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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 15-June-2023


  1. Dire food security situation due to multiple shocks

  2. Abundant seasonal rains benefiting 2023 secondary season “Belg” crops

  3. Above‑average rangeland conditions benefiting livestock

  4. Cereal prices at record levels constraining access to food for vulnerable households

Dire food security situation due to multiple shocks

According to the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, about 20.1 million people are estimated to be in need of emergency food assistance. The difficult food security situation is mainly the result of the lingering impact of the conflict in northern areas and the drought in southern areas that are affecting food availability and access, exacerbated by severe macroeconomic challenges and episodes of intercommunal violence across the country.

In the north, in Tigray Region and in adjacent areas of Amhara and Afar regions, where conflict erupted in November 2020, the security situation has improved substantially after the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) in November 2022, supporting a gradual economic recovery. However, economic activities and income opportunities are well below the pre‑conflict levels.

In southern pastoral areas of Southwest Ethiopia Peoples' Region, southern SNNPR, Borena zone in southern Oromiya Region and southern Somali Region, a prolonged and severe drought affected livelihoods between late 2020 and early 2023, and resulted in consecutive failed harvests and widespread livestock deaths.

Severe macroeconomic challenges, including insufficient foreign currency reserves and the continuous depreciation of the national currency, are constraining imports of key commodities, including fertilizers, and in very high inflation, with the year‑on‑year inflation rate estimated at 30.8 percent in May.

Abundant seasonal rains benefiting 2023 secondary season “Belg” crops

Harvesting of the secondary “Belg” season crops has recently started in southern Tigray, eastern Amhara, eastern Oromiya and northeastern SNNP regions. The February‑May rainy season was characterized by abundant seasonal rainfall amounts, up to twice the long‑term average, which benefited yields (see ASI map for cropland). Although some areas of Oromiya and SNNP regions have been affected by torrential rains and floods, production prospects are generally favourable.

Planting of the 2023 main “Meher” season crops, for harvest from October, is currently underway in key producing areas of western Oromiya, western Amhara and Benishangul Gumuz regions. According to the latest forecast by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), below‑average to average June‑September “Kiremt” rainfall amounts are expected over most of these areas, with a likely negative impact on yields.

The lingering impact of the conflict in Tigray resulted in shortages of agricultural inputs, including seeds, draft oxen and fertilizers, and constrained plantings both in “Belg” receiving areas (Southern Tigray and Eastern Amhara) and in “Kiremt” receiving areas (the rest of Tigray Region and Western Amhara). However, the improved security situation following the ceasefire is expected to result in increased cereal production compared with 2022 for both “Belg” and “Meher” harvests.

Above‑average rangeland conditions benefiting livestock

In southern and southeastern pastoral areas, a favourable performance of the March‑May “Gu/Genna” rainy seasons, with cumulative rainfall amounts ranging from average to 50‑percent above average, substantially regenerated rangeland resources (see ASI map for grassland). However, abundant rains triggered localized floods, which affected about 300 000 people and resulted in the death of about 23 000 livestock heads in the Somali Region alone. Livestock body conditions have substantially improved due to abundant pasture and water availability. Although milk production has generally increased, it is still below average due to low conception rates and the significant decline of herd sizes caused by the death from starvation of 4.5 million animals in Oromiya and Somali regions, and widespread distress sales during the drought.

Cereal prices at record levels constraining access to food for vulnerable households

Prices of locally produced maize increased seasonally by 10‑15 percent between January and April 2023 in Bahirdar market, located in a key producing area, in Diredawa market, located in a cereal deficit area and in the capital, Addis Ababa. Prices of maize in April were at record levels and 30‑35 percent more than one year earlier. In Addis Ababa, prices of wheat, partly imported and mainly consumed in urban areas, and prices of locally produced teff followed a similar pattern, increasing by 15 and 45 percent, respectively, between January and April 2023, when they reached record levels. The high levels of cereal prices are mainly the result of the continuous depreciation of the national currency, which inflates prices of imported inputs and fuel.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

This brief was prepared using the following data/tools:
FAO/GIEWS Country Cereal Balance Sheet (CCBS)

FAO/GIEWS Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) Tool .

FAO/GIEWS Earth Observation for Crop Monitoring .

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) .