Reference Date: 09-January-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable estimates for the overall production of the 2012 main “meher” season crops
Prices of cereals decline in most markets, but are generally still well above average
Estimated number of people in need of food assistance expected to decrease in the coming months
Number of refugees, mainly from Somalia, remains at record level of 370 000 people
Generally favourable prospects for the 2012 main season “meher” crop production
Harvesting of the 2012 main “meher” season cereal crops is underway and overall production is preliminary estimated at above average levels. Production prospects are particularly favourable in western surplus-producing areas of the country due to abundant, well-distributed and extended main season “kiremt” rains (June to September) coupled with an improved availability of fertilizers and seeds. By contrast, rains had erratic distribution and early withdrawal in some eastern relatively marginal meher-producing areas including east and south Tigray, the Oromia zone in Amhara region and lowland districts (woredas) in East and West Hararghe zones. The belg-dependent areas in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) also expect below average harvests.
In some bi-modal rainfall areas, production of long-cycle crops (maize, sorghum and millet) is expected to decline due to the late arrival of the 2012 “belg” rains that prevented farmers from timely preparation of land and led them to opt for planting short-cycle crops (wheat and barley) with lower yields. Planting of sweet potatoes is complete in major growing areas of southern SNNPR and shortage of cuttings is expected to dampen production to be harvested next May.
In southern and south-eastern pastoral areas, the 2012 “deyr/hagaya” rains (October to December) started mostly on time and have been near average throughout the season, with some flooding along the Wabi Shabelle River in Somali region. The availability of pasture and water is already improving in some areas, with positive effects on livestock body conditions and milk production.
Prices of cereals decline, but remain at high levels in most markets
Wholesale prices of maize, wheat, white sorghum and teff declined in December 2012 in most monitored markets with the bulk of the 2012 “meher” season harvest increasing supplies. In Addis Ababa wholesale market, prices of maize, white sorghum and teff declined by 15, 6 and 7 percent, respectively, while prices of wheat remained generally stable due to high demand. By contrast, prices of red sorghum continued to increase in December and they are currently 25 percent higher than in the same month last year. In most monitored markets, current prices of cereals are well above their levels of 24 months ago.
Improving general food security conditions
Overall food security conditions have gradually improved as newly harvested 2012 “meher” season crops become available at household level. However, market access to food by poor and very poor households remain difficult in some eastern marginal cropping “meher” producing areas of Amhara and oromia, in predominantly belg-dependant southern areas of SNNPR and in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of Afar and northern Somali region.
Last August, the estimated number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has been revised upwards from 3.2 to 3.7 million, mainly as a consequence of poor 2012 “belg” and “gu/ganna” rains in some areas of Somali, Tigray, Oromia and SNNP regions. This number is expected to be revised downwards following the results of the Government-led national needs assessment to be released early 2013.
Currently, about 370 000 refugees are hosted in Ethiopia, two-thirds of them from Somalia, about 90 000 Sudanese that fled the conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since the end of 2011 and the rest from Eritrea. At the beginning of January 2013, there were an estimated 180 000 people residing in the five Dollo Ado camps in the Somali region, with approximately one-third of children categorised as severely malnourished.