19 December 1997 

Mission Highlights 
  • Ethiopia’s grain production in 1997 is forecast to decline by 26 percent against last year's output, reflecting late, low and erratic rains during the season coupled with torrential precipitation at harvest time as well as reduced fertilizer use. 

  • Areas hardest hit by a poor main harvest include the traditionally food deficit zones of Tigray and North and South Wollo, where the previous secondary crop was also poor. 

  • Total grains deficit in 1998 is estimated at 530 000 tons, largely to be covered by food aid. 

  • Over 5 million people require relief food aid of some 420 000 tons of cereals. 


    An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Ethiopia from 2 November to 2 December 1997 to estimate the production of the 1997 Meher (main) season cereal and pulse crops, forecast the 1998 Belg (secondary) season, and estimate import requirements for 1998, as well as food aid needs.

    This year, observers from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Care International travelled with the teams and monitored events on behalf of their agencies. In addition, the Mission was provided with vulnerability maps, price fluctuation charts and reports on food security from USAID (FEWS), the EU, the UNDP Emergency Unit for Ethiopia and WFP’s VAM Unit in Addis Ababa.

    Four FAO teams visited 33 zones where, accompanied by Ministry of Agriculture specialists, data were obtained from zonal agricultural offices regarding area and yield. Information received was triangulated with the views of farmers, NGOs, traders, research workers and donor representative during the extensive field visits. Crop inspections and market surveys were also conducted. Five WFP teams cross-checked the emergency food needs predictions through discussions and information exchanges with Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) at worreda, zonal, regional and central level, as well as with NGOs, farmers and communities.

    The Mission forecasts a 1997 Meher harvest of 8 786 000 tons of cereals and pulses, which is 25.6 percent below last year’s Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) post-harvest estimates.

    The reduction in production is primarily a result of poor Belg rains followed by late, low and erratic rainfall during the Meher growing season, particularly in lowland areas, exacerbated by unusually heavy rains at harvest time. A 20 percent reduction in fertilizer use in key producing areas due to the removal of subsidy and credit restrictions on slow repayers was another factor contributing to the decrease. Army-worm, the main migratory pest this year was effectively controlled by MoA-supported spraying teams. Non-migratory pests and diseases though present were not considered to be beyond the usual levels of tolerance in most zones. Livestock production was threatened by mid-main season droughts in all agro-pastoralist areas, causing a 60-70 percent fall in prices, premature migrations and increased morbidity and mortality. Fortunately, the late rains reversed the situation in October and November and a normal state now prevails.

    Conflicting area and yield data from zonal agricultural offices of the MoA on the one hand and the CSA on the other, compounded by population estimates varying by more than 4 million people, require reconciliation during the coming year.

    Wholesale prices for all major cereals at the beginning of the 1997 Meher harvest were substantially above last year's levels, with national averages ranging from 13 percent for teff to 53 percent for maize. These increases reflect tighter supplies and traders' expectations of reduced production in comparison to last year. However, October 1997 prices tended to be still below comparable levels in 1995 and 1994. Cereal prices in Asmara/Eritrea were generally significantly higher than Ethiopian prices, suggesting the prospect of continued transborder flows from Ethiopia to Eritrea. To a lesser extent, this holds also true for maize price differentials between Ethiopian and Kenyan markets.

    On the basis of the above Meher production estimate and a forecast Belg harvest in 1998 of 320 000 tons of cereals and pulses, the Mission estimates a total grains import requirement of 530 000 tons in 1998. This includes 420 000 tons of relief food aid required for 5.3 million rural people affected by a poor harvest and structural poverty. The remaining deficit of 110 000 tons is expected to be covered by commercial imports.


    1/ This section draws inter alia on the following sources:

    Ethiopia has a total area of 1.2 million sq. km, two-thirds of which consists of highlands with an altitude of 1700 to 3000 m above sea level. Forests, which at the turn of the century covered over 40 percent of the land area, have been reduced to 4 percent - the result of expansion of agricultural frontiers to feed a rapidly increasing population and growing demand for wood for construction and fuel. Depletion of forests and poor land conservation measures have led to widespread land degradation. The country’s water resources are immense, offering the potential of bringing an estimated 3.5 million hectares under irrigation and generating some 160 000 Gwh per year of hydroelectric power.

    Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a real per caput GDP of less than U.S.$ 100 in 1995. Life expectancy is 48 years, and the adult literacy rate is 34.5 percent. Over 60 percent of the population lives in absolute poverty. Of the total population, some 85 percent are in rural areas. The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report of 1997 ranks Ethiopia 170th out of 175 countries in terms of its human development index, which combines economic factors with achievements in such areas as education, health, nutrition and life expectancy.

    Since 1995, after the long and devastating civil strife which came to an end in 1991 with the formation of a transitional government, Ethiopia is a federation of nine autonomous regional states distinguished primarily along ethnic and linguistic lines.

    2.1 Population estimates

    Despite a national census in 1994, the precise total population figure remains uncertain, as only partial results have been released. In mid-1994, the population size was officially estimated at 54.9 million, with an annual growth rate of 3.1 percent (National Office of Population, Office of the Prime Minister, July 1994). This makes Ethiopia second only to Nigeria as the most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, having one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Extrapolated to 1998, the 1994 population data would suggest a mid-1998 population of 62.17 million. This coincides with the figure quoted by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). However, the actual annual growth rate (as well as the census baseline figure) has been an issue of debate, with a tendency of suggesting slower growth than 3.1 percent. On the other hand, CSA 1994 population census results by regions, published in 1995 and 1996 indicate a mid-1998 projected population of 55.2 million, excluding Somali region. When an estimate of 2.68 people for the Somali region is added, Ethiopia’s population would amount to 57.82 This figure has been used in projecting the 1998 population figure used in the food balance in Section 6. The above mentioned discrepancies in population estimates are of great concern, since even seemingly minor variations have, inter alia, a major impact on food shortfall estimates in the national food balance sheet.

    2.2 The agricultural sector in the overall economy

    Ethiopia’s economy is highly influenced by the performance of the agricultural sector, which contributes over 50 percent to GDP (services close to 40 percent, industry some 10 percent). Agriculture accounts for 88 percent of export earnings, and for a similar share in employment generation. Coffee is the leading export earner, accounting for almost two-thirds of export receipts. In 1996/97, coffee exports increased by 32 percent in volume and 46 percent in value over the preceding year. Overall GDP grew by 4.8 percent in 1994/95 and is expected to increase by 6 to 7 percent in 1997/98. This estimate may have to be revised downwards, in the light of the 1997 agricultural performance, which is bound to turn out well below earlier expectations.

    Ethiopia is heavily indebted; current official estimates put the country’s external debt at some U.S.$ 5 billion. With the independence of Eritrea in 1993, Ethiopia has become a de facto land-locked country, but it enjoys access to the sea through the Djibouti port and the Eritrean ports of Assab and Massawa. Up till now, Eritrea has maintained the Ethiopian Birr as national currency, but is now introducing its own currency, the nafka, in early 1998. While the economic implications of this have still to be assessed, no major negative effects on the two countries’ economic relations are currently foreseen. Trade transactions are expected to be settled in US dollars or other hard currencies.

    Ethiopia has significant potential for agricultural development. At present, the major constraints include land degradation, land fragmentation, the absence of suitable and accessible technologies, and poor physical and institutional infrastructures. Among the four major farming systems - subsistence-peasant farming, pastoral nomadic production, agro-pastoralism and modern commercial farming- peasant farming accounts for 95 percent of production of cereals, pulses and oilseeds. Enset (false banana) and roots and tubers are the most important carbohydrate source in many southern zones. Ethiopia’s livestock population is the largest in Africa and ranks ninth in the world, but is low in productivity due to the pastoralist-based low-input/low-output system which predominates.

    2.3 Food security and nutrition

    In the food security field, the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC), formerly the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), has the crucial task of coordinating food security efforts, including early famine warning, maintaining emergency food reserves and distributing emergency food aid.

    In Ethiopia, food availability has been consistently below food requirements for the last 20 years, averaging 76 percent in terms of energy requirements. Food insecurity has been chronic in various parts of the country. During the period of 1981-1991, the annual size of the population affected by drought ranged from 2,5 million in 1987 to 7 million in 1985, when the worst drought occurred. The most severely affected regions are generally Tigray, Wollo and Harerghe. Transitory food insecurity occurs in regions such as Illubabor and Wellega, which are normally high-rainfall areas. Areas which in the past had only transitory food insecurity have also experienced chronic food insecurity. Dependency on rains is the major cause of Ethiopia’s food insecurity, followed by substantially pre- and post-harvest losses.

    Malnutrition is widespread. A recent survey by the Catholic Relief Services of some 9 700 households in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, Somali, Harar, Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa found over 60 percent of all under-five children chronically malnourished (stunted) and 45 percent underweight. The prevalence of stunting ranged from 39 percent in Dire Dawa and 43 percent in Harar to over 80 percent in South Gondar in the Amhara region.


    3.1 Rainfall during the 1997 cropping season

    Delays of one to four weeks in the onset of the Belg rains throughout the country resulted in either poor Belg harvests or disruptions to the normal cultivation schedules for the Meher (main) season. Farmers therefore switched from planting long cycle grains to short cycle grains. This resulted in a 7.9 percent decline in the area under maize and sorghum and a concomitant increase in area planted to teff and wheat.

    The Meher rains were also reported to be late in 18 zones, causing further delays in planting and reducing the number of cultivation passes, particularly for teff, as farmers sacrificed quality of ploughing for timeliness of sowing. In the remaining 15 agricultural zones, the Meher rains were timely. As the season progressed, however, rainfall became increasingly erratic in space and time, with variable dry spells recorded in August and/or September in most zones. While lowland zones were more prone to long dry spells, valleys in the highland and intermediate agro-ecological zones were also reported to have received reduced rainfall, resulting in the premature dessication of the early sown crops.

    Total precipitation from the first dekad of January to the last dekad of September recorded at 28 weather stations located throughout the country is 20-50 percent below last year’s rains and at 18 stations at least 15 percent below the long term average,

    Unusually heavy rains began in all zones during the first dekad of October and continued until the end of November. Such rains have:- disrupted harvesting patterns for all crops, accentuated seed drop in teff, slowed rate of desiccation of later sown grains prior to threshing, increased spoilage in stacks of harvested cereals, caused some germination in standing crops of wheat and sorghum, and increased the likelihood of fungal attacks in both standing and stored grains, particularly pulses. All such phenomena were observed by the Mission teams during their field surveys. This notwithstanding, the teams also observed the opportunistic planting of early maturing cereals and pulses in the northern zones and some positive effects of the late rainfall on late-planted crops, roots and tubers, forage and perennials. Such advantages will compensate to some extent for late rain related losses.

    Other effects of precipitation reported to the Mission were localized hail storms, floods and land slides exacerbating the effects of a poor season at specific localities.

    3.2 Area Planted

    Area planted during the 1997 Meher season, as recorded by the zonal agricultural offices, decreased by 9 percent to 10.98 million hectares compared to the harvested area recorded during the post-harvest assessment undertaken by the Regional Bureaux of Agriculture zonal offices in December 1996.

    The overall decline masks significant changes in area planted to specific crops as late maturing (long cycle) crops were replaced by early maturing (short cycle) crops following inadequate Belg rains and planting failures, Thus, the area under sorghum fell by 7.2 percent while areas under teff and wheat increased by 3.5 percent and 5.9 percent respectively.

    Factors limiting expansion this year included: physical limits of cultivable land in the established agricultural areas in highland and middle-land zones both at holding and zonal levels; late rains reducing the capability of the draught animal work force while simultaneously increasing the need for a concentrated ploughing effort; farmer pessimism and reduced access to fertilizers and credit at sowing time. Exceptions to the above pattern were noticed in West Tigray and West Wellega where concession farmers (investors) expanded into previously uncultivated lowlands with consequent increases in areas of grains planted estimated at 18 percent and 9 percent respectively. The increase in West Tigray also includes area switched from sesame to sorghum following disappointing returns on investment in oilseeds last year.

    The universal access to local seed varieties at the beginning of the season meant that seed availability was not a limiting factor at the first round of planting. However, as the season progressed, the erratic nature of the rains increased the need for replanting, which had to be done several times at some localities. By August, seed shortages at farm level obliged zonal offices to offer credit support for local purchases of early-maturing barley, teff and pulses to farmers wishing to replant long-cycle crop areas. Similar seed shortages were noted in the northern zones in October and November as farmers, attempting to capitalize on the late rains were replanting already harvested areas. Chickpea seed prices were reported to have increased by 25-300 percent in such areas. Late season planting has not been included in estimated area data as the outcome of the exercise is uncertain, the data include only the area of crops expected to be harvested from September to January, namely the Meher season crops.

    Administrative changes affecting area cultivated include boundary movements of Gedeo zone, where cultivable land has been increased by some 10 000 hectares. In North Wollo, the size of Bugna worreda was re-assessed, reducing the agricultural land in the zone by some 40 000 hectares compared to last year. In several zones in the Amhara Region land redistribution processes were reported to have increased the farming population with minor size increases in cultivated area where grazing land had been brought into arable use.

    It should be noted that the data used by the Mission in Table 1, giving area by crop and by region are part of the set that has been collected in a similar way for four years. Increases in estimates of area not only reflect expansion following population trends but also in some cases improved data following the end of the civil strife and improved reporting from the zones following the amalgamation of ministerial responsibilities in 1995. This year, for instance, the estimates of cropped areas of Benshangul and Gambella Regions have increased by 30 percent and 45 percent respectively due to the inclusion of zonal data previously not available to Missions.

    Area data from the main agricultural areas suggest a stable state in Amhara Region. Decreases in planted area in Oromia and in SNNPRS of the order of 3-5 percent and an increase of 5 percent in Tigray Region reflect different anticipations by farmers of price prospects.

    3.3 Yields

    This year, the yields observed by the Mission were disappointing compared to the 1996 harvest data obtained from Zonal Agricultural Offices. Delayed and reduced cultivation practices, poor rainfall at flowering, seed-set and grain fill, and early rain stop were reported in all regions. The lowlands were particularly badly affected, causing partial failure of sorghum crops reflected in correspondingly reduced yield data. In mid-altitude/highland areas yields were better but even in traditionally good rainfall areas the extreme variation of precipitation meant that average yields were reduced below 1995 levels before the onset of the heavy rains in October and November. Furthermore, the continuation of heavy late rains has reduced yields through a combination of factors, including: physical damage, increased seed drop, vulnerability to fungal attacks, pre-harvest sprouting, delayed harvesting with associated increase in pest attacks, discolouration of grains, increased vulnerability to spoilage in on-field stacks and untimely threshing and storing of moist grains. Teff and pulses are felt to have been most affected by the late rains. The continuous high humidity has also raised concern with regard to the probable quality of seed for next year’s planting, particularly as some 95 percent of the crops will be sown with farmers’ own seed. By contrast late planted short cycle cereals have benefited from the late rains coinciding with seed set and grain fill which will compensate to some extent for the losses incurred in the earlier crops.

    The yield figures presented in Table 2 include estimates made of all types of losses on a zone-by-zone/crop-by-crop basis up to and including the Mission field visits in mid-November. It is, however, recommended that the assessment is updated as more information on the effect of the unusual rainfall becomes available, particularly if the rains continue into December.

    Factors affecting yield at national level other than rainfall were comparatively few. The only migratory pest of any consequence was reported to be army-worm. Army-worm attacks were reported in all zones in Tigray, in 80 percent of the zones of Amhara, in 25 percent of the zones in Oromia and on ex-State farms. In all cases, the migratory pest was controlled through a combination of pesticide spraying and cultural practices reducing its impact to local level. Quelea-quelea birds were reported in the eastern regions of Somali, Harar and two zones of Amhara (Oromia and North Shewa), where they were the subject of spraying campaigns and were controlled effectively.

    Non-migratory pests were, by and large, not considered to be of significant importance to warrant spraying campaigns except in Eastern and Central zones of Tigray, Weghamra and North Wollo. The most common pests throughout the country were stalk borer (maize) shoot fly (teff), cut worm and termites (all crops). The Wollo bush cricket was reported as prevalent in the rift valley zones. In North Shewa and Oromia, a black beetle was recorded as growing in significance as a non-migratory pest of sorghum. As a general rule, non-migratory pests this year were considered in all zones as less of a problem than last year.

    This year, until the late rains, plant diseases were also regarded as a minor problem compared to last year when rusts on barley and wheat were noted as major concerns in some localities. However, following the late rains, increased losses due to fungal attack on both standing and stored crops are expected; pulses were noted as being particularly susceptible.

    With regard to husbandry practices, poor early rain delayed and reduced the quality of cultivation, delayed sowing and, in East Gojam, was reported to have increased the probability of conflicting labour demands between weeding previously-planted long-cycle crops and sowing the short cycle grains. Poor water management also contributed to delays where the Meher rains were heavy, causing short term water logging of fields ready for sowing.

    More significantly, fertilizer use decreased nationally by about 20 percent. In 16 zones in Amhara, Oromia and SNPPR, fertilizer use dropped significantly. In the remaining 13 zones the annual use remained approximately the same. Only in the four zones in Tigray was there a significant increase in distribution and purchase. The reasons given for the decline in the other regions were:-

    3.4 Cereal and Pulse Production Forecast

    Normal harvesting patterns have been severely disrupted this year because of the late rains. In many northern zones, campaigns launched by zonal administrations had resulted in a speedy gathering of teff, wheat and barley and the creation of temporary stacks. In southern zones, the harvesting of sorghum, maize, wheat and barley has been delayed as mechanized farmers and peasants alike wait for the right opportunity to gain access to a dry crop.

    The Mission forecasts the production from the present Meher harvest of cereals and pulses at 8 786 000 tons, of which 38 percent will be maize and sorghum. Seventy-nine percent of the crop is expected to be produced in Amhara and Oromia.

    The forecast production is 25.6 percent below last year’s actual harvest recorded by zonal agricultural offices in their final evaluation of the 1996 Meher harvest.

    This year, government concern regarding the accuracy of Bureau of Agriculture (zonal agricultural offices of MoA) returns prompted the Mission to approach the Central Statistics Authority (CSA) for their estimates of the 1997 Meher harvest. Unfortunately, such estimates were not available at the time of report compilation. Last year’s CSA returns, which comprise the official government statistics for the year, indicated a cereal and pulse harvest of 9.3 million tons against FAO’s forecast 11.7 million tons and the Bureau of Agriculture’s post-harvest estimate of 11.8 million tons. Given that the average CSA yield of cereals and pulses was 20 percent higher than the other estimates, the source of the difference lies in area harvested. In this regard, glaring differences exist in Tigray and SNPPR, where the Regional Bureaux identify 50 percent more cropped land than CSA. In the other main agricultural areas the area differences are half as great but still very significant. Mission calculations to establish the verisimilitude of the 1997 MoA area returns (after subtracting private farm and ex-state farm holdings, and adjusting for population increases since the 1994 census) suggest average household cereal and pulse land use in the main agricultural regions to be: Tigray 1.1 hectares; Amhara 1.4 hectares; Oromia 1.2 hectares and SNPPR 0.6 hectares. These seem to be within expected norms.

    The confusion created by the dual sets of data needs to be sorted out as soon as possible. For the sake of continuity and because only the Regional Agricultural Bureaux maintain an established network of professional staff in all zones and worredas (districts) in the country and have provided data to the Mission for the 1997 season, the Mission’s findings are based on returns as collected directly from zonal agricultural offices. In this regard, the Mission has adopted a policy consistent with the approaches of DPPC and other agencies, who use worreda/zonal agricultural office data for calculations of needs.

    Table 1 provides estimates of areas and forecast production for all cereal crops and pulses by Region. A comparison with last year’s post-harvest review figures is given in Table 2. In all cases, area data are based on Bureau of Agriculture data; yields per hectare have been adjusted by the Mission to accommodate findings during Mission surveys. The production does not include latest planting of pulses and early maturing cereals undertaken by farmers attempting to capitalize on the late rains in many northern zones, which means that figures will need to be updated in January/February to determine a more accurate picture of grain availability.

    Table 1 - Ethiopia: Area ('000 ha ) and Production ('000 tons) of cereals and pulses - 1997/98 Meher Season

    TIGRAY  Area  170.6  115.7  89.7  107.9  0.6  -
    Prod.  68.4  59.9  47.6  53.5  0.3  -
    AFAR  Area  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A
    Prod.  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A
    AMHARA  Area  1 085.1  531.7  502.3  233.6  42.9  1.2
    Prod.  603.9  451.9  460.8  162.9  31.4  2.3
    OROMIA  Area  1 037.7  589.7  773.7  66.7  40.8  -
    Prod.  581.6  676.1  946.3  40.7  32.9  -
    SOMALI  Area  N/A  9.0  5.5  1.8  -
    Prod.  N/A  1.8  1.1  0.2  -
    SNNPRS  Area  225.4  177.4  162.1  1.7  0.2  -
    Prod.  120.9  152.4  172.8  1.1  0.1  -
    BENSHANGUL  Area  14.1  1.3  2.6  17.2  1.1
    Prod.  8.3  1.2  2.4  12.0  1.3
    DIRE DAWA  Area  -
    ADDIS ABABA  Area  4.0  0.3  3.0  -
    Prod.  2.4  0.2  3.0  -
    GAMBELA  Area  0.3  -
    Prod.  0.2  -
    HARAR  Area  0.4  -
    Prod.  0.2  -
    ETHIOPIA  Area  2 537.0  1 425.1  1 539.4  427.4  86.4  2.3
    Prod.  1 385.5  1 343.4  1 634.1  270.4  64.9  3.6

    Table 1 (cont.)

    TIGRAY  Area  74.8  263.2  49.1  871.7  56.5  928.3
    Prod.  65.6  183.0  20.1  498.3  17.7  516.0
    AFAR  Area  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A
    Prod.  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A
    AMHARA  Area  284.9  523.8  3 205.5  692.4  3 897.8
    Prod.  330.3  446.3  2 489.9  325.7  2 815.6
    OROMIA  Area  898.2  594.1  4 001.0  582.6  4 583.6
    Prod.  1 120.8  448.6  3 846.9  266.7  4 113.6
    SOMALI  Area  29.6  36.5  82.4  N/A  82.4
    Prod.  7.4  7.3  17.8  N/A  17.8
    SNNPRS  Area  472.6  97.0  1 136.5  185.1  1 321.6
    Prod.  558.1  87.0  1 092.4  87.4  1 179.9
    BENSHANGUL  Area  39.0  49.2  124.5  6.8  131.3
    Prod.  41.7  43.5  110.2  3.6  113.8
    DIRE DAWA  Area  2.0  2.0  2.0
    Prod.  0.8  0.8  0.8
    ADDIS ABABA  Area  N/A  7.3  2.0  9.3
    Prod.  N/A  5.6  0.5  6.1
    GAMBELA  Area  10.1  2.7  13.3  N/A  13.3
    Prod.  8.4  1.4  10.0  N/A  10.0
    HARAR  Area  3.1  8.4  11.9  0.3  12.2
    Prod.  4.4  7.8  12.4  0.2  12.6
    ETHIOPIA  Area  1 812.3  1 577.0  49.1  9 456.1  1 525.7  10 981.8
    Prod.  2 136.7  1 225.6  20.1  8 084.3  701.8  8 786.1

    Note: Totals derived from unrounded data.

    Table 2 - Ethiopia: Cereals and Pulses Production : Comparison of 1996/97 and 1997/98 Meher Season

    Region  Year  Area ('000 ha)  Production ('000 tons)  Area ('000 ha)  Production ('000 tons)  Area ('000 ha)  Production ('000 tons)
    TIGRAY  1996/97  824.6  723.4  61.1  27.7  885.7  751.0
    1997/98  871.7  498.3  56.5  17.7  928.3  516.0
    AFAR  1996/97  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A
    1997/98  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A
    AMHARA  1996/97  3 196.3  3 211.5  690.3  424.4  3 886.7  3 635.9
    1997/98  3 205.5  2 489.9  692.4  325.7  3 897.8  2 815.6
    OROMIA  1996/97  4 105.6  5 444.3  578.7  390.7  4 684.3  5 835.0
    1997/98  4 001.0  3 846.9  582.6  266.7  4 583.6  4 113.6
    SOMALI  1996/97  85.3  27.3  85.3  27.3
    1997/98  82.4  17.8  82.4  17.8
    SNNPRS  1996/97  1 172.1  1 283.0  221.4  157.7  1 393.5  1 440.7
    1997/98  1 136.5  1 092.4  185.1  87.4  1 321.6  1 179.9
    BENSHANGUL  1996/97  102.3  92.8  7.9  4.1  110.2  96.9
    1997/98  124.5  110.2  6.8  3.6  131.3  113.8
    DIRE DAWA  1996/97  7.6  6.1  7.6  6.1
    1997/98  2.0  0.8  2.0  0.8
    ADDIS ABABA  1996/97  7.1  8.8  2.2  1.4  9.3  10.2
    1997/98  7.3  5.6  2.0  0.5  9.3  6.1
    GAMBELA  1996/97  8.7  10.9  0.2  0.2  8.9  11.1
    1997/98  13.3  10.0  13.3  10.0
    HARAR  1996/97  10.3  16.3  0.3  0.3  10.6  16.6
    1997/98  11.9  12.4  0.3  0.2  12.2  12.6
    ETHIOPIA 1/  1996/97  9 519.9  10 824.4  1 562.1  1 006.5  11 082.1  11 830.8
    1997/98  9 456.1  8 084.3  1 525.7  701.8  10 981.8  8 786.1

    1/ 1996/97 - MoA updated post-harvest figures corrected by Mission from zonal agricultural officers.
    Note: Totals derived from unrounded data.

    3.5 Other crops

    Crops contributing to household income and nutrition vary from north to south and from east to west. In the north, the major contributors are oilseeds such as nuq, sesame and linseed. At peasant level the most common crop is nuq, which is expected to have reduced yields this year due to its susceptibility to shattering under heavy late rains; however, the area is estimated to have increased in Tigray and Amhara regions. Sesame production from the concession farmers in the north-west is expected to be lower for the same reason and because of reduced areas as producers switched to sorghum following surplus sesame production and marketing difficulties last year.

    Coffee and chatt as perennial crops in the southern zones will have benefited overall from the additional rains, although reports of increased coffee berry disease and physical damage were received by Mission teams at some localities.

    Enset and roots and tubers grown predominantly in Oromia and SNNPR are expected to have received a boost in production from the late rains. Apart from the possibility of localized flooding delaying late season planting, no adverse effects of the late rains were recorded. In two zones in SNPPR (Sidama and Gedeo) the area under enset was said to have increased by around 6 percent suggesting slightly reduced usage last year. In all other zones the area was said to be the same.

    Bacterial wilt continues to appear in enset. Sanitisation involving extraction and burning and eliminating cross-contamination by using different tools when processing infected plants, remain the only methods of control.

    3.6 Livestock situation

    Due to the poor Belg rains, livestock of all types entered the Meher season in a poorer condition than last year. This situation was exacerbated by prolonged dry spells in the lowland agro-pastoralist areas during July, August and September. At the end of September, in these areas, livestock prices fell to some 30 percent of last year’s prices as agro-pastoralists off-loaded stock to avoid exorbitant food and water charges and high levels of mortality. Also, increased and early migrations of agro-pastoralists from Afar and South Tigray to relief areas in Chefa were reported; similar migrations from Central Tigray to the Western Tigray lowlands and translocations within normally forage-secure zones caused administrative and agency concern for the food security of livestock dependent households.

    From early October onwards, unusual rains have reversed the situation throughout the country. Forage has become abundant in most livestock rearing areas, agro-pastoralists have returned to their domains and prices have recovered to pre-summer levels in most areas. The Mission noted that body condition of stock was improving in all zones. Livestock in localities with high density farm populations, where the harvest had been delayed, were improving less quickly.


    4.1 Tigray

    Tigray, the northern-most region of Ethiopia bordering Sudan and Eritrea, is divided into four administrative zones. With a cultivated area of some 0.9 million hectares it normally contributes around 5 percent of the national harvest. Because of the high population density in the Central, Eastern and Southern zones, the Region is traditionally a food deficit area. Since the end of the civil strife, however, increasing investment by concession farmers in the lowlands of West Tigray zone has boosted the overall production from the Region. This notwithstanding, the average peasant farmer remains vulnerable as farm sizes are limited and rainfall unpredictable. This year, the Belg rains were late and subsequent rainfall erratic, with prolonged dry spells in the eastern and southern lowlands and very variable precipitation elsewhere. Indeed, the worredas of Atsbi and Wombatu in the highlands of the eastern zone may have had their best rain for many years. For the rest of the worredas in all zones except the far west, precipitation in quantity and distribution was disappointing. The spate flood irrigated sorghum crops in the southern lowlands failed as the escarpment run-off was unusually limited and underground stores located on farms, which generally hold one-to-two year reserves according to key informants, were observed to have been opened recently on two farms visited. The northern worredas of the Western, Central and Eastern zones were also noted to be producing much less than normal due to poor rain at flowering and grainfill with the sorghum crop being particularly poor.

    Late replanting of failed long-cycle crop areas and opportunistic planting of areas already harvested increased the demand for teff, sassa (early maturing) barley and chickpea seeds as farmers tried to capitalise on late rains. Credit has been extended to accommodate farmers’ requests for assistance in late seed purchase.

    Regarding pests and diseases, this year’s local campaigns were successfully completed throughout the Region against army worm, the only migratory pest noted by the Mission. Further, due to local farmer pressure at district level, campaigns were also directed against stalk borer and shoot fly, involving the use of free pesticides and Bureau of Agriculture staff support in the Central and Eastern zones.

    Striga was identified as the major weed and campaigns to eliminate it have been launched by the Bureau of Agriculture throughout the Region.

    As a result of the foregoing, the Mission forecasts a harvest of 0.516 million tons, which is 5.9 percent of the national crop this year. The forecast is 69 percent of last year’s Regional Bureau estimates and 91 percent of last year’s CSA estimates, which were based on a much reduced (45 percent) cultivated area.

    Fifty-six percent of production is expected to come from the western worredas of West Tigray where the rains were better and the main concession farms are located.

    4.2 Afar

    The Afar region, located in the north-east of Ethiopia constitutes a low-lying plateau accommodating camel and small ruminant pastoralists. Agricultural areas include both traditional and modern irrigated production of cotton and, to a lesser extent, cereals. The traditional schemes depend on run-off from the escarpments to the west and the modern schemes, on pumped ground water.

    Despite a Mission team visiting the area, no data on area or yield of cereals and pulses could be obtained as the relevant data were unavailable. Given the importance of livestock in the Region, the Mission was able to identify that the Meher season had been particularly poor, causing increased morbidity and mortality, tumbling prices and migration to relief areas in Amhara Region. Heavy rains in October and November have lessened the concern of agro-pastoralists, herds and flocks have returned to traditional domains and prices of stock have increased as forage has become increasingly available.

    It is clear that in keeping with the concept of regular monitoring, further visits to Afar region early in 1998 will be necessary to monitor the situation and to identify local requirements.

    4.3 Amhara

    The ten administrative zones that comprise Amhara region produce around 32 percent of the national harvest. Some 85 percent of the potential arable land is presently cultivated indicating a high farming population density. Although in general, the higher the altitude the greater the rainfall, this year’s rainfall was unevenly distributed in time and space even in areas that are usually rain-secure, although lowland areas were particularly dry in the middle of the season.

    Late and poor Belg rains devastated the minor Belg harvest in the Wollo zones and delayed cultivation elsewhere in the Region.

    In the main production areas of Gojam, Gondor, Agewawie and North Shewa, a timely start to the Meher season was followed by variable precipitation which, nevertheless, supported crop development as confirmed by optimistic early returns from zonal agricultural offices and the expectations of the Gojam-Gondor ex-state farm enterprises where maize yields of 3.6 tons per hectare are forecast. Subsequent late rains have lowered expectations at peasant farm level due to on-field and in-stack losses.

    Variable rainfall in valley areas and the lowlands in the Region has brought about a 15 percent reduction of area under long-cycle cereals which were planted or replanted to short cycle grains, thus lowering probable production. Fertilizer use was reduced in East Gojam, West Gojam and South Wollo as a result of higher prices and late credit availability. Elsewhere, fertilizer sales were level with last year. By contrast, the National Extension Programme plots increased in number throughout the region. At the time of the Mission no returns from the plots had been analysed.

    Army-worm outbreaks were reported in eight out of ten zones. The infestations were controlled through campaigns which involved spraying some 1 000-2 000 hectares in each zone. Late season Quelea quelea outbreaks were also controlled by spraying in North Shewa and Oromia zones.

    Non-migratory pest attacks were noted to have been insignificant in all zones except Waghemra and North Wollo, where free pesticides were offered. Stalk borer (maize) shoot fly (teff) and black beetle (sorghum) were considered to be the most troublesome pests. Aphids, Wollo bush cricket, grasshoppers and birds other than Quelea quelea were also reported as present throughout the eastern/central zones.

    Late and less than optimal cultivation practices were reported to have increased weed competition in East Gojam. However, with regard to weeds, the appearance of congress weed (Partenium spp) is a cause for concern in North and South Wollo where it was observed to be choking teff, wheat and barley fields on an increasing scale.

    In consequence of the foregoing, the Mission’s harvest forecast for the 1997/98 Meher season in Amhara is 2 816 000 tons from 3 898 000 hectares, which is 23 percent below last year’s harvest estimate by the Regional Bureau’s zonal agricultural offices and 2 percent below last year’s CSA estimate based on an area some 27 percent smaller than the Regional Bureau’s estimate.

    4.4 Oromia

    Oromia, the largest region, consists of a "T" shaped land mass extending from almost the Sudanese border across central Ethiopia to the eastern border with Somalia and to the southern border with Kenya. The Region is divided into twelve administrative zones of varying size and production potential. The three most important agriculturally are Arsi and East Shewa and West Shewa, which usually provide some 50 percent of the Region’s cereal and pulse harvest. The large land mass encompasses a full range of agro-ecological zones, including the productive highland plateau, as well as drought prone valley bottoms and lowland plains.

    In four of the zones the rainfall is identifiably bi-modal with the potential to produce a Belg harvest (defined as February-March planted crops harvested in or before August). This year, however, the Belg rains were late, low and erratic. As a result, the Belg harvest was extremely poor throughout the Region. Further, the Belg rains elsewhere in the Region, which generally afford the opportunity for timely and quality cultivation prior to the main rains, were also several weeks late, negatively affecting cultivation practices in West Shewa, East Shewa and Arsi, and initiated switches from long-cycle to short-cycle grains in other zones.

    Late and erratic main season rain in West and East Harerghearghe seriously affected sorghum development in the lowland areas.

    Unusually heavy late rains began in October following a prolonged dry spell in September. The rains were still evident in late November. Their effect in the Region’s main wheat and barley growing area has been to slow grain drying, encourage pre-harvest germination, cause discolouration of grains, increase predisposition to fungal attack and prevent a timely harvest on both the mechanized and peasant farms. Seed drop in teff standing crop also increased and was exacerbated by the need to move the cut sheaths several times to facilitate drying where the crop was harvested in wet conditions. Pulses were considered to be particularly vulnerable to a range of pests, diseases and grain discolouration. Unharvested maize and sorghum were also observed to be suffering from increased pest attacks. Seed quality next year is likely to be affected; so that, as most farmers use their own carryover seed stocks, next year’s production prospects appear unfavourable.

    Late planted grain crops, newly planted roots and tubers and perennial forages are likely to have benefited from the continuous rains, which will help compensate for the anticipated losses.

    Other factors adversely affecting production in Oromia region this Meher season included dramatic increases in fertilizer price, exacerbated by reduced access to credit. The removal of the subsidy on fertilizers increased prices by some 30 percent; at the same time the exclusion of borrowers who were slow to repay their loans reduced the purchase and application of fertilizers in eight out of the twelve zones. Among the main grain producing zones, only in Arsi was fertilizer use on a par with last year.

    Regarding migratory pests, army-worm was noted as having been identified and controlled in three zones out of twelve. The incidence of other pests, diseases and weeds were considered, on the whole, to be non-significant, except for the occurrence of leaf blight on maize in West Wellega. Stalk borers, termites, leaf-eating ladybirds, boll worm and aphids were noted throughout the region as present at levels of infestations not warranting free distribution of chemicals.

    Livestock condition, which, in the eastern and southern zones was seriously affected by lack of forage in July, August and September, is recovering as a result of the late rains. In central and western zones the livestock condition was noted to be good.

    The coffee crop was reported by farmers to be susceptible to berry drop as a result of heavy rains. Coffee berry disease was recorded as a problem, but no more severe than in previous years, except that fungicides were not available at prices the farmers could afford.

    In consequence of the foregoing, the Mission forecasts production of cereals and pulses from Oromia region to be 4 114 000 tons from 4 584 000 hectares. This production is 70 percent of the "actual" production recorded post-harvest by zonal agricultural offices and 98 percent of the CSA 1996 estimates from an area identified to be 25 percent smaller.

    4.5 SNNPRS

    Located in the south and south western part of Ethiopia, the Southern Nations People's Region encompasses 11 zones and five worredas. Bimodal rainfall is the rule rather than the exception in a region that includes both rain forests and semi-arid zones.

    In keeping with the national pattern, Belg rains were late and poor, decimating the Belg crops. The late Belg rains also reduced the opportunity for early cultivation, adversely affecting crop yields. Area cultivated was down by 6 percent on last year due to farmers’ pessimism leading to reduced planting of sorghum, teff and pulses. Thereafter, the main season rainfall was very variable with prolonged dry spells on the lowlands and occasionally heavy rain in October and November.

    Eighty-four percent of the cultivated land of the Region is located in five zones; the remaining six zones and five special worredas contribute little in the way of cereals and pulses to the economy of the region. Of the five zones, apart from North Omo, production in Sidama, Gurage, Hadiya and Kembatu was similar to last year until the spoiling effect of late rains on pulses and teff. In North Omo, an extended dry spell from mid-July to September affected the development of most crops, with an associated adverse affect on yields.

    Fertilizer use was reduced in Hadiya and Gurage because of increased prices but levels of sale were sustained elsewhere.

    Throughout the zones, all common pests were noted as present, including stalk borers, boll worm, termites and leaf cutting ladybirds. However, none were considered to be above the normal level generally tolerated by the farming community. No migratory pests were reported to Mission teams during the field visits.

    Livestock condition was generally good in the high rainfall areas and the coffee crop, though subject to physically induced berry drop and coffee berry disease, was noted to be normal.

    In consequence of the foregoing, the Mission forecasts production at 1.180 million tons of cereals and pulses from 1.322 million hectares. This production is 81 percent of the zonal agricultural offices’ actual estimates obtained post-harvest last year from a slightly decreased area. By contrast, it is 24 percent higher than last year’s CSA figures based on an area some 44 percent less than Bureau of Agriculture estimates.

    4.6 Benshangul

    Production figures from Benshangul indicate a 17 percent increase in cereals and pulses due to the inclusion of Tonga special worreda and a doubling of the reported cultivated area in Kemashi zones.

    The Mission teams did not visit Benshangul. Area and production data were obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture/DPPC sources in Addis Ababa. A harvest of 0.114 million tons of cereals and pulses from 0.131 million hectares is estimated, which is 17 percent above last year’s Regional Bureau figure but 10 percent lower than the CSA figure for an area recognized as being 40 percent smaller than Bureau of Agriculture estimates.

    4.7 Somali

    Qualitative and quantitative returns indicate that the season has been far worse than last year. Rainfall was one month late, low and erratic, stopping early in September but then starting again in abundance, in keeping with the national pattern, in October and November.

    Seed for replanting was reported to have been a problem solved by interventions from NGOs and the Regional Bureau of Agriculture. The use of fertilizers fell dramatically due to a combination of high prices and untimely rainfall.

    Migratory pests this year were army worm and Quelea quelea. The pests were subject to aerial spraying campaigns. Non-migratory pests such as stalk borers were reported as troublesome but remained untreated due to high price/low availability of pesticides.

    The adverse effect of the long dry spells on livestock worsened its condition and led to reduced production, migrations and distress selling, causing prices to fall by 60-70 percent. Such problems were alleviated by the heavy late rains which improved forage conditions and reversed the downward trend. Unquantified livestock losses due to localized flooding were also reported to the Mission.

    The Mission cereal and pulse production forecast for Somali is 17 800 tons from 82 400 hectares, reflecting yields lower than anywhere else in the country for all crops. The production is 74 percent of the Regional Bureau’s and 38 percent of CSA’s estimate of last year’s production.

    4.8 Harar

    Mission reports from Harar indicate a familiar pattern of failed rains, seed shortages for replanting, army-worm and Quelea quelea attacks. The overall cultivated area was reported to have increased over last year’s Regional Bureau report by 20 percent to 12 155 hectares, producing an estimated 12 600 tons of cereals and pulses. The production is 30 percent less than last year’s Bureau of Agriculture estimates, but three times more than last year’s CSA estimates.

    4.9 Dire Dawa

    The Mission team visiting Dire Dawa reported a pattern of late, low and erratic rains culminating in excessive rain at harvest time. Seed availability was not a problem, as all farmers had adequate seed stocks to cover initial planting and any replanting required. Fertilizers, though available were not purchased in any quantity because of price increases. Army-worm outbreaks were controlled by aerial spraying.

    Due to adverse rain conditions, the area cultivated fell dramatically compared to last year. The forecast production is only 800 tons of cereals from an estimated 2 000 hectares, which is only 13 percent of last year’s Regional Agriculture Bureau post harvested recorded figure.

    4.10 Gambella and Addis Ababa,

    Returns from Addis Ababa and Gambella were provided by MoA/DPPC sources based on worreda/zonal agricultural office collections. The Gambella returns show an increased hectarage due to more accurate reporting this year but reduced production by some 12 percent to 10 000 tons. The area cultivated in Addis Ababa is identical to last year but reduced yields due to late rain damage have decreased production to 6 055 tons.

    5. 1997 BELG HARVEST

    The 1997 Belg harvest was recognized throughout the country as a failure due to the lateness and paucity of the Belg rains. The Belg is the minor season, with rains that fall from February to June, normally supporting crop production in North Omo, South Tigray, North Shewa, North Wollo, South Wollo, Arsi and Bale. In these zones the anticipated harvest was reduced by at least 40 percent in most areas creating hardship and the need for food assistance. For instance, in North Wollo the 1997 Belg harvest estimate was 17 900 tons of cereals and 1 200 tons of pulses compared to 37 000 tons and 2 900 tons for 1996. South Wollo’s production of pulses and cereals was estimated at around 19 000 tons compared to some 40 000 tons in a good year. In South Tigray, the Belg rains did not begin until March and failed generally in April and May, virtually eliminating any major contribution from a planted area which is usually not more than 5 000-10 000 hectares.

    Estimated production from the Belg varies according to the season’s definition, a factor that has continuously bedevilled reporting procedures. It is worth reiterating that for Mission purposes Belg harvest is defined as cereals and pulses planted in February and March that are harvested in or before August in the same year. Long cycle crops planted in the Belg season and harvested alongside Meher season crops are considered, therefore, with the Meher main season crops. Roots and tubers are not included in the analysis. Consumption of these and other foodcrops is accounted for when estimating the annual per caput cereal and pulse consumption. Similarly, green maize used in or prior to August is counted with the Belg, whereas the main maize crop used later in the year is included in Meher production estimates. In years such as 1996 when the Belg rains merge with Meher, the differences become even more artificial.

    In the Mission’s balance sheet, a forecast of the future Belg harvest is incorporated to project the 1997/98 annual production. Traditionally, Missions have opted for a conservative estimate, anticipating a less than average scenario.

    The seven zones constituting the main Belg producing areas as defined above have been estimated to produce 348 000 tons in 1993, 278 000 tons in 1994, 395 000 tons in 1995, 440 000 tons in 1996 and 170 000 tons in 1997. Last year’s poor harvest notwithstanding, the Mission has included a Belg harvest of 320 000 tons in the balance sheet, which anticipates the longer term beneficial effect of the continuing late rains. The production is made up of an anticipated 300 000 tons of cereals and 20 000 tons of pulses. The prognosis is also good for the root and tuber crops next Belg season if the rains are sustained.


    6.1 Prices

    Wholesale prices for all major cereals at the beginning of the 1997 Meher harvest were substantially above last year’s levels, reflecting tighter supplies and traders’ expectations of a reduced harvest in comparison to last year (Table 3). In October 1997, average national white maize prices in the 26 major markets monitored by the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) and the Grain Market Research Project (GMRP) were 40 percent above last year’s levels at this time. Those for white barley were 57 percent higher, followed by wheat and sorghum with an increase of about 20 percent. Price increases were least pronounced in the case of mixed teff which registered an average increase of 13 percent. These increases are not surprising, given the particularly low price levels in the wake of last year’s bumper harvest, but are significant when seen in the context of a low consumer price inflation rate, officially forecast at negative levels for 1996/97 (July/June). In the long term trend, the October 1997 prices are generally below comparable levels in 1995 and 1994, especially in the case of white maize.

    Over the last three months, cereal prices did not show much volatility. The marked decline of maize prices in October 1997 over the preceding month (-10 percent) should have been manifest in teff as well. Traditionally, grain prices tend to fall in October since production from the new season starts reaching the market at this time. The onset of price declines on a larger scale than actually observed could have been expected. Yet teff prices, which during the August to October period last year registered a marked decline (-6 percent), actually increased (+1.4 percent) during the same period this year, probably reflecting traders’ perception of reduced harvest prospects in the face of the unseasonal late rains and delayed market supplies. Prices of barley, wheat and sorghum continued to increase somewhat over the last three months; this is normal, considering that these crops generally reach the market later in the year.

    Table 3: National Average Cereal Prices August-October 1997 and Same Period 1996, in Birr/Quintal 1/

    1996  1997  %Change
    Cereals  Aug.  Sept.  Oct.  Aug.  Sept.  Oct.  Oct. 97/ Oct. 96
    Mixed teff  177.90  174.79  167.81  186.58  187.84  189.18  +13
    White barley  118.55  122.42  120.23 
    161.21  189.18  +57
    White wheat  143.62  147.97  152.52  181.12  183.57  183.01  +20
    White sorghum  129.54  133.99  137.64  159.15  161.74  166.91  +21
    White maize  78.19  76.81  79.69  123.30  124.17  111.89  +40

    1/ Average of 26 markets country-wide
    Source: Grain Market Research Project (GMRP) New Market Information System (MIS) database, November 1997

    National averages conceal sharp regional variations. October 1997 prices for maize, for example, ranged from 69 Birr/qt in Alaba to 112 Birr in Chagni and even higher values in other locations. Teff prices ranged from 173 Birr/qt in Hossana to 273 Birr in Mekele, wheat prices from 149 Birr in Bale Robe to 263 Birr in Mekele, and sorghum prices from 103 Birr (Chagni) to 225 Birr (Mekele). Cereal prices in Asmara/Eritrea were generally substantially higher than Ethiopian prices, suggesting the prospect of continued transborder flows of cereals from Ethiopia into Eritrea. To a lesser extent, this also holds true for maize price ratios between Ethiopian and Kenyan markets; Nairobi and Mombassa registered maize prices in October 1997 of the equivalent of 153.50 Birr/qt and 129.90 Birr, respectively.

    6.2 Food Supply and Demand Balance Forecast for 1998

    The Mission’s forecast of the cereal and pulses supply/demand balance and respective import requirements for 1998 is summarized in Table 4.

    Table 4: Ethiopia: Total Grains Balance Sheet, January-December 1998 (000 tons)
    Population 1/7/98: 57.82 million

    Total Grains
    Domestic availability  9 706
    Opening stocks  600
    Production  9 106
    1997/98 Meher  8 786
    1998 Belg  320
    Total utilization  10 236
    Food Use  7 806
    Feed Use  160
    Other uses/losses  1 560
    Transborder exports  150
    Closing stocks  560
    Import requirements 1/  530
    - commercial imports  110
    - relief food aid  420
    . 1998 arrivals of 1997 pledges  48
    . new pledges required  372

    1/ It must be stressed that population estimates in Ethiopia vary by large margins. If the highest estimate of 62.17 million were used, the estimated import requirement would increase by 587 000 tons to 1.12 million tons.

    On the supply side, the Mission assumes opening stocks in the order of 600 000 tons, basing its estimates on reports from the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE), private trading companies, research by the Grain Market Research Project (GMRP), and WFP estimates concerning food aid stocks. This includes: 52 000 tons of cereals held by EGTE, 150 000 tons estimated to be held by wholesale traders, 50 000 tons estimated to be held by state farms, private trading companies and mills, 330 000 tons estimated to be stored on net surplus producing peasant farms (equivalent to one month’s household consumption) plus minor stocks on other peasant farms; according to WFP estimates, there will be no food aid stocks at the end of the year. Stocks of pulses are estimated at some 10 percent of cereal stocks. The aforementioned stocks do not include the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR), which is forecast to amount to 177 000 tons, as compared to its target of 307 000 tons.

    On the consumption/utilization side, the Mission assumes a population of 57.822 million on 1 July 1998, based on the CSA publications of the 1994 census results by regions which project the mid-1998 population figure, excluding Somali Region at 55.1 million, as well as on WFP population estimate for Somali Region of 2.68 million people. The July 1998 figure is below last year’s Mission estimate of 58.4 million for 1 July 1997, based on information made available at that time by the Government. Other estimates of current population put it as high as 62 million. Per caput grains consumption has been calculated on the basis of the long-term consumption levels of 123 kg/year of cereals and 12 kg of pulses. On the basis of the current consumption figures, any upward or downward adjustment of the population estimate by 1 million people would result in an increase or decrease of projected food import requirements by 135 000 tons. It is therefore imperative that a consensus be reached on an acceptable population figure for next year’s crop forecast.

    Feed use is forecast to be negligible (less than 2 percent). Other uses and losses are estimated at 17 percent of production, including 9.5 percent of post-harvest losses, 5.8 percent of seed use (seeding rates: 20kg/ha for teff, 100 kg for wheat and barley, 25 kg for maize, 15 kg for sorghum) and about 2 percent for beer brewing; the latter estimate may be considered on the low side. Post-harvest losses assume a higher than usual loss for teff in the light of the heavy recent rains (3 percent instead of the usual 1 percent), while maize losses have been reduced from 25 to 20 percent on the assumption that this crop season’s storage time will be considerably shorter than normal, considering the reduced cereal output. Other cereal losses are put at 7 percent.

    There are no reliable figures on cereal exports and unofficial transborder movements to neighbouring countries, notably Eritrea and Kenya, as well as Somalia and Sudan. Last year’s bumper harvest and resulting low prices are likely to have boosted official and unofficial exports; between 120 000 and 240 000 tons of cereals may have gone to Eritrea alone. Some 50 000 tons of maize were officially exported by the EGTE to Kenya. Lower production and significantly higher prices in Ethiopia in 1998 will reduce exports. But given the current price differential between Ethiopia and its neighbours, the Mission estimates at some 150 000 tons the transborder exports of cereals. At the same time, the issue of commercial imports needs a fresh review. In the past, import requirements have been essentially equated with food aid imports. Given the current state of Ethiopia’s economy and the interest of private trading companies to engage in grains imports, the Mission consider that part of the grain deficit could be covered commercially. As to closing stocks, the forecast tight grains supply situation in 1998 suggests to the Mission a further drawdown of stocks, which could fall to precariously low levels.

    On the basis of these assumptions, the Mission estimates total grains import requirements of 530 000 tons. While this represents a considerable grains shortfall in comparison with the two preceding good crop years, it compares favourably with the "closer-to-normal" year of 1994/95, when much higher import requirements were anticipated, amounting to about 1 million tons.

    6.3 Food Aid Requirements

    6.3.1 Review of food aid distribution in 1997

    In November 1996, the Joint FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment mission estimated a relief requirement of 186 000 tons of cereals for 1997, covering the needs of 1.9 million persons in pockets suffering from crop failure caused by pest and climatic factors as well as structural deficit due to shortage of land, plough oxen and income earning opportunities. The mission estimated a carryover stock and pipeline of 171 000 tons, leaving an unmet shortfall of 15 000 tons of cereals. The mission concluded that relief requirements could be met through local purchase if funding were made available.

    The Government of Ethiopia‘s Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC ) launched an appeal in December 1996 estimating the needs at 220 000 tons with a carryover of 140 000 tons, leaving a shortfall of 80 000 tons to be covered.

    During the course of 1997, a number of factors and events have taken place, changing the initial scenario considerably. Following discussions between WFP, DPPC and the concerned donors, the carryover stocks and pipeline have been reduced to take into account regular programme food aid which is not allocated to districts targeted for relief distribution in 1997. The carryover was adjusted to 127 920 tons of cereals.

    In terms of needs, a drought in the pastoralist rangelands of Oromia and Somali regions due to the failure of the November-December 1996/97 short rains, affected some 986 000 persons for whom DPPC appealed for an additional 80 000 tons of cereals. The result of this failure, which also affected northern Kenya, was widespread shortages of water and pasture exacerbated by cross border migrations from Kenya and Somalia, and thus a deterioration of the livestock conditions, the main source of food for these pastoral populations.

    In addition, the highly vulnerable area of North Omo zone in SNNPR witnessed an exceptional and significant drop in nutritional status of the population , due to food shortages caused by excessive rainfall and crop damage during the 1996 Meher season, and the delay in commencement of the short rains which are important for the development of root and legume crops which form a significant part of the food supply in that area. In Amhara region, crop damages by pest and unseasonably heavy rain resulted in revision of the estimated relief requirements upwards by some 18 percent.

    Taking the above factors into account , the level of relief requirements was revised upwards to 329,450 tons covering 3.3 million persons by DPPC estimates. In addition, DPPC assessments undertaken to determine the impact of the Belg rain failure concluded that an additional 98 000 tons are required to cover the needs of 1.2 million persons. Although the Belg harvest accounts for only 5-10 percent of total annual production, for some worredas (districts) it accounts for 75-85 percent of total production.

    Total relief food requirements estimated by DPPC for 1997 stood at 427 800 tons for 4.5 million beneficiaries. As at end October 1997, DPPC reported distributions amounting to some 267 400 tons. The current Mission estimates that total relief distribution in 1997 will amount to 305 902 tons. Heavy reliance on loans from the Emergency Food Security Reserve has been crucial to carrying out the reported distributions.

    Total availability in 1997 of 353 435 tons, comprised:
    - DPPC and NGO stocks and pledges carried over (1996 to 1997)  127 920 tons
    - 1997 pledges  185 515 tons 
    - 1997 regular resources addressing relief needs  40 000 tons

    The carryover into 1998 is estimated to amount to 47,533 tons, which however are not physical stocks but pledges from the current year which are expected to arrive in the country after 31 December 1997. The DPPC reported that all physical stocks it holds will be exhausted by the end of 1997. It is clear that in the absence of actual end-of-the-year distribution data, it is not possible to be precise with regard to the expected carry over stock, and the carryover figure given above is a best estimate which may require revision once total distributions as at end December are established.

    A further conclusion to be drawn is that clarity is needed on the role of regular FFW activities in the affected areas and on the extent that these FFW distributions substitute for relief food aid needs, as well as the distinction between what constitutes relief food aid, which to the extent possible is distributed through EGS (Employment Generation Schemes), and regular development Food for Work conducted in the same affected areas. The planned workshop on methodologies should present a forum for clarifying both issues.

    6.3.2 Relief food aid in 1998

    Given the relatively poor performance of the 1997 Meher crops throughout the country, estimates of relief food aid needs for 1998 have risen sharply compared to the estimated needs for both 1996 and 1997. Based on Meher crop performance in 1995 and 1996, food aid needs for 1996 and 1997 were estimated at 290 700 tons and 186 000 tons respectively. In comparison, the Mission estimate of relief food aid needs for 1998 at 420 000 tons, represents an increase of 80 percent over the average estimates of the previous two years. If the food aid needs of the displaced are not considered, this year’s estimates of relief food aid are twice the average over the two previous years.

    The total number of beneficiaries, qualifying for relief food aid over an average period of 5 months is estimated at 5.35 million people. Of the total relief food aid needs, 40 percent is required for the Amhara region, 29 percent for the Tigray region, 17 percent for the Oromia region, and 6 percent for SNNPR. The balance is required for the rural worredas of Harar and Dire Dawa and for the displaced populations in the Amhara region and Addis Ababa, with a contingency of 6 percent which may be used in pastoral or other regions as needs arise.

    In particular, cereal crop production in the lowlands in the Eastern part of the country has suffered and in some of the lowlands (e.g. the Raya plains) cereal production was negligible. The areas hardest hit include the traditionally food deficit zones of Tigray, North and South Wollo, and Waghamra, but also include Western and Eastern Harerghe.

    As a result of the failure of the 1997 Belg rains, which also had a negative impact on the Meher crop, seasonal off-farm employment during harvest time has suffered, with a negative effect on the food security situation in a number of higher altitude zones, where people depend on the extra income earned in the lowlands. However, in estimating the relief food aid requirements for 1998, it is assumed that seasonal employment will be as usual, since there are no reasons at this moment to expect farmers not to prepare their land for the 1998 belg and meher crops.

    In quantifying relief food aid needs for 1998, it should be recalled that the assessment made in the present report, assumes, inter alia, a normal Belg production as well as normal preparations for the next harvest. It is, of course, possible that unexpected events may occur as happened in 1997, in which case relief food aid requirements have to be adjusted.

    Although more relief food aid is required than last year, people will still depend on the market for that part of their consumption requirements which is bought with the proceeds from non staple crop production, off farm employment, seasonal migration, cash crops, petty trade, selling of firewood, honey and livestock. Market prices for food are expected to increase steadily for the larger part of the year, at least until the new Meher harvest. While relief food aid will help people who do not have sufficient purchasing power to acquire food on the market, relief food does not contribute significantly to increasing the marketed supply of food. Therefore relief food this year needs to be accompanied by food imports and programme food aid.

    6.3.3 National early warning and monitoring activities

    Ethiopia has a well established system of early warning and monitoring of the food security situation, which reaches down to zones, worredas and peasant associations. A series of assessments are undertaken at various levels, starting at the level of peasant associations and worredas, at the zonal level, and ultimately by the Central DPPC office in Addis Ababa, based on the findings of assessment teams which visited the affected zones at around September/October. These assessments included participation by donors, international NGOs and WFP. This year, given the unseasonal and heavy rains that began in October, an additional round of DPPC team visits was organized in November 1997. Although these visits took place at the same time that the FAO/WFP teams carried out their field visits, the work of the Mission and that of DPPC was not sufficiently integrated. At least as concerns the food needs assessment part, there is a good case for a better interaction between DPPC and the Mission. This would have the advantage of the same information and facts being available to both parties. An even greater advantage would be in both parties applying the same methodology. As it is, and although methodologies used by DPPC and FAO/WFP do not differ conceptually - the same factors underlying food security are taken into consideration by both parties - the application and therefore the outcomes do differ in reality. This may lead to unnecessary confusion as long as it is not clear what explains the different outcomes. It has been agreed between WFP and the DPPC to organize a joint workshop in 1998 on methodological issues.

    In addition to the DPPC Early Warning Department, there is in Ethiopia a strong national early warning capacity as reflected by the ongoing work of USAID/EU Famine Early Warning System reports, the ongoing risk mapping activities of non-governmental organizations such as SCF(UK) and Care Ethiopia. The activities of the various organizations are interrelated and very much interdependent.

    6.3.4 WFP monitoring activities

    Although the Mission occurred over a four-week period, it is to be emphasized that the WFP VAM unit has been continuously collecting and analysing information from a number of sources on a variety of food security indicators which have been used to assess the relief food aid needs throughout the country. As a result, despite the limited duration of the actual Mission, members had ready access to substantial amounts of information relevant and key to their estimation of food aid needs.

    6.3.5 Relief food needs assessment methodology

    The methodology used in regard of the relief food needs assessment by the Mission is based on information collected at the worreda and zonal level, including field visits and discussions with farmers, NGOs and government officials. Data collection includes not only qualitative data but quantitative data as well, in particular with regard to agricultural production data collected by the Mission. While it is realized that data on non staple crop production, a major factor in assessing food aid needs, as communicated in the field are often qualitative, they were cross-checked with the permanent and updated data base maintained by the VAM unit of the WFP Addis Ababa office, which keeps track of the most recent surveys and studies available. They include partial surveys undertaken by DPPC, the MoA, CSA and SCF.

    Central to the assessment methodology is the classification of the affected areas (down to the worreda level) into agroecological or altitude zones, which permits the analysis of food security variables at a fairly low/local level of geographic disaggregation. Rural population estimates were generated for each affected area.

    A distinction was made between affected populations and potentially food aid eligible populations. The mission estimated that anywhere from one-half to three quarters of the affected population could be eligible for assistance. The 50-75 percent figure was applied on a zone and sometimes worreda specific basis, with decisions on which figure to use within that range taken on the basis of field observations.

    The major variables determining the estimated food gap for planned beneficiaries were the base/subsistence per caput need estimate of 224 kg/cap cereal equivalent, the performance of the 1997 Meher crop, the extent to which affected areas are staple crop dependent (relative to other sources of income) and the extent to which the affected areas are main/Meher season dependent.

    The base/subsistence level per caput need of 224 kg represents both food needs and non food essential basic needs. The value of the non essential items was estimated from the 1995/6 CSA Report on Household Income, Consumption and Expenditure Survey converted into cereal equivalents.

    The staple crop dependency and Meher season dependency (zonal MoA offices, key informants) were then considered together against the per caput base subsistence level need of 224 kg, to estimate how many cereal equivalents should be available from the Meher 97 harvest (norm). Since those eligible for food aid produce much less than the average per caput figure, a specific reduction factor was applied which varied by zone and worreda and was chosen according to field observations of the crop losses. The resulting average reduction factor was approximately 50 percent. This per caput figure was then compared with the norm as calculated above, in order to determine the relief food needs gap.

    The above calculation was undertaken for all the worredas in the zones identified as in need of food aid assistance. Total food needs requirements as well as the total number of beneficiaries were obtained by adding up the data for all worredas in question.

    In order to calculate the average number of months of assistance per zone, the accumulated per caput worreda gaps were divided by 15 kg per person (i.e. the monthly per caput food aid ration of cereals) and rounded off to the nearest whole number.

    Table 5 shows the zone specific parameters, upon which the relief food aid needs assessment is based.

    The maximum duration allowed for food aid assistance is conditioned by the arrival of the new harvest, which for the Meher crop is around October/November although some earlier harvesting is not unusual. Therefore the maximum duration of assistance is set at 9 months, in a situation where beneficiaries would not have any crop available by January first of the new calendar year. Since, however, farmers also have non staple crop income, the time period during which they would qualify for relief food aid assistance will generally be shorter. This is a major factor underlying the differences between the estimates made by DPPC and the FAO/WFP Mission. While the average duration of assistance estimated by the Mission is 5 months, the average duration of assistance estimated in the DPPC appeal is 9 months, with beneficiaries qualifying for relief assistance over periods varying between 3 to 12 months.

    While the DPPC and the Mission methodologies do not seem to differ with regard to the factors which the assessment process takes into consideration, there are differences in the application of the methodology. In view of this, it would be useful to organize a tripartite DPPC/FAO/WFP workshop to discuss methodological issues well in advance of the next assessment exercise.

    6.3.6 Relief food aid estimates

    As shown in Table 6, the mission estimates that a total of some 5 350 000 beneficiaries are in need of relief assistance amounting to 420 000 tons, assuming a normal belg crop, for an average time period of 5 months.

    While in many cases, food aid distribution would not begin before May 1998 and would be continued up through September (at least for the Meher crop dependent zones) , in a number of cases, distribution would have to start earlier, and as a matter of fact is taking place at this moment. Given the reported absence of relief food aid stocks by the end of 1997, an urgent appeal is made for initial deliveries of food aid, including pledges which have not been delivered, as early as possible.

    Table 5: Parameters for food aid needs analysis

    E. TIGRAY  75% of Pas in all AZs  75  20-80; Avg 63  95-100, Avg 99  50
    S. TIGRAY  All Lowland & Midland Pas  75  67  90-100, Avg 96  50
    C. TIGRAY  All Lowland & Lower Midland Pas  63  47  100  48
    W. TIGRAY  All Lowland Pas  63  80  100  50
    N. WOLLO  All Lowland & Lower Midland Pas, some upper midlands  75  42-75; Avg 57  79  25
    S. WOLLO  Most Lowland, some Midland & Some Highland Pas  63  69  83  50
    OROMIA (3)  Lowlands  63  58  95  50
    N. SHEWA  Most Lowland, some Midland & some Highland Pas  63  67  73  43
    WAG HEMRA  All Lowland & Lower Midland Pas  75  63  100  25
    E. GOJAM  Lowland Pas of 4 worredas  63  70  100  37
    N. GONDER  Lowland & Lower Midland Pas of 10 worredas  63  63  100  48
    S. GONDER  Lowland & Lower Midland Pas of 4 worredas  63  74  100  50
    W. HARARGE  67% of Lowland & some Midland Pas  63  50  90  50
    E. HARARGE  All Lowland & some Midland Pas  63  50  89  62
    N.W. SHEWA  All Lowland & Lower Midland Pas  63  57  90  50
    E. SHEWA  All Lowland & Lower Midland Pas  63  50  96  50
    ARSI  All Lowland & Lower Midland Pas & some upper Midland PAS  63  65  96  50
    BALE  2/3 Lowland PAS in 10 of the 17 worredas  63  50  67  50
    N. OMO  Lowlands & Lower Midlands, some High Midlands & High Lands  63  59  44  60
    HADIYA  Lower Midlands  63  72  90  50
    GURAGE  Some Lowlands & some Midlands  63  72  89  50
    KONSO  Lowlands  63  52  37  50
    KAT  Lowlands & Lower Midlands  50  72  89  75
    HARRERI  All Lowland & Lower Midland Pas  63  50  100  50
    DIRE DAWA  All Lowland & Lower Midland Pas  63  50  100  50

    Table 6: 1998 Relief food aid requirement (For rural, Crop Dependent Populations)

    Beneficiaries  Beneficiaries as % of rural population  Tons  Months
    TIGRAY  E. TIGRAY  308 200  56  33 100  7
    S. TIGRAY  435 700  60  43 600  7
    C. TIGRAY  383 600  41  33 100  6
    W. TIGRAY  117 910  17  11 100  6
    Subtotal  1 245 410  43  120 900  6
    AMHARA  N. WOLLO  434 000  34  36 300  6
    S. WOLLO  709 100  34  49 700  5
    OROMIA  169 500  37  14 500  6
    N. SHEWA  286 300  19  12 400  3
    WAG HEMRA  109 000  38  13 800  8
    E. GOJAM  37 200  3 600  5
    N. GONDER  410 341  20  27 700  5
    S. GONDER  182 500  10  10 200  4
    Subtotal  2 337 941  17  168 200  5
    OROMIA  W. HARARGE  309 800  24  21 500  5
    E. HARARGE  339 200  18  13 600  3
    N.W. SHEWA  175 100  15  13 800  5
    E. SHEWA  126 600  11 900  6
    ARSI  111 400  6 600  4
    BALE  64 700  3 400  4
    Subtotal  1 126 800  70 800  4
    SNNPR  N. OMO  306 500  12  10 800  2
    HADIYA  22 200  2 600  8
    GURAGE  67 500  4 900  5
    KONSO  82 300  50  2 500  2
    K.A.T.  73 900  10  4 700  4
    Subtotal  552 400  25 500  4
    HARRERI  HUNDENE  13 200  38  400  5
    DIRE DAWA  GURGURA  34 500  38  3 600  7
    TOTAL  5 310 251  389 400  5
    6%  CONTINGENCY  23 649 
    AMHARA  DISPLACED  21 000  3 780  12
    ADDIS ABABA  DISPLACED  17 615  3 171  12
    DISPLACED TOTAL  38 615  6 951  12
    GRAND TOTAL  5 348 866  420 000  5

    It should be recalled that relief food aid as such does not significantly address the country-wide structural food deficit, but helps those people which to a large extent are outside the market. The major instruments for closing the structural gap, are imports, and/or programme food aid, which substitutes for commercial imports. A good example of this is the situation of last year, when in spite of overall self-sufficiency, some 1.9 million people still qualified for relief assistance. While relief food aid helps to overcome demand constraints, the structural deficit has to be addressed by supplying food to the marketplace.

    This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required. 

    Abdur Rashid 
    Chief, GIEWS, FAO 
    Telex 610181 FAO I 
    Fax: 0039-6-5705-4495 
    E-Mail: INTERNET: [email protected] 

    C.D. Tuinenburg 
    Programme Adviser, OSA, WFP 
    Telex: 626675 WFP I 
    Fax: 0039-6513-2839 
    E-Mail: INTERNET: [email protected]

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