a USAID-funded system, established about two decades ago, to provide ‘timely and rigorous early warning and vulnerability information on emerging and evolving food security issues’ in collaboration with international, regional and national partners, according to the description on its website.

Here is the full text.

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* According to the National Metrological Agency (NMA), the October to December rains are forecast to be normal to below normal in the southern and southeastern pastoral and agropastoral areas,Figure 1 Current estimated food security outcomes, October 2011 [Source FEWS NET and WFP] which have experienced severe drought over the last year. Although seasonal improvements are likely, the level of humanitarian assistance needs in these areas will remain higher than average throughout the outlook period.

* Following the start of the Meher harvest, the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance is expected to decline substantially through the end of the year. However, the harvest in the eastern marginal Meher producing areas is likely to be below normal due to the inadequate rains during the February to May season, poor performance of the Kiremt (June to September) rains in the first two months of the season, repeated dry spells, and early cessation of the rains in some parts.

* The December/January Sapie rains in the dominantly root crop growing areas of central and eastern SNNPR are anticipated to be below normal given the impact of the developing La Nina. These rains are significant for the production of sweet potatoes which are normally planted in September/October using the residual moisture from the June to September Kiremt season. Poor and very poor households rely heavily on these harvests during the March to May lean season.

* Staple food prices are likely to decline, following the typical seasonal trend, throughout the first four months of the scenario period; though they will remain higher than the five-year average. The magnitude of this decline will be smaller than usual given high inflation and increased transportation costs. Prices could begin rising as early as February/March 2012 and are expected to reach levels similar to this year by July/August.

Seasonal calendar and critical events

Most likely food security scenario (October to December 2011)

Inadequate rains during the February to May 2011 Belg season, irregularity of the Kiremt (June to September) rains during the first two months of the season, repeated dry spells, infestation of pests, and crop diseases have affected agricultural activities in most of the Meher cropping areas, including the western surplus producing areas of western Tigray and northwest Amhara. The inadequate Belg rains particularly affected the long‐cycle, high‐yielding crops (maize and sorghum) in lowland areas. While crop performance improved with better rains in August, crop development in eastern marginal cropping areas was further affected by inadequate rains in September. However, prospects for the overall Meher harvest are close to normal.

Cereal prices remain far above last year and the five‐year (2006‐2010) average, but are stable or slightly declining following the typical seasonal pattern in most of FEWS NET/WFP monitored markets. Exceptions were prices for white sorghum, white wheat and white maize in Addis, Mekele, and Dire Dawa markets which showed an increase ranging from 6 to 10 percent in the last month. Similar trends are reported in maize prices in areas such as Bati (Oromia zone in Amhara) and Pugnido (Gambella).

In spite of the impacts of the severe drought affecting the southern and southeastern pastoral and agro‐pastoral areas since the end of 2010, livestock prices are generally increasing in many areas due to increased internal and external demands related to holidays. However, due to high cereal prices, livestock to cereals terms of trade remain unfavorable to pastoral households in these areas. Households in these areas have lost large numbers of livestock and are unable to meet livelihoods protection and some basic survival needs, despite humanitarian response.

The Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) has allocated about 300,000 MT of wheat for the urban market stabilization program in 2011/12. Nearly 40 percent of the total resource has already arrived. The subsidized price is not yet determined, but is expected to be higher than during previous years given the higher cost of wheat on international markets. Although the government reduced fuel prices 4‐5 percent following the global decline in oil prices, transport tariffs have been increased since September.

Overall, food security has begun to improve in most parts of the country with the start of the Meher harvest. Areas of most concern include southern pastoral and agropastoral areas, central SNNPR, northern Afar, some marginal cropping areas of eastern Amhara and localized areas along the Ethiopia/Sudan/Southern Sudan border.

Figure 2 Most-likely food security outcomes (October to December 2011) [Source FEWS NET Ethiopia and WFP]

Figure 3 Most‐likely food security outcomes (January to March 2012)

Over the coming six months, projected food security outcomes are based on the following key assumptions:

* Below normal harvest in the eastern Meher marginal cropping areas and SNNPR and a normal harvest in the western surplus producing areas, despite an irregular start of the season.Figure 4 Precipitation Anomaly (mm), Based on NOAA-CPC RFE Climatology Method (June 1 to September 30 - 2011) [Source NOAAFEWS NET]

* Water and pasture availability will improve in the southern and southeastern pastoral and agro‐pastoral parts of the country following the anticipated normal to below normal Deyr (Oct to Dec 2011) rains.

* The December/January Sapie rains in eastern and central SNNPR will be below normal due to the developing La Nina, affecting availably of sweet potatoes for consumption and planting.

* Prices for staple foods will continue to decline during the first four months of the outlook period given the new Meher harvest and continued price stabilization measures by the government. However, they are not expected to decline as much as usual, primarily due to high national inflation and the impact of global prices. Prices are expected to start rising as early as February 2012.

* A continued influx of people into Benshangul Gumuz region due to conflicts and civil insecurity in the Blue Nile State of South Sudan and continued inflows of Somali refugees into Somali region, as stability and effective humanitarian responses are unlikely in Somalia.

* PSNP resource transfers are assumed to take place as per the plan, but will start late and end late, as has been typical over recent years.

* Emergency food and non food assistance is likely to be limited between October and March, as is usual given seasonal declines in need and the fact that the national humanitarian requirements document is not typically released until February. Figure 5 Kilograms of maize per local quality goat in Liben Zone [Source Save the Children UK]

Marginal eastern crop producing areas

Households in marginal eastern cropping areas of the country meet their food needs through own production (which relies on both Belg and Kiremt rains), food purchases, and relief assistance (emergency food aid and PSNP).

At a national level, the 2011/12 Meher harvest is expected to be close to normal and livestock body conditions have improved as a result of increased pasture and water availability in most areas. However, in many marginal cropping areas, Meher harvests are expected to be less favorable. In many eastern Meher producing parts of the country, including those in the eastern portion of Tigray and Amhara regions, parts of the Rift valley, and East and West Hararghe zones of Oromia region rains were sporadic during the first six weeks of the June to September Kiremt season. This poor start of season was then followed by repeated dry spells, pest infestation and early cessation rains. In sum, overall rainfall distribution and totals were below average (Figure 4). In addition to dryness, heavy rains in the second half of July caused hailstorms, localized floods, water logging, and landslides in parts of Tigray, South Gondor, North and South Wollo zones of Amhara, and North Shewa, Arsi, East and West Hararghe zones of eastern Oromia. These included Dessie Zuria, Mehal Sayint, Mekdella, Legambo and Dawent of South Wollo; Kimbibit, Abuchgna, Girar Jarso and Degem of North Shewa; Asko, Ziwaye Dugda, Sude and Amigna of Arsi; Farta and East Estie of South Gondar; Kobo, Gubalafto and Meket woredas of North Wollo.

The June/July Belg harvest this year in North Shewa and South Wollo (areas that rely on both Meher and Belg production) was delayed by about two months and was below average due to poor Belg rains in 2011. The harvests were a total or near failure in East and West Hararghe zones of Oromia, Southern Tigray and North Wollo of Amhara. This led to increased food insecurity during the July to September period.

Given recent harvests, food security in marginal cropping areas that rely on both Meher and Belg production has improved from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in September/October. Food security remained at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the dominantly Belg producing areas of North Wollo due to the very poor Belg harvest. Many woredas in the more Meher dependant cropping areas as well as dominantly Belg dependent areas, such as Delanta, Mekedela and Tenta of South Wollo; Meket, Kobo, Wadla, Gidan and Habru of North Wollo; Ibenat of South Gonder; Ray Azebo, Alamta and Erob of Tigray; Golo Oda, Fedis, Grawa and Meyu Muluke of East Hararghe; Doba, Mieso and Kuni of West Hararghe are identified as hot spots by the regional government due to the overall food security situation, nutritional status, pasture and water availability, and prices. This would mean that poor households in these areas are currently facing survival deficits despite the start of the harvest and reduction of cereals prices and immediate humanitarian responses are required. Local and migratory labor (harvesting) income is constrained by reduced harvests and high cereal prices, limiting the purchasing capacity of poor households. The distribution of food through PSNP, one of the major sources of food for the poorer households, does not occur during the October to December period and usually does not start on time in January. Poor households have limited ability to fill food gaps due to their poor livestock holdings.

Thus, the poor and very poor households in all the eastern Meher cropping areas will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of food insecurity throughout the scenario period, with the exception of all woredas in Wag Hamra, Alamata and Raya Azebo of Tigray, Gubalafto, Kobo and Habru of North Wollo, Bati of Oromia zone and Werebabu of South Wollo where food insecurity is likely to deteriorate into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the January to March period. In the dominantly Belg producing areas of South Wollo as well, though the food insecurity level will continue to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between the October and December period, it will deteriorate into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) level during the January to March scenario period as household food stocks deplete and staple prices begin to rise. Poor households in the Belg dominant areas of North Wello will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) level of food insecurity throughout the outlook period.

South National Nationalities and People Region (SNNPR)

Because of rainfall irregularities during the February to May Belg season, the cropping activities for Belg and Meher overlapped. Belg maize was planted late (April/May instead of March) and in turn delayed planting of Meher crops such as Teff and haricot beans. In addition, the green maize harvest which usually occurs in June/July was delayed to August/September. Overall, Belg crop harvests in SNNPR were below normal. In the Segen zone (Konso, Amaro, Burji and Derashe Special Woredas) where Belg production accounts for up to 80 percent of total cereal production, the harvest this year was especially bad and a near failure. This follows a poor Meher harvest in 2010, making prices exceptionally high in the zone. In September, sorghum prices in Konso had increased by more than 250 percent since January.

Availability of green maize, haricot beans and irish potatoes from late Belg harvests improved food access in most Belg producing zones of SNNPR during September. Improvements in the mainly Meher cropping areas came later with the harvest in October; this includes Alaba Special woreda, Gurage, and Silitie zones. Food insecurity among poor households in the major Belg growing zones of Hadiya, Kembata, Wolaitya and Gamu Gofa as well as Meher producing zones of Alaba Special Woreda, Gurague and Silitie is currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

Despite inadequate rains during the first six weeks of the June to September Kiremt season and repeated dry spells, Meher crops (maize, wheat, barley, Teff, irish potatoes and pulses) were generally performing well in the region through September. However, the Kiremt rains were expected to extend longer than normal to ensure adequate moisture for the late development of the crops, but this did not occur, and as a result the harvest is likely to be below normal. In addition, in localized areas, crops were affected by dryness (haricot beans and maize in the lowlands of Zala, Daramao, Arbaminch Zuria, Mirab Abaya and Kemba woredas of Gamu Gofa) and heavy rainfall and hailstorms (Sodo Zuria, Damot Sore and Ofa of Wolayita zone; Sodo and Ezha of Guraghue, and Alaba Special Woreda). Localized floods have also damaged crops in Lanfero woreda of Silitie zone and Shasego woreda of Hadiya zone. In the main root crop dependent zones of the region, sweet potatoes harvest in March/May 2011 failed and new planting in May 2011 was constrained by a shortage of cuttings. Instead, the farmers covered their lands with Teff and haricot beans which are low‐yielding comparing to sweet potatoes. Although the harvest is delayed due to inadequate Belg rains, the performance of coffee in the major coffee growing zones of Sidama and Gedeio is normal due to improved rains late during the Belg season and continued Kiremt rains. However, adequate food access remains to be a concern due to insufficient production, high cereal prices and poor availability of sweet potatoes.

The level of food insecurity will continue to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through December in most areas but is expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the January to March period. In the southern special woredas where the Belg harvest performed poorly and food security is currently at Phase 3 – Crisis, this level of food insecurity will persist among poor households between now and March 2012.

Afar and Northern Somali Region

The Karma (mid‐July to mid‐September) rains were late by about two weeks and were below normal across Afar region. In pastoral areas, though temporary improvement in livestock body condition and availability of pasture and water is expected, it is unlikely to last past late November. The situation is worse in eastern and northeastern parts of the region (Elidaar, Erebti, Bidu, Kori, Afidera and Teru) where the Karma rains performed most poorly, leading to early depletion of pasture and water as well as to poor physical condition of livestock. Milk availability continues to be very poor compared to normal and water and pasture shortages are critical. Water trucking is still ongoing in Elidaar, Bidu, Erebti and Kori woredas. In agropastoral areas, crops in most areas have performed well despite a late onset of rainfall in July. Exceptions include crops in woredas of zone 2 such as Abala, Dallol, Kuneba and parts of Berhale which were affected by an early cessation of rains. On the other hand, above normal rainfall in some pockets areas of Teru, Buremuditu and Awashfentale woredas has caused flooding, landslides, temporary displacement, and crop damage. Livestock‐to‐cereal terms of trade is generally stable in the region, and has improved marginally in recent months, as the price of livestock has increased, but remains poor due to high cereal prices. Reported cases of acute malnutrition are increasing in Elidar, Bidu, Kori, Afdera, Erebti , Dallol, Samurobi and Megale woredas.

Karran (mid‐July to mid‐September) rains started on time in some parts of Jijiga and Shinile zones of Somali region but were late by two to three weeks in most parts of these zones. Once they started, the rains were erratic and below‐average until August. Overall performance of the season was poor, except in a few localized areas. Browse regeneration and improved water availability is being reported in many areas and livestock body conditions and milk availability have also improved. Long‐cycle crop harvests are not expected in the agropastoral and sedentary farming areas of these zones due to poor rains, though late season rains have benefited short‐cycle crops. Wheat to shoat Terms of Trade (ToT) have temporarily improved due to improved supply, mainly from relief and PSNP food distributions.

Food security among the poorer households in most of the Afar region, Jijiga and Shinile is Stressed (IPC Phase 2) despite the current changes in livestock conditions, water availability and improved ToT due to a series of chronic issues and inadequate rains during the Karma/Karan season. The poor in woredas with chronic water problems in the north and northeastern parts of Afar will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) level food insecurity.

Pastoralists (camel and goat dominant) in the northern and northeastern parts of Afar normally move within or outside their zones of origin during the November to March dry period to areas where water and pasture is available. Livestock movements in the current year are expected to be normal due to the ongoing water trucking operations in these areas, because the current rains were sufficient to improve the browse conditions for camel and goats, and due to improved availability of water from the rains in the other parts of the region. Some pastoralists are reported to have moved close to the neighboring highlands beginning in October. This is a normal coping mechanism in bad years which is expected to enable them cope the shortage of pasture and water availability in the coming dry season.

The level of food insecurity among poor households is expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the outlook period in Afar and northern Somali due to some improvement in milk availability, livestock body conditions, and purchasing power, some harvest in the agropastoral areas between October/November and December, and transfer of PSNP resources (covers 30 percent of the total population in Afar) during the January to March period. However, woredas in northern and northeaster Afar will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as water shortages will remain critical, affecting the body condition and productivity of livestock through the November to March dry period until the next rains begin around mid March 2012. These poor conditions will impact milk production, which contributes between 10 to 20 percent of the annual food requirement of the poor in most of these woredas and is significant during the October to March period. It will also affect livestock prices across these woredas which will impact poor households who depend on livestock sales. For example, poor households in Teru Pastoral Livelihood Zone (Erebti, Megale and Teru) depend on the sale of livestock for up to 64 percent of annual cash income. Cash income available for food purchase is also expected to be constrained by increased expenditure on water. Thus a food gap is expected to persist despite the fact that resources are made available through the PSNP and emergency programs which cover a significant proportion of the annual food requirement of the poor.

Southern Somali, South Omo and Lowlands of Oromia (Borena, Guji and Bale zones)Figure 6 Precipitation Anomaly (mm) Based on NOAA-CPC RFE Climatology Method (Oct 1-29, 2011)

Following failed October to December Deyr 2010 rains, the April‐June 2011 Gu rains were below normal in the southern zones of Somali region (less than 75% of average). The improved rains received during late April and May temporarily eased water and browse problems in many areas. However, water continued to be scarce enough that water trucking was ongoing in many parts of these areas including Kelafo, Kebrhidehar, Debewoyien, Warder, eastern Danot, Geladin, Barry, Moyale, Hargele and Shilabo woredas. The need is equally high in Birka dependent areas of Shaykosh, Adadley, Charati, Elkare, Dolo Odo, Danod, Segag and Duhun woredas. Pasture availability is scarce in most of the woredas and on the brink of depletion. This include Ferfer, Mustahil, Kelafo, Adadlay, Shilabo, Debewoyen, Warder and parts Geladin and Danod, Segag, Garbo, Duhun, Degehamodo and Gundago. Livestock prices have continued to decline due to poor body conditions since July but are still high compared to average prices, though high cereal prices have more than offset the impact on purchasing power. For instance, in Liben zone, one shoat was equivalent to 38 kgs of maize in September 2011 compared to 97 kg during the 2003‐11 period (Figure 5). Livestock market supply of local quality slaughter animals is high as pastoralists bring more livestock than normal to the market to cope with declining purchasing power and the need for more cash to buy feed for livestock, food, and other essential commodities. The price for wheat is declining due to improved food aid distribution. For example, in September price of wheat in Kebridehar woreda has declined to 300Birr/50kg from 500 in the previous month. But staple food supply remained low due to failed local harvests. Prices for imported food items such as sugar, oil, wheat flour and rice are rising sharply, especially in Warder, Gode and Fik zones. For example, prices for rice and sugar increased by 40 and 100 Birr in September compared to August.

The 2011 Deyr rains started on time in most parts of these zones and even started as early as mid September in woredas such as Aware and Gunagedo of Degehabour and Hamero, Segeg and Duhun of Fik zone. The performance of the rains has been mixed as some areas received light to medium rainfall while heavy rains were reported in other areas like Mustahil and Kelafo of Gode zones, causing flooding and temporary displacement of people. Dry spells have also been reported in some areas such as Fik, Degahabour and parts of Korahye zone where rains were not received for more than ten days during the last weeks of October (Figure 6). However, the rains resumed around the end of October and many woredas received evenly distributed and good amount of rains. The rains are still much below normal in all woredas of Fik, Warder and Geladin of Warder, Shilabo and Shekosh of Korahey, Mustahil, Kelafo, Ferfer and East Emy of Gode, Deghamedo of Degahbour, Bary and West Emy of Afder, Moyale, Huder and Dolo Odo of Liben zones. According to the forecast by the National Metrological Agency, the rains are expected to be near normal to below normal.

Livestock that have migrated at the start of the 2011 dry season have begun to return to their areas of origin. Currently, due to the cumulative effects of two poor consecutive seasonal rains, the physical condition and productivity of livestock, as well as availability of milk are still poor as it is too early for the rains received to date to bring about improvements. No crop harvest is expected in the agropastoral areas while the harvest in the riverine areas (such as Dawa‐Genale and Shabele riverine LZs) is likely to be much below normal due to shortages of water, pests and crop disease. The regional government has classified 36 of the 40 woredas in the southern zones as hotspot priority number 1 for immediate responses. The classification is based on mainly the general food security situation, malnutrition status and coping strategies. The 7th round food distribution (cereals, oil, pulses and CSB for 35% of the general beneficiaries) was dispatched in October for about 1.5 million people across Somali region. The poor normally generate 50 to 60 and 10 to 20 percent of their annual income from sale of livestock and livestock products, respectively. Loss of livestock over the last year, due to poor rains has limted herd sizes and the purchasing capacity of poor pastoral and agropastoral households. The food insecurity among the poorer households in all of the seven Deyr receiving woredas of southern zones are currently remained at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels depending on the level of impact they faced during the drought.

Similarly, the performance of the 2011 Genna (March/April‐May) rains in the Oromia lowlands of Borena, Guji and Bale zones were also much below normal (less than 50 percent compared to 1996‐2009 average). This poor season was preceded by a near complete failure of the September/October to November Hageya rains in 2010. The abnormally extended dry season July 2010 thourgh April 2011 resulted in substantial livestock death, especially among cattle and sheep. Some rains were received in the last weeks of April/May but the June to September dry period was then more severe than normal because of two consecutive poor rainy seasons. As a result, thousands of households have been experiencing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) level food insecurity over the past six months which has triggered increased humanitarian assistance by the government and its partners. The current Hageya rains started on time in most parts of these zones but it has been below average. The performance of the rains improved beginning mid October in Yabello, Teltele, Arero, Dugda Dawa and parts of Dire, but is still insufficient in many woredas such as Moyale, Miyo, Dhas and Dillo woreas of Borena zone and Rayitu, Sewina and Legihida woredas of Bale zone. In areas where the rains were better, browse is regenerating and critical water shortages have eased, but overall, livestock body conditions have not yet improved. Milk availability is also very low. Much below normal crop harvest was available in the agro‐pastoral areas. Prices of cereals are still high and supply of livestock to markets has increased due to high purchase demand. Maize prices in September 2011 in Dilo, Dhas and Yabello ranges from 750 to 800 birr/100kg compared to 250 to 300 Birr/100 kg last year. An average price for a shoat was 400 Birr in September, compared to 475 Birr in the previous year. In terms of livestock to cereal ToT, one shoat is equal to 50kg of maize in the current year compared to 170kg last year. Food aid is being distributed but oil, pulses and CSB are missing due to limited resources in woredas such as Moayle, Dehas and Arero. PSNP resource distribution has been extended for an additional three months due to the extended needs in the drought affected woreda of Borena.

Household Economy outcome analysis of pastoral areas of Borena and Guji Zones indicates survival deficits greater than 40 percent among poor households during the July 2011 to June 2012 scenario period due to reduced milk availability, very low livestock to cereal terms of trade, and a significant loss of livestock. Food aid and unsustainable stress sales of livestock are likely to fill much of the survival deficit in the short term, but small survival deficts and livelihood protection deficits remain and the impacts of the drought are likely to have a significant, continued impact on these households over the coming seasons.

Light to moderate rains were received in the lowland woredas of South Omo (Hamer, Dasenech, Ghagatom, Benatsemay, Male and Selamgo woredas) in September indicating timely start of the September to November rains. However, the rains performed poorly in October and these areas remained abnormally dry and windy. Water, pasture and livestock body conditions are very poor causing unusual pastoralist movement for this time of the year

The current food security situation among poor households in most lowlands areas in the southern zones of Somali, lowlands of Borena, Guji, Bale and South Omo zones remained to be at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) level due to the fact that the access of these households to their usual food sources (milk, own production, purchase using sale of own livestock) which has been constrained by the drought is not yet normalized. The poor in some woredas such as Moayle and Dire in these zones on other hand continue facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) level of food insecurity due to the severe impact of the drought on livestock holding and declined access to income from sale of livestock, conception and milk availability.

Improved market supplies from other cropping areas and reduced cereal prices (though not as reduced as usual for this time of year due to the likely impact of inflation and transport cost) will improve food consumption during this October to December period in most of these areas. The distribution of food aid will also improve household food access. The nutrition situation is expected to stabilize due to improved availability of milk, continued food aid distributions and ongoing nutrition response, as most of the woredas in these areas are prioritized as hotspots for their highest needs of nutrition assistance. The start of restocking, especially for camels and goats, and improved water/browse availability as the season progresses is expected to favor conceptions. Food security will therefore improve to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels among the poor and very poor households due to the seasonal improvement and ongoing humanitarian assistance during the October to December period in these areas of focus.

While poor households in most parts of these zones are expected to continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity over the January to March 2012 outlook period, food insecurity is likely to deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in many woredas of the southern zones of Somali and neighboring lowlands of Oromia. These include Geladin, Warder, Shilabo, Shekosh, Fik, Segeg, Dehun, Hamero, Barry, East/West Emy, Dolo Odo; Dhas,Dire, Liben, Sewena, Rayity, Dawe Serere and Dawe Kechen. This is mainly due to the performance of the rains during the last two seasons, very poor availability of milk due low livestock births, limited humanitarian and market access in parts of southern Somali, loss of livestock due to the drought, poor purchasing capacity, and mediocre performance of the current Deyr.

Gambella and Benshangul Gumuz Regions

The overall performance of rainfall in Agnuak and Mezengur zones of Gambella region as well as in three zones of Benishangul Gumuz was normal. However, it was sporadic in the western parts of both regions which included Akobo, Wanthoa, Jikawo and Lare in Neur zone of Gambella; Sherkole, Assosa, Mao Komo, Belojiganfoy, Kurmuk and Guba weredas in Benshangul. In Gambella, overflow of the Akobo, Baro and Gillo Rivers in September flooded areas along their banks, causing displacement of people in Dima, Gambella town, Itang special woreda, Lare, Gog and Jor woredas and and damage to houses and crops. These areas included woredas which received below normal rains over the course of the season. Meher crops are generally performing well in most parts of the regions. However in some areas of Agnuak and Mezenger zones, crops were seriously affected by pest infestations and heavy winds. Besides, crops have been affected by wild rats (Manura woreda). Planting which normally takes place in October in the recessional farming areas was late as the lands were still flooded, and this will delay the January harvest by approximately one month. Water and pasture availability in both regions are normal with the exception of some flood affected areas where pasture was covered by water which are not yet receded. Livestock body conditions and milk availability are also normal.

Supply of food grains is normal while prices are increasing. Currently the demand of staple food commodities (maize and Sorghum) is rising mainly due to a reduction in green harvest associated with dry spell and floods. There is a sharp increase in the price of maize and sorghum, from about 400 ETB to 650‐700ETB /100 kg within a two month period. Prices are more than 200 percent higher than last year, likely due, at least in part, to high levels of overall inflation. At the same time, livestock prices are showing a decreasing trend. In some woredas a reduction of 20 percent is reported in livestock prices in September as compared to prices in August. However, prices are still higher than the previous year. The average price for a goat is ~23 percent above last year.

About 35,000 refugees with their belongings (including livestock) crossed the border from South Sudan into Benishangul Gumuz region following clashes in the Blue Nile State. This is expected to create additional pressure on the host community which is already affected by below normal rains (Guba, Kurmuk and Sherkole). This triggered a multi Agency Emergency Response in the region and a new camp is established in Mao Komo. Food aid distributions and the start of the green maize and beans harvest improved the food security situation in most parts of Benshangul. But food security constrained in woredas bordering the Blue Nile State of South Sudan (Kurmuk, Sherkole and Guba) as a result of poor rains as well as the pressure to be induced by the refugee influx. The Meher harvest in Akobo, Wonthoa and Jikawo is not promising due to repeated dry spell and moisture stress; Maize crop in Lare woreda has been also damaged by flash flood; Maize is being harvested in Agnuak and Mezenger zones while sesame and sorghum are at flowering stage. Curently, the poor and very poor households in woredas along the border with Sudan, Akobo, Wonthaawo, Lare and Jikawo in Gambella; Kurmuk, Sherkole and Guba woredas in Benshangul are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2), while the remaining woredas in both regions have no acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1).

Poor households in woredas with expected below normal harvest (Akobo, Wonthawo, Lare and Jikawo of Gambella) and Kurmuk, Sherkole and Guba of Benshangul) will remain at Stress (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity level during the October to December scenario period. But, the food insecurity is likely to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) level in the second scenario period due to depletion of stocks from the current harvest, continued flows of refugee from the Blue Nile State of South Sudan into Benishangul and related impacts on resources (pasture), market and prices and health (outbreaks), continued instability due internal conflict in the border woredas of Gambella. The other parts of the region will have no acute food insecurity (IPC Phase I) problem throughout the outlook period.

Table 1: Less likely events over the next six months that could change the above scenarios.

Table 1 - Less likely events over the next six months that could change the above scenarios

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Check the Hunger archive or the Famine archive for related posts.

See Famine defined: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) system for definitions/classifications of Famine and pre-famine food insecurity situations.

Source: HornAffairs.com

Daniel Berhane
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Daniel Berhane