Despite likely near average harvest, poor labor markets drive acute food insecurity
Crisis (IPC phase 3) persists in western, southern, central, and northern areas of the country where households have depleted food stocks and are reliant on markets with below average purchasing power. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to continue till the harvest in May across much of the country. Despite the anticipated near average harvest, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected as the result of persistent displacement and poor labor markets and access to incomes.
Snow accumulation and precipitation for the ongoing 2019/20 wet season has been average to above average across most of the country. However, precipitation is well below average for the season through February 2020 in the northern parts of the country bordering Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The area planted for winter wheat is average across much of the country; however, in northern areas area planted is below average. In northern provinces, farmers are awaiting the spring rains to plant spring wheat in March/April.
Labor opportunities across the country have declined as the result of increased labor supply, market access, and decreased availability of non-agriculture activities. Access to remittances has also decreased as Afghans continue to return from Iran and Pakistan. Agriculture labor is expected to increase with the start of Spring; however, income from this source will be below average.