Mission Highlights

  • Late, poorly distributed and early cessation of seasonal rains resulted in a decline of grain production in 2002. Reduced use of improved seed and fertilizer also contributed to the decline.
  • National cereal and pulse production is forecast at 9.27 million tonnes, about 25 percent and 21 percent down from 2001 and the average of the previous 5 years respectively.
  • Cereal import requirement in 2003 is estimated at 2.29 million tonnes of which 328 000 tonnes are anticipated to be imported commercially. Confirmed food aid commitments in the pipeline stand at about 140 000 tonnes, leaving an uncovered gap of about 1.83 million tonnes.
  • Some 11.3 million people will need about 1.44 million tonnes of emergency food aid in 2003, including 1.3 million tonnes of cereals and 129 000 tonnes of other food commodities.
  • Severely depressed grain prices over the last two years and current price increases have sharply reduced the ability of farmers to purchase both consumer goods and agricultural inputs and increased the default on previous input loans. There is an urgent need to strengthen price stabilization mechanisms to minimize the adverse effects of such price volatility.


An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Ethiopia from 7 November to 3 December 2002 to estimate the Meher season cereal and pulse production, forecast the 2003 Belg season production, assess the overall food supply situation and estimate grain import requirements including food aid needs for the 2003 marketing year. Accompanied by experts from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and split into six teams, the Mission visited all regions. Parallel to the crop assessment teams but spread over a longer period, over 20 teams led by the Government's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC), and comprising WFP, bilateral donor agencies and NGOs, visited marginal localities and vulnerable zones and districts (woredas) to determine their current and prospective food security situation.

The assessment teams obtained planted area and yield data of all major food crops from woreda, zonal, and regional agricultural bureaux, which were cross-checked against information from farmers, traders, NGO and donor project staff, and remote sensed data from early warning systems. Crop inspections, spot-check crop cutting, market surveys, and livestock condition observations, were conducted en route. Thus, initial yield forecasts were fine-tuned to take into consideration latest and broader information.

The overall agricultural performance in 2002 was poor, primarily due to unfavourable weather conditions. Low producer incentives to invest following two years of highly depressed grain prices also contributed to reduced production. More specifically, despite a reasonable secondary season (Belg) harvest of some 460 000 tonnes of cereal and pulses, a prolonged dry spell of up to six weeks between the end of the Belg rains and beginning of the main season (Meher) rains in some 55 zones and special woredas: (i) disturbed land preparation routines; (ii) delayed sowing dates; (iii) reduced the sowing of heavier yielding, late maturing maize and sorghum crops in favour of short-cycle crops such as teff, wheat, and pulses that were planted later in the season; (iv) and deterred farmers already concerned about low returns, from investing in inputs, which resulted in falls in improved seed and fertilizer use by about 70 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

Further disruption to the Meher season in 31 zones and special woredas though unevenly distributed and lighter than usual rains: (i) necessitated replanting following germination failure and reduced crop densities; and (ii) affected seed-set and grain-fill. Although these negative effects were noted to be most severe in the lowland and other marginal areas of the country, the major cereal producing zones in the central plateau were also affected, seriously reducing grain production in the recognized surplus producing areas by 20-30 percent. Perennial staple and cash crops such as enset and chat have been less affected.

Cereal and pulse production this season was comparatively pest and disease free. Minor outbreaks of Quelea quelea birds and armyworm were effectively controlled by local agricultural bureaux. Non-migratory pest infestation, although present throughout the country, was considered to be mild. Poor rainfall in the eastern and north-eastern pastoral areas reduced available forage and water, increased livestock mortality rates, prompted unseasonal and early migration of herds and flocks, and reduced livestock prices by as much as 50 percent in all affected areas.

Grain prices remained severely depressed till about mid 2002. The decline in prices was largely attributed to above average harvests in the previous two years with little or no effective price stabilization mechanisms. In the latter half of 2002 grain prices began to increase sharply with the expected poor grain production. In October 2002, average prices of maize, wheat, barley and sorghum were respectively 85 percent, 50 percent, 32 percent, and 25 percent higher than at the same time last year. Consumers and producers alike are suffering from such severe price volatility. There is an urgent need for effective price stabilization mechanisms.

Overall, the Mission forecasts total pulse and cereal production at about 9.27 million tonnes, comprising 8.92 million tonnes from the Meher harvest and a predicted 350 000 tonnes from the Belg harvest in 2003. At this level, cereal and pulse production is about 25 percent below last year's Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) post-harvest estimates and 21 percent below the average for the previous five years. As a result, the cereal import requirement in 2003 is estimated at nearly 2.3 million tonnes. With commercial imports forecast at 328 000 tonnes and food aid in pipeline and pledges currently amounting to 140 000 tonnes, there is an uncovered gap of about 1.83 million tonnes.

The most recent DPPC led multi-agency teams which visited 53 zones determined that the lowland river gorges and north-eastern lowland escarpment in Amhara and Tigray, lowland Rift Valley, SNNPR, and the lowland pastoral and agro-pastoral regions of Afar, Oromiya and northern Somali do not have food stocks to last for even 1-2 months. Food needs are expected to grow over the next 6 months peaking in June, with a possible respite for some areas if there are good February-June rains. However, in less than three months, millions of subsistence farmers and pastoralist families will be faced with a desperate food situation. While food difficulties differ from zone to zone, the total number of people in need of emergency assistance is now estimated at about 11.3 million and will need some 1.44 million tonnes of food including 1.3 million tonnes of cereals.

Ethiopia: Rural Populations in Need of Emergency Food Assistance in 2003 (details in Section 5.3.4)


2.1 Macroeconomic situation1

Ethiopia has an agrarian economy where the agricultural sector constitutes about 45 percent of the GDP, followed by 43 percent from the service sector, and 12 percent from the industrial sector. The real GDP growth rate during fiscal years 1998-99 to 2001-02 was between 5.0 and 7.7 percent with an average of about 6 percent per annum. The resumption of external lending, debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and reductions in military spending have all contributed to improved growth prospects. However, the expected decline in agricultural production this year could have a significant negative effect on real GDP growth during the current fiscal year (FY).

The overall balance of payments has significantly improved from a deficit of US$70.5 million in FY 2000-01 to a surplus of US$300 million in FY 2001-02. The net foreign assets of the country have also sharply increased from US$570 million to US$ 916 million in FY 2001-02 primarily due to an increase in long-term capital disbursements and a sharp decline in the repayment of external debt. The level of official international reserves indicates that the country's capacity to import has improved from 2 months earlier to 4 months in FY 2001-02. The external debt at the end of FY 2001-02 stood at over US$6.3 billion or 102.3 percent of the GDP. However, external debt servicing as a percent of exports of good and services has declined from 52 percent in FY 1999-00 to 22 percent in FY 2001-02. The exchange rate over the last three years has remained relatively stable varying between US$1=Birr 8.20 in FY1999-00 to US$1=Birr 8.54 in FY 2001-02. The current exchange rate is US$1=Birr 8.57.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) for Ethiopia has been increasing since 1997. However, the country still has the lowest per capita development assistance and highest per capita humanitarian assistance in sub-Saharan Africa and the Least Developed Countries (LCD). The largest component of ODA between 1997 and 2002 was humanitarian aid and relief (Figure 1). On average about 30 percent of ODA funds are allocated annually for humanitarian assistance compared to 8 percent for agriculture and 10 percent for transport infrastructure.

Figure 1 - ODA by Selected Sectors (1997-2002)

The major agricultural export commodities of Ethiopia are coffee, pulses, oil seeds and chat (Table 1). Other exports include sugar and molasses, leather and leather products, live animals, canned meat and frozen foods, fruits and vegetables, gold, etc. Export revenues have continued to decline from US$602 million in FY1997-98 to US$399 million in FY 2001-02. During the same period imports have increased from US$1,357 million to US$1,629 million. The major import commodities are machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, manufactured goods and chemical.

Table 1 - Ethiopia: Major Commodity Exports (1996-2002)

Commodity 1996/97 1997/98 1998/99 1999/00 2000/01 2001/02
Coffee US$ Million 354.9 419.9 281.3 262 174.5 157.6
Volume (000' tonnes) 123.2 120 101.2 116.6 95.6 107.6
Price (US$/kg) 2.88 3.5 2.78 2.25 1.8 1.5
Pulses US$ Million 11.9 15 13.5 9.8 8.2 32.9
Volume (000' tonnes) 30.5 30.9 29.8 23.5 25.2 109.2
Price (US$/kg) 0.39 0.48 0.45 0.42 0.3 0.3
Oilseeds US$ Million 11.4 45.7 36.1 31.4 30.8 32.5
Volume (000' tonnes) 14.1 66.6 51.4 43.1 52.4 76.4
Price (US$/kg) 0.81 0.69 0.7 0.73 0.6 0.4
Chat US$ Million 33.5 39.6 59.2 76 61.2 22.7
Volume (000' tonnes) 5 6 9.7 15.7 11.9 4.3
Price (US$/kg) 6.7 6.6 6.1 4.8 5.1 3.3
Other exports US$ Million 186.1 81.7 94 103.8 159.2 153.6
Total exports US$ Million 597.8 601.9 484.1 483.0 433.9 399.3


The good harvest in 2001 resulted in quadrupled pulse exports of about 110 000 tonnes, resulting in export revenues of almost US$33 million compared to a 5 year average of US$12 million. Oilseed export revenue remained at about the same level (US$33 million) as in the last few years, despite a 46 percent increase in the volume exported, due to a sharp decline in world market oilseed prices. Exports of chat suffered both from a decline in international market prices as well as lower quantities of exports. The revenue from chat exports declined from US$61 million in FY 2000-01 to US$23 million in FY 2001-02.

Coffee exports are by far the largest contributor to foreign exchange revenues with a share ranging from 40 to 60 percent over the last six years. The steady decline in world market coffee prices over the last four years has sharply reduced foreign exchange earnings of the country. The amount of coffee exported over the last six years has varied between 95 000 and 123 000 tonnes with an annual average of 111 000 tonnes.

It is expected that the coffee export volume for the coming year will slightly exceed or remain at last year's level (108 000 tonnes), despite a 20-30 percent decline in coffee production in 2002. This decline is largely attributed to the below average and unevenly distributed rainfall. The key reasons for no decline in the coffee export volume for the coming year are: 50 000 tonnes carryover stock of export quality coffee from the bumper crop of 2001; indications that the world market coffee prices are stabilizing; and the recent initiatives of the Government to export coffee at a premium as an internationally certified organic commodity.

2.2 Population

The Mission estimates the population for the mid-year 2003 at 69.127 million comprising 58.382 million rural (84 percent) and 10.745 million urban (16 percent) populations, respectively. These estimates are based on the census conducted by the Office of the Population and Housing Census Commission of the Central Statistical Authority in 1994 and released in June 1998. The overall annual population growth rate is estimated at 2.9 percent.

2.3 Agricultural Sector

The agricultural sector of Ethiopia is primarily rainfed with only about 2 percent of the total arable land being irrigated. This has meant high variability in year-to-year agricultural production, which is predominantly in the hands of small farmers with small holdings. Almost the entire rural population directly or indirectly earns its living from agricultural activities. Therefore, any internal or external shock to the agricultural sector has a direct impact on the majority of the population.

2.3.1 Agricultural Input Credit

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is the largest source of agricultural credit in Ethiopia. During the current cropping year (2002-03), CBE approved agricultural input loans to six regional Governments - Oromia, Amhara, SNNP, Tigray, Addis Ababa, and Harari. The amount approved for each region was determined on the basis of credit requests submitted by the respective regional governments, which are also the guarantors of the loans. Table 2 presents the total agricultural input credit approved, disbursed, and overdue for the cropping year 1996-97 to 2002-03.

Table 2 - Total Agricultural Input Credit Approved, Disbursed, and Overdue (1996-2003)

Year Amount Approved
(Birr `000)
Amount Disbursed
(Birr `000)
Amount Disbursed
Amount Overdue
(Birr `000)
Amount Overdue
1996-97 318 610 247 432 78 0 0
1997-98 422 946 306 971 73 0 0
1998-99 602 914 407 848 68 0 0
1999-00 677 805 484 829 72 32 694 7
2000-01 593 963 484 698 82 39 437 8
2001-02 641 924 459 050 72 74 489 16
2002-03 545 783 217 519 40 Not Yet Due n.a.
Total 3 803 945 2 608 347 69 146 620 6
Source: Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, 2002

The amount of agricultural credit approved by CBE for the cropping year 2002-03 was about 15 percent lower than 2001-02 and the lowest since the 1998-99 cropping year. In addition, the approved credit allocation, the disbursement rate during 2002-03 cropping year dropped to only 40 percent compared to a six year average of about 74 percent. The credit repayment default rate has also doubled since 1999-2000 to almost 16 percent for the cropping year 2001-02. It is expected that the default rate will increase further in the coming year when the payments for the cropping year 2002-03 become due. CBE is considering a further reduction in the approved credit allocations for the next cropping season, citing lack of credit demand as the key reason.

The decline in credit demand and higher default rates are largely attributed to depressed grain prices for the past two years that resulted in farmers not being able to pay back their earlier debts. The collective responsibility of Peasant Associations (PAs) has also meant that if a single member cannot pay back his or her loan, the entire membership of that particular PA becomes ineligible for more credit. The regional governments in their capacity as guarantors of agricultural input loans are implementing measures to reschedule part of the past due loans.

The CBE has also taken steps to increase the attractiveness of these loans by reducing the effective interest rate from 10.5 percent to 7.5 percent, from March 2002. Now the CBE will receive 5.25 percent interest instead of 7.5 percent on the disbursed amounts and the regional governments will continue to get 2.25 percent of the interest for loan disbursement, recovery, and administrative charges.

2.3.2 Decentralization

The regional and zonal agricultural offices, like other government offices throughout Ethiopia are in the midst of a decentralization process and experiencing its short-term negative effects both in terms of technical personnel and financial resources. The regional and zonal offices have taken up different responsibilities such as providing an advisory and capacity building role for the woreda level offices. At the same time decentralization to the woreda level is being implemented through reallocation of personnel, equipment, and financial resources from the regional and zonal offices, with limited new or additional resources. This means that in the short-term the functioning of the regional, zonal, and the woreda level offices is substantially hampered.

It is important to make additional financial and technical resources available at all three levels in order to improve their technical and operational capacities. Without such measures it will be very difficult to have efficiently functioning agricultural offices at all levels. Loss of institutional memory is also a real risk if additional resources are not provided.


3.1 General

In Ethiopia, out of the 11.3 million hectares presently farmed, only some 190 000 ha are irrigated. Consequently production varies considerably from year to year depending on the quality and quantity of the annual rains. The crops grown are diverse following the complicated mosaic of agro-ecologies derived from soil types ranging from vertisols to sand and cropping altitudes ranging from more than 3 000m to less than 600m above sea level. The main cereal staples include wheat, barley, teff (Eragrostis abyssinica), finger millet, maize and sorghum in varying proportions according to soils, altitude, and the prevailing climatic and market conditions of the year. Other carbohydrate sources include the stem of enset or false-banana (Enset ventriculosum), cassava, potatoes and sweet potatoes, all of which are found in the midland and highland and highland areas of the south/central regions of the country. Cash crops include oilseeds, spices, coffee, chat and eucalyptus, the latter being found as hedge-rows, in on-farm woodlots and in forests in the middle altitude and highland areas.

Lowland and highland grasslands provide extensive pasture and browse for livestock in most regions, but are particularly important to livestock producers in the eastern regions of Afar and Somali, the southern zones of Bale, Borena and South Omo, and in the western lowlands from Gambella to Tigray. National livestock production, mainly from pastoral areas, is augmented by settled agro-pastoralist peasant farmers producing sheep, goats and less frequently, dairy cow products for sale and home use. Livestock are further integrated into the farms through the universal use of animal traction for ploughing, secondary cultivation, threshing, and the transportation of goods and commodities.

3.2 Rainfall 2002

Rain in Ethiopia falls in two distinct seasons: (i) the Belg, a minor season that usually begins in January-February and ends in April-May; and (ii) the Meher or Kiremt, the main rainy season, which starts in June-July and ends in September-October. In some ten zones, Belg rains support a Belg harvest which may, in a good year, account for 5 percent of national cereal production. Elsewhere, Belg rains offer the opportunity for land preparation and improve pasture and browse after the dry season. The melding of Belg and Meher rains in the south-west zones often generates one long season without clear-cut breaks, which although good for perennial crops and the long-maturing stover cereal varieties, is less than ideal for the early maturing grains. This year, the Belg rains were highly variable. The Mission notes that SPOT-4 Vegetation Indices in March and April show a better performance in the Belg crop growing zones than in the years 2001, 2000 and 1999. However, in non-Belg crop growing areas, which comprise more of the overall agricultural area there was less vegetative growth than in the three previous years. By May, the poorer pattern of vegetative growth is noted to have become established throughout Ethiopia reflecting a prolonged dry spell between Belg and Meher.

The six Mission teams dispatched throughout the country to determine agriculture production and conditions, also collected qualitative and quantitative Meher season rainfall data from all zones and woredas visited. The combined returns confirm that in 55 zones/special woredas, rains were three to six weeks late, and in 31 of those zones rains also finished early. Only in 27 zones the distribution of the middle and late rainfall was more satisfactory, finishing on time in October or later. Such zones are located mostly in the south-west, conforming to the traditional pattern of rainfall security, which improves in a north-east to south-west direction from the border with Eritrea to the borders with Sudan and Kenya.

The year 2002 has been characterized by substantially reduced levels of precipitation in most areas affecting negatively germination rates, flowering, grain-formation and grain-fill to varying degrees depending on crop variety or land-race, soil type, ambient temperatures, and planting date. Apart from such direct effects, the late arrival of the Meher season rains influenced choice of planting patterns with regard to crop type, dates of planting, and quality of land preparation. Poor distribution and lower quantities of rain necessitated significant levels of replanting, exacerbating the overlapped timing of husbandry tasks, caused by the delayed onset. The combination of indirect and direct effects of this unsatisfactory rainfall is believed to have been most severe in the marginal semi-arid areas of the north-west, and east, and in lowland areas of most zones. However, at the national level, their effects on production in the main cereal growing areas of the central plateau from Gojam to Bale are much more significant for national cereal production and food security.

Regarding the effect of rainfall on pasture and browse, the dry spell between Belg and Meher reduced forage availability in the north/north-east pastoralist areas and in the lowland areas of most zones at a crucial time in the production cycle. Lower rainfall during the season slowed down re-growth, negatively affecting quantities of dry matter available for settled livestock. The early stoppage suggests that forage reserves for the coming dry season will be less than in the previous three years not only in the lowlands and in eastern and north-eastern pastoral areas, but also in the enclosed hillsides and the common grazing territories of the middle and highlands of the central plateau.

3.3 Area planted

Mission estimates for area planted are derived from data collected by Bureau of Agriculture (BOA) Development Agents (DA) based at Peasants' Association (PA) level throughout the country. Historically, the data is passed from DA to District (woreda) level, where it is collated, reviewed and presented forward to the agricultural offices at zonal level for further aggregation and review. Prior to this season, the CFSAM's entry point has been the zonal level, which has offered the opportunity for a complete national coverage through a practical number (50-60) of contact points that had both data and a critical mass of informed specialists who would be aware, through visits to the woreda offices, PAs and farms, of the prevailing agricultural conditions in their zones. Under the policy of administrative decentralization, the zonal agricultural offices are presently in various stages of transition. In SNNPR, zonal agricultural bureaux are still functioning, albeit with fewer resources than before. In Amhara and Oromiya, the bureaux have been replaced by zonal agricultural or food security desks, which provide a liaison service through the services of an agricultural or DPPC officer. In Tigray, the zonal offices have been dissolved and links from woreda to region are being established. Consequently, this year, CFSAM team entry points varied from place to place. In order to maintain the time-series and to cross-check the validity of information received, Mission teams constructed, where necessary, zonal sets of data either using information from the woreda themselves or from the sets of woreda returns collected at regional level.

The Mission estimates that area planted to cereals and pulses during the 2002 Meher season is 11 018 million hectares, which is some 3 percent below the estimates for the past two years. Similarly derived estimates for this year's Belg season suggest that this year's reduced Meher planting follows a widely planted Belg crop. This situation contrasts sharply with the 2001 season, when the melding of Belg and Meher effectively created a longer Meher, encouraging the expansion of Meher maize and sorghum planted areas with consequent reduction in both Belg and Meher teff, wheat and barley areas. The 300 000 ha reduction in cereals and pulses area in 2002, looks therefore, less dramatic when juxtaposed to a Belg area of 692 000 ha compared to 540 000 ha in 2001. This year has also seen a 90 000 ha increase in oilseed area, continuing the trend of the last few years, leaving some 210 000 ha of intentional or unintentional fallow.

Closer examination of major cereal areas at national level reveals that maize area dropped by 12 percent, sorghum by 9 percent and finger millet by 13 percent, being 245 000 ha, 146 000 ha and 30 000 ha respectively. At the same time, teff, wheat and pulse levels increased by 104 000 ha, 30 000 ha and 7 500 ha. Such shifts confirm the anticipated, late-rain induced movement from early-planted, long-cycle crops to late-planted, short-maturing grain crops.

Maize area reduction in SNNPR at 63 000 ha (13 percent) is felt by the Mission to connect equally to both poor early rains and the poor financial returns from maize production in the past couple of years due to very low prices. In SNNPR, maize is the second staple as most farm families eat enset. Therefore, despite fairly similar farm sizes to the peasant farms in Oromiya, the remarkable high level of carbohydrate production from well-established enset gardens at around a 130 tonnes fresh weight to the hectare releases the maize crop for sale. As the effective cash crop, financial returns from maize matter and will influence planting decisions more strongly than where maize is needed mostly for subsistence. Both enset and teff provide a readily available substitute for maize, being agro-ecologically interchangeable and having a firmer recent price history. Enset does however require complicated processing, which is strongly linked to the cultural activities of the enset communities. Consequently, teff area is noted to have increased by 3 percent in SNNPR and by 4 percent in Oromiya, but enset area in SNNPR increased by 17 percent.

Noted changes in cultivation practices suggest that non-planting in some limited areas may have been due to a lack of time to prepare land properly, or even at all, due to the pressure on animals for sharing or hire. The lack of alternative power sources points towards the need to introduce the diesel engine, two-wheeled, hand-tractor in areas where timeliness of sowing is of paramount importance for the production of a satisfactory series of crops.

Following successive good harvests over the past four years, seed availability is not considered by the Mission to have been a constraint, even given the need to replant in many zones. Farmer-saved seed was either available on-farm or through local markets at the needed amount, which was probably some 670 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses. In addition, GOE/FAO and NGO interventions supported local purchases through the disbursement of some 16 million Birr to farm families without funds to access available seeds following the need to replant several times. This intervention was most useful for crops with high sowing rates such as wheat, barley, and chickpeas.

3.4 Factors affecting yields

National average cereal and pulse yields are estimated, using Mission adjusted MoA data, to range from less than 200 kg to 1 700 kg per hectare according to crop. This disappointing performance compares unfavourably with last year's estimated post-harvest range of yields from 300 kg to 2 040 kg per hectare. Delayed and reduced cultivation practices, increased germination failure and reduced plant populations were some of the reasons. Replanting affected timeliness of crop establishment and poor rainfall at flowering, seed-set and grain-fill, which were noted in all regions, affected yields negatively. The lowlands were most badly affected with regularly reported failures of sorghum crops, particularly in the sandier soils. Consequently, the national average sorghum yield is estimated to have fallen by 32 percent to 660 kg per ha.

Regarding the other major cereal crops in the mid-altitude zones, a 26 percent reduction of the national average maize yield is noted for similar but less extreme climatic reasons, exacerbated by a much lower use of improved maize seeds and fertilizers. Data from the National Agricultural Input Association indicate that improved maize seed purchases fell by around 3 000 tonnes and fertilizer purchases fell by 47 000 tonnes compared to last year. Given a maize sowing rate of 25 kg per ha and a conservative increment over farmer-saved seeds of 3 tonnes per ha relating to the use of certified maize seeds with adequate fertilizer and with sufficient rainfall, the drop in sales connects to a possible fall in production of 360 000 tonnes. This is equivalent to a national average yield reduction of 0.2 tonnes per ha or 48 percent of the estimated decline. With the inadequate rains, the possible increment may indeed have been less, nevertheless the negative effect is still likely to have been significant. Similarly, a fall in improved wheat sales of 4 000 tonnes this year, at sowing rates of 150 kg per ha, may be expected to have reduced wheat production by 67 500 tonnes. This connects to a national average wheat yield reduction of 39 kg per ha or around 18 percent of the estimated decline. Assuming the use of recommended rates for diammonium phosphate and urea fertilizers on improved maize and wheat, reduced improved seed sales explains 61 percent of the 47 000 tonnes decline in fertilizer use from 279 000 to 232 000 tonnes.

A reduction in fertilizer use on teff, wheat, and maize seeds, noted in 42 zones/special woredas visited by the Mission, explains the remaining decline in fertilizer sales and signals further negative effect on yields. Only in 12 zones, where the rains were recognisably better, fertilizer sales were noted to have increased or stayed at last year's level. As these zones are not major cereal producers, no significant support to regional average yields was noted.

This year has been relatively pest and disease-free for cereals and pulses. No significant outbreaks of migratory pests were noted or reported to the Mission. There were, however, minor infestations of Quelea quelea in Jigjiga, East and West Hararghe, East Shoa, Oromiya, Gurage, Siltie and South Omo zones and Derashe Special Woreda, which were efficiently controlled by the Agricultural Bureaux. Similarly, early-season outbreaks of armyworm in Jigjiga, East Hararghe, Hadiya, Sidama, Wolayta, Bale, Borena and Oromiya Zones were also speedily and effectively controlled. Elsewhere, although non-migratory pests including sorghum chafer, stalk-borer and shoot fly were present, their effects were considered to be mild. The adverse effects of crop diseases were also mild with no noted significant incidents of rust on barley or wheat. The presence of sorghum smut was identified by Mission teams in the fields of South Wollo and South Tigray, but was seen to be of very little concern to the farmers whose fields were infested. Drier Meher seasons are relatively more weed-free than wet Meher seasons and this was generally the case.

In view of the foregoing, the universal reduction in yields shown for all cereal and pulses listed in Table 3 are considered by the Mission to be due mostly to (i) the direct effects of poor rainfall on crop growth and development, (ii) the indirect effects of the unsatisfactory rainfall disrupting husbandry practices and deterring farmers from investing in inputs, (iii) poor returns on investment in cereal production reducing expenditure on fertilizer and improved seeds.

3.5 Other crops

Crops contributing to household food security vary from north to south and from east to west. In the north, oilseeds, particularly nug and sesame, are important to both peasant farmers and commercial producers. This year national sesame area increased by 54 percent to 168 553 ha of which 36 000 ha is noted to have come from increased commercial planting in West Tigray. Nug area increase of 7 000 ha or 2 percent is more evenly distributed but is noted to be particularly significant in Awi Zone of Amhara Region.

Given the diverse nature and favourable conditions of the southern half of the country, a greater range of other crops may be found. In SNNPR and Oromiya, crops other than cereals and pulses occupy 12 percent and 32 percent respectively of the planted area compared to 3 percent and 7 percent in Amhara and Tigray. Of these the importance of enset, which provides the main carbohydrate staple for some 8 million people and provides a substantial contribution to the diet of an additional 4 million, is well understood. Data from southern zones indicate an increase in enset area of some 17 percent suggesting either increased planting or reduced use last year when maize was so readily available and inexpensive in the enset zones. Enset condition is noted to be good, although yields of pre-processed stem are expected to be 5 percent lower per tree than last year, due to less rain. Annual roots and tubers are noted to have experienced similar falls in yields coupled with area reductions due to unfavourable planting conditions. In addition, the sweet potato moth is reported to have reduced both tuber production and carryover stock of sweet potato cuttings in the central SNNPR zones of Hadiya, Gurage and Wolayta.

This year's coffee production is expected to be lower than last year due to biennial fluctuations in production patterns and reduced rains at and after flowering. Coffee berry disease remains a serious problem except where trees have been replaced by resistant varieties through GOE supported nursery programmes. The production of the industrial field crops such as sugarcane and cotton and the performance of chat, a mild narcotic cash crop grown throughout the southern half of the country in small backyard plots were not assessed by the Mission.

3.6 Livestock

According to 1999 FAO data, Ethiopia has 36 million cattle, 22 million sheep, 17 million goats, 1 million camels and 8 million equines. The livestock systems supporting such numbers are pastoralist and agro-pastoralist. The pastoralist systems are located in the extensive grazing areas in the Eastern, Western and Southern Lowlands of the country, while agro-pastoralist systems may be found throughout the country, varying in proportions of stock kept and degree of seasonal movement, which may range from none-at-all (settled) to transhumant.

In the third and fourth quarters of 2002, reported losses of livestock in the pastoralist areas of Afar, in north Somali, and in lowland areas elsewhere, prompted interventions from GOE, NGOs and international agencies. The assistance was designed partly to boost disease resistance of livestock, through provision of vaccines and drugs and partly to ameliorate water and forage shortages through negotiated access to better resources. Such programmes were prepared and implemented for communities suffering from prolonged dry spells. At the same time, food aid programmes for the affected communities were reinforced, supplementing programmes established two years before when four consecutive years of Belg rain failure was noted to have dramatically reduced livestock numbers and incomes. Presently, regional and national livestock early warning systems contend that the prevailing conditions in Afar, Shinelli, East Tigray and parts of Central Tigray are still very much cause for concern. CFSAM teams report increased and early migration from Afar to Amhara, from East to Central, Central to West Tigray and from West Hararghe to Bale. At the same time, military restrictions in the border areas with Eritrea reduced access of agro-pastoralists to the traditional relief zones along the Mereb and Tekeze Rivers, placing more pressure on grazing and water supplies in the densely inhabited communities in the neighbouring zones. Elsewhere, reduced forage availability is noted in lowland Amhara and in the Rift Valley Lowlands of Oromiya and SNNPR. By contrast, good rains were reported to have improved grazing conditions in south Somali, Borena and south Bale following a satisfactory start in the November-December rains. Mission teams report good grazing conditions throughout most of west and south-west Ethiopia. Cattle body condition is noted to be highly variable ranging from poor to good, with body conditions improving with the rainfall pattern that increases from the north-east to the south-west zones.

Given the relatively poor cereal and pulse harvest in almost all zones, straw and stover are in short supply and prices of head loads and donkey loads were noted to be doubling or even tripling close to the towns as farmers tried to build up feed resources for the dry season. In East and Central Tigray, a 50 percent reduction in hay production, cut and carried from hillside enclosures was noted by the Mission, confirming quantitatively a reduced supply of dry matter from the ranges. In both zones negotiations between administrators and farmers were ongoing regarding admission to the closed areas for dry-season browsing and grazing for specific classes of stock. Continual monitoring of water, grazing and livestock body condition is recommended. This should be done as objectively as possible using internationally accepted scoring systems.

Up to 50 percent decline in livestock prices were reported in all markets except in the south-west zones, and more generally, for high-quality butchers' stock. The fall in prices reflects increased market presentations and few buyers in most areas. In many rural markets it seems that more arrivals are being taken back home by the would-be sellers than are currently being sold at the already reduced prices. Consequently the Mission recommends that market presentations should be monitored as closely as sales to determine sites of greatest concern.

Given the scarcity of data relating to livestock production with regard to calving intervals, birth rates and mortality rates of neo-natal, young and adult stock, it is difficult to comment on claims of losses ranging from 10-40 percent for cattle and 5-15 percent for small ruminants and camels in zones under stress. Clearly mortality rates have increased but quantifying the extent of losses will remain difficult until real baseline data from farm records provide performance standards for animals in both pastoralist and agro-pastorist systems. What is clear, however, is that if early Belg rains are not forthcoming the situation will deteriorate rapidly and more losses are likely to occur.

3.7 Cereal and pulse production forecast

The CFSAM coincided with harvesting in most areas. Given the reduced performance of most short-cycle cereals and despite the delayed season, harvesting was often virtually complete and threshing of wheat, barley, and teff often in process. This enabled a ready assessment of actual production per unit area to be observed by the teams. Where crops were still standing, samples were taken, threshed using local techniques, and weighed to crosscheck agricultural bureaux yield estimates and farmers' predictions of production. Where necessary, adjustments to such estimates and predictions were made to counter-balance glaring inconsistencies or to supply figures for missing data. Regional totals of area and production were prepared and are presented in Table 3 by crop. They indicate a 2002 Meher harvest of 8.923 million tonnes from 11.018 million hectares. This is around 25 percent lower than last year's Mission estimates and 25.6 percent lower than the MoA's post-harvest estimate of the same season prepared in March 2002. Time series data for the past five years are provided in Table 4 for comparison purposes. It shows that this year's production is 21 percent below the five-year national average, being similar to the production estimates of 1997/98 Meher season from a very similar cropped area.

Table 3 - Ethiopia: Area ('000 ha), Production ('000 tonnes) and Yield (tonnes/ha) of Cereals and Pulses in 2002/03 Meher Season

Region Item Teff Wheat Barley Maize Sorghum Finger Millet Others Total Cereals Total Pulses Cereals and Pulses
Tigray Area 170.5 74.3 80.7 65.9 197.0 53.7 49.5 691.6 41.8 733.4
  Yield 0.38 0.69 0.56 0.87 0.80 0.58 0.42 0.62 0.34 0.60
  Production 64.9 51.0 45.0 57.4 157.0 31.1 20.8 427.3 14.2 441.5
Afar Area 1.7 0.1   5.4 1.3     8.5 1.0 9.5
  Yield 0.10 0.15   0.77 0.20     0.54 0.10 0.49
  Production 0.2 0.0   4.1 0.3     4.6 0.1 4.7
Amhara Area 1 103.3 495.4 468.5 335.7 498.7 263.4 47.4 3 212.3 683.1 3 895.4
  Yield 0.61 0.99 0.90 1.56 0.66 1.07 0.93 0.86 0.53 0.80
  Production 672.3 489.4 420.1 523.0 330.3 281.5 43.8 2 760.2 360.5 3 120.8
Oromiya Area 1 170.6 923.4 601.6 884.2 592.3 81.7 21.1 4 274.9 609.6 4 884.5
  Yield 0.57 1.25 1.04 1.08 0.58 0.68 0.26 0.89 0.47 0.84
  Production 663.5 1 153.8 625.6 955.2 344.6 55.5 5.6 3 803.7 286.7 4 090.4
Somali Area   9.3 17.0 31.0 41.6     98.9   98.9
  Yield   0.60 0.53 0.35 0.54     0.48   0.48
  Production   5.6 9.0 10.8 22.5     47.9   47.9
Beneshangul Gumuz Area 22.1 3.0 1.5 33.3 51.3 22.6 1.2 135.0 8.1 143.2
  Yield 0.46 0.69 0.81 1.04 0.87 0.76 1.05 0.82 0.62 0.81
  Production 10.1 2.1 1.2 34.6 44.4 17.1 1.3 110.8 5.0 115.8
SNNPR Area 226.6 190.4 116.9 414.0 88.9 3.9 0.5 1 041.1 169.6 1 210.7
  Yield 0.50 1.01 0.81 1.19 0.89 0.70 0.61 0.93 0.58 0.88
  Production 112.8 192.8 94.7 491.0 78.8 2.7 0.3 973.3 97.7 1 071.0
Gambella Area       10.8 3.3 0.3 0.1 14.5 1.0 15.4
  Yield       0.85 0.87 0.79 0.80 0.85 1.33 0.88
  Production       9.2 2.8 0.3 0.1 12.3 1.3 13.6
Harari Area   0.7   1.9 6.3     8.9 0.1 9.0
  Yield   0.40   0.21 0.57     0.48 0.25 0.48
  Production   0.3   0.4 3.6     4.3 0.0 4.3
Addis Ababa Area 4.2 4.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0   8.3 1.5 9.8
  Yield 1.07 1.64 1.34 1.72 1.28 0.60   1.35 0.73 1.25
  Production 4.5 6.5 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0   11.2 1.1 12.2
Dire Dawa Area         8.4     8.4   8.4
  Yield         0.12     0.12   0.12
  Production         1.0     1.0   1.0
Area 2 698.9 1 700.6 1 286.3 1 782.2 1 489.2 425.6 119.8 9 502.4 1 515.8 11 018.2
Yield 0.57 1.12 0.93 1.17 0.66 0.91 0.60 0.86 0.51 0.81
Production 1 528.2 1 901.4 1 195.8 2 085.7 985.4 388.2 71.9 8 156.5 766.7 8 923.2


Table 4 - Ethiopia: Cereals and Pulses Production: Comparison of 1999/00 to 2002/03 Meher Season

Meher season
Cereals and Pulses
Area Production Area Production Area Production
    ('000 ha) ('000 tonnes) ('000 ha) ('000 tonnes) ('000 ha) ('000 tonnes)
Tigray 1999/00 830.0 606.8 49.1 25.6 879.1 632.4
  2000/01 827.4 667.9 50.5 25.2 877.9 693.1
  2001/02 722.6 637.2 47.3 24.6 769.9 661.8
  2002/03 691.6 427.3 41.8 14.2 733.4 441.5
Afar 1999/00 10.6 8.4 1.3 0.6 11.9 9.0
  2000/01 11.1 8.8 1.3 0.6 12.4 9.4
  2001/02 10.5 8.3 1.3 0.6 11.8 8.9
  2002/03 8.5 4.6 1.0 0.1 9.5 4.7
Amhara 1999/00 3 247.8 3 603.7 668.9 476.2 3 916.7 4 079.9
  2000/01 3 301.9 3 792.0 655.5 427.9 3 957.4 4 219.9
  2001/02 3 306.6 3 545.5 655.6 424.4 3 962.2 3 970.0
  2002/03 3 212.3 2 760.2 683.1 360.5 3 895.4 3 120.8
Oromia 1999/00 3 931.8 4 990.3 655.5 401.0 4 587.2 5 391.4
  2000/01 4 308.9 5 667.9 582.7 413.3 4 891.6 6 081.2
  2001/02 4 418.6 5 325.6 607.7 416.2 5 026.2 5 741.8
  2002/03 4 274.9 3 803.7 609.6 286.7 4 884.5 4 090.4
Somali 1999/00 75.7 45.1 1.2 0.6 76.9 45.6
  2000/01 73.4 41.1 2.7 1.0 76.1 42.1
  2001/02 97.3 36.6 0.0 0.0 97.3 36.6
  2002/03 98.9 47.9 0.0 0.0 98.9 47.9
Benshangul Gumuz 1999/00 104.2 131.0 9.9 6.8 151.1 137.8
  2000/01 145.0 113.6 15.0 10.0 160.0 123.6
  2001/02 137.2 117.5 10.9 7.0 148.1 124.4
  2002/03 135.0 110.8 8.1 5.0 143.2 115.8
SNNP 1999/00 934.5 1 082.2 171.4 116.0 1 105.9 1 198.2
  2000/01 1 104.1 1 449.8 193.5 137.9 1 297.6 1 587.7
  2001/02 1 104.4 1 246.3 176.6 129.3 1 281.0 1 375.7
  2002/03 1 041.1 973.3 169.6 97.7 1 210.7 1 071.0
Gambella 1999/00 15.9 17.6 0.8 0.7 16.7 18.3
  2000/01 15.4 17.1 1.0 0.9 16.4 18.0
  2001/02 18.1 21.0 1.1 1.5 19.2 22.6
  2002/03 14.5 12.3 1.0 1.3 15.4 13.6
Harari 1999/00 10.5 21.9 0.0 0.0 10.5 21.9
  2000/01 9.2 5.0 0.0 0.0 9.2 5.0
  2001/02 10.2 6.6 0.1 0.0 10.3 6.6
  2002/03 8.9 4.3 0.1 0.0 9.0 4.3
Addis Ababa 1999/00 7.4 9.7 1.8 1.7 9.2 11.5
  2000/01 7.8 11.6 2.5 1.8 10.3 13.4
  2001/02 8.1 9.1 1.8 1.1 9.9 10.3
  2002/03 8.3 11.2 1.5 1.1 9.8 12.2
Dire Dawa 1999/00 10.4 6.6 0.0 0.0 10.4 6.6
  2000/01 9.7 5.8 0.0 0.0 9.7 5.8
  2001/02 11.3 5.8 0.0 0.0 11.3 5.8
  2002/03 8.4 1.0 0.0 0.0 8.4 1.0
1999/00 9 290.0 10 706.1 1 504.9 1 039.0 10 794.9 11 745.1
2000/01 9 813.9 11 780.6 1 504.7 1 018.6 11 318.6 12 799.2
2001/02 9 844.8 10 959.5 1 502.3 1 004.9 11 347.1 11 964.4
2002/03 9 502.4 8 156.5 1 515.8 766.7 11 018.2 8 923.2

3.8 Belg 2001, 2002 and 2003

Previous CFSAMs have had access to MoA reports of the Belg crop. This year, no such report was available to the Mission. To clarify the situation, Mission teams visiting Belg production areas collected as much information as possible from the offices with functioning agricultural information units and collated the data to obtain a 2002 Belg crop estimate. Such data are included in Table 5, which compares them by Region with final Belg post-harvest data for 2001 collected at the same time.

Table 5 - Ethiopia: Belg cereals and pulses production in 2001 and 2002

213 844
145 000
222 139
121 000
Amhara 1/
160 746
100 000
176 399
238 000
162 000
225 000
390 243
383 000
544 885
446 000

1/ Poor performance in 2001 and no information forthcoming from the district (woreda) Agriculture Bureau or the Zonal Agricultural Desks.

Missing data preclude a valid comparison, however, production from Belg areas in Amhara is noted to have been much better this year than in 2001. This year's estimates confirm SPOT-4 Vegetation Indices that indicate better performance in the major Belg zones in 2002. The final post-harvest estimates for 2001 collected by the Mission are 15 percent lower than the returns released last year suggesting that this year's estimates may also be too high. Consequently, the Mission feels compelled to make a cautious forecast for the Belg in 2003 at 350 000 tonnes for cereals and pulses. These data are included in the grain balance as contributing to domestic food supply in marketing year 2003.

It should also be noted that maize yields used in this year's estimates of the Meher harvest include "maize eaten green." Excluding them would be misleading with regard to the production achieved. Carrying forward the total maize production to marketing year 2003 is justified in the same way as the inclusion of the 2003 Belg harvest is justified. Both green maize and Belg harvests will be domestically available next year.


4.1 Oromiya

Oromiya, comprising 14 administrative zones, is the largest region in the country extending in a "T" shaped landmass from near the Sudanese border in the west, across central Ethiopia near the eastern border with Somalia and southwards to the border with Kenya. It includes the most productive highland plateaux as well as drought-prone valley bottoms and lowland plains. In six of the southern zones a bimodal rainfall pattern is readily identifiable, usually providing a prolonged growing season and a wide range of cropping options. In the densely populated high rainfall zones, the small size of peasant land holdings require production of two or three crops annually from the same land, if household needs are to be met. This places the farm families in a vulnerable position. The loss of a crop in a series cannot be compensated by increasing the area of the next crop in the sequence. This year, a prolonged dry spell between Belg and Meher caused by an early finishing Belg and a late start to the Meher disrupted the timing of land preparation and delayed crop establishment across the Region.

Arsi, West Shoa and East Shoa Zones in the productive central plateau are characterized by high agricultural investment and mechanisation, which regularly produce 50 percent of the Regional and 25 percent of the National Meher harvests. Late rains combined with poor prices over the past two years discouraged everything other than minimal investment in inputs. Consequently, regional combined fertilizer (DAP and Urea) use dropped by 7 percent to 113 000 tonnes, which although 8 000 tonnes lower than last year is still 49 percent of the national Meher season fertilizer use.

Unfortunately, following the late start, an erratic distribution of below average rain that ultimately finished early in September is noted throughout the eastern and central zones of the region. Later rainfall in the western zones including Illubabor and West Wollega and in the southern zones of Borena and Bale, was noticeably better, positively affecting levels of crop performance and boosting regional production.

Notwithstanding a decrease in the use of improved seeds, which conforms to the national pattern, seed availability per se was not considered an issue. Despite the need to replant in the eastern localities, farmer-saved seed was available on-farm and in local markets following good harvests last year. Normal seed rates were used but sowing dates were delayed by around one month. Overall planted area is 3 percent (142 000 ha) lower than last year. Evidence of a shift from long-cycle to short-cycle crops is readily apparent, for within the 4.884 million ha area sown, maize, sorghum and finger millet areas fell by 195 000 ha and teff and wheat areas increased by 63 000 ha. It is noted that the quantity of long-cycle crop seed saved by not planting 195 000 ha (3 900 tonnes) is very similar to the quantity of short-cycle seeds required to plant 63 000 ha (3 800 tonnes) which raises the possibility of seed-weight-equivalence being a determining factor in crop changeovers at peasant level, rather than area available, thereby more easily explaining area left fallow when moving from crops with a light sowing rate (maize and sorghum) to crops with a heavy sowing rate (wheat, barley, pulses, and teff). Commercial planting of cereals and pulses in the Region fell in Arsi by 9 percent and in Bale by 13 percent, reflecting poor returns on investments in the past two years.

No significant outbreaks of pests or diseases were noted. Regarding migratory pests, minor infestations of Quelea quelea bird and armyworm were quickly and efficiently controlled by BoA spraying teams. Although regular non-migratory insect pests including sorghum chafer, stalk-borer, shoot-fly, boll-worm grasshopper and aphids were noted, infestations were considered to be mild this year. Vertebrate pests including non-migratory birds, wart-hogs and monkeys required the usual attention of the farmers wishing to protect their fields, particularly in the lead-in to harvest.

Harvesting this year although later due to delayed planting is being conducted rapidly and is forecast to result in cereal and pulse harvest of 4.09 million tonnes, which is 29 percent lower than last year. This comprises 0.955 million tonnes of maize which is 41 percent less than last year and 15 percent below the region's poor maize crop in 1997; the sorghum crop at 0.592 million tonnes is similarly disappointing compared to last year with a fall of 45 percent but is higher than the 0.448 million tonnes estimated in 1997. Wheat, teff and pulses are estimated at 14 percent, 25 percent and 31 percent respectively below last year, but at 21 percent, 14 percent and 7 percent respectively higher than the 1997 crops. Barley production at 0.625 million tonnes is lower than last year by 17 percent and is some 8 percent below the estimated harvest in 1997.

Consequently, grain prices in Oromiya are likely to remain high and local purchasing for distribution out of the Region will have to be weighed carefully to prevent further increase in local market prices for the regular buyers.

4.2 Amhara

Amhara Region, located in the north north-west of the country includes the nation's highest mountain ranges, lowland riverine valleys and plains as well as agriculturally productive plateaux with well established mixed farming systems. Comprising 10 administrative zones, the Region usually produces around 33 percent of the national Meher grain production. Following the national pattern of rainfall distribution and notwithstanding the within-zone vagaries of altitude, the western half of the Region usually produces surplus grains from a substantial Meher crop. The eastern half of the Region has a less reliable Meher, but contains zones where the Belg crop may offer a substantial contribution to local annual production, depending on the year. This year, the Belg rains in the eastern production zones were reasonable and some Belg harvests were obtained in both South and North Wollo. There was, however, a long break between the early end to the Belg rains and a very late start to the Kiremt rains throughout the Region. This dry spell disrupted land preparation and planting resulting in an overall reduction of planted area of 2 percent. Fortunately, in the more productive zones of West Gojam, East Gojam and Awi, mid-season rainfall was more plentiful and reasonably distributed until the middle of September. Even in the traditionally less fortunate zones of North and South Wollo, rainfall although erratic and low was in many localities more conducive to production than last year. Water logging from excessive rains was not an issue and despite a generally early end to the season, a flush of rains in the 13th month (Ethiopian calendar) and in the first week of September was beneficial particularly for the late-planted long-cycle crops. Such advantages were also noted by Mission teams in the southern woredas of Weghamra, and the eastern woredas of South Gondar.

Input utilization in the Region this year follows the established national pattern with fertilizer use down by 19 percent to 60 471 tonnes. The Mission notes that this decline affected all zones with use falling in the marginal localities by more than 50 percent of last year's consumption. The decline in use was very clearly linked to access to credit. In all zones, administrators and farmers reported that although fertilizer was available on-time, the current policy exercised by the Amhara Savings and Credit Institute requires all loans to be taken through peasant associations. Repayment by each peasant association must reach 85 percent before new loans may be issued. This policy is noted to have prevented many farmers from taking up loans for timely fertilizer purchase.

At the regional level, delayed rains caused a 14 percent decline in planting of maize and sorghum (139 000 ha), whereas teff and pulse planting increased by 84 000 ha which suggests a degree of seed-weight equivalency, rather than area utilization determining planting policy. No reports of seed shortages reached the Mission. Seeding rates are noted to be normal although significant intercropping of sorghum with teff and pulses is noted in North Gondar, South Gondar, South Wollo, North Wollo and Weghemra Zones, as peasant farmers hedged their bets against the poor rains.

Pest and disease outbreaks were noted to be minimal. An armyworm outbreak in West Gojam was rapidly controlled, no other migratory pests were noted. Non-migratory pests including sorghum chafers, Wollo bush crickets, stalk-borers, aphids, termites and grasshoppers were all registered as present but no infestations were reported as serious.

Poorer production throughout the Region is noted but this generalization masks very productive areas in West and East Gojams and good production in woredas in most other zones including North Wollo and Weghemra. Overall production of cereals and pulses in the Region is down by 21 percent compared to last year but at 3.121 million tonnes it is 11 percent more than estimated production of the 1997 Meher season.

This year's production of 0.523 million tonnes of maize is 34 percent less than last year but 58 percent more than in 1997. This is due to a 17 percent increase in area, the use of higher quality farmer-saved seeds and higher levels of fertilizer applications. By contrast, the 0.33 million tonnes of sorghum is 43 percent less than last year and only 73 percent of the 1997 crop, suggesting that little development has been achieved with this crop. The 670 000 tonnes of teff and 489 000 tonnes of wheat produced this year are both some 15 percent below last year's estimated production but are both better than 1997 by 11 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

4.3 Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples' Region (SNNPR)

Presently formed from 15 zones and 6 special woredas, the SNNP Region is the most culturally diverse in Ethiopia. The cultural diversity is matched by a wide range of ecologies encompassing everything from rainforests to deserts. Bi-modal rainfall patterns exist throughout the Region offering opportunities to crop 2 or 3 times per year on the same piece of land. Very small land holdings, however, create a structural vulnerability to dry spells at crucial times in the production cycles, as increased planting later in the year cannot easily compensate for lost opportunities. Fortunately, the majority of the rural population eat enset. This perennial carbohydrate source, also known as false banana, is very resistant to rainfall fluctuations and provides a carbohydrate based food safety-net for most farm families in the highland and middle altitude communities. The ubiquitous presence of perennial cash crops including coffee, chat and eucalyptus confirm the overall natural resources wealth of SNNPR in all but the lowland localities, where pastoralism is the main agricultural enterprise.

This year, Belg rains were reasonable and a good Belg harvest was achieved. However, as elsewhere a prolonged dry spell between the end of the Belg and the beginning of the Kiremt rains disrupted land preparation and discouraged the planting of Meher maize and sorghum. Fortunately, in almost every locality the rainfall pattern improved as the season progressed. Consequently, the Mission notes that teff and wheat planting increased by 3 percent and 7 percent respectively, boosting the short-cycle cereal area by some 19 000 ha, compared to a reduction of 63 000 ha in maize and 11 000 ha in sorghum area. These figures again (see Oromiya and Amhara) point to an appropriate seed weight equivalency between the crop areas concerned. A 6 000 ha drop in barley area is an enigma but a similar drop is also noted in Oromiya. The reductions may be due to limited barley marketing opportunities last year. Certainly, in this enset eating Region, cereals are of secondary importance for food security, therefore, normal economic forces have a greater role to play in planning cereal area.

At the Regional level, fertilizer use dropped by 13 percent which although significant compares favourably with the 50 percent drop noted last year. Indeed, in 8 zones and special woredas fertilizer use actually increased due to more equitable methods of distribution and access to credit, compared to last year. As elsewhere, local seeds were available in sufficient quantity and made up more than 99 percent of the planting material, less disruption to cultivation practices was reported for the short cycle crops due to the better rainfall patterns; therefore, no significant late replanting was noted.

Pests and diseases are noted to be minimal.

Consequently, the Mission anticipates a regional cereal and pulse harvest from 1.21 million ha of 1.07 million tonnes, comprising 490 000 tonnes of maize, 80 000 tonnes of sorghum, 11 000 tonnes of teff, 280 000 tonnes of wheat and barley, and 98 000 tonnes of pulses. This is 22 percent lower than last year due to 13 percent less maize, 9 percent less teff, and 14 percent less wheat and barley. The crop is also 10 percent lower than the poor harvest in 1997 due to a 10 percent reduction in area planted.

4.4 Tigray

Tigray, the northernmost region of Ethiopia bordering Sudan and Eritrea, has a cultivated area of about 800 000 ha farmed by some 775 000 households. Usually classified as a food-deficit area due to its semi-arid climate and high population density, the Region has embarked on major environmental rehabilitation programmes over the past ten years. Presently it is in the process of linking food security issues to watershed management with the objective of improving employment and income generation opportunities in the most marginal areas. The food deficit status masks the fact that in most years there is surplus crop production from well-organized run-off based peasant farming systems in the South Zone and from mechanized commercial enterprises in the western lowlands.

This year, the Belg rains were poor and failed to support crop production in south Tigray's occasional Belg producing areas. Neither did the Belg rains facilitate early land preparation in the central and eastern zones. A prolonged dry spell due to a very late start, in mid-July, to the Kiremt rains, discouraged the planting of long cycle crops, reduced fertilizer use and caused early concern for crop and livestock dependent communities in the vulnerable areas.

Better rains during July and August in the south middle-highland and highland zones and in the higher altitudes of the eastern, central and western zones, re-established Meher production possibilities. Unfortunately, in most places the rains finished early with severe effects on yields of most crops. Exceptions to the poor conditions include the woredas of Ofla, Endamehoni and parts of Alamata in south Tigray, where the Mission notes good sorghum production. However, a failure of the major spate schemes in Mehoni due to insufficient run-off from the western edge of the basin, rendered some 10 000 ha of this high producing area non-productive this year. East Tigray, where most crops were under stress in July received some rains in August and early September and localities in Atsbi Woreda were noted by the Mission to have reasonable yields of wheat, barley and teff, as had many localities in the middle-highlands of central and west Tigray. Backyard maize production was also noted by the Mission to have been better than expected throughout the central and western woredas reflecting (i) choice of location for planting to catch available run-off; (ii) selection of better water retaining soils; and (iii) higher organic content of the soils near to the homesteads.

Regional fertilizer use fell by 47 percent to some 8 900 tonnes. This follows an increase in fertilizer use noted last year and reflects a policy shift that removed fertilizer `quotas' from the extension agenda and farmer decisions to opt for low input approaches in the face of climatic uncertainty. As elsewhere, seed supply this year was almost 100 percent from farmer-saved stocks, local markets or seed banks. The latter have been established by NGOs over the past few years and are likely to have an important role to play in supplying local seeds next year, due to the probability of less seed quality grains being available at affordable prices.

No significant outbreaks of pests and diseases were noted, however, with the late planting of sorghum this year, the expanded commercial enterprises in the western zone will remain vulnerable to sorghum midge and Quelea quelea attack for the next couple of months.

Overall, the Mission estimates that cereal and pulse production will be around 0.427 million tonnes, with a teff harvest of 65 000 tonnes, wheat at 51 000 tonnes, barley and hamfes (mixed barley and wheat) at 66 000 tonnes, maize at 57 000 tonnes, sorghum at 157 000 tonnes, and finger millet at 31 000 tonnes. This is 25 percent below last year's and 18 percent below the harvest in 1997, from an area 22 percent smaller, following revisions of land holding sizes in central and eastern Tigray in 2001.

4.5 Afar

Afar Region, in the north-east sector of Ethiopia comprising a low-lying plain populated by communities of camel, sheep/goat and cattle pastoralists, is an arid/semi-arid area with little rainfed crop production potential. Cereals and pulses are produced in the northern zones through minor spate irrigation schemes whereby rain-off from the eastern escapement of the central highlands is channelled to small-scale sites of crop production. Although four permanent rivers bisect the northern zones, no large-scale irrigation is practised. By contrast, agro-industrial enterprises in the southern zones produce cash-crops from pump schemes on the Awash River, although, siltation and river course changes have reduced the area irrigated in recent years.

In 2002 only 700 ha was planted out of a potential agricultural area of 11 000 ha. The only grain produced from this came from the plots where techniques for transplanting sorghum from pre-seasonal irrigated nurseries were being tested by Mekelle University. Eastern escarpment run-off was negligible. In the south, the Awash River is noted to be low and areas sown to all crops to be some 19 percent below last year. Given a negligible use of improved seeds and fertilizers and unreliable irrigation practices, yields are also lower than last year resulting in an estimated cereal and pulse harvest of some 4 500 tonnes. This is 47 percent below the post-harvest estimates of production by the Regional Agricultural Bureau for 2001. Given that grains are of much less importance than livestock in the household food economies of the region, the Mission tried to establish a level of performance of pastoralist herds and flocks through interviews with livestock monitors working in the zonal agricultural bureaux.

SPOT-4 Vegetation Indices show less vegetation than in the previous three years from May to September in all the areas with any production potential. This was substantiated by Mission interviews, confirming that the main rains began late and only fell as occasional light showers up to early September, when they stopped completely. Such rains did little to supplement the growth of mid-season grazing or browse. Consequently, animal body condition declined from the end of the Belg rains in April; temporary water points dried up earlier than usual; and animal prices in all markets fell by up to 50 percent of expected levels due to increased presentations and few buyers. Early migration out of Zone 2 to traditional grazing relief areas was restricted due to closure of access to pastures near the Eritrean border and conflict with communities in Oromiya and Tigray where grazing and water supplies were also under heavy pressure. Early migration from Zone 4 to Amhara and Oromiya was more successfully negotiated as was the movement of stock from neighbouring communities to the Awash National Park.

Livestock mortality rates from seven woredas compiled by the Zone 2 Agriculture Bureau specialists in September, range from 5-40 percent as noted in Table 6.

Table 6 - Ethiopia: 2002 - Afar Zone 2 Livestock Mortality Rates (Percent) by Woreda

Stock Woreda 1 Woreda 2 Woreda 3 Woreda 4 Woreda 5 Woreda 6 Woreda 7
Goats 15 10 9 20 10 9 8
Sheep 15 10 9 20 10 9 8
Camels 12 9 10 13 14 10 4
Cattle 15 40 20 6 25 9 10
Donkeys 5 20 6 6 8 - 5
Source: Zone 2 Agricultural Bureau.

Given poor body condition, scarcity of water points and problems of access to relief sites, the Mission considers that mortality rates are likely to rise if rains are not forthcoming in the next few weeks.

4.6 Somali

Somali Region, located in the south-east corner of Ethiopia is a predominantly pastoralist area with rainfed production mostly undertaken by farmers in the highlands and middle-altitude areas in Jijigga and Shinelli Zones. In the villages and towns along the Wabi-Shabelle River complex a variety of annual crops are grown through irrigation by flood water and perennial crops such as bananas and chat are produced from micro irrigation schemes based on pump-sets.

Mission visits to Jijigga Zone provided limited information on overall conditions in the Region. However, SPOT-4 Vegetation Indices point to generally better conditions in the southern zones of Somali, including Jijigga, over the Kiremt season following a later than normal start to the rains in July. Shinelli Zone by contrast, suffered from a similar rainfall pattern to most of Afar Region consisting of a few light showers in August and early September. Crop production is, therefore, only estimated from Jijigga Zone, where cereal area increased by 2 percent and production increased by 31 percent to 47 900 tonnes of which 23 000 tonnes is expected to be sorghum, the remainder comprising maize at 11 000 tonnes, barley at 9 000 tonnes, and wheat at 6 000 tonnes.

In the southern pastoralist areas of the region, grazing and browse conditions were reported to be stable following relatively good rains in the summer (June to August) months. Early season shortages of water, browse and grazing in the pastoral areas of Shinelli increased mortality rates and caused early stock movement within the zone. Migration of herds and flocks southwards latter in December, out of Shinelli, is anticipated by the authorities in Jijigga.

4.7 Harari

Harari is a small region surrounding the city of Harar with some 12 000 ha of agricultural land. Apart from chat, the main products are usually sorghum and maize. This year the Belg rains were late, ended early and were followed by a long dry spell until the Kiremt rains began in late July. An early finish to Meher season in the first week of September following erratic and light rains in August completed the unsatisfactory rainfall pattern for the year.

Planting was delayed and is noted at a level some 19 percent lower than last year. Around 4 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses are expected of which most will be sorghum.

4.8 Dire-Dawa

Sorghum, maize and vegetables are the main crops grown around the city of Dire-Dawa. This year there were virtually no Belg rains and the Kiremt rains were late, scanty and ended early. Area planted to cereals and pulses was consequently reduced and the only crops reported to have provided a measurable harvest were fields of early maturing sorghum test planted by Alamayo University. An overall production of 900 tonnes from 8 000 ha is expected. Livestock condition noted by Mission teams was poor and livestock production was reported to be below normal but no figures are available.

4.9 Addis Ababa

The area planted to cereals and pulses this year in Addis Ababa Region is very similar to last year at 9 700 ha. Reasonable rainfall during both Belg and Meher seasons supported crop growth and development and encouraged the use of inputs. However, poor debt repayment reduced access to credit and caused the number of loans to drop by some 25 percent. Fertilizer use is thought to have been sustained by cash sales.

Following a year when husbandry practices were normal and with no significant pests and diseases, Addis Ababa Region is in the unique position of registering an increase in cereal and pulse production this year. A combined harvest of cereals and pulses of 12 000 tonnes of which 4 000 are teff and 6 000 tonnes are wheat is expected, showing a 19 percent increase over last year.

4.10 Gambella

Gambella Region, located in south-west Ethiopia bordering Sudan, is a lowland area with regular rainfall and seasonal floods from permanent rivers that bisect the region providing the opportunity for at least two crop production cycles per year, one from rain and one from residual moisture.

The Region, which has experienced much movement of refugees from Sudan in the past decade is inhabited by cattle pastoralists (Nuer), shifting cultivators (Anuak) and settlers from the central highlands. Farming patterns and livelihood systems are diverse, with fishing, hunting-gathering and cross-border trade seen to be as important as agriculture to the household food economies. This year the Kiremt rains were late and floods low. Cereal and pulse area is estimated to be 20 percent less than last year, the resulting harvest being estimated at 13 600 tonnes or 40 percent below last year.

4.11 Benshangul Gumuz

Benshangul Gumuz Region, bordering the eastern clay plains of Sudan is a lightly populated, low-lying Region with a uni-modal rainfall, which supports crop and pastoralist livestock production. This year there was a late start to the rains in the northern localities of Metekal and Pawe, while elsewhere the rains began in May. The ensuing precipitation was good in both quantity and distribution although not as heavy as last year, which was an advantage in some lowlying areas.

With availability of credit not a limiting factor and with rains encouraging after the late start, fertilizer use has been sustained and agricultural husbandry practices followed the normal routines.

No major field pests or disease problems were noted by the Mission teams visiting the area. Consequently, yields for all crops are noted not to have fallen as much as in other Regions. Overall, production of cereals and pulses is estimated to be 116 000 tonnes from 143 000 ha which is some 7 percent below last year from an area 3 percent less.


5.1 Agricultural markets and prices

The domestic grain markets in Ethiopia function through a network of small traders who buy surpluses from small farmers and sell in the nearby markets at relatively small margins. These markets function in relative isolation. Small grain producers as well as small traders are not well informed about grain availability and prices. Larger grain movements from surplus to deficit areas are constrained by high transport costs due to poor road infrastructure, weak market information systems, and a quasi monopoly in the transportation sector.

The grain prices remained severely depressed for almost two years till about mid-2002. These depressed prices were a function of higher than average harvests in two consecutive years and no effective price stabilization measures at the national level. The only price stabilization measure used by some of the donor agencies was to purchase part of the grain for food assistance from the local markets instead of importing the entire quantities. In 2001 and 2002 only about 160 000 tonnes of grain each year were locally purchased by international agencies and distributed as food aid.

The grain market prices began to increase sharply during the latter half of 2002 when it became apparent that cereal production would be substantially lower for both Belg and Meher crops. Between October 2001 and October 2002, the nominal average price of maize increased by 85 percent, wheat 50 percent, barley 32 percent, and sorghum 25 percent. Figure 2.1 and 2.2 show the nominal and long-term average monthly price for teff, wheat and maize in Addis Ababa and BahrDar markets. The price movement trends observed in these two markets are similar to other markets in Mekele, Hossana, DireDawa, and Nazrethe. Certain segments of the population, including urban households with fixed incomes, nomadic populations and about 20 percent of the rural population who purchase grain from the market will be negatively affected by the increased grain prices.

Figure 2.1 - Monthly Average Prices of Main Cereals, Addis Ababa, October 2001-October 2002


Figure 2.2 - Monthly Average Prices of Main Cereals, BahrDar, October 2001-October 2002

5.2 Grain supply/demand balance

The projected supply/demand balance for cereals and pulses for the 2003 (January-December) marketing year is summarized in Table 7. It is based on production estimates of 2002/2003 Meher crop, a forecast of 2003 Belg crop and the latest information on trade and stocks. Total cereal and pulse production is estimated at 9.27 million tonnes, including 8.92 million tonnes from the main Meher crop, and a provisional forecast of 350 000 tonnes for the 2003 Belg crop.

Table 7 - Ethiopia: Total grains supply/demand balance, January-December 2003 (000 tonnes)

Domestic availability 9 782
- Opening stock 509
Production 9 273
- Meher 8 923
- Belg 350
Total utilization 12 077
- Food use 10 369
- Feed use 180
- Seed use 670
- Losses 730
- Unofficial exports 28
- Closing stock 100
Import requirement 2 295
- Anticipated commercial imports 328
- Pledged food assistance 140
Uncovered deficit 1 827


The opening stocks for the marketing year 2003 are estimated at 509 000 tonnes. These include an estimated 72 000 tonnes held by the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE); approximately 215 000 tonnes with commercial traders; about 100 000 tonnes with small farmers in the surplus producing areas; and approximately 122 000 tonnes with the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR). The EFSR is a revolving grain fund with a maximum stock size of 405 000 tonnes. Several national and international agencies including DPPC, WFP, EGTE, donors, and NGOs borrow grain from it on a six month contract against a confirmed donor contribution. There are no penalties if the borrowed grain is not returned on time, and as of December 2002, 24 299 tonnes of grain were over due.

The closing stock is forecast at about 100 000 tonnes. The reduction in the closing stocks from the opening stocks is a reflection of the large reduction in crop production this year.

Food use is based on a projected population for the mid-year 2003 of 69.127 million and average per capita grain consumption of 150 kg per year.

Feed use is forecast at 180 000 tonnes largely for the consumption of poultry and equines. Seed use is estimated at 670 000 tonnes and post harvest losses at 730 000 tonnes. Seed use and post harvest losses account for almost 16 percent of the total Meher harvest.

There are no reliable official statistics on cereal exports in 2002 but it is reported that relatively large quantities of cereals were unofficially exported to neighbouring countries due to a bumper domestic production that resulted in severely depressed domestic grain prices. In the coming marketing year cross-border cereal exports are expected to be negligible due to the expected decline in production and sharply increased domestic cereal prices. Pulse exports in 2001-02 quadrupled from an annual average of 28 000 tonnes over the last six years to 109 000 tonnes due to last year's good production. However, it is more likely that during 2003 pulse exports will return to their average levels of 28 000 tonnes in light of an estimated 24 percent reduction in pulse production.

Total cereal import requirement in 2003 is estimated at 2.295 million tonnes. Commercial cereal import capacity is projected at 328 000 tonnes, consisting largely of durum wheat and wheat flour, rice and malting barley, mostly consumed by high income groups. The estimated commercial import capacity is higher than last year due to an improved macro-economic situation (see section 2.1).

Cereal food aid in the pipeline and pledged for food in 2003 currently stands at 140 000 tonnes. This leaves an uncovered grain deficit of about 1.83 million tonnes that will need to be met by additional assistance.

5.3 Emergency Food Aid Requirements

5.3.1 Review of Emergency Food Aid in 2002

Relief food aid requirements and actual distributions in Ethiopia have varied considerably in recent years as outlined in Table 8.

Table 8 - Ethiopia: Cereal Relief Food Aid Estimates and Distribution 1995-2002

January Estimate
Distributed as percent of estimated needs
Population requiring
food assistance
(million people)
1995 427 000 492 848 347 379 70 4.0
1996 291 000 262 060 219 000 84 2.7
1997 186 000 329 450 306 000 93 3.4
1998 420 000 602 134 294 932 49 5.3
1999 181 871 460 609 391 558 85 6.6
2000 764 044 1 337 695 999 135 75 10.2
2001 545 394 630 610 540 000 86 6.2
2002 557 204 897 299 580 000 65 6.3
Average 421 564 626 588 459 751 76 5.6
1/ 2002 distribution data is provisional. Includes WFP emergency assistance, bilateral contributions to DPPC and contributions through NGOs.

Although the 2001 main season harvest was good overall, some areas still experienced unfavourable growing conditions resulting in poor production that caused food shortages in some north eastern, central and southern parts of the country. Even in normal years, many of the affected populations in both cropping and some pastoral areas are frequently unable to either produce or purchase enough food for the entire year. In January 2002, a combination of weather adversities and chronic food insecurity resulted in 5.2 million people needing external assistance to meet minimum food needs, falling from 6.2 million in 2001. To address the relief food needs, the Government of Ethiopia appealed for a total of 557 204 tonnes of food assistance.

The poor Belg rains in 2002 further exacerbated the situation resulting in substantial losses of Belg crops, depleted pasture and water resources for the livestock in pastoral and many lowland-cropping areas. As a result, large numbers of animals died, particularly in Afar and some areas of Somali Region. Consequently, in July the number of people needing food assistance increased to 6.3 million people. To address these needs, the Government of Ethiopia appealed for 364 635 tonnes of food aid for July-December, 191 000 tonnes more than the January estimate for the same period.

The severity of the problem became even more evident towards the end of July due to the late onset of the kiremt rains in most lowland parts of the country. Late onset of rains combined with unusually long dry spells in some areas resulted in widespread losses of maize and sorghum crops. This limited the availability of green maize and sorghum, which are normally consumed in the lean season before the main harvest. Furthermore, pasture and water shortages became even more pronounced, resulting in massive livestock deaths in the affected areas and poor physical condition of the surviving animals. As a result of these factors, serious food shortages emerged in several parts of the country, nutritional status in many areas deteriorated rapidly and a Government-led multi-agency mid-season assessment identified additional food assistance requirements. Subsequently, the Government appealed for the third time in September 2002 for a total of 273 029 tonnes of food assistance for October to December 2002, 149 000 tonnes more than the July estimate for the same period.

In the early months of 2002, carryover stocks from 2001 were not enough to meet the food assistance requirements. Only 10 percent of needs could be covered in January. However, with confirmation of carryover contributions, 31 percent of needs were covered in February. Between March and May, distributions met only about 50 percent of the total requirements. However, between June and September, distributions increased to over 80 percent of requirements due to increased donor contributions. The Special Alert in July that requested additional relief food - a 34 percent increase on the January estimate for 2002 - was followed by a contribution from the Government, while international donors also responded quickly. Despite the October-December requirements being revised upwards again in September - increasing the annual needs by a further 20 percent - donors continued their support to relief food operations and around 70 percent of requirements were covered for the last three months of the year. Distributions were at a reduced ration size of 12.5 kg/person/month (instead of 15 kg). Furthermore, the DPPC and the Regions had to prioritize districts so that only the worst affected districts could receive food assistance.

Overall, food contributed and available for distribution in 2002 reached 582 000 tonnes against relief food requirements of 897 000 tonnes, a coverage of 65 percent (Table 9). The cereals requirements were relatively better covered than the supplementary food requirements, though blended food increased from mid-year in response to a clear deterioration in nutrition status in some areas. Some contributions of food confirmed in 2002 will be available for distribution in 2003 and the "carryover" is estimated at around 140 000 tonnes. However, as of mid-December 2002 only 80,000 tonnes are available for January 2003, against requirements of 120,000 tonnes; the other contributions are earmarked for distributions later in the year.

Table 9 - Ethiopia: 2002 Relief Food Aid Contributions, Distributions and Balance

2002 Contributions (including 2001 carryover stocks/pledges) 723 600
2002 Estimated Distributions 581 500
Carryover stocks and pledges into 2003 142 100


Food requirements also requested by the government for 2002 for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and Ethiopian Returnees from Eritrea amounted to over 15 000 tonnes. In response, WFP extended its existing emergency operation to assist 76 500 IDPs and returning refugees. In addition to food aid distributions received for victims of natural disaster and IDPs in Tigray, WFP also distributed 70 000 tonnes of food to Ethiopia for development projects and 25 000 tonnes of food for refugee operations in 2001.

5.3.2 Household Food Security Outlook in 2003

The most recent assessment in November 2002, conducted by over 20 multi-agency teams visiting 53 zones, has determined that in some areas earlier concerns of a total loss of harvest have been somewhat mitigated by rains in September/October. In other areas, particularly the lowland river gorges and north-eastern lowland escarpment in Amhara and Tigray, lowland Rift Valley, SNNPR, and the lowland pastoral and agro-pastoral regions of Afar, Oromiya and northern Somali, any hope for even 1-2 months of food stock has been lost. In general, food needs will grow over the next 6 months peaking in June, with a possible respite for some areas if there are good February-June rains. However, in less than three months, millions of subsistence farming and pastoralist families will be faced with a situation as desperate as they have ever experienced.

Afar: Despite large scale efforts to provide water trucking and rationing for both human and livestock consumption, poor river flows (Awash 3 metres/second vs. 6-9 metres/second normally) and drying ponds, have resulted in premature migration in September when normal migration would be January/February. Deteriorating livestock conditions and hence prices combined with increasing cereal prices have resulted in terms of trade for livestock one-fourth of what they normally are (1 shoat purchases 25 kg grain). Interventions now focus on preventing loss of human life and further loss of essential assets such as breeding stock. Efforts to contain livestock epidemics, including over half a million livestock being inoculated in the last 6 months, should be commended and continued if recovery is to be facilitated in the region.

Amhara: In lowland areas of river gorges (Tekeze and Abay Rivers in Wag Hemra, South Gonder, East Gojam Zones) and the eastern escarpment bordering Afar region (North Shewa, Oromiya, North Wello Zones), crop production is most severely affected. In these areas terms of trade have declined by as much as 50-60 percent due to increasing cereal prices and decreasing wage labour rates (Wag Hemra 8 birr/day to 4 birr/day, South Gonder 7 birr/day to 3 birr/day). Already in worst affected areas, there are alarming reports of stealing of standing and harvested crops (East Gojam and South Wello) and consumption of geisho or hops to suppress appetite in the absence of other food (Wag Hemra) and other wild foods such as kunti and burie. Anticipating that conditions will only worsen and desiring to protect their last assets (usually livestock), communities are increasingly requesting resettlement, even temporarily, near remaining water sources (rivers) even at the risk of malaria. In Wag Hemra, un-assisted migration has already started (more then 1000 households migrating south). Already reports of increased incidence of malaria, due most probably to reduced resistance to the disease as a result of decreased consumption, are widespread threatening to get worse if human and livestock movement increases.

Dire Dawa, Harari and Oromiya: The crisis in eastern Oromiya, Dire Dawa and Harari, comes after declining agricultural production since 1999 due to extended drought. The extended lean season in August/September 2002 in the eastern part of the region resulted in a rapid and dramatic decline in nutritional status. Malnutrition rates in affected areas like East and West Harerge reached over 15 percent Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM). Massive efforts to improve the situation through the provision of food aid have slightly ameliorated the problem. However with yet another significant decline in production in the lowlands, the situation will remain very precarious. For some years, the area, which is chronically food insecure, has had small-scale migration during lean seasons. This latest crisis has accelerated rates of migration with more than 20,000 people presently living in internally displaced persons camps in Bale Zone and another 5000 in East Shewa Zone. Contrary to expectations that communities would cope in the normally surplus-producing areas, signs of food stress such as declines in school attendance indicate a rapidly deteriorating situation-40 percent dropouts in 2002 versus 13 percent in 2001.

SNNPR: Poor rains not only resulted in declines in staple crop production but also cash crops such as peppers and coffee. These cash crops normally can offset declines in staple crop production through exchange. Wage labour rates are also declining (10 birr/day to 3 birr/day) due to over supply and lack of demand, particularly from coffee plantations. In combination with increasing cereal prices, declining terms of trade are seriously impacting access to food. People living in worst affected areas already exhibit the impact of reduced consumption. In Hadiya (Badawacho/Soro), malnutrition rates are at serious levels (11 percent GAM). Any slight alleviation of the problem depends on harvests of transitional crops of beans and potato in January/February. If these fail too, the situation can dramatically deteriorate.

Somali Region (Shinile and Jijiga): Throughout Shinile Zone and parts of Jijiga Zone bordering East Harerge and Shinile, many households have been unable to fully recover from the impacts of the 1999/2000 drought. The current situation is at an alarming stage and both people and livestock face critical water shortages. Unresolved conflict between communities in Shinile Zone and neighbouring Afar Region and drought conditions in Afar and East and West Harerge Zones are limiting migration of livestock to traditional reserve grazing areas. A further deterioration of pasture and water availability is expected in Shinille, with mass livestock migration within and outside the zone. Terms of trade for pastoralists are declining as cereal prices increase while livestock prices decline due to increased sales and the continued livestock import ban by Saudi Arabia. Camps of internally displaced since the 1999/2000 crisis are particularly vulnerable with the number of children in supplementary feeding programmes increasing four-fold between September and November (173 to 686 children). Further assessment of Somali Region will be conducted in December.

Tigray: The region is highly chronic food insecure with East, South and Central Zones dependent on cereal purchases and food aid to compensate for regular production deficits. In addition to a direct loss of income from reduced production, demand for wage labour normally obtained from surplus producing areas in South Tigray has declined, limiting an important coping mechanism for the poor. Livestock losses in May/July (approximately 50,000 animals) have reduced options for exchange compounded by increasing cereal prices. Worst-affected areas in Central Tigray have declining terms of trade with one shoat purchasing only 33 kg wheat (normal 1:50kg). Reports of migration from Central Tigray to normally surplus producing West Tigray have been reported (4000 people). Nutritional surveillance in East Tigray also demonstrates a serious situation in Atsbi Womberta (11 percent GAM). This is twice as high as 2001 (6 percent) and 2000 (5 percent). Nutritional status in other areas of East Tigray (8.4 percent and 7.0 percent GAM) is unseasonably high during the harvest period, is twice as high as last year at this time (4.5 percent and 3.3 percent).

Chronic Food Insecurity

There are four to five million people in Ethiopia who are chronically food insecure and even in a good year rely on food aid to meet their minimum daily requirements. Their food insecurity results from the process of asset erosion caused by repeated shocks, including drought, resulting in destitution. This makes it impossible for these populations to cope with even slight variations in climate and accessibility to markets, including those for grain, livestock and labour. Ultimately this process has resulted in a dependence on recurring resource transfers such as food aid. These chronic beneficiaries are "predictable" and generally well identified. While the Government in conjunction with the international community is progressing toward developing a programme for meeting and then alleviating the recurring needs of these populations, until such a programme is supported and implemented, these populations will continue to require emergency food assistance to avoid complete destitution and starvation.

5.3.3 Nutrition

Food security situation of pastoralists in northeastern parts of the country has exhibited rapid deterioration. A nutrition survey conducted by Action Contre la Faim (ACF) in Afar Region Zone 1 revealed a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of 32 percent (z-score) in July 2002. In August 2002 another survey conducted in Zone 3 of Afar Region showed a GAM score of 18 percent. A joint survey conducted by CARE, DPPC, WFP and Save the Children UK (SC-UK) in the lowlands of East and West Hararghe in September 2002 estimated a GAM rate of 15 percent. Similarly, Fik Zone of Somali Region (bordering lowland East Harerge) demonstrated a GAM rate of 21 percent. Since then, conditions have slightly improved due to food aid distribution between August and November in East Shewa (14 percent to 7 percent GAM, respectively). According to WHO/UNICEF standards, a GAM rate of above 10 percent is considered serious and above 20 percent as of crisis proportions.

Other areas where malnutrition has reached unacceptable levels include the northeastern lowland escarpment bordering Afar Region and the lowlands of river gorges. In East Tigray, World Vision (WV) nutrition surveys in September 2002 showed an 11 percent GAM. This is twice as high as 2001 (6 percent) and 2000 (5 percent) levels, and demonstrates a worsening situation since early September when Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Belgium surveys did not find the situation alarming. East in the lowland gorges of North Gonder, malnutrition rates have reached 18 percent GAM. Further south in South Wello (Amhara Region), a survey conducted by CONCERN in August 2002 showed GAM rates of 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively and 13 percent GAM rate in south of South Wello in Oromiya Zone.

According to a survey conducted by World Vision, the nutritional status in SNNPR was in the acceptable range during the first half of 2002 with values ranging from a GAM rate of 2 percent to 8 percent. However, following poor Belg production, a survey by DPPC/SC-UK in September showed that the situation was already deteriorating with an estimated 10 percent GAM in Badawacho and Soro districts (Hadiya Zone).

5.3.4 Relief Food Aid Requirements in 2003

A DPPC-led, mid-Meher assessment was conducted in September. On their return from the field, the multi-agency needs assessment teams prepared contingency plans for 2003. While it was difficult to project the exact number of beneficiaries at that time for 2003, the teams attempted to forecast needs given three scenarios-best, mid and worst case (Table 10). The scenarios used to project potential food and income shortfalls in 2003, given the late onset of Kiremt rains, were as follows:

Table 10 - Scenarios of the likely emergency needs in 2003 developed in September 2002

General Ration
Supplementary Food
Vulnerable Groups (millions) Vegetable Oil (tonnes) CSB
Best Case 6.8 850 450 1.7 21 521 64 563
Mid Case 10.2 1 341 182 2.5 33 670 101 010
Worst Case 14.3 1 991 940 3.2 46 171 138 513

The DPPC-led Meher assessment was subsequently conducted in November that confirmed earlier contingency planning assumptions. While the situation differs from zone to zone, the number of people requiring assistance is close to the mid-case scenario, 11.3 million, with an additional 3 million under close monitoring resulting in a total of 14.3 million people affected by the drought (Table 11).

Figure 3 - Ethiopia: Rural Populations in Need of Emergency Food Assistance in 2003


Table 11 - Number of people in need of Emergency Food Aid by Region.

Population requiring food assistance Cereals
Blended Food (tonnes) Oil
Total (tonnes)
Afar 786 200 117 930 12 383 413 130 726
Amhara 3 296 200 342 100 31 056 1 036 374 192
B-Gumuz - - - - -
Dire Dawa 73 500 11 025 1 158 39 12 222
Gambella 58 400 7 235 760 22 8 017
Harari 20 000 2 003 210 7 2 220
Oromiya 3 110 900 367 933 38 151 1 269 407 353
SNNP 1 114 700 105 722 10 670 356 116 748
Somali 1 028 900 118 313 6 002 200 124 515
Tigray 1 831 600 240 348 24 001 800 265 149
Total 11 320 400 1 312 609 124 391 4 142 1 441 142

5.3.5 Food Basket Considerations

The food aid basket used by WFP in Ethiopia is 15 kg of cereals/person/month or 500 g/person/day, supplying approximately 1700 kcal/person/day against minimum requirements of 2170 kcal/person/day. Cereals provide the bulk of the calories in the diet in Ethiopia. The other staple foods in Ethiopia -pulses and oil seeds-are generally available locally at relatively low prices.

In worst affected areas 35 percent of the population requiring food assistance are considered most vulnerable and need supplementary rations of blended food (4.5 kg/person/month or 150g/person/day) and in some cases, vegetable oil (1.5 kg/person/month or 50g/person/day), providing an additional 1000 kcal/ person/day. Recommendations of the DPPC-led multi-agency assessment mission at the end of 2002 indicate an average duration of food assistance of seven months per beneficiary, though the duration varies between zones.

5.3.6 Gratuitous ("free") Relief Distributions

While other modalities, such as employment generation schemes and direct cash contributions will be used to the extent possible, most people identified for food assistance will be reached through gratuitous relief distributions. Ethiopia has well-established mechanisms for gratuitous relief distributions and efforts continue to improve targeting at the field level.

5.3.7 Employment Generation Schemes (EGS)

EGS is intended to maximise the benefit of relief resources by linking it to the creation of sustainable developmental assets. In many areas, a successful contribution has been made to soil and water conservation, rural road rehabilitation and other efforts that build community assets, while providing employment for disaster-affected people who receive their relief needs as food and/or cash. In 2002, consensus was reached that to be successful EGS must have modest objectives, flexible implementation modalities, implementation capacity at district level, and more predictable resource flows. Further work will need to be done in 2003 to enable districts to adopt flexible and diverse planning and implementation modalities, based on realistic assumptions on timing of arrival of resources, levels of capacity, availability of complementary inputs and other factors such as local priorities and agro-climatic conditions.

5.3.8 Direct Cash Contributions

Some of the relief food requirements could be met through direct cash contributions to beneficiaries. When considering substituting food with cash, the capacity for implementation should be carefully considered. Based on experience to date, 2003 relief cash resources are recommended to be used only where the area and institution already have experience. Moreover, cash approaches to relief should be flexible to reflect market conditions and maximize benefits to beneficiaries. For example, in remote areas where cereal prices tend to be high, food assistance may be the preferable relief resource.

5.3.9 Local Purchases

The main objectives of local purchases are to enhance the purchasing power of grain-producing farmers, feed those in need of food aid, and reinstate the cereal flow from surplus to deficit areas of the country. Between 1996 and 2002, an estimated 882,000 tonnes of cereals-wheat, sorghum and maize-were purchased locally with an annual average of 126 000 tonnes annually (Table 12).

Table 12 - Local Purchases of Cereals in Ethiopia: 1996-2002 (in tonnes)

Donor 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 96-02
European Commission 64 282 2 499 0 48 308 15 286 0 58 827 189 202
EuronAid 36 458 22 628 7 957 24 500 16 879 65 003 21 249 194 674
World Food Programme 0 82 880 0 564 22 862 56 164 71 000 233 470
GTZ 0 0 12 610 9 700 6 400 0 0 28 710
Government of Ethiopia 0 0 31 000 0 112 829 40 002 0 183 831
SCF/UK 0 0 0 11 800 0 0 16 400 28 200
SOS-Sahel 0 0 0 0 6 700 0 0 6 700
Farm Africa 0 0 0 0 17 000 0 0 17 000
Total 100 740 108 007 51 567 94 872 197 956 161 169 167 476 881 787

In 2002, provisional estimates are that around 170,000 tonnes has been purchased locally while the January estimate was that 494,000 tonnes would be available for local purchase. Information on cereal production that will be available for local purchase in 2003 indicate that it is likely to be substantially less than in 2002. More precise information will be available following completion of the Cereal Availability Study in January 2003, jointly conducted by EU and WFP. A further limiting factor for local purchase in response to the 2003 appeal is the fact that the Ethiopian Government, donors and relief agencies plan to reimburse 150,000 tonnes to the EFSR from 2002 allocations through local purchase early in 2003. When provided with a cash contribution (as opposed to an in-kind contribution), WFP's first preference is to purchase locally. However, local purchases are subject to local prices being equivalent or less than import price parity; local purchases must also meet delivery schedules for timely distributions to beneficiaries or to meet repayment obligations to the EFSR. In 2002, delays and defaults for local purchases were frequently experienced by many relief agencies.

Limited quantities of blended foods may be purchased locally. The combined capacity of the factories to produce adequate standard blended foods for supplementary feeding is 80 tonnes per day.

5.3.10 International Purchases

It is expected that most of the relief food requirements in 2003 will be met though imports. These will either be in-kind or as cash contributions for international purchases. International purchases in the region are being considered.
Areas of Sudan traditionally have surpluses of sorghum available after the main harvest, and logistical access to these stocks is possible from Ethiopia. The EC is planning to launch a survey in early January and has agreed to share its findings with the Ethiopian Government and other donors. The proposed quantities to be purchased will depend on the availability of sorghum in the Al Gedaref area and of the expressed needs for food aid in areas where food can be easily transported from the EFSR warehouse in Wereta (South Gonder). However, depending on the success of the initiative, other destinations in Ethiopia besides Worreta may be added.

5.3.11 Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR)

Ethiopia's Emergency Food Security Reserve holds stocks of cereals that can be made available as a loan against a written guarantee from concerned donors for repayment. This expedites distributions for in-kind contributions, international purchases and local purchases. In 2002, the EFSR level reached its long-term target of 400,000 tonnes. However, with many loans made during the second half of the year, the physical stocks in the EFSR have been reduced significantly (Table 13).

The physical stock forecast for the EFSR for the beginning of 2003 is 122,000 tonnes. Scheduled repayments will be either imported or locally purchased in early 2003. Repayments and projected loans are expected to keep physical stocks above the normal minimum operational level of 100 000 until March. Projected loans have been calculated on the assumption that 2002-03 cereal relief requirements could be covered by further confirmed donor contributions (as noted earlier, confirmed contribution of relief food aid for 2003 are currently only 140,000 tonnes). Even if further contributions are confirmed, the new contributions would need to be paid back to the Reserve by March to avoid the EFSR being drawn down excessively in April.

Table 13 - Projected Status of the Emergency Food Security Reserve 2002-03

EFSR physical stocks at the beginning of the month (tonnes) Loans
Actual & Projected (tonnes)
Anticipated Repayments (tonnes) EFSR physical stocks at end of the month (projected tonnes)
November 2002 129 669 76 157 49 438 102 950
December 2002 102 950 51 225 70 494 122 218
January 2003 122 218 68 597 85 897 139 518
February 2003 139 518 108 110 103 393 134 801
March 2003 134 801 134 645 112 939 113 095
April 2003 113 095 113 095 0 0

5.3.12 Logistics

Port Operations: Djibouti will remain the major port for delivery of relief food into Ethiopia. Vessel arrivals will be scheduled in accordance with the port capacity and the existing good co-ordination between relief agencies, major importers of bulk cargo, and the port authorities. Relief vessels are expected to be promptly berthed on arrival, given that Djibouti and Ethiopia both have well established procedures for shipment processing and customs. The bulk terminal at Djibouti port can simultaneously accommodate three large-sized bulk vessels (typically 30 000 tonnes) and other terminals can be used if necessary.

Adequate quayside space at the bulk terminal allows for marshalling of a large number of trucks, placement and operation of bagging machines, and for shunting of cargo for loading into railway wagons. Bulk vessel charter parties allow for discharge rates of 2400 tonnes per day per vessel. Vessel-handling agents at the port are better prepared than they were during the last major drought emergency in 2000. WFP's operational reviews done in November 2002 show that bulk cereals in excess of 6000 tonnes per day can be readily offloaded from more than one vessel using direct discharge onto trucks for inland delivery.

Djibouti Port Capacity: A capacity assessment for Djibouti port forecasts that donor's contributions may not all arrive during calendar year 2003. Recent experience is that some late pledges and/or shipments may arrive within the first quarter of 2004 as loan repayments to the EFSR. Using an average offloading rate of 5000 tonnes per day, a 15-month period and an average of 25 operational days per month for vessel discharge, the port could handle relief food shipments of at least 1.9 million tonnes. In a 12-month period, the port could handle at least 1.5 million tonnes. If there were a surge in simultaneous arrivals, Djibouti port can handle over 200 000 tonnes per month, though this enhanced capacity can only be maintained for two to three months period.

Port Warehousing: Whereas it is always the intention to discharge directly from vessels onto trucks, some agencies maintain storage capacity inside the port (for example, WFP has 11 000 tonnes of storage at the port bulk terminal). Additional warehousing can readily be commercially leased outside the port area. This warehouse capacity ensures that vessels can continue to be discharged and released even if there are occasional problems with documentation, temporary shortages of trucks, and/or blockages on the Djibouti-Ethiopia road.

Overland Transport: The reconstruction of World Bank-supported 188-km road from Djibouti to the Ethiopian border is expected to be completed in April 2003. Available transporters have a combined uplift capacity of over 50 000 tonnes. The available truck fleet transferring inland from Djibouti is over 3 000 trucks, which would be able to cope with the potential off-take. (WFP's contracted transporters have a total of 1 350 trucks and are able to transport an average of over 5 000 tonnes per day from the port). With turnaround time ranging between 6 to 11 days depending on destination, trucks operating between Djibouti and Ethiopia work in rotation, therefore not all of them are required at once. This ensures that some of this fleet can be used for internal delivery. Depending on destination, the railway offers between 4 000 to 7 000 tonnes of capacity per month for delivery into Ethiopia. The recent completion of a railway siding into the EFSRA Shinille warehouse will enable delivery by rail to this location, freeing-up truck capacity for other locations. Well-proven coordination and control systems have been established for: (a) mobilizing transporters and the railway company and ensuring that vessels are discharged directly onto trucks/wagons; (b) monitoring truck transit times to destinations and their prompt return to Djibouti for subsequent loads when required; and (c) coordinating with receiving locations on prompt offloading of the cargo.

Inland Warehousing, Transport and Distribution: Emergency relief food is received directly by DPPC and NGOs or by the EFSR as repayments for loans. With up to 424 000 tonnes of storage capacity available at strategic locations in the country, the DPPC and the EFSRA have adequate warehouse space to receive and promptly offload relief cargo. Where required, DPPC can lease additional commercial storage.

Alternate Routes into Ethiopia: When vessel arrivals are expected to coincide to the point that they exceed Djibouti's port capacity, consideration will be given to alternate import corridors:

Berbera Corridor: The use of Berbera port in Somalia for delivery into Ethiopia is a viable option. Using Berbera port involves a 250-km road link to the Ethiopia border at Togochale, followed by a 64-km section to Jijiga. Using Somalia-based transporters, deliveries can be made up to Jijiga or Dire Dawa. With regular maintenance of the road, up to 30 000 tonnes of food per month could be routed through this corridor targeted for distribution within the Somali Region and for other adjacent areas of Oromiya such as East Harerge.

Port Sudan Corridor: The distance from Port Sudan to the Ethiopian border point at Gallabat/Metema is 952 km. Repairs to the 184-km road section within Ethiopia to Gonder are complete and trucks of up to 30-tonne payloads can use the road. For this previously little-used corridor, there are indications that commercial traffic involving exports/imports will soon start. With the distance involved, importing through Port Sudan would be relatively expensive in terms of transport costs. However, using the road link for delivery of regional purchases (e.g. sorghum) made in the Gedaref area of Sudan for delivery into north western areas of Ethiopia is a viable option.

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.

Henri Josserand
Fax: 0039-06-5705-4495
E-mail: [email protected]
Holdbrook Arthur
Regional Director, ODK, WFP
Fax: 00256-41-255115
E-mail: [email protected]

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1 The contents of this section are based on variety of sources including the Economist Intelligence Unit reports, IMF Ethiopia Statistical Appendix, National Bank of Ethiopia Annual and Quarterly Reports, and other publications.