By David Luganda / NECJOGHA
The IGAD Climate Predication and Applications Centre (ICPAC) has released the second Bulletin Agriculture Hotspots for August 2022.
The overview of the bulletin states that, Agricultural monitoring is vital in detecting short-term deficits in crop productivity in response to a range of drivers especially in areas frequently impacted by high cases of food insecurity. This bulletin provides timely monthly warnings of agricultural production deficits (hotspots) in rain fed systems, for the month of August 2022, as part of an operational early warning systems for food security crises prevention and response planning anticipation in Eastern Africa region.
Automatic Warnings at the sub-national level are issued for negative crop growth conditions when more than 25% of the active area experienced a large negative anomaly for one or more of the key indicators that include the Water Satisfaction Index (WSI), Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI3), and cumulative Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from start of season. The automatic warnings are completed by a country level analysis of agricultural monitoring experts.
• 6 countries in Eastern Africa region namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda were classified as agricultural productivity hotspots during the month of August 2022 (Fig. 1)
• Favorable rainfall in July and August in most parts of the northern areas helped most staple and cash crops to recover from the effects of localised dry spells which occurred in early in the season.
• However, some areas in the north were impacted by floods, waterlogging, and soil erosion incidences. For instance, Warap state in South Sudan, and in Haroon area of north Damazine locality, Sudan, where floods caused damage to more than 50% of crop farms (Source: IGAD Member State seasonal impact reports).
• In Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, and most other parts of the equatorial sector, the impact of 4 consecutive failed seasons compounded with the high possibility of a fifth failed season in the coming short rainy season (OND 2022) will exacerbate the current dire situation. Aside from the prolonged drought, conflict including in Ukraine and economic shocks has contributed to the dire food security situation in the region. The resulting increase in prices of food, fuel, and farm inputs are pushing many households whose coping mechanism have been already eroded to the brink.
• Current data from FSNWG shows that 31 million people are in IPC 3+ in IGAD. A further 31 million people are classified in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and are in need of continuous assistance to avoid them sliding to worse-off food security Phases.
• Respective governments in the region and partners are urged to act early to avert the worsening of food insecurity situation in the region.
NOTE: The hotspot classification is based on the combination of expert knowledge, automatic anomaly warnings at the province level and detailed analysis of agro-meteorological indicators. This means that the automatic warnings are only one of many signals used by agricultural experts to decide whether a country is in an agricultural hotspot situation or not. For example in May 2022, South Sudan did not experience any major problems from an agro-meteorological point of view (only a single level 1 warning in one province), but agricultural activities are expected to be negatively impacted by the prolonged conflict and insecurity situation.