FEWS Ethiopia Food Security Update: Feb 2001
Farmers planting long-cycle cereals are in the process of sowing in many locations, and this will continue, depending on the location, until the start of the meher season in June. Barley is currently being sown in the northern highlands. Belg farmers will continue sowing crops through the first two weeks of March. As rainfall becomes more widely distributed, moving from south to north, farmers will plant traditional long-cycle cereals, such as maize and sorghum, and short-cycle crops, like teff.
The early onset of rains in the pastoral areas of the south and east bodes well for pastoralists recovering from drought and livestock loss.
Very high rates of malnutrition have been reported in Warder and Gode Zones of Somali Region. A recent nutritional survey by the local NGO, Al Nejah, in collaboration with Dutch Inter Aid, shows an under-five death rate of 2 in 10,000 per day with global malnutrition at 33.9% and severe malnutrition at 13.2%. In Denan, Gode Zone, Médecins sans Frontières Belgium's recent assessment found declining rates of severe malnutrition but global malnutrition remains extremely high at 38.2%.
The Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Committee (DPPC), WFP and NGOs working in the region continue food-aid distributions and, in some cases, supple-mentary feeding. International NGOs have raised con-cern that the relief food ration is inadequate to improve nutritional status and are calling for WFP to provide oil and pulses, in addition to wheat.
Since the food-security emergency began last year, humanitarian assistance has clearly saved lives in Somali Region. It has done little, however, to preserve or enhance livelihoods. An estimated 981,000 people, or 30% of the region's population, will require food aid in 2001. Because of the increasing number of people destitute, displaced and totally reliant on humanitarian assistance, the outlook for improved food security becomes less certain.
Market prices in all major centers are following normal seasonal trends with the exception of maize, which has declined continuously since April 2000. The retail price of maize in Addis Ababa, the largest terminal market, is 21% below its average price for this time of the year, and in the maize producing area of East Wellega it is 65% below average. Continued declines in maize prices reflect high surpluses, corroborating national production estimations, and insufficient demand. Intentions by the EU and WFP to make local food aid purchases in surplus areas for distribution to deficit areas as food aid may help curb the downward price trend. On the surface, very low cereal prices may appear good for consumers; however, in the long run, they may prove a disincentive for extensive cereal cultivation next season.
Please click on PDF for a full version of the
* Get Adobe Acrobat Viewer (free)
Readers are invited to visit www.fews.net