Ethiopia Food Security Outlook Update, December 2020


Food security Crisis across much of western Ethiopia drives significantly above-normal needs for 2021

Key Messages

  • Since the outbreak of conflict in early November between federal and regional forces in Tigray, nearly 54,000 people have been displaced to Sudan as of December 26, with many likely displaced in Tigray and to bordering areas of Amhara and Afar. Additionally, market function and economic activity were significantly disrupted, which led to significant price increases, limiting many households' ability to access food and income. While some improvement in economic activity has been reported in accessible areas since conflict subsided in early December, economic activity in many areas continues to be limited.

  • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in many parts of Tigray as households are expected to continue to have limited ability to access food and income. In the absence of humanitarian assistance, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are likely ongoing in some central and eastern areas of Tigray; however, as economic activity is expected to improve as the conflict remains at lower levels, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to emerge in February/March 2021.

  • Below-average October to December hagaya/deyr rainfall across southeastern pastoral areas has driven below-normal pasture and water availability for this time of year, resulting in a decline in milk production. In southern pastoral areas, pasture conditions are relatively normal. The decrease in livestock prices, coupled with the high staple food prices, is resulting in low purchasing power for poor households. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist through at least May 2021.

  • The likely below-average February to May 2021 rainfall is likely to negatively impact belg production in most of SNNPR, central and eastern Oromia, eastern Amhara, and southern Tigray. In addition to the below-average rainfall, the likely below-average area planted is expected to drive a below-average harvest, which will likely negatively impact food availability from June onward. Furthermore, the forecasted below-average gu in southern and southeastern pastoral areas and sugum in northern pastoral areas are expected to drive pasture and water availability deterioration.