Reference Date: 28-January-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Harvesting of the main “meher” season crops is complete and production is estimated at above average levels
Generally good pasture conditions and water availability in most pastoral and agro-pastoral areas
Slight drop in cereal prices in November following record high levels, as newly harvested crops become available
Food security conditions continue to improve as newly harvested “meher” crops are available for consumption
Favourable outcome of the 2013 main “meher” season crop production
Harvesting of the 2013 main “meher” season cereal crops is complete. Cereal production from the smallholder sector is estimated at about 23 million tonnes, about 10 percent above the level of the 2012 good harvest. Main season “kiremt” rains (June to September) have been generally abundant and well-distributed and the supply of agricultural inputs has been sufficient and timely. However, erratic and below average rains, coupled with floods and hailstorms, have reduced yields of “meher” crops in some marginal producing areas of Tigray, Amhara and Oromia regions. In addition, the onset of rains has been late by three/four weeks in some north-western sorghum producing areas and most farmers had to plant short-cycle early-maturing varieties of sorghum which have lower yields. The production of long-cycle crops, including sorghum, is expected to decline also in some bi-modal rainfall lowlands of north-eastern Tigray and Amhara regions. In these areas, the poor performance of the 2013 secondary “belg” season (March/July) often prevented the timely preparation of land for long-cycle crops, inducing farmers to plant short-cycle crops such as wheat, barley and teff.
Livestock body conditions and milk production are generally satisfactory throughout the country as favourable rains have improved pasture and water availability in most places. Residues of “meher” crops that have just been harvested are also improving forage supply. In most areas of Afar and northern Somali region, the 2013 “karma/karan” rains (June to September) have been timely, abundant and well distributed, with positive effects on livestock body conditions as well as crop development in sedentary farming areas. In most southern and south-eastern pastoral areas, the 2013 “deyr/hageya” rains (October to December) have started on-time and have been at average levels along the season, likely sustaining pasture and water availability until March 2014.
Cereal prices observe a slight dip following record high levels
Prices of cereals declined slightly in November as the bulk of the 2013 meher harvest began to reach main markets, thus reversing the upward trend which started in March/April 2013 and was supported by the reduced output from the secondary belg season harvest, concluded in August. Despite recent declines, in the capital, Addis Ababa, November prices of maize, wheat and red sorghum were still 42, 25 and 49 percent respectively higher than in the same month last year, while prices of teff were at the same levels.
Food security conditions continue to improve as the “meher” season harvest progresses
The lean season in most “meher” producing areas ended last October with the beginning of the green harvest. Food security conditions have gradually improved as the “meher” harvest progresses and new crops become available for consumption. In western surplus-producing areas, harvest labour opportunities are increasing the purchasing power of poor households, improving their access to food. However, access to food is likely to quickly deteriorate in areas that received below average rains such as north-eastern Amhara, eastern and southern Tigray, the lowlands of East Hararghe zone in Oromia, north-eastern Afar and some pockets in southern Somali region.
According to the latest assessment by the Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) released in September 2013, the number of people in need of relief food assistance until the end of the year is estimated at 2.7 million, about 12 percent more than the first half of the year. The majority of food insecure households are concentrated in Oromia, Somali, Amhara and Tigray regions.