FAO GLOBAL INFORMATION AND EARLY
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Ethiopia from 7 to 29 November 1996 to estimate the production of the 1996 Meher (main) season cereal and pulse crops, forecast the 1997 Belg (secondary) season production, estimate national food requirements for 1997 and assess the food aid needs for that year. The Mission visited all the zones in the four main crop producing regions and the capitals of most of the minor crop producing regions. Specific districts previously identified as in need of assistance were also visited.
This year, the Mission was joined by observers who travelled with the teams and monitored events on behalf of their agencies: the European Union (EU), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Save the Children Fund (SCF-UK) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
As in previous years, FAO teams, acting independently, concentrated on assessing production and food supply situation and were accompanied by specialists from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) throughout the visits. WFP teams visiting food deficit areas concentrated on determining household food requirements and were accompanied by zonal and regional Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Commission (DPPC) staff.
Data obtained from zonal offices were cross checked with information received from national, regional and district level officials, NGOs, farmers, traders, agricultural contractors, research workers and donor representations. The teams undertook crop inspections and field, household and market surveys to confirm the information received. In addition, the Mission was provided with official population statistics, a comprehensive dossier of reports on crop production produced by governmental and agency groups, meteorological data and results of market surveys. Further, data gathered by joint DPPC, MoA and donor agency teams conducting their own Meher season assessment, were made available to the Mission as they became available.
The Mission forecasts that the 1996/97 production of cereals and pulses will be some 12 million tons, comprising 11.7 million tons of Meher crops and 0.3 million tons of Belg crops. This represents: a) an increase of some 20 percent over the MoAís final estimate of last yearís Meher harvest and b) an average Belg crop in 1997 harvested before July/August.
Early, plentiful and well distributed rains throughout the year not only encouraged planting and supported crop development during the season in most zones but also provided optimal conditions for cultivation by a draught animal force in excellent condition, in all but tse-tse prone areas, due to an absence of serious disease challenges and good forage supply.
Minimal infestations of migratory pests on growing crops, notably army-worm and Quelea-quelea, were effectively controlled. Non-migratory pests, particularly stalk borer and shoot fly, though ubiquitous, did not reach the level of economic significance necessary for MoA intervention in any zone.
Expansion of the National Extension Programme (NEP) for the main cereal crops in all main production regions increased the area under such management from 20 000 hectares in 1995 to 200 000 hectares in 1996. Fertilizer use rose by almost 5 percent in parallel with the expanded programme.
On the negative side, increased weed competition increased demands on labour and/or herbicides and reduced yields in the southern forest areas. Excess rain caused waterlogging in highland heavy clay areas, which delayed planting and stunted crop growth. Floods destroyed crops in a number of areas and significantly reduced production in Gambella. Storage losses are expected to be higher than last year as on-farm storage capacity is limited and crop protection chemicals are not available.
Root, tuber and oilseed crops also benefited from the rains in their respective areas, but the coffee crop is reported to be lower than last year and suffering from coffee berry disease at a time when coffee prices are in decline.
Cereal prices, which have been declining steadily in most markets throughout the year, fell abruptly with the onset of the harvest signalling the general anticipation of a bumper crop. Given that maize prices in particular are now near or below production costs in the main production areas, efforts need to be made to improve marketing possibilities to avoid surpluses becoming a disincentive to producers.
The comfortable situation described above masks the existence of food deficient communities which extend throughout the country due to displacement, structural inadequacies and lack of access/entitlement to food supplies. Although overall food aid requirements are estimated at 186 000 tons, 64 percent of last yearís requirements, 1.9 million people will still require food assistance. Further, as there is a need to maintain food security against climatic vagaries that could reverse this yearís situation of surplus, 307 000 tons are required to sustain the food security reserve.
Given the above considerations, the Mission recommends that all food aid should be met by local purchases and that no food aid should be imported. In addition, donors should seriously consider financial support for the purchase and export of Ethiopian grains to neighbouring countries such as Kenya, Eritrea and Somalia, where similar FAO/WFP Missions have reported large deficits. Such action, as well as making logistical sense, will assist in establishing a floor in the Ethiopian grain market and reduce the possibility of the expected surpluses remaining unsaleable and becoming a disincentive to agricultural production next year.
The early onset of the Belg rains encouraged the expansion of cultivation and maintained interest in planting long cycle crops, as reported by the Mission in 1995 when similar conditions prevailed. Throughout the country, the early start was sustained during the germination period to the extent that no incidents of germination failure due to erratic rains were noted. However, waterlogging in localized highland areas delayed both planting and crop development and necessitated replanting and/or switching to short cycle cereals in the more extreme cases. In general, rains continued unbroken during the season, supporting vegetative growth, seed set and grainfill in a fashion seldom experienced in Ethiopia. Only in three or four southern zones, which traditionally receive the greater proportion of their rains in the Belg season, were Belg and Meher rains distinguishable.
Nationally, some 25 percent of zones experienced an earlier than normal diminution of rain in September and abrupt rainstop in October. This affected grainfill in later planted crops, but also facilitated an early harvest for the earlier planted crops.
A resurgence of late rains throughout the country in mid-November has encouraged the cultivation of areas for the 1997 Belg growing season, improved the production possibilities of late-planted pulses and crops relying on residual moisture and encouraged planting of short season roots, tubers and cereals in some southern zones with a specialized pre-Belg short season.
Adverse effects of precipitation noted by the Mission included hail damage at various times of the year and floods. Of the latter, the most serious were in Gambella, where around 5 300 hectares of crops were noted as having been destroyed.
Floods in the Awash valley adversely affected sugar production in Wonji by some 10 percent, but this shortfall was noted to have been compensated for by increased production of sugar elsewhere in the country. Similarly, although several villages lost a total of around 250 hectares of maize initially, inundated areas were replanted to pulses later in the season.
Although it is distribution of rains that offers crop security, even
in the vulnerable zones of Wag Hamra and North Wollo (Amhara) and Central
Tigray, more than 1 000 mm of useful rain fell this year at the recording
sites in the zones mentioned.
This season the area planted to cereals and pulses increased nationally by 5.6 percent over the latest (February/March 1996) MoA figures for the 1995/96 Meher season. In contrast to last year, greater increases were noted in the north than in the south of the country. Generally, the early Belg rains encouraged early cultivation and planting, except where waterlogging caused delays. In all areas, except where trypanosomiasis is rife, draught animals entered the season in good condition. The universal access to planting material, particularly farmer carryover seeds of both local landraces and proven varieties released fifteen to twenty years ago, allowed planting to be conducted enthusiastically and either early or, at least, without delay.
In the main agricultural areas of Oromia, an increase in mechanization services provided by contractors to small scale farmers was noted. Such activities allow both timely and quality cultivation for farmers without oxen and should be encouraged in tse-tse infested areas.
Increases in area under sorghum and maize in Central Tigray (65 percent),
maize in North Wollo (100 percent) and sorghum in Agewawie (65 percent),
reflect the improved conditions in these zones. Increases in maize area
in Bale zone amounting to 28 000 hectares may be explained by the incorporation
of the Belg rain planted crop not harvested until September or later, in
the Meher harvest statistics.
Cereal yields observed by the Mission were a 15 percent improvement on the final performance of crops in the 1995 Meher season assessed in the Zonal offices of the MoA in February and March this year.
The reasons for the continued increase in yield per hectare of cereals may be attributed to several factors. First, there was this yearís ten-fold increase of plots managed under the National Extension Programme, which probably accounted for around 35 percent of the average yield increase. Secondly, growing conditions were generally optimal. Thirdly, although migratory pest attacks were reported in districts in eleven zones, the most numerous outbreaks being army worm in May-June, the attacks were effectively controlled by a combination of the action taken by district-based plant protection teams and the high rainfall. Consequently, no outbreaks were of economic significance. Similarly, during the Mission, outbreaks of Quelea-quelea in the Central/Eastern zones of Amhara and Oromia were being brought under control by aerial spraying, so they were not thought to be posing any threat to the harvest.
Non-migratory pests such as stalk borer (maize and sorghum), shoot fly (teff and barley), termites (all crops in West Wellega), wild animals in the forest and near-forest areas (all crops), were noted as present. Of these, only the wild animals and termites were identified as being of economic significance in their respective localities.
Concern was expressed that the semi-migratory Wollo bush cricket was spreading down the Rift valley which suggests that improved methods of controlling the pest are required. Some 6 000 hectares were noted as affected during the season in Wag Hamra and North and South Wollo.
Regarding plant diseases, cereals escaped reasonably well with only two zones identifying rust on wheat (South Gondar) and on barley (North West Shoa) as a problem. However, reports of Coffee Berry Disease (CBD), potato blight and enset bacterial wilt attacks of economic significance suggest that other crops will have not escaped so lightly and indicate the need for far better farmer access to plant protection chemicals.
Fertilizer sales went up nationally by 4.6 percent from 240 000 tons (1995) to 251 000 tons (1996). Most of the increase was DAP and was probably used on the NEP plots; however, this increase was not as much as had been anticipated. A variety of factors are likely to have been responsible. Timeliness of delivery was affected by communication difficulties brought about by a combination of poor roads and early rains in many districts coupled with the inexperience of the newly-mandated suppliers. In other areas, the lack of availability of credit clearly limited sales. Again, reasons for lack of access to credit vary and include: a) bad debts precluding further credit at individual and cooperative levels and b) delays in the issuance of directives for establishing new credit procedures preventing access to credit for inputs for the early-planted short cycle crops in the north and early planted maize in the south.
As the 1996 Meher season was characterized by plentiful and well-distributed rainfall, weed competition was of special concern to farmers. In many areas, farmers identified herbicides as their main priority input. Similarly, conflict of labour demands at weeding time, such as the need to weed early planted crops clashing with the need to prepare more land and to plant the late-planted crops, was seen as a real problem in some areas. This conflict caused wages to double, and, on farms with one or no draught animals the effect of the weeds was exacerbated as both the quality and timing of pre-planting cultivation were less than ideal, particularly for teff.
Nationally, the yields of all cereal and pulse crops are higher than
last year, but this general statement masks those localized areas where
the agro-ecological and soil conditions restricted crop development. This
year, such areas are fewer and farther between than last year, as is reflected
in the production forecast given below.
The Mission was timed to coincide with harvesting in the majority of areas, so the teams were able to observe harvesting of most cereal crops in most regions. Confirmatory discussion with farmers, traders, combine harvester contractors, NGOs and the Institute of Agricultural Research personnel, were supported by field-based assessments of both "dip-stick" samples and whole-field measurements. Data gained from such observations were used by the Mission to adjust MoA zonal figures on those occasions where glaring inconsistencies or missing data occurred.
The Mission therefore forecasts the 1996 cereal and pulses production of the Meher season at 11.7 million tons, of which 42 percent will be maize and sorghum. Eighty percent of the total crop is expected to be produced in the Oromia and Amhara regions, due to the comparatively advanced farming techniques in key production zones in the regions concerned. Market prices provided to and recorded by the Mission reflect this very good harvest, exhibiting falls of more than 30 percent for maize and 5-10 percent for teff and white wheat in the main production areas.
The production forecast is twenty percent higher than the revised MoA figure for the 1995/96 Meher crop assessed by the zonal agricultural offices after the completion of the harvest. These revised data, which were collected by the Mission, indicate a 1995 Meher grain output of 9.7 million tons against 9.1 million tons forecast by the 1995 mission reflecting higher yield estimates in all regions and the inclusion of data from remote areas not available at the time of the last mission. Such data have been included in the compilation for 1996.
Table 1 provides estimates of areas and forecast production for all cereal crops and pulses by region. A comparison with last yearís post-harvest review figures is given in Table 2. In all cases area data are as provided to the Mission by the zonal agricultural offices. Forecast yields have been adjusted in some instances on the basis of information obtained and field inspections conducted.
Table 1 - Ethiopia: Area ('000 ha ) and Production ('000 tons) of cereals and pulses - 1996/97 Meher Season
|ETHIOPIA||Area||2 396.9||1 370.1||1 426.2||442.0||71.3||0.0|
|Prod.||1 925.1||1 472.7||1 951.1||357.0||63.0||0.0|
Table 1 (cont.)
|Region||MAIZE||SORGHUM||HAMFES||TOTAL CEREALS||PULSES||TOTAL GRAINS|
|AMHARA||Area||294.1||628.5||0.0||3 192.2||645.2||3 837.3|
|Prod.||515.0||743.5||0.0||3 377.8||430.6||3 808.4|
|OROMIA||Area||971.7||646.0||2.3||4 034.1||474.9||4 509.0|
|Prod.||1 633.6||787.4||1.6||5 273.8||339.5||5 613.3|
|SNNPRS||Area||481.3||138.7||0.0||1 154.0||198.6||1 352.6|
|Prod.||646.5||131.5||0.0||1 277.4||137.3||1 414.6|
|ETHIOPIA||Area||1 951.1||1 750.1||34.8||9 442.5||1 399.4||10 841.9|
|Prod.||2 999.3||1 969.3||24.1||10 761.5||949.8||11 711.3|
Note: Totals derived from unrounded data.
Table 2 - Ethiopia: Cereals and Pulses Production : Comparison of 1995/96 and 1996/97 Meher Season
|CEREALS||PULSES||CEREALS AND PULSES|
|Region||Year||Area ('000 ha)||Production ('000 tons)||Area ('000 ha)||Production ('000 tons)||Area ('000 ha)||Production ('000 tons)|
|AMHARA||1995/96||3 078.2||2 710.5||588.6||338.2||3 666.7||3 048.7|
|1996/97||3 192.2||3 377.8||645.2||430.6||3 837.3||3 808.4|
|OROMIA||1995/96||3 754.8||4 287.2||451.9||303.3||4 206.7||4 590.5|
|1996/97||4 034.1||5 273.8||474.9||339.5||4 509.0||5 613.3|
|SNNPRS||1995/96||1 146.4||1 193.9||203.2||134.5||1 349.6||1 328.4|
|1996/97||1 154.0||1 277.4||198.6||137.3||1 352.6||1 414.6|
|ETHIOPIA 1/||1995/96||8 943.3||8 886.6||1 324.3||813.8||10 267.6||9 700.4|
|1996/97||9 442.5||10 761.5||1 399.4||949.8||10 841.9||11 711.3|
1/ 1995/96 - MoA updated post-harvest figures corrected by Mission from zonal agricultural officers.
Note: Totals derived from unrounded data.
Noticeable increases in areas planted to oilseeds in the north plus increased yields of neug, sesame, linseed, groundnut and flax suggest a higher production of oilseeds this Meher season. Private investors and state farms are already switching from maize/sorghum to oilseeds to maintain incomes. This tendency of diversification, though as yet too low-key to have a significant impact on national cereal production figures, may spread to smaller commercial farmers next year unless some mechanism is introduced to maintain cereal prices above their cost of production.
Coffee production was noted to be lower than last year in the main growing areas of the SNNPR, due to biennial fluctuations and increased incidence of coffee berry disease (CBD). By contrast, chatt, the major cash crop of many eastern zones, had grown so well that prices for the mildly narcotic leaf have dropped very sharply.
Bacterial wilt in enset is still reducing yields though the impact of the disease is still a subject of speculation. Farmers in Kofele, Oromia where yields are said to be 50 percent lower than normal, are being advised to move households to fresh territories. Sanitisation remains the main course of action against the disease. Despite a series of independent studies, the contribution of the crop to the national economy and explanations for reported changes in the production cycle presently being adopted remain vague. The increase in production and/or lower prices of cereals are expected to encourage enset farmers to leave more of their trees untouched this year - so building up long-term on-farm food security. Root crop production has benefitted generally from the well distributed rains and the abundance of planting material from last yearís good crop.
Given well-distributed Belg rains, a virtual merging of Belg-Meher, and the continuation of rain throughout the year in most zones, livestock, already in good condition from a parallel situation in 1995, were noted to be either similar or better condition than during the mission last year. Plentiful browse, grass and cereal by-products suggest that in most zones the condition of livestock is likely to be sustained. The situation was confirmed by the mission through observed increased numbers of market presentations of fat-cattle reducing prices in main markets (e.g. Nazareth) and the pegging of home-produced butter prices at last yearís levels in all zones sampled (North Gondar to Bale).
In the densely populated areas with associated restrictions on browse and grazing, livestock were noticeably in poorer condition. Alternative feedstuffs were seen to be used in such regions, for instance in North and South Wollo and South Gondar, maize and sorghum thinnings from near-harvest crops were being collected as feed for large ruminants, indicating the degree of confidence in the harvest, even in "vulnerable" areas.
Conversely, the rains providing adequate forage also provided improved conditions for parasite development in pastures prone to waterlogging and encouraged tse-tse development in the trypanosomiasis prone lowlands. In both sets of circumstances lack of access to drugs and medicaments due to supply shortages and increased prices, were causes for concern and will reduce the condition of the stock in such areas next year. No other significant signs of disease were noted by the Mission, neither were any significant outbreaks of disease reported by zonal livestock officers to any of the Missionís teams.
Tigray, divided into four administrative zones, is the northernmost region of Ethiopia bordering Sudan and Eritrea. This yearís cultivated area for cereals and pulses, at 0.91 million hectares, is 6 percent up on last yearís area due to planting increases in the Western, Central and Eastern zones in response to encouraging rainfall early in the year. In addition, the actions of commercial investors have considerably increased the area planted under oilseeds in the Western zone. Unfortunately in many villages in three districts in the Eastern zone and two districts in the Southern zone, the early promise of good Belg rains was offset by gaps in precipitation in June delaying the onset of the Meher season. The season was further reduced by early rain-stop in the third dekad of September in Central and Eastern zones.
Nevertheless, with rains at around 1 000 mm, no migratory pest and few
disease challenges and a 40 percent increase in fertilizer use from 4 400
tons to 6 246 tons, a 22 percent increase in production of cereals and
pulses is estimated. 56 percent of the increase is due to the expansion
of maize and sorghum production in the Western zone. Average crop yields
increased in all four zones, but still exhibit a range from 0.33 tons per
hectare (teff) to 1.2 tons per hectare (maize) from East to Western zones.
As such, a combined cereal and pulse harvest of 710 000 tons from 910 000
hectares is expected.
The Afar region, located in the northeast quarter of Ethiopia is essentially
a low-lying plateau accommodating camel and sheep/goat pastoralists. Rainfall
is traditionally below that necessary for cereal production. However, production
of cereals through minor spate irrigation schemes occurs whereby mountain
run-off is channelled to small-scale production sites. As reported last
year, no figures from production in the Region were available to the Mission.
It is recommended that FAO/WFP send a joint local mission to the Afar region
in early 1997 to determine the state of browse and grazing and to estimate
the extent of cereal production schemes.
The region, sub-divided into ten administrative zones, encompasses five agro-ecological zones at altitudes ranging from 700 metres to over 4 000 metres. As a result, the production profile is equally wide-ranging in terms of crop type, yields and production constraints.
The 1996 Meher season was, however, characterized by four major phenomena: early, plentiful and well-distributed rains; minimal outbreaks of army-worm that were effectively controlled through district-based spraying teams and heavy rains in May; sufficient carryover seeds at farm level to allow a 5 percent expansion in planted area and a 7.6 percent increase in fertilizer use.
More specifically, area under cultivation increased in all zones throughout the region except in South Gondar, Wag Hamra and Oromia, where changes in zonal boundaries had occurred during the past year reducing the agricultural area in each case.
Early Belg rains encouraged cultivation and early planting of late-maturing stalk crops, in some cases pre-empting the usual season by 3-4 weeks. Heavy rains in May, though useful for controlling army-worm, caused waterlogging/flooding in some heavy clay soils in the highlands, which delayed planting and hindered crop development in some localities.
Heavy storms of hail were noted to have damaged crops in four zones, but this was, by and large, temporary damage and the plants recovered. With rains continuing into the first dekad of October in 8 out of 10 zones, the early start to the season was sustained in most cases. Only North Shoa and Oromia zones may have suffered adversely at the time of grainfill of late-planted crops but in both zones the Belg/Meher seasons appear to have been continguous, offering farmers a wide range of planting options and so lessening any impact "early" rain stop may have had.
Regarding pests and diseases, no serious incidents of migratory pests were noted. Army-worm outbreaks occurred in the majority of zones but were controlled by prompt action and the rains. Eight Quelea-quelea roosting sites in three districts were being controlled by DLCO spraying teams during the Mission and were not considered a threat to this yearís harvest. Of the non-migratory pests, most concern was expressed about the Wollo Bush Cricket, stalk borers (maize and sorghum), and shoot fly (teff and barley). Apart from the former (WBC), which affected 6 000 hectares of crops in Wag Hamra, North Wollo and South Gondar, no other pest outbreaks in the region were considered to have been of economic importance. Plant diseases noted were limited to localized incidents of rust on wheat and barley. However, no action had been taken by the plant protection teams as infestations were not considered serious enough to warrant intervention.
Given the very favourable growing conditions throughout the region, weed competition was continually noted by the Mission to have been a major concern. Farmers with one or no oxen that had been unable to cultivate to the optimal extent were particularly vulnerable. The increased need for weeding this season placed heavier demands on family labour, often conflicting with other work at critical times; for instance, the second weeding of maize was needed at a time when short cycle cereals had to be planted. As a result, farmer demand for herbicides was greater than the demand for any other input other than fertilizer.
Fertilizer sales in the region increased by 7.6 percent to 62 500 tons. The extra sales probably accounted for a further 44 000 hectares receiving DAP which may be explained by the ten-fold increase in National Extension Programme plots. This year, some 87 000 x 0.5 hectare plots of the main cereals were farmed under the programme, suggesting an expansion of 40 000 hectares overall last year. Yields from such plots last year ranged from 2.4 tons per hectare (teff) to 8 tons per hectare (maize), so the increase in area under the programme will have contributed significantly to the improved production from the region.
The disappointing increase in fertilizer use by non-NEP farmers was not only due to delivery difficulties but was also due to changes in methods of organizing credit services. Throughout the region new forms of credit provision based on group responsibility were introduced, usually after the planting date of the earlier crops. In consequence, given the delays associated with group formation and application for funds, uptake of credit for the purchase of fertilizer by non-national extension programme farmers was limited.
In consequence of the foregoing, the Mission forecasts an increase in
production of cereal and pulses from the region of around 25 percent, due
to a 19 percent improvement in yields and a 5 percent increase in area,
resulting in a harvest of 3.8 million tons of cereals and pulses from 3.8
Oromia, the largest region, consists of a "T" shaped land mass in central and southern Ethiopia, extending from the western to the eastern to the southern borders of the country with Sudan, Somalia and Kenya respectively. The region is divided into twelve zones of varying sizes and production potential, the three most important agriculturally being Arsi and East and West Shoa, which usually comprise some 50 percent of the regionís cereal and pulse and some 50 percent of the nationís wheat and barley harvests.
Throughout the region, the Belg rains were early, well distributed and plentiful, resulting in a good Belg harvest in those zones where crops planted in February/March are harvested before the end of August. Crops harvested after August have, according to established protocol, been included in the Meher 1996 forecast.
As happened last year in areas with no Belg harvests, good Belg rains both enabled early cultivation and encouraged a 10 percent expansion in area under maize and sorghum.
Throughout the regionís main production areas, the rains conformed to the long-term average, effectively merging in Illubabor, Jimma, East and West Wellega, the Shoas and Arssi. In East and West Hararghe, a comparatively dry spell in early June separated the two seasons but the moisture remained adequate for good initial crop development in the second season. As a result, the Mission witnessed the harvesting of excellent crops throughout most zones. Also contributing to higher yields than last year was a virtual absence of migratory pests. The few outbreaks of army-worm that did occur were effectively controlled by spray teams and the weather. Similarly, Quelea-quelea invasions were being sprayed in East Shoa during the Mission and not considered a threat to the harvest.
In an area as vast as Oromia, the above summary necessarily masks many localized problems. Termites, identified last year as the major pest in West Wellega, remained a problem this year as no effective control measures were introduced. Also, wild animals in the forest and near-forest areas posed a continuous threat and created a day-and-night demand for field guards from seed emergence to harvesting in such areas. Fertilizer distribution and sales at 133 000 tons which accounted for some 53 percent of the national consumption was only a disappointing 2 percent up on last year. The most probable explanation is that as credit services were reorganized at the time of planting, less credit was available for early-planted cereals. In some zones, cash sales were also discouraged as it was hoped that by limiting access to farmers wishing to pay cash, those farmers with old debts would be forced to clear them before they could obtain the fertilizer upon which they have come to depend. In reality, this may have helped to encourage a growing black market in fertilizer whereby debt-free farmers buy on credit and sell for cash to large-scale but indebted farmers. Such practices were reported to be rife in the main barley/wheat growing belt, where large-scale contracting of mechanized services for ploughing and harvesting were also noted.
Localized waterlogging in Illubabor and Jimma delayed cultivation and reduced maize yields in some highland districts. Hail and storm damage later in the season were also disruptive influences in some localities. However, the advantages of the good rains have far outweighed the disadvantages in terms of production as is reflected in the 30 percent (maize) and 10 percent (wheat) fall in prices (at early harvest) compared with prices in the same zones for the similar crops last year.
As a result of the foregoing, the Mission forecast a harvest of 5.6
million tons of cereals and pulses from 4.5 million hectares, which is
22 percent greater than last year MoA revised figures.
Located in the south and south western area of Ethiopia, the Southern People's Region encompasses 11 zones and five special woredas, many of which experienced zonal boundary changes during the year. The boundary of the region, previously known as SEPAR, remained the same. Very good early rains were sustained throughout the Belg season resulting in a good harvest in all Belg producing zones. In most zones, with the exception of districts in Sidama and Gedio, the Belg rains merged with the early rains of the Meher season, creating a continuous growing season but reducing opportunities for timely ploughing and planting of early Meher maize and sorghum in some heavy clay highland areas, reducing area planted with long-cycle crops in such zones. By contrast, farmers in the lower areas increased their areas under long cycle stalk crops to take advantage of the unusually good conditions.
Other factors affecting cereal and pulse area and yield were limited. No migratory pests were noted and despite the uninterrupted rains, cereal and pulse diseases were no worse than previous years. Again wild animals in forest and near forest areas were considered to be the most serious pests, necessitating 24 hour guarding of crops from seedling emergence to harvesting. This heavy demand on household labour needs to be evaluated and attention given to finding alternative solutions to the problem such as communal fields and effective fencing or hedges.
The other major problem facing cereal farmers this year was weed competition, resulting in an increased demand on labour during the coffee harvest and at planting time for later planted crops. Teff, wheat and barley areas in the intermediate and higher lands were noted as being particularly affected by the weeds, to the extent that yields were concomitantly reduced. With the exception of Hadiya zone, fertilizer use is still limited and limiting given the guaranteed rainfall in most areas. However, sales were 13 percent up on last year, which is a far greater increase than in other regions.
Given the long growing season, most zones provide the opportunities to cultivate a wide variety of root, tuber and cash crops, of which the most important are coffee and enset. This year both crops have suffered from diseases which have reduced yield and income. The former, coffee, has suffered from coffee berry disease exacerbated by the reluctance of farmers to buy plant protection chemicals. The latter has suffered from enset bacterial wilt, a disease which though identified is still without effective treatment or prevention procedures. In addition, coffee growers face a reduced income due to more than 30 percent reduction in coffee prices.
Livestock condition in the higher zones was excellent throughout the season, while trypanosomiasis is still devastating livestock in the tse-tse vulnerable lowlands. No other major disease outbreaks were noted and prices were either stable or dropping slightly due to increased presentations of fat-stock.
In consequence, the Mission forecasts a slight increase in production
over last yearís good crop from approximately the same area, being 1.4
million tons of cereals and pulses from 1.4 million hectares.
As part of the overall improvement of reporting, team members visited Benshangul and Gambella and separate assessment visits were made to Harar and Addis Ababa.
Benshangul: Data were obtained from three zones which indicate that the rainfall was early, well distributed during the season and adequate for Meher production in each zone. The complete absence of fertilizers, improved seeds and credit indicates a complete reliance on local seeds and production systems, as such the production of cereals and pulses is estimated to be 92 000 tons from 105 000 hectares. This is significantly more than last yearís Missionís estimate.
Gambella: With no improved seeds, no fertilizers, limited animal power and no access to plant protection chemicals, traditional production in Gambella depends on a mixture of riverine farming dependent on residual moisture following floods, and, slash and burn cultivation in the interior. In addition, the remaining resettled farmers and land farmed under state farm enterprises produce rice, sorghum and cotton. This year excess flooding destroyed around 50 percent of the crops in the zones of Etang and Aboba. As a result, production estimates are down by 37 percent, leaving some 11 000 tons of cereals and pulses from 9 000 hectares.
Harar: The regionís comparatively high use of urea suggests an interest in vegetative matter rather than grains. This yearís chatt production is reportedly so high that prices have dropped sharply due to the well distributed and plentiful Belg/Meher rains. The cereal and pulse production from the region based on MoA/DPPC data is forecast at 11 600 tons from 11 500 hectares.
Dire Dawa: Data provided by the MoA/DPPC indicate an increase in sorghum planting which is probably due to improved reporting. The forecast cereal and pulse harvest from the region is 11 000 tons from 11 200 hectares.
Addis Ababa: Cereal and pulse production from Region 14 (Addis Ababa) were provided by the MoA and the DPPC for both 1995 and 1996. They estimate a harvest of 12 500 tons of cereals and pulses from 11 000 hectares.
Somali: Figures provided to the Mission by the MoA/DPPC show a vast increase in area under sorghum, (probably due to better reporting) and a dramatic reduction in yield for all cereal crops grown in the 1996 Meher season. Such reductions are out of keeping with the national trend, but as the team was unable to visit the Somali zones of Jijiga and Gode, no further information is available. Regional estimates of production are 27 300 tons of cereals and pulses from 85 300 hectares.
In accordance with the procedures of past missions, the current yearís (1996) Belg harvest is not included in the supply and demand analysis as it is assumed to have been consumed during the period before the Meher harvest becomes available. Therefore, it is the 1997 Belg harvest that is used in the Missionís balance sheet. This notwithstanding, the previous Belg season also plays an important part in the food security of the following year, as on-farm stocks, animal and vegetative conditions and the energy and enthusiasm of the farming community will be affected by its strengths and weaknesses. The 1996 Belg harvest was universally good, with national estimates varying from 300 000 to 440 000 tons of cereals depending on source and definitions. It is clear that at least some of the 1996 Belg will be available for consumption in 1997. For instance, during field visits, the Mission observed Belg barley being threshed in one of the main Belg zones (Bale) and farmer interviews confirmed that this year such practices were the rule rather than the exception.
For the sake of continuity, the Mission defines Belg harvest as crops grown and harvested before the end of August. As such, most maize and sorghum planted during Belg is included as a Meher crop. With this proviso, the 1997 harvest is forecast at 290 000 tons of cereals and 25 000 tons of pulses.
Carryover stocks of cereals and pulses from the 1996 Belg have been accommodated as on-farm stock in the balance sheet.
The level of cereal and pulse prices is currently lower than last year for the second year in a row.
The downward trend in prices reflects (i) substantial increases in grain production experienced in 1995/96 and 1996/97 crop years; (ii) the currently high level of carryover stocks from the 1995/96 seasons.
The national Food Security Reserve of cereals is now standing at around 295 000 tons, very close to the target level of 307 000 tons.
Other food grain stocks by 31 December 1996 are projected at about 530 000 tons of cereals and 11 000 tons of pulses, comprising:
a) 115 000 tons of cereals and 11 000 tons of pulses held unsold by the Ethiopian Grain Trading Enterprise (EGTE).
b) 42 000 tons of unsold stocks on state farms, which is close to 30 percent of their aggregate cereal production of 1995/96.
c) 150 000 tons of estimated on-farm stocks of maize (equivalent to one monthís domestic supply in surplus producing areas) and 50 000 tons of estimated on-farm stocks of other cereals.
d) 171 000 tons of food aid stocks including confirmed pledges expected to arrive before the end of the year.
Market surveys indicate that current farm and trader presentations are mostly from last yearís harvest. At all levels, the need to empty the stores for the new seasonís harvest and the need to obtain cash are having a strong depressing effect on maize prices that currently stand at about 30 percent below last yearís equivalent level, ranging from 35 Birr/quintal in the south/south-west to around 70 Birr/quintal in the north.
Such regional differences reflect production patterns. Poor communications, particularly in areas away from the main roads, a weak trading infrastructure and a virtual absence of a grain based animal feedstuff industry exacerbate the differences. Hence, maize stocks accumulate in the main surplus areas and prices fall more than those of other foodstuffs.
Depressed maize prices will be a problem for those maize producers who
borrowed to buy fertilizers. As prices fall, they need to sell a higher
amount of maize to raise the necessary cash to repay their loans. In some
cases, their yields are too low to guarantee their own consumption and
cash needs. Hence, there is concern about their repayment capacity and
many observers anticipate an increase in input loan delinquency rates.
In addition, the low level of profitability of maize will have a disincentive
effect on those farmers, which might affect next yearís maize crop. Prices
of other grains have fallen less dramatically than maize. Wheat, barley
and teff prices are only 5-10 percent below those of last year, reflecting
national consumption preferences and lower increases in output.
The 1997 projected balance for cereals and pulses is summarized in Table 3.
Total cereal and pulse production available in marketing year 1997 (January-December) is estimated at 12 million tons, including 11.7 million tons from the main Meher crop, as well as a provisional forecast of 315 000 tons for the secondary Belg crop, to be harvested during the first half of 1997. The forecast of the Belg crop takes into account latest surveys conducted by the MoA and independent sources and by the Missionís own observations that demonstrate that although much of the coarse grains are planted during the Belg rainy season, they are actually harvested during the last quarter of the year, thus becoming available for consumption mostly during the following marketing year.
Foodgrain stocks in the country by 31 December 1996 are projected at some 539 000 tons, including 528 000 tons of cereals and 11 000 tons of pulses. This includes some 200 000 tons of carryover stocks in the hands of farmers and private traders, 42 000 tons of unsold stocks from the state farms, 126 000 tons from the EGTE and 171 000 tons of food aid. However, these carryover stocks do not include the countryís Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR), now at a level of 295 000 tons, close to about two-weeksí food requirements of the population.
Thus, the total availability of foodgrains is estimated at a record level of 12.5 million tons, which will be more than sufficient to meet consumption requirements in 1997.
The Mission estimates that demand for foodgrains in 1997 will continue to increase, following a trend initiated after the good harvest recorded in 1995/96. An ex-post analysis of the 1996 marketing year, using revised figures of production and the current estimates of end-of-year carryover stocks, indicates an increase of about 6 percent in the apparent consumption of cereals, to 130.8 kg per caput/year, against a long term trend consumption level of 123 kg.
The Mission estimates that because of the increased availability of supplies in 1997 and the strong reduction in prices, the average per caput consumption of cereals will increase by another 3.4 percent, to a total of 135.3 kg and pulses from 12 kg to 13.2 kg per capita/year. With foodgrains providing an estimated 70 percent of the total energy intake of the Ethiopian population, enset, root crops, milk and meat provide the difference needed to maintain a total intake necessary to meet nutritional requirements. The favourable growing conditions of those crops during 1996/97 and the good situation of livestock guarantee that supplies will be more than sufficient to meet such consumption demands.
At a 1997 population estimate of 58.4 million, foodgrain requirements will amount to a total of 7.9 million tons of cereals and 770 000 tons of pulses.
Given increased supplies at farm level and the eventual use of deteriorated grain stocks from last yearís crop, animal feed grain consumption is expected to increase by some 20 percent. This includes the modern poultry industry, estimated at about 2 million birds, consuming at least 73 000 tons of grain per annum; plus the traditional poultry population, estimated at a minimum of 20 million birds, and pack and riding animals as well as a small but expanding beef feed lot industry near the main towns such as Nazereth and Bahidar.
Other uses, including seeds, brewing, and post harvest losses are expected to increase by more than 30 percent relative to the estimates made in the previous year, to a total of 2.0 million tons. Total cereal seed requirements are estimated at around 544 000 tons, some 6 percent higher than in 1996/97, reflecting an anticipated equivalent increase in the area to be planted to cereals in 1997/98. Two-thirds of the millet production and substantial production of barley and sorghum are estimated to be directed to brewing, amounting to 348 000 tons. Post harvest losses are expected to increase sharply this year to a total of 1.1 million tons, reflecting the humid weather conditions and the fact that a considerable amount of last yearís maize crop is stored in very precarious conditions and will deteriorate sharply. Maize losses are estimated at 25 percent of total supplies. Wheat and barley post harvest losses are calculated at 7 percent. Teff losses are calculated at a minimal rate of only 1 percent.
The Mission anticipates a large increase in cross-border exports in 1997, to a total of about 400 000 tons. A number of factors will contribute to this trend. First and foremost, the incentive to export grain is extremely high this year, given large price differentials that exist between Ethiopia and neighbouring countries. Secondly, Ethiopia has abundant grain stocks and production while some neighbouring countries will experience substantial grain deficits. Eritrea has a total import requirement of around 300 000 tons and Ethiopian traders have been that countryís traditional suppliers of grain. Exports are also likely to continue from the southern maize surplus regions of Ethiopia into south Sudan, where production continues to be affected by the civil strife. The failure of the successive seasons in north and east Kenya is expected to reduce the total maize production by 18 percent and the pulse production by 25 percent. The total foodgrain import requirement in Kenya is expected to be over 1 million tons, of which some 600 000 tons are maize. Moreover, prices of maize have increased by 35 percent to 70 percent recently, greatly increasing the incentive for maize exports from Ethiopia. Although there is an official ban from the Government of Kenya to import maize, there are reports that cross border trade from Ethiopia and other neighbouring countries has continued on an informal basis. Uganda has also experienced a below average harvest.
Given a build up of carryover stocks by 100 000 tons, the Mission estimates that the total utilization of foodgrains in 1997 will amount to 12.1 million tons, against an availability of 12.5 million tons, leaving a surplus of 492 000 tons available for donor supported local food aid purchases and triangular transactions.
No cereal imports are recommended in 1997
Table 3 - Ethiopia: Cereal and Pulse Balance Sheet, 1997 (January/December) ('000 tons)
|1. Domestic Availability||11 579||986||12 565|
|- Meher 1996/97||10 761||950||11 711|
|- Belg 1997||290||25||315|
|3. Opening stocks||528||11||539|
|4. Total Utilization||11 087||986||12 073|
|5. Food use||7 896||770||8 666|
|6. Feed use||180||0||180|
|8. Other uses and losses||2 011||166||2 177|
|9. Closing stocks||600||50||650|
For 1997, Ethiopia is expected to have a surplus of 492 000 tons of grain and pulses. This implies that no cereal imports will be required to meet effective demand, which implies that no cereal programme food aid will be required either.
However, national averages mask the fact that a number of regions and zones remain food-deficit, and that for many people in those areas access to food remains problematic. Given the relatively small size of their holdings, the low productivity of their land, their meagre assets and the difficulties for sub-subsistence farmers to gain access to inputs and technology, many people in the traditionally food deficit zones in Tigray, Wollo, Waghamra and North Omo are unable to produce enough food. Nor are they in a position to earn enough other income (sale of livestock, honey, seasonal migration, off-farm-income) to buy the food they lack on the market. While food production in the above mentioned areas has been estimated at 20-36 percent above last yearís production, important numbers of households continue to be faced with a structural food deficit. They are faced with chronic food insecurity, and therefore require an income transfer (food aid) to make ends meet.
Moreover, particularly in the highlands, and in spite of overall satisfactory rainfall, a number of woredas have suffered from localized adversities, including rains that stopped too early, from hailstorms and in some cases from complete failure of the rains. Apart from being chronically food insecure, and food deficit, they have been hit by transitory food insecurity.
Most of the food aid needs for 1997 are basically related to poverty and structural food insecurity, which in a number of cases has been compounded by unfavourable weather conditions. In three cases, food aid is necessary to mitigate the impact of floods, in Gambella, Hadya and Arba Minch.
The Mission estimates that some 1.9 million people require some 186 000 tons of food aid until the next harvest. Overall, this represents about 64 percent of last yearís figures and includes an operational stock of 30 000 tons.
Table 4 provides details of the number of beneficiaries and amounts of food assistance by zone upon which the total is based.
Table 4 - Ethiopia: Food aid needs, 1997
|Region||Food aid needs (tons)||Number of people||Yearly allocation (kg)|
|Central Tigray||12 900||172 000||75|
|Eastern Tigray||18 000||240 000||75|
|Southern Tigray||12 000||160 000||75|
|Western Tigray||2 250||30 000||75|
|Total Tigray||45 150||602 000||75|
|North Gondar||7 200||80 000||90|
|South Gondar||2 430||27 000||90|
|North Wollo||17 100||190 000||90|
|South Wollo||16 470||183 000||90|
|Wag Hamra||9 450||105 000||90|
|Oromia||2 635||44 000||60|
|North Shoa||1 365||45 500||30|
|Total Amhara||56 650||674 500||84|
|West Hararghe||2 700||30 000||90|
|East Hararghe||3 870||43 000||90|
|North Omo||8 100||180 000||45|
|A/Minch Zuria||1 800||30 000||60|
|AKT||1 800||20 000||90|
|Guraghe||1 680||28 000||60|
|Hadiya||3 600||80 000||45|
|Gambella||4 000||113 000||35|
|SUB-TOTAL||129 350||1 800 500||72|
|Displaced/destitute||19 170||142 000||135|
|contingency (close monitoring) (5 percent||7 480|
|Operational stock||30 000|
|GRAND TOTAL||186 000|
In arriving at its food needs assessment, the mission has consulted widely with DPPC, and during its field visits with DPPC regional and zonal offices, woreda administrations, Peasant Associations, individual farmers and with NGOs. Assessments made at regional, zonal and woreda level were discussed and adjusted in the light of estimates concerning other incomes than from crop production. These data were based on surveys undertaken by SCF (UK), as collected by the VAM (Vulnerability Assessment Mapping) unit at the WFP Country Office.
The Mission noted that, although the importance of other income sources than crop production, was universally estimated to be of crucial importance in reaching household food security, the degree to which they had been taken into account by zonal and woreda committees during first round assessments (still to be reviewed by the Central Authorities) varied substantially. In general, non crop production income tended to be significantly underestimated.
Moreover, methodological difficulties continue to exist. While the numbers collected during the field trip are related to the numbers of people classified by the authorities as "affected", in reality they relate to two different phenomena: people structurally affected and people affected by extraordinary events. As it is, the term "affected" is also used to identify gaps between actual crop production and "planned" production, i.e. the production to be expected under optimal conditions. However, and almost by definition, such optimal conditions remain unachievable. Theoretically one should distinguish between a production which can realistically be expected (perhaps 80 % of the planned target) and extraordinary events which have had a particularly and well identified negative impact. In the first case, the final household food gap based on a comparison with a realistic production level would represent the structural food security gap. Non-average climatic and localized adversities, would then represent the transitory food gap as expressed by the numbers of people affected by transitory events.
As it is, the Mission, as it did last year, has based its zonal food needs on an aggregated calculation of crop production and other sources of income against a minimum income needed by a household to achieve food security. For an average household of 5 people this was estimated to be 1 100 kg in cereal equivalents. Total food aid needs for the rural population have been estimated at some 137 000 tons (including a contingency for close monitoring).
With regard to the number of people in need of food aid, the mission has based its assessment on the numbers of people reported as "affected", thereby exercising its judgement on the occurrence and importance of non crop income. As such, the mission has estimated that some 1.8 million rural people would require food aid during 1997 for an average period of some 5 months.
However, while the mission is confident with regard to the total food aid requirements, an estimation of the precise number of beneficiaries remains somewhat theoretical. As to be expected and confirmed during field visits, numbers represent arithmetical averages and actual food aid distribution is never equally spread throughout the indicated period. Numbers of beneficiaries tend to be small in e.g. February, after which they increase gradually to a peak during the lean season when needs are greatest.
The Mission recommends that the DPPC and interested donors continue to pursue their efforts to develop a methodology which will make it possible to distinguish between structural and transitory needs, while equally arriving at a more realistic quantification of the number of food aid beneficiaries.
While the Mission has estimated the food aid needs at 186 000 tons, this does NOT take into account the food aid needs of (in particular) the Somali refugees in Ethiopia (estimated at some 45 000 tons), nor e.g. the food aid needs associated with the WFP assisted schoolfeeding project (mainly locally produced blended foods) or food aid supported urban projects.
It should be recalled that the mission's estimates are expressed in cereals only, without a further breakdown into oil and supplementary foods. In general, and in particular in the Tigray region, oil to the extent it is supplied is often exchanged by the beneficiaries for e.g. salt and spices. In the light of substantial production of sesame seeds e.g. in the Western Zone of Tigray, large scale distribution of imported oil would not be commendable.
8.3.2 Food Aid Stocks
Table 5 reviews the stock positions. Given food aid needs of 186 000 tons, the food aid balance to be resourced during 1997 is therefore estimated at some 15 000 tons.
Table 5 - Ethiopia: Estimate for 1997 Relief/Regular Food Aid Requirements (cereals only) (tons)
|1. 1996 Food Aid Availability|
|1995 carryover stocks and pledges||168 614|
|Plus: 1996 pledges||216 130|
|Total food available for 1996||384 744|
|2. 1996 Carryover Stocks|
|Total food available||384 744|
|Less 1996 distribution (Estimated based on carryover stocks)||213 854|
|1996 carryover stocks and pledges||170 890|
|3. Estimated Food Requirements|
|1997 estimated food requirements||186 000|
|Less: 1996 carryover stocks and pledges||170 890|
|Balance to be resourced||15 110|
The overall food assistance programme will be coordinated by DPPC and implemented through Government line agencies and NGOs. Food aid is intended to cover the food deficit population which will receive food aid in exchange for work, with free food aid to those vulnerable groups unable to work. There are two modalities, FFW and the EGS (Employment Generation Scheme) which in reality have begun to form part of a continuum; they include FFW programmes (WFP and NGO supported) where food distribution and the numbers of beneficiaries are defined by the particular task ahead and the EGS where food needs are determined and communities then define the scope and nature of the work. Implementing agencies such as e.g. the Ministry of Agriculture are increasingly involved in the design and technical backstopping of the activities undertaken under the EGS umbrella.
8.3.4 Food aid availability in 1996
The food aid needs for 1996 as estimated by last year's FAO/WFP mission amounted to 290 658 tons. Actual distribution of food aid during 1996, according to provisional estimates, amounted to 219 000 tons, which represents 75 percent of needs as estimated by the Mission. No consolidated figures on the numbers of beneficiaries were available to the Mission. According to the DPPC's March 1966 assessment, 2.7 million people would need some 295 000 tons of food aid, which gives an overall average of 109 kg per beneficiary (or an average of 81 kg based on actual distribution, keeping the numbers of people constant). In reality, food aid is phased in over time, starting with a relatively low number of people to arrive at a maximum number of people during the few months constituting the lean season.
8.3.5 1997 food aid planning.
Food aid needs as estimated by the Mission are considerably lower than last year's estimates. This is a reflection of various factors: crop production in most of the traditionally food deficit areas has increased - sometimes substantially - thereby also reducing food gaps at the household level, the possibilities for off farm employment, which tended to be underestimated, have increased, while market prices of food in food deficit areas are showing a downwards trend since last year at the same time.
However, structural food insecurity has remained as the most important justification for helping people to meet food gaps. In such a situation, the target should be that no food will be distributed unless in exchange for work, be it under FFW or under the EGS umbrella. This requires strengthened interventions of technical agencies to ensure that activities are relevant, well designed and sustainable. Concerning the identification of beneficiaries at woreda level, care should be exercised that people are selected with due consideration to real need and taking into consideration other sources of income (e.g. road construction- highways and rural roads) which have not always been considered adequately.
The year 1996 may well turn out to be a top year for crop production; if this is so, people receiving food assistance under FFW or EGS in 1997, would constitute the core group which would probably qualify for food aid for the foreseeable future as well. Careful screening and targeting for 1997 is particularly opportune in order to reduce institutionalisation of food aid to the extent possible. So is the design of activities that not only provide a temporary safety net, but which also increase food security over time.
This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.