Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Cumulative June to September 2019 Kiremt rainfall is above average across most of the country. In some areas along riverbanks and lake shores, heavy rainfall led to flooding and water logging of crops, resulting in localized crop losses. Conversely, in areas of northern Afar, northeastern Amhara, and eastern Tigray, Kiremt rainfall was poorly distributed and below average, negatively impacting cropping conditions. However, relatively heavy late season rainfall in these areas is improving pasture conditions.
This is contained in a food security outlook released by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) at the beginning of this month. FEWSNET s a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries.
“Generally, planting of 2019 Meher crops was timely, and the area planted of short and long maturing crops is near normal in major Meher producing parts of the country. Crops are in different growth stages, and the harvest of barley and potatoes has started in northeastern Amahara and Tigray in September. In other parts of the country, crop stages range from fruiting and grain filling to maturity. Despite localized crop losses due to poor rainfall, national Meher production is expected to be near average,” the outlook continues.
FEWSNET says that households in most Meher-producing areas have exhausted their food stocks from the previous season and are relying on markets. Atypically high market demand due to below average 2018 Meher and Belg production, restricted supply, and macroeconomic factors are driving significantly above average staple food prices.
According to the Department of Risk Management (DRM), August sorghum prices in Woldia in Amhara are 127 and 98 percent above last year’s prices and the five-year average, respectively. According to the Tseasie Tseada Emba DRM office in Afar, August maize prices are 40 percent above the same month last year and the five-year average. Livestock prices and labor wage rates are increasing, but at a slower rate than staple food prices, restricting household food access.
Many pastoral and agropastoral areas of Somali Region, Eastern Oromia, Lowlands of Bale, Guji, Borana zones of Oromia, northern Afar and Waghimra areas along Tekeze Catchment are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2). This is due to the below average 2019 Belg harvest, poor Dyer/Hagaya rains in pastoral areas that have resulted in below-average food and income from livestock, and well above-average staple food prices that have driven a deterioration in household purchasing power.