Reference Date: 11-February-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Well distributed 2012/13 “deyr” rains benefitted cereal yields in most southern and central regions
Good availability of pasture and water in most pastoral areas
Prices of coarse grains are stable and low in main markets, while prices of livestock are generally high
Number of people in need of humanitarian assistance declines to 1.05 million (about two thirds are IDPs in settlements)
Good prospects for 2012/13 “deyr” crops in southern and central Somalia
Harvesting of 2012/13 “deyr” cereal crops is underway and will continue until late March. Crop production is forecast at a near average level in most areas of southern and central Somalia following good and evenly distributed “deyr” rains (October-December). In particular, sorghum planted area was slightly above average, while area planted with maize declined slightly as many farmers in riverine areas shifted to sesame production. By contrast, below average production is expected in some agro-pastoral areas of Gedo as well as Lower and Middle Juba due to inadequate rains. In Juba region, the off-season production, for harvest next March, is expected to be negligible for lack of adequate river flooding that facilitates recessional cultivation.
Favourable grazing conditions reported in most pastoral areas
Pasture and water availabilities have improved following favourable “deyr” rains and livestock body conditions are reported to be average to good. Exceptions are parts of Sool Plateau and Nugal Valley in the North-west that experienced poor rains since the onset of the season, resulting in abnormal livestock outmigration towards north-eastern areas. Poor pasture conditions are also reported in Gedo, Coastal Deeh of Lower Shabelle and Lower Juba in South-Central Somalia.
Maize and sorghum prices remain relatively stable and low
Prices of local cereal staples have been stable or declined since the harvest of 2012 “gu” season crops last August/September and are expected to show a downward trend during the first quarter of 2013 as the 2012/13 “deyr” season crops become available on main markets. In major producing areas, maize and sorghum prices in January 2013 were between 18 and 61 percent below the level of January 2012, while in northern cereal deficit areas price declines have been comparatively minor. In particular, in January 2013, prices of maize in the main markets of the capital Mogadishu and Marka, located in the important maize producing region of Lower Shabelle, were about 18 percent below the levels of one year earlier and 69 and 76 percent below the peak reached in June 2011, respectively. Similarly, sorghum prices in January 2013 in Baidoa market, located in the sorghum belt, were 33 percent lower than 12 months earlier and 85 percent below the peak of June 2011.
Prices of imported rice also followed a declining trend in 2012 in all monitored markets and, by January 2013, they were down by up to 40 percent compared to last year, mainly due to the appreciation of the Somali Shilling against the US dollar and the reopening and better functioning of the Mogadishu port, which allowed a substantial increased in imports.
In general, current livestock prices are significantly higher than 12 months ago due to improved body conditions and increased demand for local consumption and export, mainly to Saudi Arabia. During last year, terms of trade for pastoralists have significantly improved, with increases ranging between 50-100 percent.
Improving overall food security situation
The number of people in need of emergency assistance was halved in the past six months to 1.05 million (including 615 000 IDPs) as a consequence of continued humanitarian interventions, improved food supply at household and market levels due to the ongoing 2012/13 “deyr” harvest and improved milk availability in most pastoral areas. Some livestock dependant coastal areas of central and northern Somalia and the agro-pastoral areas in Jamame district still remain at food security “crisis” level (IPC phase 3) as result of limited livestock assets and poor “deyr” rains. Malnutrition rates are still the highest in the world, but have recently improved across the country (except in most IDP settlements) as most households had better access to food following increased income due to livestock sales at the time of Hajj and farm labour opportunities along the “deyr” season. In addition, the enhanced security situation, especially in the capital city Mogadishu, has allowed the re-opening of several markets and households’ food access has significantly improved due to low food prices, stable/rising casual labour wage rates and increasing flow of remittances.