Reference Date: 09-January-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Aggregate 2014/15 “deyr” season cereal harvest is forecast at slightly below-average levels
Prices of cereals are generally declining, but are still at high levels in most markets
Acute food insecurity persists across the country, especially among IDPs as well as areas affected by trade disruptions and with below-average “deyr” crops due to floods or dry weather
Slightly below-average 2014/15 “deyr” crops production in central and southern cropping areas
Harvesting of 2014/15 “deyr” crops is underway in southern and central regions and is expected to be concluded in February. Aggregate cereal production is forecast at slightly below-average levels. Seasonal “deyr” short rains (September-November) started at the end of September in central regions, but most southern regions remained mostly dry until the third dekad of October. Beneficial rains during the first two dekads of November improved crop development and pasture availability, especially in Bakool, Hiran, Bay and part of Gedo regions. As reported by the latest FAO Agricultural Stress Index (ASI) (see map on the right), moderate dry weather conditions have affected crops in most cropping areas of Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, with lower yields expected on coastal areas. Seasonal rains ended normally at the beginning of December.
Heavy rains in eastern Ethiopian highlands in late October/early November caused flooding along Juba and Shabelle perennial rivers, affecting standing crops in Jowhar and Balad districts of Middle Shabelle region and in Sakow, Buale, Jilib and Jamame districts of Middle and Lower Juba regions. However, as result of recession cultivation in these areas, a good off-season crop production is expected to be harvested by March-April 2015.
In northern regions, harvesting of “gu/karan” crops is almost complete and cereal production prospects are favourable, with early estimates of about 45 000 tonnes. “Karan” rains (July to September) were generally good and evenly distributed, smoothly continuing into “deyr” rains which started at the end of September and ceased at the beginning of November.
Aggregate 2014/15 cereal production (including the 2014 “gu” crops harvested last August plus currently harvested 2014/15 “deyr” and “karan” crops), is estimated at about 237 000 tonnes, similar to the previous year’s output, but about 13 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. The country has been able to import commercially between 320 000 and 430 000 tonnes during the last five years.
Cereal prices decline, but remain at high levels
Prices of locally-produced cereals, after having peaked in July, have started to decline in most markets as the 2014 “gu” season crops become available for consumption. Between July and December, retail prices of red sorghum and maize declined by 10-30 percent, while those of maize by 20-40 percent. However, sorghum and maize prices in December, just before the start of the 2014/15 “deyr” harvest, were generally well above theirs levels of one year ago. This is essentially due to consecutive seasons of below-average production, trade disruption caused by civil conflict and reduced humanitarian assistance. In particular, red sorghum was traded in December in Mogadishu’s retail markets at an average price of SOS 9 300 per kg, about 75 percent higher than the price of December 2013. Some exceptions are represented by sorghum prices in Galkayo and Hargeisa retail markets where current prices are 14-22 percent lower than one year ago following the recent commercialization of the good “karan” sorghum crop production.
Acute food security persists, with slight improvements in some areas
Although acute food insecurity is expected to slightly improve during the first months of 2015 in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas that received favourable “deyr” rains, severe food insecurity conditions are expected to persist for most IDPs and urban areas in southern regions that are affected by trade disruptions due to the conflict. Pockets of acute food insecurity will remain among poor rural households in flood-affected districts of Middle Juba and Middle Shabelle regions until next March when off-season crops will be harvested and better labour opportunities linked with the start of the 2015 “gu” season will provide some additional income. Food security is also expected to deteriorate in parts of Hiran region that received well below “deyr” rains. According to the results of the latest multi-agency assessment carried out in August 2014, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance (IPC Phases 3 and 4, Crisis and Emergency levels) is estimated at over 1 million, including about 620 000 IDPs.