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Ethiopia Food Security Outlook Update, October 2019 to May 2020

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Average Meher harvest likely, though poor Belg/Gu and high prices drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes

KEY MESSAGES

• Deyr/Hagaya rains in southern and southeastern Ethiopia were significantly above average in October, resulting in one of the wettest Octobers on the historical record. Localized flooding occurred in Oromio, SNNPR, and Somali Regions, displacing 205,000 people and causing localized crop and livestock losses. A flooding risk continues for these areas as rainfall for the rest of the season is forecast to be above average. Localized, negative impacts are expected; however, the aboveaverage rainfall will also lead to favorable pasture and crop development.

• National Meher production is expected to be average due to generally favorable June to September Kiremt rainfall. Meher production is expected to improve household and market food availability nationally. However, poor Kiremt rains in parts of northeastern Amhara, eastern Tigray, and northern Afar resulted in poor production prospects for the ongoing Meher harvest in these areas.

• Prices for commodities such as maize, sorghum, and wheat are expected to slightly decline seasonally from October to December, although prices are expected to remain above average. From January to May, increases in grain prices are expected, reducing the purchasing power of market-dependent poor households. In pastoral areas, livestock prices are expected to increase; however, they are unlikely to keep pace with staple food price increases. As a result, livestock to grain terms of trade are anticipated to decline and remain below average. This will continue limiting pastoral households’ ability to purchase sufficient grain to meet their basic needs.

• In areas including lowlands of East Hararghe, Guji, and Bale Zone in Oromia and Northern Afar, where Kiremt rainfall was below average, and in the border areas of Western Somali and Oromia where insecurity is affecting movement of pastoralists, poor households are expected to face constraints to typical food access. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely in these areas throughout the scenario period. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in the rest of the country due to the likely average Meher harvests, improved livestock productivity, and near normal herd sizes that are facilitating household food access.