Burundi + 9 more

FEWS Greater Horn of Africa Food Security Update 30 Sep 2003

Situation Report
Originally published

Regional overview - short-term food security improving but drought and conflict intensify chronic vulnerability
The June-September 2003 rainfall performance over the equatorial sector and northern tier of GHA countries has been generally favorable. The ongoing harvests in the equatorial sector countries have improved food availability and supplies to markets. Reasonable harvests are forecast over the northern tier of GHA, according to satellite-based forecasts (Figure 2). Food prices have declined or stabilized in most markets. Although production estimates are not yet available, better harvests and improved livestock conditions compared to 2002 are anticipated in most of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda southern Somalia and southern Sudan. Table 1 provides the dates when crop forecast and food security assessments are scheduled.

Table 1: Calendar of Food Security Assessments in GHA Countries
Crop and food supply assessments
Food security status emergency needs reports
Eritrea October/November November
Ethiopia November November/December
Kenya October/November November
Rwanda December/January December/January
Somalia September October
Sudan September October
Tanzania July/August Completed (Aug/Sep)
Uganda October/November November
Source: FEWS NET

Despite the generally improved harvest outlook, food insecurity and vulnerability is expected to persist in localized areas across GHA countries (Figure 1), based on a consensus representation of food security conditions developed by FEWS NET and other partners in GHA. Vulnerability to food insecurity is apparently chronic and caused primarily by climatic conditions (repeated droughts and floods), destructive conflict, health problems and poverty (see stories in other sections of this report). Addressing chronic food insecurity requires identifying and incorporating appropriate multi-sectoral interventions to strengthen and protect livelihoods. This includes mitigation, prevention, and overall poverty reduction strategies.

MAP - Figure 1. Food Security Conditions in GHA (Aug 03)

In Burundi, additional food aid is needed to feed an additional 46,000 IDPs following renewed fighting in August, and 40,000-100,000 returnees and refugees from Tanzania and DRC. Coffee production in 2003 was 75 percent lower than average and this has reduced many households’ income. Coupled with rising food prices (20-30 percent higher in August 2003 compared to August 2002), the decline in coffee production is undermining households’ access to food. In the DRC, emergency food aid and inputs for farming (tools and seed) are needed for over 1 million IDPs and returning Congolese refugees from Tanzania and Zambia. Inputs for timely farming are needed before December. In northern Sudan, localized fighting has caused more displacement in the Greater Darfur areas. Lack of security in the Darfur region forced 65,000-70,000 people to flee to neighboring Chad. The signing or continuing negotiations of peace accords between the government of Sudan and fighting groups in the north and south undoubtedly bring food security benefits to the country. On the other hand, the below normal precipitation in August could reduce prospects of harvests in the Upper Nile (southern Sudan). In Uganda, food insecurity remains high in northern areas, in Karamoja Region. Over 1 million people are displaced in the region due to continuing armed conflict. These IDPs are benefiting from an on-going WFP Emergency Operation (EMOP). The WFP Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) between October and March 2004 also target over 800,000 people, including refugees and drought-affected pastoralists.

In Eritrea and Ethiopia, while positive signs of improved agricultural production exist, large-scale humanitarian interventions will continue this year and even into 2004. In Kenya, harvest prospects have improved to 2 million metric tons (MMT) or 92 percent of the long-rains average production. The beginning of harvests, together with imports of 172,000 MT and release of 90,000 MT by National Cereal and Production Board (NCPB), has caused food prices to fall. However, localized food insecurity persists, particularly among pastoralists.

In Tanzania, drier than normal conditions during the 2002/03 production year resulted in an estimated food import requirement of 350,000 MT. Nearly 2 million people are highly or extremely food insecure requiring humanitarian assistance. In Rwanda, the majority of the population will remain food secure until the next harvest in January/February. Even the drought-induced food insecure population in Bugesera Region should overcome the threat if distributions of food aid and seed for planting are satisfactory. In Somalia, food security remains precarious in the Sool Plateau as drought continues.

Generally satisfactory crop and forage conditions in GHA...

The sorghum crop performance derived from the Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) model anomaly map (Figure 2) indicates average to above average conditions over most of the equatorial and northern tier sectors. Average to above average yields are forecast, assuming these good conditions will prevail through the remaining crop-growing period. However, three are areas of concern with below average forecast in parts of central and southern Ethiopia, southeastern Sudan and northeastern Uganda.

Figure 2: Forecast Sorghum Conditions at the end of the season based on WRSI crop model: September 20, 2003


The forage status raises concerns in some key pastoral areas of the Afar region in Ethiopia, northern central rift and southeastern districts of Kenya and the neighboring regions northern and southern Tanzania. These areas have remained on warning status. Areas over southeastern Kenya have deteriorated from alert to emergency status. For the rest of the region covered by the livestock early warning system (LEWS) product, the forage conditions are near normal to above normal (Figure 3). LEWS products do not cover Burundi, Djibouti, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan.

Figure 3: Deviation from Normal Forage Status, September 10-20, 2003


Eritrea: Food security improving but requires monitoring...

Food security in Eritrea has improved. Existing food aid stocks are sufficient to meet needs of the 1.7 million people until harvest in November. Food prices are stable, and terms of trade for livestock keepers are favorable. Recent crop and livestock assessments estimate the 2003 cereal production to approximate 210,000 MT, which according to FAO estimates is 9% above the 1993-2001 average production of 192,000 MT (Source: FAO-GIEWS). However, food security trends require close monitoring, bearing in mind that Eritrea will require, as usual, large food imports in 2004. Domestic production will only meet an estimated 34 percent of the annual national cereal requirements. Parts of Debub and Maekel Zobas are areas of concern with mediocre harvests that are likely to experience another year of heightened food insecurity.

A crop and food supply assessment mission slated for October/November 2003, will provide detailed crop estimates and determine relief requirements for 2004.

Ethiopia: Improving food security but additional pledges needed...

While responses to food aid for cereals and seed have met national requirements, a shortfall of more than 37,000 MT of pulses and an equivalent to US$ 40 million of the revised non-food requirement, including water and health interventions remains during 2003. An estimated 35 percent of the 4.2 million people currently in dire need of water and sanitation will still require assistance in 2004, together with any new caseloads identified during the November-December assessment.

Across much of the June-September (meher) crop producing areas, harvest prospects for long-cycle crops are favorable. Preliminary production estimates are between 8.4 and 8.7 million MT, close to the six-year (1996- 2002) average. Harvesting of green maize has already started in September and is expected to continue up until December and January. Access to food continues to improve as cereal prices have stabilized since July, although prices are still much above their historical average. However, concerns of significant below average production remain in localized areas in western and southern Ethiopia (Gambella, Oromiya and SNNP Regions). High fertilizer prices are reported to have discouraged its use in Amhara, SNNP and Oromiya Regions, and this has consequently reduced potential production in these areas.

Tanzania - Relief interventions needed to stave off imminent food security crisis...

In September, the government released 7,215 MT of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) for sale at subsidized rates to targeted poor households. This represents 22 percent of the planned total distribution of 32,450 MT. The initial release occurred in 16 out 47 districts facing acute food shortages. This food will be sold at 25 percent of the current market price. With proper targeting under the community managed targeting mechanism, the subsidized sales are not expected to distort market prices. The government is appealing to the private sector to import 200,000 MT of maize and rice and distribute food to rural markets to bridge the deficit. The 25 percent import tax has been waived until December 2003 for rice and June 2004 for maize. By September 2003, about 18,000 MT of these commodities have been imported in the country. Meanwhile, WFP is finalizing the EMOP to supply 45,000 MT of food aid to 2 million people in need of emergency food assistance between October 2003 and March 2004.

Immediate humanitarian interventions are needed as rapidly rising prices are undermining households’ access to food. For example, in Dodoma (central Tanzania), maize prices rose by 24-59 percent between June and August compared with the 1999/2002 average for same period and 41-72 percent compared with 2002. (Figure 4)

Figure 4: Wholesale Maize Prices in Dodoma Market

Source of Data: Ministry of Cooperative and Marketing

Market and trade update - food flows and prices are mixed in GHA countries...

The delayed harvests and rising maize prices in the Kenyan markets have attracted imports from Tanzania and Uganda between June and September this year. However, exports to Kenya began to decline in September because of lower prices following improved supplies from harvests within Kenya. On the other hand, the demand for cereals in the Tanzanian urban markets continues while supplies are limited due to their poor harvest in 2002/03. This has caused domestic prices in Tanzania to increase sharply.

An analysis of maize prices among the three capital cities in East Africa indicates Nairobi prices are still 31 percent higher than Dar es Salaam and 82 percent higher than Kampala (Figure 5). Lower maize prices and availability of exportable surplus in Uganda will likely trigger exports to Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda has an estimated tradable surplus of 90,000 MT this year. Food deficits in Tanzania could also trigger imports from neighboring southern Africa countries and reverse the outward flow of food in 2003. Malawi and Zambia are estimated to have surplus food following significant improvements in production in 2003 compared to 2002. FEWS NET’s visit to southern highlands in late September noted maize from Malawi has already entered Tanzania markets.

Figure 5: Wholesale Maize Prices in the Capital Cities of East Africa

Source of Data: Market Information Systems, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

Elsewhere in the GHA, food prices decreased or stabilized, including Eritrea, Ethiopia and Rwanda. For more information refer to www.ratin.net.

Future plans to incorporate land cover data in early warning information

Land cover is an integral part of land, representing both the different natural land ecosystems and the human land use activities. Most early warning systems have not incorporated land cover and land use maps as integral components of early warning information. To add value in providing early warning information, it is important that cropping areas be mapped separately, for example from the rangelands, due to differences in production systems.

Collaborators in the production of the Greater Horn of Africa Food Security Bulletin are currently studying strategies to incorporate the AFRICOVER land cover and land use databases in their future early warning information. The data is available at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development based in Nairobi, Kenya, which is one of the collaborating partners in GHA Bulletin. The data will be used to provide the baseline information upon which production analyses will be based. Both land cover and land use are highly dynamic due to continuous human impact and activities on land hence the use of the AFRICOVER data as baseline data.


Vedasto Rutachokozibwa / Nick Maunder
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)
E-mail: ruta@fews.net / nmaunder@fews.net

Gideon Galu / Hussein Gadain
United States Geological Survey (USGS/FEWS NET)
E-mail: ggalu@fews.net / hgadain@fews.net

Dr Wilbur Ottichilo
Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD)
E-mail: rcmrd@rcmrd.org

Prof. Jerry Stuth
Livestock Early Warning Systems (LEWS/GLCRSP)
E-mail: jwstuth@cnrit.tamu.edu

Robert Kaitho
Livestock Early Warning Systems (LEWS/GLCRSP)
Email: rkaitho@cnrit.tamu.edu

Mehari Tesfayohannes
Desert Locust Control Organization , Nairobi
Email: delco@insightkenya.com

Prof. Laban Ogallo / Zachary Atheru
Drought Monitoring Centre - Nairobi (DMC-N)
E-mail: dmcnrb@lion.meteo.go.ke

Robin Wheeler
World Food Programme (WFP), Kampala
E-mail: Robin.Wheeler@wfp.org

For feedback contact: E-mail: ghabulletin@fews.net

More on the GHA Food Security Bulletin...

This bulletin draws from the FEWS NET regular monthly reports, with additional contributions from network partners whose names and logos appear at the bottom of this page. Please consult www.fews.net for in depth analysis of the countries where FEWS NET has a national representative: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Southern Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The GHA Food Security Bulletin is a collaborative initiative of the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), the Desert Locust Control Organization (DLCO), the Livestock Early Warning System (LEWS), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)