GIEWS > Data & Tools > Earth Observation
GIEWS - Global Information and Early Warning System

Country Briefs

  Somalia

Reference Date: 22-November-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Unfavourable prospects for “deyr” crops in most central and southern cropping areas

  2. Below-average grazing resources with worsening livestock body conditions and decreasing milk production, increased livestock deaths and low livestock prices

  3. Cereal prices firm at high levels in several markets and likely to increase in coming months

  4. Over 1.1 million people estimated to be severely food insecure

Late and erratic rains affect prospects for 2016 “deyr” season crops

Planting operations of the 2016/17 secondary “deyr” season crops have just been concluded in southern and central producing areas and the planted area is estimated at well below-average levels. The onset of the October-to-December rainfall season has been late by almost three dekads and precipitations have been characterized by poor amounts and erratic distribution. Early-planted crops in Bay, Bakool and Hiraan regions are reported to be severely affected by the ongoing extreme moisture stress levels. The FAO Agricultural Stress Index (ASI) for the first dekad of November 2016 indicates a significant risk of drought conditions developing in most southern and central cropping areas (see ASI map). With rainfall usually expected to taper off towards the end of November/early December, the recovery of the “deyr” crops is very unlikely and overall production prospects are highly unfavourable.

Aggregate 2016/17 cereal production (including the 2016 below-average “gu” and “karan” season crops harvested in July/August in addition to a forecast for the 2016/17 “deyr” season crops, to be harvested early next year), is put at about 160 000 tonnes, about 38 percent below the average of the last five years. Cereal import requirements for the 2016/17 marketing year (June/July) are forecast at a high level of 750 000 tonnes. The country has been able to import, commercially, between 350 000 and 550 000 tonnes (mainly wheat and rice) during the last five years.

Grazing resources deteriorate in most southern and central areas

General conditions of grazing resources are significantly below average in most southern and central regions (see NDVI anomaly map). Pasture and water availability failed to be adequately restored during the April-to-June “gu” season due to poor rains and were further depleted during the hot, dry and windy July-to-September “xagaa” season. In these regions, livestock body conditions have gradually worsened with declining milk productivity and birth rates. The high influx of livestock in flood plains of riverine areas of Shabelle and Juba valleys is quickly exhausting local pasture availability.

Increasing food access constrains for most households

In the capital, Mogadishu, prices of locally-produced maize decreased by about 40 percent since June at the peak of the lean season. By contrast, in most markets of southern key-producing areas, prices of coarse grains remained firm in recent months as the “gu” production was significantly reduced by erratic rainfall. October prices of coarse grains were higher than their year-earlier levels in several markets. The highest year-on-year increases are recorded in Beletweyne and Hudur markets, where the tight supply situation is compounded by trade disruptions caused by insecurity and sorghum prices in October were 77 and 45 percent higher than 12 months earlier, respectively. Prices are expected to increase in the coming months as normal seasonal patterns are likely to be compounded by earlier-than-usual depletion of stocks from the reduced “gu” harvest and concerns over the performance of the “deyr” harvest. Prices of imported rice were stable in recent months at around or below the levels of one year earlier in several monitored markets, while they increased in the markets affected by trade disruptions, including Galkayo, Beletweyne and Hudur, where in October they were up to 25 percent higher than 12 months earlier.

Prices of livestock in October where significantly lower than 12 month earlier in most markets of the country, as a result of deteriorated body conditions, while prices of milk are at high levels due to reduced supply. For instance, in Middle Juba, Lower Juba and Middle Shabelle regions, average prices of goats in October were about 25 percent lower than one year earlier, while in Bay and Gedo prices of milk were about 30 percent above their year-earlier levels. As a result of declining livestock prices and firm cereal prices, terms of trade for pastoralists deteriorated by up to 50 percent over the last 12 months. In particular, the equivalent in maize of one medium size goat declined in Lower Juba from 145 kg in October 2015 to 73 kg in October 2016. In Mogadishu, where cereal prices declined in recent months, unskilled labour wages rates decreased more significantly, due to reduced employment opportunities: as a result, maize/labour terms of trade declined by about 10 percent over the last 12 months, indicating increasing food access constrains also for urban consumers.

Worsening food security in northern regions

Over 1.1 million people are estimated to face acute food insecurity conditions as a consequence of the below average 2016 “gu” season crop, harvested in July/August, coupled with trade disruptions and recurrent population displacements.

The late and erratic start of the “deyr” rains has also worsened food security conditions of pastoral households through reduced livestock prices and milk availability. The situation is expected to start improving as rains restore pasture resources, while more significant improvements will take place by the end of the year with the commercialization of the newly-harvested “deyr” crops. However, as the “deyr” harvest is forecast at well below-average levels, food security conditions are expected to quickly worsen during the first quarter of 2017 with households running out of their own stocks and relying mainly on the markets to satisfy their food requirements.

IDPs account for nearly 60 percent of the severely food insecure caseolad, while the remaining 40 percent are mostly poor urban and rural residents, including those in pastoral and agro‑pastoral areas of northern Somalia (Awdal, Woqyi Galbeed and Bari regions), that suffer the continuing effects of severe dry weather conditions during the last two to three rainy seasons.