Ethiopia Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 18 June 2012
Food Security Update
Food security continues to deteriorate in areas of the country where the last harvest (belg or meher) was poor and/or where the recent belg (mid-February to May) rains performed poorly, including across eastern SNNPR and in parts of eastern Amhara, central Oromia and southern Tigray. These areas are either at the peak of their lean season, or soon will be. High inflation, especially high prices for staple foods (food inflation stood at 29.2 per cent in May), delays in dispatch and distribution of relief food, and low coverage of targeted supplementary feeding (TSF) programme are exacerbating the situation. In SNNPR, in particular, nutrition and food security is worsening: in Wolayita, Kembata Tembaro, Hadiya, Gurage, Silte, Segen Peoples and Sidama zones vulnerable households are reportedly employing coping mechanisms such as skipping meals, eating smaller and less nutritious meals and borrowing money at high interest rates. Wild food consumption and increased school drop-outs have also been reported from some areas. In addition to advocating for expansion of relief or food security programmes in the region, the humanitarian community is supporting the expansion of TSF to all priority 1 and 2 hotspot woredas in the region. Nutrition screening has been completed in all 27 priority 1 and 16 priority 2 woredas. Countrywide, all 192 nutrition hotspot priority 1 woredas and selected priority two woredas with high malnutrition rates and worsening food security will be targeted with TSF.
In the gu / ganna (April to June) receiving areas of southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, however, the generally timely onset and good performance of the rains has replenished water and supported browse regeneration in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist lowlands, with positive impacts on livestock body condition and production. However, water and pasture shortages remain critical in areas that received erratic and insufficient rains. For example, preliminary indications from the national needs assessment indicate that rainfall has been below-normal over the past two months in parts of Kalafo, Mustahil, Ferfer, Danan and Beer’ano woredas of Gode zone (Somali Region). In agro-pastoralist areas, this has resulted in wilted pasture; pastoralists are travelling long distances to access water and wells are drying up, raising a possible need for water trucking in chronically water-insecure areas of Danan and Ferfer. In the riverine areas, there are few prospects for a cereal crop this season. Farmers whose crops depend on irrigation are citing high prices for fuel and seed as among the main obstacles to production. For example, outside Gode the price of 1L of fuel is 30 ETB, more than 36 per cent higher than in town. While a few farmers are cultivating cash crops such as onions and sesame, those planting maize and sorghum intend them for animal feed only. For more information, contact: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
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