Below-average precipitation likely to drive below-average agricultural and livestock production in 2021
Cumulative precipitation to date in the 2020/21 wet season from October 1, 2020, to February 20, 2021, has been significantly below average in Afghanistan. As a result, snowpack development is also well below average. This is likely to impact water available for irrigation of both first and second crops in 2021, particularly in downstream areas. Similarly, forecast below-average spring precipitation is likely to result in below-average wheat production in rainfed areas.
In rural areas, many poor households continue to be impacted by seasonally low levels of income from labor opportunities and below-average remittances. At the same time, food prices remain above average and an increased number of households are currently reliant on markets for food at the peak of the lean season. With the arrival of harvests around May/June in lower elevation areas and July/August in higher elevation areas, seasonal improvements in food availability are expected to improve outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for many rural households. However, in the June to September period, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in areas likely to be impacted by below-average agricultural and livestock production.
In urban areas, the currently ongoing winter season is a time of relatively low economic activity. This is prolonging negative impacts of COVID-19 on the economy, with labor availability, wages, and remittances remaining below average levels. At the same time, food prices remain above average. Throughout the projection period, increased economic activity is expected to improve access to income for poor households, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in the May to September period.