East Africa Food Security Outlook - April to September 2014
Assumptions for quarterly food security analysis
About this report
To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET uses scenario development. In this methodology, an analyst uses current evidence to develop assumptions about the future and compare their possible effects. The following report outlines assumptions at the regional level. Assumptions are also developed at the country level; these are likely to be more detailed. Together, the regional and national assumptions are the foundation for the integrated analysis reported in FEWS NET’s Food Security Outlooks and Outlook Updates. Learn more about our work here.
FEWS NET’s Food Security Outlook reports for April to September 2014 are based on the following regional assumptions:
The March to May/June 2014 Gu/Genna/long rains in the eastern Horn of Africa in South-Central Somalia, eastern and southern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, and northeastern Tanzania are expected to be near normal to below normal in terms of cumulative rainfall. However, in coastal areas of northern Tanzania and southeastern Kenya, the total rainfall is likely to be below average (Figure 1) though it will peak at a normal time in May/June in these areas. The rains are likely to start moderately late in some areas. While rainfall totals will be less effected, temporal distribution will be uneven with many areas experiencing unusually long dry spells.
The March to May Diraac/Sugum rains in northern pastoral areas in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and northwestern Somalia are expected to start around the normal time and be near normal in terms of total rainfall.
The long rains in western and central Kenya/the first season rains in bimodal areas in Uganda/the Season B rains in Rwanda and Burundi, the early half of the season in the greenbelt in South Sudan, and the Belg rains in Ethiopia from February/March/April to May/June/July are expected to be near normal in terms of cumulative rainfall. They are expected to have a near normal onset and a normal pattern of spatial and temporal distribution. However, episodes of heavy rains are likely to lead to an above average number of floods in flood prone areas, primarily areas near Mount Elgon and along the Kenya-Uganda border.
Slightly warmer than normal land surface temperatures, up to one degree above average are likely during the March to May period in coastal areas of southern Somalia, Kenya, and northern Tanzania. The June to September main rainy season in Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, and northern unimodal areas of Uganda, the Kiremt rains in Ethiopia, and the Karan/Karma rains in northwestern Somalia, eastern Ethiopia, and inland Djibouti are likely to be near normal in terms of cumulative rainfall based on recent long-range forecasts from the European Center for Medium Range Forecasts (ECMWF) and others.
Regional trade and price dynamics
Sorghum supply in western areas of East Africa is lower than usual following the well below average October to January harvest in Sudan and disruption of the harvest by the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan. Thus, prices have already started to increase in both countries (Figure 2). Trade between Sudan and South Sudan and within South Sudan is also expected to remain constrained and below recent years, especially supplies coming into northern South Sudan. However, demand will be substantial, and inflation will be fairly high in both countries. Consequently, sorghum prices are anticipated to increase faster and more sharply than would be expected seasonally between March and September in both Sudan and South Sudan.
In Uganda, maize prices are likely to steadily rise from April to June as demand from the domestic market and from importing countries will be high, especially somewhat higher than usual demand from Kenya. However, from June to September, already substantial supplies will be augmented by the domestic harvest in June/July. A reduction in demand for exports to South Sudan due to some markets being affected by conflict and to Kenya due to competitive prices for maize from Tanzania will place downward pressure on prices will which decline from June to September but in a pattern that is mostly seasonal.
The prices of maize and rice have remained atypically stable or increased only gradually across most markets in Tanzania between December 2013 and March 2014 due to the availability of surplus food stocks and the availability of a tradable maize surplus despite the below average January to February Vuli harvest in the northern bimodal areas. However, this below average harvest along with a below average short rains harvest in southeastern Kenya has increased demand. Consequently, maize and rice prices will likely increase moderately between March and June due to high demand in markets in northern Tanzania and southeastern and coastal Kenya. Prices are then expected to decline seasonably from July to September due to increased supplies from the July to September Masika and Msimu harvests in Tanzania and the start of the long rains harvest in Kenya.
Below average production of beans in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and bimodal areas of northern Tanzania in 2013/2014 has led to a significant reduction in regional bean supply. Consequently, both domestic and cross-border markets are already tight. Bean prices are expected to increase faster than is seasonally normal and relatively steeply between April and May across the East African Community countries of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. With outlooks for most upcoming seasons being for mostly normal rainfall patterns, bean prices are anticipated to decline seasonally between July and September as supplies increase in markets following June to August harvest
Conflict and refugees
Following the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in mid-December, the conflict is expected to remain unresolved through September though active fighting may reduce slightly in some areas during the June to September rainy season. The conflict is expected to remain concentrated in Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile States.
Since the conflict began in mid-December, over 817,000 people have been displaced inside the country and over 278,000 people have become refugees in neighboring countries as of April 10 according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Most of the internal and external displacement has occurred from Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile States, and this is expected to remain the case through September. The number of refugee arrivals is expected to increase with the extended lean season starting a month early in March and continuing through October/November with refugees primarily going to Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia.