Reference Date: 04-September-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Below average 2013 “gu” cereal crops expected in central/southern areas following unfavourable rains, pest outbreaks and reduced planted area
Off-season crop production forecast at above average levels
Early start of the dry “hagaa” season (July to September) has negatively impacted on pasture and water availability in the north-east
Prices of cereals declined in August in most markets
Just over one million people are in need of humanitarian assistance (about two thirds are IDPs in settlements)
Food security improved from end July with the start of harvest of 2013 “gu” crops
Unfavourable prospects for 2013 main “gu” season crops
Harvesting of the 2013 main “gu” season coarse grain started in August and will be completed in the coming weeks. Cereal production is expected to be below average, with particularly low yields in areas of Gedo, Huduur and Hiran regions bordering Kenya and Ethiopia that received below average rainfall amounts. In Lower Shabelle region, although rains were generally favourable, maize production is expected to be below average as farmers preferred often to plant more profitable sesame crop. In the north-west, a stock borer infestation together with moisture stress has caused damage to maturing maize crops, while the output of the long-cycle sorghum crop, for harvest in October, is expected at near average levels.
Off-season crop production set to improve
Harvesting of the off-season crop production, mainly maize, has begun and would continue through September. Above average outturn is expected following the torrential rains at the beginning of April, coupled with heavy runoff from catchments in the Ethiopian highlands that resulted in seasonal floods in the Shabelle Valley. The floods resulted in damages to infrastructure and loss of planted area. However, the recession of the flood waters prompted the planting of off-season crops in May and was favoured by the early start of the dry season in June.
Worsening grazing conditions in the north-east following early start of the dry “hagaa” season
In most pastoral and agro-pastoral areas, favourable “gu” rains between late March and April have replenished water catchments and significantly improved pasture and browse conditions with positive effects on livestock body conditions and milk production. However, significant pasture deterioration is reported since May in areas where the July to September “hagaa” dry season started earlier than usual, in particular in Sool Plateau, Nugal Valley and Bari region in the north and in some coastal pastoral areas of central regions.
Cereal prices decreased in August
Prices of locally grown maize and sorghum increased in May in the capital Mogadishu by 21 and 14 percent, respectively and by about 25-35 percent in June in Marka and Baidoa, two key markets located in major crop producing areas in the south of the country. The prices surges reflected the depletion of stocks from the “deyr” crops, harvested last February, and concerns over the performance of the 2013 “gu” harvest. Subsequently, prices levelled off in July and decreased in August by between 8 and 24 percent as the crops from the 2013 “gu” harvest increased supplies.
Overall, maize and sorghum prices in August 2013 were well below their levels of 12 months earlier (up to 50 percent less) and about 75 percent below their peak high in June 2011, when famine was declared.
Prices of imported rice were stable in most markets in recent months. In Mogadishu, however, they increased by 17 percent from April to July due to the introduction of new port charges and the depreciation of the local currency, and subsequently declined in August, reflecting the increased availability of domestic cereals. Current rice prices are down by 20 percent compared to August 2012), mainly due to the improved functioning of main ports which allowed a substantial increase in imports.
Food security improves as the 2013 “gu” season harvest continues
The overall food security situation has slightly improved from end-July and the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance, estimated at 1.05 million in January 2013, decreased to 870 000 people. This follows the availability of first green crops, declining food prices and labour opportunities linked to harvesting operations of “gu” crops. Pocket areas of food security “crisis” level (IPC phase 3) remain in some livestock dependant coastal areas of central and north-western Somalia as a result of limited livestock assets and poor rains during the last six months. These improvements are expected to be short-lived especially where a below average “gu” harvest is expected, such as agro-pastoral areas of central Hiran region.