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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 03-May-2016


  1. Delayed planting activities in central and southern cropping areas due to late onset of “gu” rains

  2. Drought conditions continue to affect grazing resources and livestock in northeastern regions

  3. Cereal prices stable or declining in recent months and generally at low levels

  4. Worsening food security conditions in northern pastoral and agro‑pastoral areas

Late onset of seasonal rains delays planting of 2016 primary “gu” season crops

Planting of the 2016 primary “gu” season crops, normally completed in April, is still ongoing in southern and central cropping areas due to a late onset of the 2016 “gu” rainy season. Crops germinated well in most northwestern agro‑pastoral areas that received some beneficial rains since early April, while in several southern and central areas early planted crops wilted following dry weather conditions in April, and widespread re‑planting is needed. The FAO Agricultural Stress Index (ASI) highlights a moderate risk of drought conditions developing particularly in central cropping areas of Middle Shabelle, Galgaduud and Mudug regions (see ASI map). By contrast, recent abundant rains in Ethiopian highlands have increased the water flow along the Shabelle River. The River’s water was at its lowest level in decades due to below‑average rains in the upper catchment basin, severely limiting the use of water for irrigating food and cash crops in riverine areas. Rains are forecast in May at average to below average levels across the country (with only southern districts of Lower Shabelle and Lower Juba regions expected to receive enhanced rainfall amounts), and crop development needs to be closely monitored.

Severe drought conditions persist in most northeastern areas

Most northeastern areas (in particular, Sanaag, Sool and Bari regions), continue to experience severe drought conditions as “gu” rains have not yet started, thus extending the harsh “jilaal” (January‑March) dry season that followed a poor “deyr” (October‑December) rainy season. Here, pasture and water availability is extremely low, with a severe impact on livestock body conditions and animal health status. Large‑scale abnormal out‑migrations of livestock are reported from main inland pastoral areas toward coastal areas in search of better pasture conditions. By contrast, moderate to heavy rains in April have improved pasture conditions in northwestern agro‑pastoral areas, especially in the drought‑affected areas along the border with Ethiopia. Flash floods have been reported in Awdal and Woqooyi regions, with damage to shelters and deaths of people and livestock.

Cereal prices stable or declining in recent months and at low levels in several markets

Prices of locally‑produced sorghum declined in February by 28 percent in Baidoa, the main market of the sorghum belt, as the above‑average “deyr” crop production increased local supplies and subsequently levelled off in March. Prices of coarse grains remained mostly stable in recent months in the other monitored markets of southern key‑producing areas, including the capital, Mogadishu, and in March they were 30‑40 percent below their levels of 12 months earlier. By contrast, in some markets located in central regions, prices of maize and sorghum increased in recent months due to trade disruptions caused by insecurity and reduced humanitarian interventions, reaching high levels. For instance, in Hudur and Galkayo markets, prices of maize and sorghum in March were 20 and 50 percent higher than 12 months earlier, respectively. Prices of imported rice were stable in recent months at around or below the levels of one year earlier in most monitored markets.

Worsening food security in northern regions

Despite the above‑average 2015/16 “deyr” harvest and mostly declining or stable food prices, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance (IPC Phase: 3 “Crisis” and Phase: 4 “Emergency” levels) until June 2016 is estimated at 953 000, including over 300 000 acutely malnourished children. About two‑thirds of the severely food insecure people are represented by IDPs, while the remaining one‑third is concentrated in pastoral and agro‑pastoral areas of the northern regions of Bari, Awdal, Woqyi Galbeed and Sanaag that have been affected by severe dry weather conditions during the last two rainy seasons. In these areas, stocks of the 2015 “karan” season crops, harvested last year between October and November, have already been depleted in February as production has been very poor.