FAO GLOBAL INFORMATION AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM ON FOOD AND
AGRICULTURE
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME

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SPECIAL REPORTFAO/WFP CROP AND FOOD SUPPLY ASSESSMENT MISSION TO ETHIOPIA

7 February 2002

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Mission Highlights

  • The food supply outlook for 2002 has improved significantly following a bumper 2001 main "meher" season harvest.
  • Meher cereal and pulse production is forecast at 12.33 million tonnes, about 9 percent above the average for the previous five years but 4 percent below last year's post-harvest estimate.
  • Cereal market prices, particularly for maize, have fallen sharply in the main producing areas, which could result in severe financial difficulties for farmers and reductions in area planted next season.
  • Export possibilities to neighbouring countries will be restricted because of improved production, particularly in Kenya and Sudan.
  • Despite the satisfactory harvest, some 5.2 million people, including crop dependent farmers and pastoralists in southern and eastern parts, will require nearly 560 000 tonnes of food aid, of which 130 000 tonnes are available in carryover contributions. On average, the people targeted for food assistance would need relief food rations for around six months of the year.
  • Donors are urged to take the opportunity to meet part of the food aid needs locally, given the availability of cereals.

 

1. OVERVIEW

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Ethiopia from 11 November to 8 December 2001 to estimate the meher season cereal and pulse production, forecast the 2002 belg season production, assess the overall food supply situation in 2002 and estimate food aid needs.

Accompanied by specialists from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and split into six teams, the Mission visited all regions. Parallel to the crop assessment teams but spread over a longer period, 17 teams led by the Government's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC), and comprising WFP, bilateral donor agencies and NGOs, visited marginal localities and vulnerable zones and woredas to determine their current and prospective food security situation.

The assessment teams obtained area and yield data of all major food crops from the Zonal agricultural bureaux, which were cross-checked against information from farmers, traders, NGO and donor project staff and remote sensed data from early warning systems. Crop inspections, spot-check crop cutting, market surveys and livestock condition observations, were conducted en route. Thus, initial yield forecasts were fine-turned to take into consideration latest and wider information.

The overall agricultural performance in 2001 was good due to favourable growing conditions. More specifically, following the favourable secondary "belg" season rains in April/May, which resulted in an estimated harvest of 450 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses, most parts of the central highlands received good "meher" season rains. However, in the southeast the rains started late and ended early and were erratic in between.

Planting of cereals and pulses was uninterrupted and cultivation practices were normal in both traditional and mechanised sub-sectors. At national level, substitution between crops noted included wheat and barley giving way to sorghum and finger millet and cereals losing some 25 000 hectares to pulses. In the southern region (SNNPR), widespread reorganisation of zonal and special woreda boundaries has made area comparisons difficult. However, compared to the previous year, cereal area was reduced in 2001 mainly due to uncertainties with credit policies and fertiliser availability at planting time. Nationally, fertiliser use dropped by 6 percent or around 20 000 tonnes, compared to 2000.

Cereal yields declined by about 4 percent compared to the 2000 Zonal agricultural bureaux final post-harvest estimates, mainly due to the reduction in fertiliser use, particularly DAP, in the main producing zones of Oromiya, Amhara and SNNPR. The year was free from migratory pests and little more than the normal damage from non-migratory pests and diseases was observed. Consequently, the Mission forecasts a meher cereal and pulse harvest of 12.33 million tonnes comprising 11.30 million tonnes of cereals from 9.79 million hectares and 1.03 million tonnes of pulses from 1.53 million hectares. This is the second largest cereal and pulse harvest since 1995. On the basis of the current meher production and forecast belg harvest in 2002 of 250 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses, the Mission estimates a total grain import requirement of 379 000 tonnes in 2002, with an estimated 239 000 tonnes to be covered by food aid imports.

The favourable rainfall also benefited other crops, including coffee, roots and tubers, like enset. Overall pasture conditions have improved with the exception of some south-eastern parts of the country, where the situation is uncertain. Elsewhere, livestock condition and pasture availability are noted to be better than in 2000 and livestock prices were generally stable or rising, indicative of retained stock numbers and increased interest in purchasing.

In response to ample supply, average prices of most cereals have fallen sharply particularly for maize which has reached 50 Birr per 100 kg (about US$59 per tonne) in October/November 2001 in some of the surplus areas, about 50 percent below the same time in 2000. Generally, prices of all cereal crops in almost all local markets remained depressed in 2001, compared to the previous year, due to the good meher harvest in 2000. This is expected to result in severe financial difficulties for farmers and possible reduction in area planted next season.

The overall good harvest described above masks the existence of food deficient communities in most parts of the country due to localised drought, population displacement and limited access/entitlement to available food supplies. In addition, vulnerable people affected by several successive years of drought and those who remain displaced by recent conflicts will depend on food assistance.

Emergency food requirements in 2002 are projected to be lower than in 2001. Overall, some 5.2 million people are expected to depend on food assistance in 2002, about half the number in 2000 when the drought crisis was at its peak. The relief food pipeline (carryover stocks and contributions from 2001) are anticipated to cover the needs only until mid-March 2002. Donor pledges and deliveries are, therefore, urgently needed to avert hunger among the vulnerable sections of the population.

The Mission strongly recommends local purchasing as the first course of action for donors wishing to provide food aid to targeted vulnerable groups.

2. SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONTEXT

2.1 Macroeconomic situation 1

The economy of Ethiopia is highly dependent on agriculture, which accounts for around 45 percent of GDP while industry accounts for 12 percent and services for 43 percent. Production is predominantly in the hands of small farmers working individual smallholdings. An estimated 85 percent of the population gain their livelihood directly or indirectly from agricultural production, while in urban centres the bulk of economic activity is in the informal sector. Some 80 percent of food production is cereals, maize, teff, wheat, barley and sorghum being the main cereal crops. Pulses and oilseeds are also grown extensively. Whereas cereals are predominantly for domestic consumption, significant proportions of pulses, oilseeds and, to a lesser extent, fruits, are exported. Coffee is the major export product, accounting for more than 60 percent of foreign-exchange earnings. Despite improvements in the quality and quantity of coffee exported, the volatile international coffee prices, which are currently particularly depressed, have exacerbated the erratic overall economic growth.

Aside from agriculture, livestock and forestry, Ethiopia has underdeveloped mineral resources. In the past five years private foreign interest in the mining of gold and other precious metals, and oil and gas exploration, has increased but has yet to make a significant contribution to GDP.

The economic reform programme, which started in 1992, has contributed to stability, with a major but gradual devaluation of the birr and minimal inflationary consequences. GDP growth averaged 5 percent per year between 1995/96 and 1999/2000 and it is forecast to reach an average of 7 percent in 2001 and 2002. Owing to good crop harvest in 2000, grain prices followed a downward trend in the first half of 2001, enhancing access to food and improving food security.

The greatest impact of the economic reforms on farm production has been the near-total deregulation of agricultural marketing. Market liberalisation heralded improved production incentives and more efficient marketing, but use of fertilizer, pesticide and improved seed remain low and appropriate marketing infrastructure is still very limited. The rehabilitation of the road infrastructure has been established as a core element of the country's economic reform programme. More than 20 percent of the capital budget has been allocated to road construction and repairs in recent years but the effects have yet to be manifested in levelling of price variations between surplus and deficit areas.

Short to medium-term economic prospects appear to be positive for Ethiopia. Post-war reconstruction and broader economic reform seem to be the priority for development in 2002, something that has received donor support and has afforded the resumption of multilateral lending. In March 2001 the IMF approved an initial US$121 million loan under its poverty reduction and growth facility. This follows a US$400 million World Bank loan for reconstruction agreed in December 2000. The main thrust of economic policy will be to modernise and diversify agriculture, as improving production and efficiency in the agricultural sector is viewed as the best way to reduce poverty and increase export revenue. However, export prospects for coffee, the country's main foreign exchange earner, are not favourable in the short run.

2.2 Population

The Office of the Population and Housing Census Commission of the Central Statistical Authority released the results of the 1994 census in June 1998. According to the report, the then population was 53.48 million, comprising 86 percent rural and 14 percent urban. For mid-2002 the CSA projected total population is placed at 67.22 million, comprising 10.31 million and 56.91 million in urban and rural areas respectively. Ethiopia is sub-Saharan Africa's second most populous nation after Nigeria.

Ethnic and linguistic identity has been given explicit political significance under the current federal constitution. This recognises nine nationalities, which provide the framework for the federal state.

3. FOOD PRODUCTION IN 2001

3.1 Rainfall

Agricultural production in Ethiopia is predominantly rainfed and is, therefore, subject to wide variation from year to year depending on the quality and quantity of the annual rains. Such rains affect both area planted and yields obtained. In 2001, the minor belg rains, which in a good year may support the production of some 5 percent of the annual cereal and pulse crop, were timely, well-distributed and above average in quantity in the ten zones that provide significant belg harvests. Elsewhere, belg favourable rains in a further ten zones supported crop production, offering the opportunity and encouragement for early land preparation for the main, meher season. In the central highlands, the belg rains were followed by a timely start to the meher rains, which although generally sustained at moderate to high levels of precipitation, ended prematurely in the last dekad of August or early September in many zones. While the rains were generally favourable at the higher altitudes, in the lower ("kola") agricultural areas, the onset was late and the ensuing precipitation intermittent, with early cessation most commonly reported. These unfavourable characteristics of the season were particularly prevalent in the south-eastern zones and have had a negative effect on production. Rainfall recorded in the western lowlands this year exhibits a wide variation making the season difficult to generalize. Nevertheless, it would seem that a late onset, with belg rains melding into meher rains, followed by uneven and erratic distribution during the main season, was linked to both early cessation in the north-west, but timely or extended rains in the south-west. Consequently, though the national rainfall pattern may be described as more favourable overall than in recent years, enough variation exists to note that in some localities either excess rains or rain shortages negatively affected agricultural performance. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Mission considers that the advantages of the season far outweighed the disadvantages. The disadvantages signal the need for better in-field water management, especially on the clay plains. Where good practices exist, such as the traditional broad-beds used for cereal production on the clay soils of North Shewa, full advantage of heavy rains is taken; elsewhere, under similar circumstances, yields may be reduced through avoidable water-logging.

Perennial crops such as enset, eucalyptus, coffee and chat are also considered to have benefited from the distribution and quality of this year's precipitation. Pastures throughout the country have been noted in good condition; however, the Mission feels that conditions in the south-eastern pastoralist areas need careful monitoring to determine grazing options, given the reported early cessation of meher rains and a late start to rains in November-December.

3.2 Area planted (meher season)

Nationally, the area planted to cereals and pulses in the meher season has been sustained at 11.3 million hectares. This stability masks a minor shift of 25 000 hectares at national level from cereals to pulses and, more significantly, reductions in cereal area in SNNPR and Tigray of 3 percent and 8 percent respectively. The drop of 39 000 hectares in SNNPR is due in part to a decline in sowing of meher season cereals and pulses, particularly barley, wheat and chickpeas, reflecting a 12 000 hectare increase in belg planting. Cereal area was further reduced due to the uncertainty of marketing surpluses from the meher crop and late decisions affecting the timely provision of credit. It was noted that in SNNPR the creation of seven new zones this year, namely Keffa, Sheka, Wolaita, Kembata-Tembaro, Gamo-Gofa and Dewuro from woredas and kabelles in Keficho-Shekicho, Gurage, Hadiya, K.A.T., South Omo, North Omo and Sidama, plus the emergence of three new special worredas, namely Alaba, Konta and Basketo, has complicated the area time series usually used by the Mission, and made confident area-planted comparisons, between years, difficult to achieve.

The decrease in area in Tigray is due to improved reporting of areas sown at woreda level, which reduced cultivated land estimates in both the Eastern and Central zones. These recording improvements simultaneously mask a slight increase in cereal area in both zones due to the return to farming of the majority of the families displaced from the Ethiopian-Eritrean border during the past three years of hostilities.

Within the national context, the Mission noted a 4 percent decline in area sown to barley and a corresponding increase in area sown to sorghum and finger millet. Maize area was noted at 1.7 percent lower than previous year, a reduction accounted for by less planting in surplus areas probably linked to price uncertainties.

On the whole, there were no indications of any major changes in cultivation opportunities or practices. In the mechanized sector, fuel and machinery spare parts were available in sufficient quantities, although delays in provision of the latter were said to have affected quality of cultivation in north-west Tigray. In the predominant animal-traction sector, which account for some 90 percent of the agricultural area, the main motive force, oxen, were in good condition and available either through full ownership of a pair or through traditional oxen-sharing (one-on-one) and share cropping practices.

3.3 Yields during the meher season

National average cereal yields, expressed in kg per hectare range this year from 200 to 2 000 according to location and crop. Estimates have been calculated at zonal or special woreda level, using local agricultural bureaux data, cross-checked with information from farmers, traders, NGOs and the Mission's own field observations. The resulting estimates take into consideration seed type, extent of fertilizer use, cultivating practices and weed, pest and disease challenges and harvesting losses.

This year, some 97 percent of the seeds used were local seeds, either carried over by the farmers from last year's harvest or purchased locally through inter farmer exchanges or local markets. Only 20 000 tonnes of improved seeds were purchased from official sources which include the Ethiopian Seed Enterprise, the Pioneer Company and farmer-based secondary seed multiplication units. This total is significantly less than the 35 000 tonnes sold from similar services last year. The decrease in sales reflects less pressure on the farmers to take up the extension packages, less credit available for input purchase and an overriding interest, in the cereal sector, to cut costs in a climate of very low cereal prices in surplus areas.

The remaining 630 000 tonnes of seeds, required to achieve the planted area, were provided from local sources comprising traditional landraces and stabilized, open-pollinated, previous releases from government seed development units. No shortages of appropriate seeds were noted following last year's good harvest and prices the farmers could afford. Also, this year, replanting was not necessary on any large scale. Given the dominance of home-grown or locally-produced seed, the absence of seed dressing is a cause for concern.

Fertiliser use this year was reduced by 6 percent at 273 000 tonnes, with overall consumption of only some 75 percent of the supply available. More importantly, while the use of urea was sustained, the use of diammonium phosphate (DAP) in the two main cereal producing regions, Oromiya and Amhara, fell by 10 percent and 7 percent respectively, reversing the increasing trend noted last year. In SNNPR, the decrease in DAP use was even more dramatic, at 60 percent. Such reductions were noted to be associated with bad debts precluding credit, late credit arrangements which set conditions after optimal sowing dates for the long cycle crops and farmers' perceived lack of reasonable returns from fertiliser application. All the factors were connected to very poor prices in surplus areas last year for maize, wheat and barley. The Mission noted that fertilizer use was reduced in 29 zones, stable in 11 zones and had increased in seven of the zones visited. Where use had increased prices had either been reduced significantly as in the southern, western and central zones of Tirgray, or opportunities for fertilizer cash purchase had improved due to administrative changes, as in the new zones and new special woredas of SNNPR. Where fertilizer use was sustained, the actual levels of consumption noted were low and associated with crops other than cereals, such as vegetables and chat.

Regarding pests and diseases, migratory Quelea quelea were controlled through aerial spraying of nesting sites in Jigjiga, east Hararge and Oromiya. The only other migratory pest noted was army worm, which appeared early in the season in several zones, but was either washed out by the good rainfall or was controlled through local campaigns organized by the zonal agricultural bureaux. Among the usual of array on non-migratory pests, sorghum chafer was noted as a cause for concern in east Amhara and South Tigray, where localised campaigns were organised using chemical sprays and traditional baiting techniques. Common invertebrate pests including stalk borer, termites, boll-worms, shoot fly and aphids were reported ubiquitously, but at levels within tolerance limits under prevailing economic and technological conditions. Vertebrate pests such as birds, rats, warthogs, baboons and monkeys are similarly noted. The non-rodents were of particular significance near forested and protected areas, requiring enormous investments in family labour to avoid heavy losses leading up to harvest time.

Weed competition was fierce as the favourable rainfall patterns enhanced all plant growth. Weed control through hand-weeding was conducted for all crops except in Weghamra and North Wollo where graminaceous weeds are allowed to grow and are used as animal feed. An increase in the use of herbicides was reported in all regions, reflecting rising wages due to competition for labour. Weeds brought to the attention of the Mission as being particularly pernicious were congress weed on all crop land in eastern zones and the parasitic weeds striga on sorghum in areas of low fertility everywhere and dodder on neuq in West Gojam.

Based on the foregoing, the Mission estimates that the national average yields for wheat and maize and to a lesser extent teff are lower than last year. Estimates for barley, finger millet and sorghum crops, that receive no fertiliser, are actually the same or higher than last year. Given that teff, wheat and maize occupy some 60 percent of the total cereal area, this year's national cereal average yield is 4 percent down from last year but remains at 1.15 tonnes per hectare equal to the yields in 1996 and 1999. The national average yield for all pulses at 0.67 tonnes per hectare is similar to last year but lower than yields in 1999 which peaked at 0.69 tonnes per hectare.

3.4 Other crops

Crops contributing to household incomes vary from north to south and east to west. In the north, the main contributors are oil seeds, particularly neuq and sesame although safflower and sunflower are increasing in significance from year to year. This year, the area under sesame has continued to expand and prices in west Tigray are 43 percent below 2000 at 230 Birr per quintal. In the south, the greatest variety of "other crops" may be found. In Oromiya and the SNNPR crops other than cereals and pulses occupy 12 percent and 32 percent of the agricultural land as against 3 percent and 7 percent in Amhara and Tigray. Of the other crops, enset or false banana, grown in Oromiya and SNNPR, is the most important. It provides the main carbohydrate source for around 8 million people and contributes significantly to the diet of a further 4 million people. Enset production this year is noted to be higher than last year due to highly favourable rainfall and no significant outbreaks of bacteria wilt. Roots and tubers production is also expected to have been higher in the same zones.

Also in Oromiya and SNNPR, coffee and chat, the major cash crops, are noted to have performed well. Good belg rains and a timely beginning to the meher season is noted to have increased coffee bean production by some 12 to 20 percent over last year's crop, which was badly affected by the dry spells in belg and early meher. Coffee berry disease (CBD) remains a factor limiting production in most zones, except where trees are being replaced by resistant varieties. Industrial field crops such as sugarcane and cotton production were not assessed by the Mission. Data from the zonal agricultural bureaux for such crops are either non-existent or incomplete.

3.5 Livestock

Last year's reported losses of livestock in the pastoralist areas prompted emergency food aid programmes, the rehabilitation or establishment of water supply points and livestock support through animal health and restocking schemes. A variety of non-governmental and international agencies have been involved, particularly in the most affected regions of Somali and Afar and in the Borena and Bale zones of Oromiya Region. Last year, the Mission reported a decline in stock numbers at some 50 percent of pastoralist cattle, 20-30 percent of sheep and goats and 10-15 percent of camels. Such animals were thought to have died or been sold or slaughtered . Parturition percentages were reported as low for all stock at 2-12 percent for cattle and 20-40 percent for sheep and goats, limiting both products for sale and potential herd/flock replacements. The recovery of the pasture this year, following the good meher and belg rains, appears to have restored numbers, presumably by attracting new or erstwhile displaced herds and flocks back to the grazing area. This year the Mission was not able to visit the areas in Somali, due to a combination of logistical and security reasons and, therefore, the situation remains unclear. Suffice to say that the reported losses could not have been made good at household level without large-scale purchasing or stock exchange. Further, in Somali, the end of year rains were noted to be late, which should prompt careful monitoring of production levels at household level and grazing and browse availability for the next few months.

Elsewhere, in the settled and transhumant livestock systems of the central highlights and western lowlands, livestock were noted to be in an improved condition, numbers were noted to be increasing, and endemic disease outbreaks minimal and controlled by punctual treatment or vaccination. Only lumpy skin disease (in northern Amhara) and African horse sickness (in Awi) were noted as problems. Consequently, livestock production is expected to be better than in average years. Given the universal absence of data relating to livestock production, viz: calving intervals, parturition percentages, mortality rates of adult or young/neo-natal stock, milk yields, growth rates and feed conversion efficiencies and the fact that there has been no assessment of numbers since the 1995 census, more detailed comment is precluded.

3.6 Cereal and pulse production forecast

The Mission estimates by region and crop in Table 1 show a national cereal and pulse meher harvest for 2001 of 12.33 million tonnes comprising 11.30 million tonnes of cereals and 1.03 million tonnes of pulses. National and Regional comparisons are provided in Table 2 for the past four years. The picture that emerges places this meher season as the second most productive season since 1995. Given that the 2001 belg crop yielded 451 000 tonnes of cereal and pulses, stocks at farm, trader and official level are thought to be high, a situation reflected in the low prices noted in all surplus areas.

Table 1. Ethiopia: Area ('000 ha), Production ('000 tonnes) and Yield (tonnes/ha) of Cereals and Pulses in 2001/02 Meher Season

Region/Crop
Item
Teff
Wheat
Barley
Maize
Sorghum
Finger
Millet
Other
Total
Cereals
Total
Pulses
Cereals and Pulses
                       
TIGRAY
Area
170.6
71.1
88.7
66.7
209.3
106.9
51.0
764.3
47.3
811.6
 
Yield
0.63
0.97
0.84
1.11
1.09
0.77
0.88
     
 
Production
107.7
69
74.7
74.1
227.1
81.8
44.7
679.1
24.5
703.6
AFAR
Area
6.7
   
6.3
1.9
   
14.9
0.5
15.4
 
Yield
0.99
   
1.08
0.42
         
 
Production
6.6
   
6.8
0.8
   
14.2
0.4
14.6
AMHARA
Area
1 043.1
496.1
491.3
385.6
581.6
256.3
40.7
3 294.7
651.1
3 945.8
 
Yield
0.79
1.19
1.01
1.85
1.35
1.15
0.93
     
 
Production
823.7
592.7
496.9
715.0
788.0
294
37.7
3748
432.1
4 180.1
OROMIA
Area
1 124.4
896.5
601.7
977.2
646.8
89.5
22.8
4 358.9
614.8
4 973.7
 
Yield
0.76
1.54
1.24
1.66
0.98
0.85
0.46
     
 
Production
852.8
1 384.7
748.1
1 624.8
634.5
75.8
10.4
5 331.1
419.5
5 750.6
SOMALI
Area
 
9.8
17.5
32.6
37.1
   
97
2.9
99.9
 
Yield
 
0.32
0.43
0.32
0.36
         
 
Production
 
3.1
7.6
10.3
13.4
   
34.4
0.3
34.7
BENSHANGUL
Area
24.6
4.0
2.7
33.3
54.1
22.6
0.5
141.8
18.3
160.1
 
Yield
0.33
0.60
0.59
1.11
0.93
0.30
0.40
     
 
Production
8.0
2.4
1.6
37.1
50.5
6.8
0.2
106.6
12.4
119.0
SNNPR
Area
220.9
1 75.9
123.3
456.3
93.3
5.0
0.8
1 075.5
187.8
1 263.3
 
Yield
0.57
1.31
1.00
1.68
1.05
0.98
0.69
     
 
Production
125.3
2 31.2
123.5
766.4
98.0
4.9
0.56
1 349.9
136.3
1 486.2
GAMBELLA
Area
0.044
 
0.02
12.1
7.0
0.31
0.07
19.5
1.1
20.6
 
Yield
0.23
 
0.50
1.18
0.89
0.97
2.00
     
 
Production
0.01
 
0.01
14.3
6.2
0.3
0.14
21.0
0.94
21.9
HARARI
Area
 
0.98
 
2.4
6.8
   
10.2
0.1
10.3
 
Yield
 
0.66
 
0.64
0.78
         
 
Production
 
0.6
 
0.6
5.3
   
6.5
0.03
6.5
ADDIS ABABA
Area
4.4
3.3
0.1
0.02
0.03
   
7.85
1.8
9.7
 
Yield
1.11
 
1.50
2.50
1.67
         
 
Production
4.9
4.6
0.15
0.05
0.05
   
9.8
1.2
11.0
DIRE DAWA
Area
     
0.22
11.0
   
11.3
 
11.3
 
Yield
     
0.91
0.51
         
 
Production
     
0.2
5.6
   
5.8
 
5.8
TOTAL
Area
2 595
1 658
1 325
1 973
1 649
481
116
9 796
1 526
11 322
 
Yield
0.74
1.38
1.10
1.65
1.11
0.96
0.81
     
 
Production
1 929
2 288
1 453
3 250
1 829
464
94
11 306
1 028
12 334

 

Table 2. Ethiopia: Cereals and Pulses Production: Comparison of 1996/97 to 2001/02 Meher Season

REGION
Meher season
Cereals
Pulses
Cereals and Pulses
   
Area
Production
Area
Production
Area
Production
   
( '000 ha)
( '000 tonnes)
('000 ha)
( '000 tonnes)
('000 ha)
( '000 tonnes)
Tigray
1996/97
840.0
638.1
70.2
36.3
910.2
674.4
 
1997/98
889.1
505.2
56.5
17.7
945.6
522.9
 
1998/99
907.1
774.5
53.8
26.9
960.9
801.4
 
1999/2000
830.0
606.8
49.1
25.6
879.1
632.4
 
2000/01
827.4
667.9
50.5
25.2
877.9
693.1
 
2001/02
764.3
679.1
47.3
24.5
811.6
703.6
Afar
1996/97
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
 
1997/98
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
 
1998/99
19.3
7.7
 0.9
 0.1
20.1
7.8
 
1999/2000
10.6
8.4
1.3
0.6
11.9
9.0
 
2000/01
11.1
8.8
1.3
0.6
12.4
9.4
 
2001/02
14.9
14.2
0.5
0.4
15.4
14.6
Amhara
1996/97
3 192.2
3 412.8
645.2
430.6
3 837.3
3 843.3
 
1997/98
3 216.5
2 503.1
692.4
325.7
3 908.9
2 828.8
 
1998/99
3 354.3
3 567.9
692
464.2
4 046.3
4 032.1
 
1999/2000
3 247.8
3 603.7
668.9
476.2
3 916.7
4 079.9
 
2000/01
3 301.9
3 792.0
655.5
427.9
3 957.4
4 219.9
 
2001/02
3 294.7
3 748.0
651.1
432.1
3 945.8
4 180.1
Oromia
1996/97
4 034.1
5 354.7
552.7
386.9
4 586.8
5 741.6
 
1997/98
4 001.0
3 846.9
582.6
266.8
4 583.6
4 113.6
 
1998/99
4 181.2
4 664.5
545.1
374.0
4 726.2
5 038.5
 
1999/2000
3 931.8
4 990.3
655.5
401.0
4 587.2
5 391.4
 
2000/01
4 308.9
5 667.9
582.7
413.3
4 891.6
6 081.2
 
2001/02
4 358.9
5 331.1
614.8
419.5
4 973.7
5 750.6
Somali
1996/97
85.3
27.3
0
0
85.3
27.3
 
1997/98
82.4
17.8
0
0
82.4
17.8
 
1998/99
172.1
19.2
5.5
 0.4
177.5
19.6
 
1999/2000
75.7
45.1
1.2
0.6
76.9
45.6
 
2000/01
73.4
41.1
2.7
1.0
76.1
42.1
 
2001/02
97.0
34.4
2.9
0.3
99.9
34.7
Benshangul Gumuz
1996/97
97
87.6
7.9
4.1
104.8
91.7
 
1997/98
124.5
110.2
6.8
3.6
131.3
113.8
 
1998/99
109.4
100.2
7.6
5.8
117
106
 
1999/2000
104.2
131
9.9
6.8
151.1
137.8
 
2000/01
145.0
113.6
15.0
10.0
160.0
123.6
 
2001/02
141.8
106.6
18.3
12.4
160.1
119.0
SNNPR
1996/97
1 154.0
1 277.4
198.6
137.3
1 352.6
1 414.6
 
1997/98
1 136.5
1 092.4
185.1
87.5
1 321.6
1 179.9
 
1998/99
1 026.1
1 231.1
181.8
123
1 207.9
1 354.1
 
1999/2000
934.5
1 082.2
171.4
116
1 105.9
1 198.2
 
2000/01
1 104.1
1 449.8
193.5
137.9
1 297.6
1 587.7
 
2001/02
1 075.5
1 349.9
187.8
136.3
1 263.3
1 486.2
Gambella
1996/97
8.7
10.9
0
0
8.7
10.9
 
1997/98
13.3
10.0
0
0
13.3
10
 
1998/99
11.8
9.2
0
0
11.8
9.2
 
1999/2000
15.9
17.6
0.8
0.7
16.7
18.3
 
2000/01
15.4
17.1
1
0.9
16.4
18
 
2001/02
19.5
21.0
1.1
0.94
20.6
21.9
Harari
1996/97
11.2
11.3
 0.3
 0.2
11.5
11.6
 
1997/98
11.9
12.4
 0.3
 0.2
12.2
12.6
 
1998/99
8.8
8.0
0
0
8.8
8
 
1999/2000
10.5
21.9
0
0
10.5
21.9
 
2000/01
9.2
5.0
0
0
9.2
5.0
 
2001/02
10.2
6.5
0.1
0.03
10.3
6.5
Addis Ababa
1996/97
8.8
10.9
2.1
1.6
11
12.6
 
1997/98
7.3
5.6
2
 0.5
9.3
6.1
 
1998/99
7.5
6.7
1.8
1.1
9.3
7.8
 
1999/2000
7.4
9.7
1.8
1.7
9.2
11.5
 
2000/01
7.8
11.6
2.5
1.8
10.3
13.4
 
2001/02
7.9
9.8
1.8
1.2
9.7
11.0
Dire Dawa
1996/97
11.2
11.1
0
0
11.2
11.1
 
1997/98
2.0
 0.8
0
0
2
 0.8
 
1998/99
9.5
9.6
0
0
9.5
9.6
 
1999/2000
10.4
6.6
0
0
10.4
6.6
 
2000/01
9.7
5.8
0
0
9.7
5.8
 
2001/02
11.3
5.8
0
0
11.3
5.8
Total
1996/97
9 442.5
10 842.2
1 477.0
996.9
10 919.4
11 839.1
 
1997/98
9 484.4
8 104.5
1 525.7
701.8
11 010.1
8 806.3
 
1998/99
9 807.0
10 398.6
1 488.4
995.5
11 295.3
11 394.1
 
1999/2000
9 290.0
10 706.1
1 504.9
1 039.0
10 794.9
11 745.1
 
2000/011/
9 813.9
11 780.6
1 504.7
1 018.6
11 318.6
12 799.2
 
2001/02
9 796.0
11 306.4
1 525.7
1 027.7
11 321.7
12 334.0
1/ Zonal Agricultural Bureaux post-harvest estimates.

4. PRODUCTION SITUATION BY REGION

4.1 Tigray

Tigray, the northernmost region of Ethiopia, bordering Sudan and Eritrea, is now divided into five administrative zones. At the time of the Mission only four zones were operational for agricultural purposes: West, Central, East and South. With a cultivated area of some 0.8 to 0.9 million hectares, farmed by some 775 000 households, Tigray normally contributes around 5 percent of the national cereals and pulses. Because of a high population density and low rainfall, Tigray is traditionally a food deficit region. However, surpluses are produced in most years in the West and South zones. This year, the regional area cultivated is estimated by the zonal agricultural bureaux to be 8 percent lower than last year, following a revision of holding sizes which reduced area estimates in the Central and East zones by 22 percent and 11 percent respectively. By contrast, returning IDPs, following the cessation of hostilities in the Eritrean border area, involving some 50 000 households, are considered to have increased the area cultivated by some 32 000 hectares. Despite good intentions, most returnee input support programmes were too insignificant or began too late to support production this year. Detailed needs assessments within the communities are being conducted to determine how successful the households have been in re-establishing themselves.

Contrary to the usual trends, rainfall this year was proportionally better in the East and South zones than in the West. In absolute terms, the rainfall was higher in the West but the distribution of rains in the South and East was the best for many years. Good belg rains, which supported some production in South Tigray and encouraged planting in East Tigray, were followed by timely meher rains. The precipitation continued without significant breaks in most localities until the end of August/early September, with positive results.

Rainfall in the Central zone was late for long cycle crops and then heavy from the last dekad of June until mid-August, when it ended rather abruptly. Consequently, a combination of excess rains and clay soils and untimely shortfalls on the sandier soils, adversely affected crop performance. In the West zone, the onset of rains was late and performance variable through the season, which tended to end early.

Regarding inputs, improved seed use is very low at some 100 tonnes of wheat, reflecting the preference of farmers for locally produced seeds. Fertilizer use increased in the West, Central and South zones but decreased slightly in the East, culminating in an overall increase of 8 percent over last year but still only 89 percent of the anticipated demand. This increase resulted from a decrease in the price of DAP from above 300 Birr to an average prices of 287 Birr per quintal (100 kg). Distribution to woreda towns assisted by the ZABs and co-operatives ensured timely deliver.

Land preparation practices were noted to be normal throughout the peasant sector, with no significant replanting reported. In the West, delays in the response of commercial agencies supplying spare parts to the mechanized sector, were noted to have disrupted the timeliness of land preparation in a season already shortened by a delayed start to the rains. The high price of labour at weeding was also considered to be a problem.

As well as the usual array of non-migratory pests, which were noted at tolerable levels, an early outbreak of army worm was reported in Central Tigray. This was effectively controlled by heavy rains soon after it occurred. The unusually humid conditions encouraged an outbreak of cereal and faba bean rust in the East and Central zones, reducing production in eight woredas in the latter. No treatment is available for such fungal diseases, although cattle urine is used as a seed dressing to prevent sorghum smut in peasant farms in the West and South zones, where most sorghum is grown.

The combination of factors noted above resulted in a regional cereal and pulse harvest of 703 000 tonnes from 811 000 hectares, which is slightly more than the RAB's post harvest assessment of last year's meher crop and 5.7 percent of the national total. It was composed of 679 000 tonnes of cereals, of which 227 000 tonnes were sorghum. Of this, 42 000 tonnes were anticipated from commercial farms in West Tigray and some 70 000 tonnes of excellent sorghum crops were expected in South Tigray. Oilseed production this year is estimated to have risen, by virtue of a 20 000 hectare increase in sesame sowing in the commercial sector in West Tigray and a potential increase of 29 percent in neuq planting throughout the region.

4.2 Afar

Afar region, the north-east sector of Ethiopia, comprising a low-lying plateau accommodating camel, sheep, goat and cattle pastoralists, is an arid to semi-arid area with very little rainfed crop production potential. Cereals and pulses are produced in the northern zones through minor spate irrigation schemes whereby runoff from the eastern escarpment of the central highlands is channelled to small production sites. Agro-industrial enterprises in the southern zone produce irrigated cash crops from pump schemes.

This year, the limited rainfall began on time in March but was erratic in April and May, finishing earlier than usual in September. A change in the course of the Awash river has created water shortages in the south zone, however, the northern zones have been well served with runoff for the spate schemes. Given a negligible use of fertilizer in the region, no significant pests and diseases and the full reliance of farmers on available local landraces, water supply is the single determining factor for cereal and pulse production this year. Consequently, it is estimated that cropped area increased by 34 percent and cereal and pulse production by 60 percent at 15 400 hectares and 14 600 tonnes respectively.

At the same time, better rains during the past three seasons have seen a return of grazing-browsing normality and animals are noted in good body condition with associated production increases.

As noted last year, indigenous rangeland browse species are under challenge from the invasion of prosopis species (mesquite). The situation has continued to deteriorate; the weed is now present in all six zones.

4.3 Amhara

Amhara, comprising ten administrative zones, usually produces 32-33 percent of the national cereal and pulse harvest. In the ten zones, two, North Wollo and Weghamra, are less favourably situated, with lower rainfall, thin soils and sloping topography; therefore, yields at some 25-30 percent of the main production zones of Awi, West Gojam and East Gojam, are normally expected. The remaining five zones, comprising South Wollo, North and South Gondar, Oromiya (Kemisse) and North Shewa, generally produce harvests somewhere between the two extremes noted above.

This year, rainfall patterns throughout the region were favourable but variable in nature. Following good belg rains, the meher rains in North Wollo and Weghamra were better than usual, starting by-and-large on time and continuing regularly throughout the season, before an early ending in mid-August. Heavy rains were noted to have caused waterlogging in some clay soil localities, lowering wheat and barley yields but having a positive effect on teff performance.

The remaining zones had a variable start, with erratic rains early in the season. Heavy rains were recorded in July and August and the finish to the season included both extended rains in October and early cessation in August/September according to location.

Cultivation practices this year are noted to be normal, with oxen in better condition than this time last year and all operations conducted on time except in the North Gondar lowlands, where practices were constrained by a late beginning to the rains. African horse sickness was noted as a problem in Awi, which may have affected ploughing quality as the main power source in the zone is horses. However, area cultivated remained similar to previous years.

Regarding inputs, 3 400 tonnes of improved seeds were sold of which two-thirds was maize, enough for some 125 000 hectares. Of the remainder, wheat is the most significant, with seeds for some 6 000 hectares distributed this year, representing 32 percent and 1 percent of the areas planted to each crop respectively. Fertilizer use in the region fell by 13 percent or some 10 000 tonnes as prices rose and farmer confidence in any substantial net return fell .

A good start to the season in most areas encouraged a shift back from short to long cycle cereals; therefore, sorghum and finger millet areas are noted to have increased at the expense of barley. The area under oats and rice has also increased significantly in proportion to their relatively minor contributions to the regional harvest.

Within a regionally sustained area of pulses, significant increases in area occurred in North Wollo and decreases in North and South Gondar. The former change would appear to be linked to a decline in meher cereal areas due to the presence of greater area of belg crops. These were then followed in the same fields by shorter cycle pulses, or, similar pulses were planted elsewhere, once the belg harvest was secure. Decreases of pulse area in North and South Gondar are matched by concomitant increases in cereal planting.

This year, the season in Amhara was comparatively pest free. With the exception of the spraying of 4 000 hectares for sorghum chafer in South Wollo, and anti-rodent campaigns in woredas in Weghamra and North Wollo, no other campaigns were reported. The usual range of non-migratory pests, including stalk borer, boll-worm, shootfly and aphids are noted to have appeared but within normal tolerance limits under current agro-economic conditions.

Unusual outbreaks of late blight in potatoes, rust in wheat and grey leaf spot in maize are noted as serious. Without treatment these fungal diseases lowered yields in specific localities in South Gondar and West Gojam.

Given the above, the Mission anticipates a slightly reduced production from an area of cereals and pulses similar to last year at 4.18 million tonnes from 3.94 million hectares. Of the cereals, 14 000 tonnes are expected to be maize produced from the commercial farms in Awi, the rest coming from peasant holdings and being fairly equally divided between teff (24 percent), wheat and barley (26 percent), maize (17 percent) and sorghum (24 percent). Pulses provide 10 percent of the harvest of which the most important are faba beans.

4.4 Oromiya

Oromiya, comprising 12 administrative zones, is the largest region in the country and encompasses the most productive highland plateaux as well as drought-prone valley bottoms and lowland plains. In six of the zones, a bimodal rainfall pattern is readily identifiable, providing a protracted growing season and a wide range of cropping options. Elsewhere, there is an increasing tendency to believe that the belg and meher rains are merging into one long season. In the densely populated, high rainfall zones, the small size of farm-family land holdings require two to three crops per year, if needs are to be met, which places peasant farms in a vulnerable position, particularly if rains are late or erratic. The loss of one crop in the cycle cannot easily be recouped as land use is at 100 percent for each phase with no opportunities to extend area.

The most productive zones in the Region are in the zones of Arsi, West Shoa and East Shoa, which regularly produce 50 percent of the regional and 25 percent of the national cereal harvests. Agricultural investment in these zones is high and mechanized cultivation and harvesting are common and are also noted in the neighbouring productive plains of Bale zone.

Comparatively good production, in terms of yield per unit area, is also noted in the remaining western zones in the "T" shaped region, which extends from the Sudanese border to the border with Somali region in west-east direction; and from north of Addis Ababa to the Kenyan border, in the north-south axis. The zones located in the eastern and southern parts of the "T" receive less meher rain and are less productive during the main season. They do contain, however, belg season production zones and some of the major semi-arid pastoralist grazing and browsing areas of the country.

Belg rains this year were very good and encouraged successful planting in all six belg producing zones. They were followed by a variable meher rains performance associated with altitude but were generally favourable, being on-time and well distributed, but they ended early in many of the main production areas. To the west, the rains mostly began on time, were well distributed and ended on time, although this favourable pattern did not extend to all woredas in West and East Wollega, where often the start was delayed, the main season was erratic and the cessation was early.

At the regional level, crop areas for the main cereals in the peasant sector, teff, wheat and maize, have been sustained at the level of planting recorded last year. This overall consistency masks a significant increase in wheat area in Bale at the expense of all other cereals; a decline in teff area in favour of maize, wheat and barley in West Hararghe; and a decline in meher season cropping in Borena, noted to be connected to the good belg in that zone, which increased the belg area to cereals and pulses by 32 percent.

Commercial planting of cereals and pulses in the region increased by 14 percent, mostly due to increased commercial maize planting in East Wollega. In Arsi and Vale, commercial wheat growing area was sustained at levels noted last year.

Factors affecting yield this year, apart from rainfall, included a decrease in improved seed use, particularly maize which was noted to have dropped by some 20 percent in both East and West Wollega as farmers rejected the higher priced hybrids in favour of open-pollinated varieties. Notwithstanding this, improved seed use, at 8 225 tonnes, still accounts for 41 percent of national consumption. Fertilizer use declined by 5 percent due to a fall in DAP purchases of some 8 000 tonnes. Again, despite this reversal, fertilizer use in Oromiya still accounts for 45 percent of national consumption. Reasons for the fall in fertilizer use conform to the national pattern of explanations, reflecting farmer discontent with the low prices, particularly of maize and wheat. Despite poor returns throughout the region, land preparation and secondary cultivation practices were noted to be normal, with no hindrances in either the mechanized or animal traction sectors.

Weeding was conducted according to normal practices and herbicide (2.4D) use was noted to have increased in Bale, Borena and Jimma.

No significant outbreaks of pests are noted. However, the ubiquitous non-migratory pests, namely stalk borer, boll-worm, shootfly, grasshopper, sorghum chafer and aphids were identified as present, within the usual tolerance limits. This year, fungal diseases including yellow rust on wheat in Arsi and Bale, and head smudge on teff in West Wollega, were noted to be serious, prompting the spraying of fungicides against the former in commercial enterprises.

Given the above, the Mission estimates a cereal and pulse harvest of 5.74 million tonnes which is 8 percent less than last year's ZAB post harvest estimates. This year's estimated harvest comprises 5.33 million tonnes of cereals, made up of 30 percent maize, 18 percent wheat, 16 percent teff, 14 percent barley and 12 percent sorghum. Pulses, estimated at 0.42 million tonnes, are sustained at last year's high level. Some 19 percent of the production is derived from commercial farms in Bale, Arsi, Jimma and East Wollega.

4.5 SNNPR

During the past year, administrative changes in SNNPR have resulted in the creation of seven new zones and three new special woredas, resulting in a region made up of 15 zones and six special woredas. Such adjustments have made detailed comparisons of crop production between years within the region difficult, as zonal boundaries have changed, increasing or decreasing agricultural areas. At a regional level, the basic characteristics have remained similar to last year. The diverse agro-ecology, encompassing both rain forests and semi-arid lowlands, remains the same. Bi-modal rainfall pertains throughout the region and the small size of farm holdings requires the intense levels of land use noted above in Oromiya. This year the belg rains were very good, encouraging planting in the 11 administrative areas where the belg season contributes significantly. The meher season rains also began on time and were well distributed in all zones, continuing to October in most cases.

The rainfall distribution at the beginning of the season encouraged planting and allowed normal cultivation practices to be followed. As in other regions, the use of improved seeds fell as farmers cut costs. At 3 700 tonnes, improved seed is estimated to be used on less than 5 percent of the cereal and pulse areas, a level similar to most other regions.

Of the major cereals, teff area increased by 2 percent, whereas areas sown to wheat, barley, maize and sorghum fell by 32 000 hectares. This leaves some 20 000 hectares which do not appear to have been planted to any other crop, suggesting an increase in fallow land this year, particularly in Sidama.

At the regional level, fertilizer use declined by 55 percent as a result of unclear credit policies at the time of maize planting, no access to credit for farmers who had not paid their debts and low prices, particularly of maize, causing farmers to cut costs. Only in one or two of the newly created special administrations and in Hadiya did fertilizer use increase, as farmers were given a better opportunity to buy on-time and for cash.

With the exception of army worm infestations that were quickly controlled early in the season, no migratory pests were noted. Non-migratory pests noted included stalk-borer and sweet-potato butterfly, but infestations were not considered to be beyond tolerance levels. Bird-scaring and plant protection from wild animals are noted to be highly demanding on family labour. Weed infestation was high in most crops, requiring two or three weedings in all zones. An increased use of herbicides was noted in Siltie, Alaba, Kefa, Kembata-Tembora and Hadiya, but absolute quantities purchased are still very low.

Consequently, the Mission estimates that this meher season's cereal and pulse harvest will be around 1.48 million tonnes, some 8 percent down from last year's zonal agricultural bureaux estimates, from an area reduced by 3 percent. This is mostly accounted for by a decline of 79 000 tonnes in wheat production. At the same time, the production of pulses is sustained at 136 000 tonnes.

Regarding other crops, enset, which provides the staple for a high proportion of the population in SNNPR, is noted to be in good condition and production is better than last year. Coffee production is also far better despite coffee berry disease, because of the timely rains early in the season.

4.6 Somali

Somali region. located in the south-east corner of Ethiopia, is predominantly a pastoralist/agro-pastoralist region.

Rainfed cereal and pulse production undertaken by farmers in the high-middle lands of Shinelle and Jigjiga zones is subject to wide variations from year to year but rarely reaches 0.5 percent of the national harvest. This year the main season (Gu) rains were poor in Jigjiga. Only 8 tonnes of improved seed were sold and fertilizer use was considered by the agricultural authorities to be negligible. Pests and diseases noted this year included both Quelea quelea and army worm outbreaks that were controlled by spraying. Striga and congress weed were observed to be the main weed problems.

Although the area planted in the region, which was reported by the agricultural bureaux in Jigjiga at 97 000 hectares was said to have increased, it remains below the 107 000 hectares noted by the Mission last year when access to all zones was possible.

Production this year is estimated at 50 percent of last year's level at around 35 000 tonnes, of which 10 000 tonnes is expected to be maize, 13 000 tonnes to be sorghum and 10 000 tonnes to be wheat and barley.

Given the importance of livestock in the region, last year's Mission visited several zones to determine at first hand the prevailing animal and pasture conditions. This year, indirect sources of information suggest that although both animal and pasture condition is presently good, delays in the onset of end of year rains is a cause for concern and the situation needs careful monitoring.

4.7 Harari

Harari is a small region around the city of Harar, producing mostly sorghum and a little maize. This year the rains began on time but were erratic and finished early. With negligible inputs, production is expected to be in the same order as last year, at some 6 500 tonnes from 10 000 hectares.

4.8 Dire Dawa

Sorghum and maize are the main crops grown around the city of Dire Dawa. This year, following a timely beginning in March, the rainfall was erratic and finished early at the end of August. No fertilizer or improved seeds were distributed, however, an army worm outbreak was successfully controlled by the local bureaux of agriculture.

This year's production is expected to be similar to last year at 5 700 tonnes from 11 000 hectares.

4.9 Addis Ababa

The area planted to cereal and pulses in the Addis Ababa administration is estimated at 9 600 hectares and comprises mostly teff, wheat and pulses. This year the rains began on time and were heavy through the growing season, ending early at the end of August. Fertilizer use fell and this is reflected in lower yields of the cereals. Pulse yields were sustained. The resulting production from a comparatively pest and disease free year is estimated at 10 900 tonnes, which is 3 000 tonnes less than last year's agriculture bureaux post-harvest estimate

4.10 Gambella

Gambella region, a low-lying region in south-west Ethiopia bordering Sudan, is inhabited by a mixture of cattle pastoralists, shifting cultivators, hunter-gatherers and farmer settlers from the central highlands. Rainfall is usually heavy with seasonal floods providing the opportunity for two production cycles, the first being rainfed and the second afforded by residual moisture. This year the rains were late and dry spells occurred throughout the season. Some 36 tonnes of improved maize seeds were used with associated fertilizer inputs. Given no significant pests and diseases, production for the main season is expected to be better than last year at 21 600 tonnes from 20 500 hectares. The main crops are maize at 14 000 tonnes, sorghum at 6 200 tonnes and haricot beans at 800 tonnes.

4.11 Benshangul

Benshangul-Gumuz region, bordering the eastern clay plains of Sudan, is a thinly populated, low-lying region with a uni-modal rainfall pattern which accommodates settled farmers and pastoralists.

This year the rains were late, beginning in May instead of April. Once started they were heavy and regular and finished slightly later than usual in October/November according to location.

The use of improved seed fell by 27 percent to 117 tonnes. Overall area to cereals fell by some 3 000 hectares which was matched by an increase in sesame area. Land preparation and weeding was generally conducted by animal power and hand respectively, however the Mission noted that tractor services were available at 250 Birr per hectare this year.

Fertilizer use increased, as its arrival was on-time for long cycle crops and farmers anticipated good prices from cross border sales of cereals to Sudan. No significant pests or diseases were reported. Consequently, the Mission estimates that cereal and pulse production this year will be 119 000 tonnes from 160 000 hectares. This is 50 percent maize and sorghum and is some 4 percent below last year's agricultural bureaux post harvest estimates due to the slight switch from cereals to oilseeds.

Sesame and neuq production has gone up by 30 percent and 46 percent respectively due to increased areas. Groundnut production has increased by 60 percent but is still only providing 1 200 tonnes of produce.

5. BELG 2001 AND 2002

The 2001 belg crop was particularly good, probably the best for several years. Production estimates from the zonal agricultural bureaux place the national belg harvest for cereals and pulses at 450 000 tonnes from 551 000 hectares. In addition, good crops of sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes were obtained. Some 23 zones and special woredas obtained significant harvests that have contributed to household food security and boosted stocks. These factors have helped in the rehabilitation process of farmers, previously in distress, following four successive belg failures.

For marketing year 2002, the Mission forecasts a belg cereal and pulse harvest of 250 000 tonnes. Despite the favourable outcome of the 2001 belg crop, poor performances of the previous few years compels a cautious forecast. The figure needs to be adjusted at an early date in the belg season (April/May) when planting and level of crop establishment can be assessed.

6. FOOD SUPPLY SITUATION

6.1 Cereal market and prices

Domestic cereal trading is generally conducted through a well organised network of traders. However, poor road and marketing infrastructure exacerbate difficulties inherent in the large size of the country and the distances between surplus and deficit areas. During 2001, prices of all cereal crops in almost all local markets were depressed compared to the previous year, due to an exceptionally good meher harvest in 2000. As shown in Figure 1 below, typical seasonal patterns of cereal prices (reduced prices during the months of November-March and increased prices during the pre-harvest months of July-September) were not observed in 2001.

This price pattern is specially visible with respect to maize but is also clear in wheat and barley. The price drop in teff, however, was generally muted as a result of the population's preference for the crop. Figures 2 and 3 compare 2001 prices with prices for the same period in 2000, for West Shoa, a cereal surplus zone, and Bench Magi, a zone where consumption is based on a variety of carbohydrate foodstuffs including roots, tubers as well as maize.

 

The sharp drop in prices reflects several structural problems of Ethiopia's marketing system that limit the movement of commodities only to within a limited radius from the production areas. The marketing problems noted include very few all-weather roads and high cost of transportation, poor storage capacity in the production areas, limited availability of financial resources in the hands of local traders, and lack of farmers' organizations for trading surpluses. The precipitous decline in cereal prices has coincided with a sharp drop in coffee prices on international markets, leading to a ruinous financial situation for farmers. Consequently, a large number of farmers in many parts of the country are unable to repay fertiliser and other loans and hence the rate of default to financial institutions is increasing. Cereal prices, particularly for maize and wheat, are expected to remain depressed for several months to come.

6.2 Grain supply/demand balance

The 2002 projected supply/demand balance for cereals and pulses is summarized in Table 3 using the Mission estimates of production from the 2001/2002 meher crop, a forecast of 2002 belg production and the latest information on trade and stocks. Total cereal and pulse production available in marketing year 2002 (January/December) is estimated at 12 590 000 tonnes, including 12 330 000 tonnes from the main meher crop, and a provisional forecast of 250 000 tonnes from the next belg crop, to be harvested during the first half of 2002.

Some 120 000 tonnes of grains are reckoned to be maintained in stock by traders and commercial farms, and 410 000 tonnes in stock in the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) and the Ethiopian Food Security Reserve (EFSR). In addition, it is assumed the small farmers, in surplus areas, have some grains in store at the beginning of 2002 to meet family needs for approximately half month, amounting to 300 000 tonnes. Thus, opening stocks for 2002 are estimated at 830 000 tonnes. Such a level is equivalent to around one month's national consumption requirement, which is considered by the Mission to be an advisable level to maintain, given the well-documented variation in production from both the belg and meher harvests. Closing stocks for marketing year 2002 are placed at the same level as the opening stocks.

Food consumption is forecast on the basis of CSA-estimated population of 67.22 million at mid-2002, and a per caput grain consumption of 155 kg per year. This general assessment does not take account of the much higher consumption requirement for the lowest income population, estimated at 5.2 million (see section concerning relief food requirements below).

The use of cereals for animal feed is forecast at a lower level than last year, as the anticipated increase in feed lot enterprise did not occur, despite very low cereal prices, probably because of the closure of export lines to the Arabian peninsula. Seed use and losses are estimated at 18 percent of production, comprising 13 percent post-harvest losses and 5 percent for seed. Local use of barley, sorghum and finger millet for brewing purposes is assumed to be part of the overall food requirement estimates.

Even though grain exports indicated the official trade statistics are usually small, comprising only pulses (about 30 000 tonnes), more grain trade occurs through unrecorded cross border exchange with the neighbouring countries. However, the opportunities for cross-border trade are at present very limited. The border with Eritrea is closed and harvests in Kenya have significantly improved compared to 2000. It is possible that some Ethiopian sorghum will continue to be traded in Sudan, and it is also possible that some teff will find its way into Eritrea through Sudan or even Yemen. There is also likely to be some cross-border trade with Somalia, where harvests in 2001 have been very poor. Consequently the Mission estimates total exports at 75 000 tonnes.

Table 3: Ethiopia - Total grains supply/demand balance, January-December 2002 (000 tonnes) (Population 67.22 million)

Domestic availability
13 410
Opening stocks
830
Production
12 580
- Meher
12 330
- Belg
250
Total utilization
13 789
Food use
10 419
Feed use
200
Other uses
2 264
Exports
75
Closing stocks
830
Import requirements
379

 

Commercial imports in 2000 were of the order of 140 000 tonnes comprising mostly durum wheat and wheat flour with small amounts of malting barley and rice. If similar quantities are imported this year the remaining deficit will be 239 000 tonnes to be partially covered by food aid. (This amount does not take account of additional emergency food aid needs, which should be covered from domestic sources.) Under the prevailing circumstances, the Mission recommends local purchases of food grains in the first instance for food aid distributions.

6.3 Food aid requirements

Review of Emergency Food Aid in 2001

Relief food aid requirements and actual distributions in Ethiopia have varied considerably in recent years as outlined in Table 4.

Table 4. Ethiopia: Cereal Relief Food Aid Estimates and Distribution 1995-2001

Year
January Estimate
(tonnes)
July
Estimate
(tonnes)
Tonnage Delivered/
Distributed1/
(tonnes)
Distributed as % of estimated needs
Population requiring
food assistance
(million people)
1995
427 000
492 848
347 379
70
4.0
1996
291 000
262 060
219 000
84
2.7
1997
186 000
329 450
306 000
93
3.4
1998
420 000
602 134
294 932
49
5.3
1999
181 871
460 609
391 558
85
6.6
2000
764 044
1 337 695
999 135
75
10.2
2001
545 394
630 610
540 000
86
6.2
Average
402 187
587 915
442 572
75
5.5
1/ 2001 distribution data is provisional. Includes WFP emergency assistance, bilateral contributions to DPPC
and contributions through NGOs

In 2001, the overall food supply improved substantially after good main season rainfall in the previous year. While the affected population was much less than in 2000, there was still a substantial number of people that needed external assistance to meet minimum food requirements.

In January 2001, the Ethiopian Government's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) launched an appeal for emergency food assistance, estimating the relief food needs for victims of natural disasters in 2001 at 639 000 tonnes (of which the cereals were 545 000 tonnes) for 6.2 million people. The mid-year assessment by DPPC in July 2001 resulted in additional food needs bringing the total requirements in 2001 to 742 000 tonnes, including 631 000 tonnes of cereals. Donor response was very encouraging, with carryover contributions, deliveries and new pledges totalling 540 000 tonnes of cereals, about 86 percent of requirements. Donations of blended food were also close to the requirements identified. However, donations of vegetable oil were insufficient and its availability covered less than one-fifth of identified needs. To overcome the observed gap, reduced rations of 12.5 kg/person/month were used instead of the planned 15 kg/person/month. Some distributions were delayed or missed, particularly in the last quarter of 2001.

In response to the Government appeal, WFP approved emergency food assistance in 2001 to provide some 318 000 tonnes of food 2.5 million targeted beneficiaries: small-scale farmers and drought-affected pastoralists. With over 112 000 tonnes already resourced (as stocks and carryover contributions), WFP appealed for a further 206 000 tonnes (194 500 tonnes of cereals and 11 500 tonnes of blended food). With the additional contributions received during 2001, the WFP operation was able distribute 246 000 tonnes to the targeted beneficiaries. This amounted to over 40 percent of the total relief food distributed against the appeal with the remaining food being bilateral contributions to the DPPC and contributions channelled through NGOs.

Carryover of relief food stocks and contributions from 2001 to 2002 from all sources is estimated at 130 000 tonnes, which are entirely cereals. This takes into consideration loan repayments to the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR). For in-kind donor contributions, the time between confirmation and arrival of the commodities in the country can be up to five months. Thus the opportunity to borrow from the EFSR has been and continues to be an important facility in avoiding interruptions in relief food distributions.

Table 5. Ethiopia: 2001 Relief Food Aid Arrivals, Deliveries and Balance (`000 tonnes)

1. Total relief food availability in 2001
- Carryover stocks and pledges from 2000
- 2001 (Jan-Dec) delivered contributions
530
170
360
2. 2001 Estimated Distributions*
575
3. Carryover stocks and pledges into 2002
130
*Distributions exceeded relief food availability - loans are outstanding to the Emergency Food Security Reserve; however, loans are made on basis of confirmed contributions.

Other Food Assistance in 2001

Food requirements requested by the government for 2001 for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and Ethiopian Returnees from Eritrea amounted to over 82 000 tonnes. In response, WFP extended its existing emergency operation to assist 287 500 IDPs (or 87 percent of requirements) and 20 000 Returnees in Tigray Region. There were significant donor contributions towards this operation, which enabled distributions to continue without disruption to end November 2001. Almost 60 000 tonnes were distributed during 2001, of which approximately 40 percent was purchased locally. In addition to food aid distributions received for victims of natural disaster and IDPs in Tigray, in 2001, WFP also distributed 77 000 tonnes of food to Ethiopia for development projects and 45 000 tonnes of foods for refugee operations.

Nutrition

With improved food production and income in 2001, there was generally an improvement in nutrition in areas that had high levels of malnutrition in 2000.

The Nutrition Surveillance Programme of Save the Children UK and the DPPC demonstrated satisfactory levels of nutrition in North Wollo. In the south-western crop-producing parts of the country, an example of Wolaita in September/October 2001 indicated the nutritional status of vulnerable populations to be satisfactory. Conditions also improved in southern pastoral areas: in Borena zone Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) was reduced from a high of 34 percent in March 2000 to 5 percent in July 2001.

However, there were areas that received poor rain during the 2000 meher season and during the 2001 belg and meher seasons, and levels of malnutrition remain high in such areas. The primary area of concern continues to be the south and south-eastern pastoral and ago-pastoral areas of the country (most parts of Somali Region, the lowlands of Bale and East and West Hararge) where both crop and livestock production remain below normal. Acute food insecurity remains demonstrable; global acute malnutrition is unacceptably high by international standards. The results of nutrition surveys undertaken in these areas are shown in Table 6 below. In Afder and Liben, the assessment of food insecurity in areas bordering severely affected parts of Somalia has been impeded by insecurity. However, recent reports from these areas indicate worsening conditions resulting in influxes of vulnerable groups, largely the elderly, women and children, to urban areas in Afder (Bare and Hargele). In addition to the local populations in pastoral areas affected by drought and subsequent decreases in production, drought displaced persons - destitute pastoralists who lost most or all of their livestock in 1999/2000 - continue to warrant close attention.

Table 6. Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) in high risk populations

Location, Zone, Region
Population
Date
Result GAM
(WFL,WFH)*
Dehana, Waghamra, Amhara,
Crop-dependent
May 2001
34% (z-score)
4 lowland woredas, Bale, Oromiya
Agro-pastoral
Mar. 2001
17% (z-score)
Golo Oda,E.Hararge, Oromiya
Agro-pastoral
Apr. 2001
19% (z-score)
Denan, Gode, Somali
Urban/Drought displaced
Sept. 2001
30%(z-score)**
Danot, Warder, Somali
Urban/Drought displaced
June 2001
34% (z-score)
Hartisheik, Jijiga, Somali
Drought displaced
Nov. 2001
22% (z-score)
Fafen, Gursum, Somali
Drought displaced
Oct. 2001
19% (z-score)
* (WFL/WFH) Weight-for-Length, Weight for Height.
**Somali Region remains most vulnerable - a series of surveys conducted by MSF-Belgium in Denan woreda,
Gode zone demonstrated persistent severe malnutrition, ranging from 53 percent in May 2000 to 41 percent
in October 2000, 51 percent in April 2001 and 30 percent in September 2001(GAM)

Household Food Security Outlook in 2002

In Crop-dependent areas, crop production has been favourable since the drought crisis in 1999-2000. Consequently, the population in need of relief food assistance has fallen. While localised crop failure did occur in 2001, the expected large dependence on food assistance in 2002 reflects Ethiopia's overall food insecurity even in the best of years. Crop production increases are outpaced by high population growth. Limited purchasing power is a serious constraint as off-farm income earning opportunities are limited. Furthermore, markets do not function well in Ethiopia and large local price disparities are common. Adjacent to zones with serious cereals deficits are zones that have significant surpluses. Prohibitive regional taxes on cereal trade discourage commercial trading, which is compounded by poor integration of markets both internally and internationally. A poor family's physical and economic access to food markets is further compromised by the household's isolation from local, national, regional and world grain markets. Studies have shown that three-quarters of all farms are more than a half-day walk from an all-weather road, a factor that limits market access. In Amhara Region, meher production is only slightly lower than the previous year but together with good 2001 belg crop, the affected population compared to the previous year has decreased by nearly 20 percent to 1.7 million. In Tigray Region, the targeted beneficiary numbers remain at roughly 1 million (29 percent of the rural population), which is only slightly lower than last year, largely due to chronic food production deficits and lack of alternative income. In Oromiya Region, the number of people needing food in 2002 is similar to last year at around 1 million, with 5 percent of the rural population requiring assistance. In SNNPR, though crop production was less than the previous year, the people requiring food is sharply down, to around 300 000, and only 3 percent of the rural population need assistance.

In major markets of all crop-dependent areas assessed, cereal prices remain below average (up to 50 percent less), increasing access to markets for those who depend on purchases for consumption. Unfortunately, a general lack of purchasing power among the chronically food insecure prevents them from taking advantage of favourable terms of trade. Many assessment teams reported local concerns of a reduced capacity to purchase by the community as a whole, including the farmers that are net sellers, thus reducing the demand for cash crops and petty trade that poor families depend on for income. With local surpluses in areas such as SNNPR, there was expressed a preference for cash interventions, as well as local purchase of food aid. In areas that experienced a more pervasive crop failure such as East and West Hararge, food aid was recommended.

Pastoral and agro-pastoral areas: In the southern and south-eastern lowlands, acute food insecurity persists due to inadequate rainfall in 2001. The largely pastoral and agro-pastoral populations in the lowlands of East and West Hararge, Bale and Borena had a late onset of belg rains followed by a late onset and early cessation of meher rains. This slowed recovery from the severe drought of 1999-2000, and the lack of rain decreased the harvests of agro-pastoralists: for example, a decrease of 57 percent in East Hararge from long-term average for staple crops, as well as for cash crops. In late 2001, areas such as Afder and Liben also continue to experience abnormally dry conditions inhibiting livestock production, the main source of income for these populations. Increasing staple cereal prices in Somali Region, reportedly due to reduced food distributions in 2001, and the ban on Ethiopian livestock imports by the Gulf States have worsened the terms of trade for pastoralists. This, together with the devaluation of the Somali Shilling, has further impeded recovery in these areas.

Relief Food Aid Requirements in 2002

Following the crisis of 1999-2000, when the number of people requiring relief assistance increased to over 10 million due to drought and subsequent crop and livestock failures, the number of beneficiaries reported by annual multi-agency assessment teams continues to decrease. The population requiring external food assistance for minimum food requirements has fallen from 6.2 million in 2001 to 5.2 million in 2002, which is also slightly lower than the average between 1995 and 2001 of 5.5 million people.

Gross food aid requirements for 2002 are estimated at 557 000 tonnes. Taking into consideration carryover contributions from 2001 of 130 000 tonnes, the net relief food aid requirements (both from domestic and imported sources) in 2002 for victims of natural disasters are estimated to be 427 000 tonnes (369 000 tonnes of cereals, 30 000 tonnes of blended food and 28 000 tonnes of vegetable oil). This estimate does not include provisions for failure of the 2002 belg harvest or poor gu rains in pastoral areas in 2002. As was the case in previous years, it is possible that unexpected events may occur and some revisions to the estimate may be necessary. Based on joint assessments to be undertaken in 2002, these revisions will be formally communicated to donors by DPPC under its new appeal process.

The estimate of relief food aid requirements includes the needs of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and Ethiopian Returnees from Eritrea displaced by the border conflict who have returned to their places of origin but as yet are unable to either produce or purchase sufficient food. This estimate also includes other displaced individuals, affected by drought, who have congregated in urban areas in Somali Region and as yet are unable to return to their place of origin due to the lack of a livelihood.

The estimates do not include the needs of the IDPs in Tigray that have resettled but have no or little access to land and those that cannot return due to security concerns. These are being assessed separately and WFP provisionally estimates that around 75 000 people will continue to be targeted for specific assistance. WFP estimates that 17 000 tonnes of relief food aid are needed for these IDPs in 2002.

Eighty-five thousand tonnes of the carryover contributions are earmarked for Employment Generation Schemes through the food security units of the regional governments of Amhara, Oromiya, SNNPR and Tigray regions. Thus this amount cannot be re-targeted to other areas.

The food assistance requirement estimates for the year 2002 are summarised in Table 7 and the map in Figure 4. The regional proportion of the relief food aid needs are as follows: Amhara, 33 percent; Tigray, 24 percent; Oromiya, 22 percent; Somali Region, 24 percent; SNNPR, 4 percent; and Afar, 3 percent. The remaining 1 percent is divided among Gambella, Benshangul, Gumuz, Dire Dawa and Harari.

Figure 4: Ethiopia - Proportion of Rural Population in Need of Emergency Food Assistance in 2002

Figure 4 shows the total assessed emergency needs for the year 2002, (excluding IDPs). Darker zones on the map will need more relief food, while lighter areas will require less. Areas appearing in white on the map are considered not to be in need. Figure 5 indicates the geographical distribution of assessed needy populations (excluding IDPs), as a percentage of the total rural population in a zone/woreda.

Table 7. Number of people in need of Emergency Food Aid by Region.

Region
Population requiring food assistance
Cereals (tonnes)
Blended Food (tonnes)
Oil (tonnes)
Total (tonnes)
Afar
225 400
14 379
0
0
14 379
Amhara
1 724 800
165 385
9 523
9 075
183 983
Benshangul-Gumuz
9 000
661
0
0
661
Dire Dawa
10 000
750
0
0
750
Gambella
32 800
2 148
0
0
2 148
Harari
13 000
1 170
0
0
1 170
Oromiya
1 051 400
106 026
7 943
7 563
121 532
SNNP
303 300
21 060
0
0
21 060
Somali
894 800
72 114
2 694
2 565
77 373
Tigray
917 200
115 199
9 705
9 244
134 148
Total
5 181 700
498 892
29 865
28 447
557 204

 

Food Basket Considerations

The food aid basket used by WFP in Ethiopia is 15 kg of cereals/person/month or 500 g/person/day, supplying approximately 1700 kcal/person/day against minimum requirements of 2 170 kcal/person/day. Cereals provide the bulk of the calories in the diet in Ethiopia. Cereals production is the most affected by the erratic weather conditions. The other staple foods in Ethiopia - pulses and oil seeds - are generally available locally at relatively low prices.

Furthermore, 35 percent of the population requiring food assistance are considered most vulnerable and should receive supplementary rations of blended food (4.5 kg/person/month or 150g/person/day) and vegetable oil (1.5 kg/person/month or 50g/person/day), providing an additional 1,000 kcal/ person/day. Recommendations of the DPPC-led multi-agency assessment mission at the end of 2001 indicate an average duration of food assistance of six months per beneficiary, though the duration varies between zones.

Gratuitous ("free") relief distributions

While other modalities, such as employment generation schemes and direct cash contributions will be used to the extent possible, most people identified for food assistance will be reached through gratuitous relief distributions. Ethiopia has well-established mechanisms for gratuitous relief distributions and efforts continue to improve targeting at the field level.

Employment Generation Schemes (EGS)

EGS is intended to maximise the benefit of relief resources by making a link to the creation of sustainable developmental assets. In many areas, a successful contribution has been made to soil and water conservation, rural road rehabilitation and other efforts that build community assets, while providing employment for disaster-affected people who receive their relief needs as food and/or cash. Successes have been constrained due to unreliability or lateness of commitments and/or late delivery of resources to EGS projects, inadequate community level planning and insufficient funds for tools and management that compound the problems further. In 2002, a number of steps will be taken to enhance EGS implementation.

Direct cash contributions

Some of the relief food requirements could be met through direct cash contributions to beneficiaries. When considering substituting food with cash, the capacity for implementation should be carefully considered. Based on experience to date, 2002 relief cash resources are recommended to be used only where the area and institution already have experience. Moreover, cash approaches to relief should be flexible to reflect market conditions and maximize benefits to beneficiaries. For example, in remote areas where cereal prices tend to be high, food assistance may be the preferable relief resource.

Local Purchase

Local purchase of cereals can contribute to deepening the market and stabilising cereal prices. Therefore, wherever appropriate, donors are encouraged to purchase more food aid in Ethiopia itself, particularly in years when production is good. In 2001, 205 000 tonnes was purchased locally for relief programmes; the cereal availability survey conducted by WFP and the European Union estimated that around 500 000 tonnes of maize, sorghum and wheat was available for local purchase. Though the recent meher harvest has been slightly lower, there are indications that there is a sufficient surplus available in 2002 for local purchases and donors that can contribute in cash are encouraged to do so.

Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR)

The EFSR holds stocks of cereals that are made available in order to respond to emergency needs on time. The food in stock is released on a loan basis against written guarantee from concerned donors for repayment. EFSR stocks are currently at a high level (over 400 000 tonnes) and can be used immediately upon confirmation of donor contributions. The use of the EFSR can continue to help avoid breaks in the food aid pipeline, particularly when awaiting the arrival of in-kind donations.

Early Warning and Emergency Needs Assessments

The development of Early Warning Systems (EWS) in pastoral areas has strengthened substantially in 2001, with Save the Children UK providing technical assistance to the Somali Region authorities. WFP assisted in financial, technical, logistical and human resources for the collection of baseline data upon which the EWS will be designed. Many NGOs working in the region have participated in data collection. In 2002, early warning information from this disaster-prone area will be available and will provide much-improved information for assessment.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

 

Please note that this Special Report is available on the Internet as part of the FAO World Wide Web (www.fao.org) at the following URL address: http://www.fao.org/giews/

Office of the Chief

GIEWS, FAO

Fax: 0039-06-5705-4495

E-mail: giews1@fao.org

Ms. J. Lewis

Regional Director, ODK, WFP

Fax: 00256-41-255115

E-mail: Judith.Lewis@wfp.org

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1 The contents of this section are based on variety of sources including the Economist Intelligence Unit reports and other publications.