Reference Date: 21-May-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable outlook for 2015 “gu” season crops to be harvested by end-July
Seasonal rains started early in most cropping areas and have been beneficial so far
Localized floods along Shabelle and Juba rivers in May caused some losses of standing crops
Prices of cereals are generally at high levels in most markets
Worsening food security conditions as the lean season deepens, especially among IDPs and in areas affected by trade disruptions and a below-average “deyr” harvest due to floods or dry weather
Favourable start of 2015 “gu” rainy season in most central and southern cropping areas
Planting of 2015 “gu” season crops has been completed in April and crops are generally in good condition. In most southern and central regions, the 2015 “gu” rains (April-June) started early during the last dekad of March and continued so far with moderate to heavy rainfall amounts, supporting crop germination, pasture regeneration and replenishment of water catchments. Abundant rains in agro-pastoral areas of Bay and southern Bakool regions induced farmers to increase sorghum planting. Increased precipitations upstream in Ethiopian highlands resulted in overflow of Shabelle and Juba rivers which caused localized floods that damaged some standing crops. In these areas, as soon as flood waters recede, recession cultivation of off-season “gu” crops is likely to occur in July.
In northern regions, seasonal rains started at the end of April and are forecast at above-average levels for the remainder of the season. By early May, however, pockets of significant soil moisture deficits still persist in northwestern regions of Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed, as well as in parts of Sanag (see NDVI anomaly map on the right).
The 2015 “gu” harvest is expected to be normally carried out from the end of July through August. The current crop outlook is favourable, but the final seasonal performance depends on rainfall amounts and distribution until the end of June as well as security conditions that may hamper farming activities, particularly harvesting operations, in some areas.
Aggregate 2014 cereal production is estimated at 257 000 tonnes, about 10 percent above the 2013 poor output, but over 5 percent below the last five-year average. Cereal import requirements for the 2014/15 marketing year (June/July) are forecast at a high level of 580 000 tonnes. During the last five years, the country has been able to import commercially between 320 000 and 430 000 tonnes.
Cereal prices remain at high levels
Despite the commercialization of the recently-harvested “deyr” crops, prices of coarse grains remained firm or increased during the first quarter of 2015 in most markets located in the key-producing areas of the south, and in April they were generally at high levels. This is mainly due to the lingering effects of consecutive seasons of below-average production, trade disruptions caused by civil conflict and to the scaling back of humanitarian assistance operations. In April, sorghum was traded in the capital, Mogadishu, and in Baidoa, located in the sorghum belt, at SOS 8 000 and SOS 5 000 per kg, respectively, about 33 and 22 percent more than 12 months earlier. Exceptionally high prices were recorded in Hiraan and Bakool districts, where the intensification of conflict during the last six months severely disrupted agricultural and trade activities. In March, sorghum was traded in El Barde market in Bakool district at SOS 15 000 per kg, 50 percent more than 12 months earlier. In Mogadishu, prices of maize in April 2015 were 25 percent higher than in April 2014, while in Marka, located in the important maize producing region of Lower Shabelle district, they were at about the same levels of 12 months earlier; in both markets, however, maize prices were about 60 percent higher than 24 months earlier. By contrast, prices of imported rice were stable in recent months at around the same levels of 12 and 24 months earlier in most monitored markets.
Food insecurity expected to worsen until mid-July
As the agricultural lean season is progressing, food security conditions are expected to gradually deteriorate until mid-July, when consumption of green “gu” crops is likely to start. Although some food stocks from the “deyr” off-season harvest in March are currently still available in Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Gedo regions, most poor households in other regions of the country have already exhausted their food stocks and rely on market purchases to access food.
According to the results of the latest multi-agency assessment, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance (IPC Phases 3 and 4, Crisis and Emergency levels) until June 2015 is estimated at 731 000 people, including over 200 000 acutely malnourished children. Severe food insecurity conditions persist for most IDPs and in conflict-affected urban areas in southern regions. Pockets of acute food insecurity also remain among poor rural households in riverine areas along the Juba river that gathered below average “deyr” off-season crops, as flood waters did not recede on time in December, significantly limiting planting.