The start of the Belg rains was delayed by about a month
• The February to May Belg rains started during the second week of March, which is earlier than last year. However, in most receiving areas, the rains were still between three and four weeks late. The subsequent late planting of Belg crops is likely to delay the harvest by a few weeks from its normal June start, which would extend the typical April to June lean season.
• In the sweet potato-producing areas of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), the sweet potato harvest is below normal. Sweet potatoes are an important bridge crop from March to June. Households without sweet potatoes may face food consumption gaps or need to employ coping strategies during the April to June lean season, which may extend by few weeks due to late Belg planting, keeping these areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through June.
• In the Belg-receiving areas, poor and very poor households usually address their food needs through purchase from April to June. As many of these areas had poor Meher harvests from October to January, purchases began as early as January. Food access through markets is likely to be constrained across the country as already elevated food prices are anticipated to further increase as local market and households stocks are exhausted in Belg-receiving areas fromApril to June.