Ethiopia

FEWS Ethiopia Food Security Update: 14 Aug 2003

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


Highlights

According to a recently released special early warning report by the DPPC, an additional 2.4 million people (on top of the January appeal, amended in March and April) will need food assistance between August and December 2003. Of the additional 2.4 million, 1.8 million have been receiving assistance, and were expected to be removed from the beneficiary list in the second half of the year, while 600,000 are new. Total beneficiary numbers for 2003, therefore, are now 13.2 million, up from the previous 12.6 million. The current food requirement (cereal and supplementary food)for the remainder of the year is 617,647 MT.

Current pledges are sufficient to meet this latest increase in food aid demand. Nevertheless, the current pipeline information does not include targeted supplementary food (managed by UNICEF), and it appears the supply of supplementary items like pulses and blended food are not still meeting needs. As a result, the DPPC appealed an additional 50,015 MT of pulses. Also, in order to maintain stocks to cover unanticipated needs early next year, the DPPC appealed for an additional 200,000 MT of cereals.

The good belg rains in Ethiopia (March to April) and the ongoing kiremt rains (June to mid-September) are expected to end the country’s 2002 drought, but may well lead to a new threat - an upsurge in malaria, which is the third biggest killer in the country.

Good rainfall distribution since the beginning of June has made this year better than last year. The distribution of rainfall in July over Ethiopia compared to normal shows that most of the country experienced normal to above normal rainfall for the month with the exception of the central and north eastern crop dependent areas of the country, where rains have been more erratic in their distribution.

Cereal prices normally increase during the month of July, as it is the typical lean month. However, July 2003 cereal retail prices declined or were stable in many markets for the first time since November 2002, but they are still well above historical averages. Declining cereal prices should be favorable to consumers, particularly to the poorest sections of population, who rely on the markets to meet most of their food needs at this time of the year.

Belg season pre-harvest assessment finds additional 2.4 million people in need of food aid assistance from August to December 2003

Fourteen teams made up of different agencies1, led by the DPPC (Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission), were dispatched to the belg-crop producing and pastoral areas of Ethiopia between the 22nd of June and 15th of July. The main objective of the mission was to assess the impact of belg 2003 (and/or Gu) rains on household food security and determine food and non-food humanitarian needs for the second half of the year. A few meher-producing areas were also covered to assess their seed requirements, and the performance of long-cycle crops.

Based on the results of the assessment, the DPPC released a special early warning report on 11 August, 2003. The report concludes that an additional 2.4 million people (on top of the January appeal, amended in March and April) will need food assistance between August and December 2003. This translates into an additional 259,350 MT of food aid (cereals, pulses and vegetable oil). Total beneficiary numbers for 2003, therefore, are now 13.2 million, up from the previous 12.6 million (See Figure 1). The current food requirement (cereals, pulses and vegetable oil) for the remainder of the year, from August to December, is now 617,647 MT. Of the additional 2.4 million food aid beneficiaries, 1.8 million have been receiving assistance, and were expected to be removed from the beneficiary list in the second half of the year, while 600,000, concentrated in the eastern half of the country, are new. (See Figure 2).

The main reasons stated for these increases include: a reported shortage of seeds which inhibited planting; erratic and poor distribution of belg rains in some areas (although in general the season was relatively good); an inability to recover from last year’s poor production; high malnutrition rates compounded by inadequate public health services; lost wage labor opportunities and low purchasing power; decreased or total failure of income from cash crop production, such as coffee, pepper and chat; the absence of alternative income sources; and, poor targeting and a dilution of relief resources at household level.

Current pledges are sufficient to meet this latest increase in food aid demand. Nevertheless, according to the DPPC, it is necessary to retain stocks to cover unanticipated needs during the early months of next year, and as a result, the DPPC appealed for an additional 200,000 MT of cereals and 50,015 MT of pulses. It should be noted that the current pipeline information does not include targeted supplementary food, which is managed by UNICEF.

Data source: Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission, Special Early Warning Report, 01 August 2003. Graphics by FEWS NET/Ethiopia.

Following the DPPC’s reinstatement in July of the full 17 kg per person per month ration (15 kg cereal, 1.5 kg pulses and 0.5 kg vegetable oil) food aid has started to fully meet the expected needs for the increased load of beneficiaries, and this is expected to ameliorate problems of dilution. However, there is still a concern among donors that this full ration, which is equivalent to 2000 kilo calories (kcals/person/day), is still below the international standard of minimum requirements (2100 kilo calories).

While the global food aid pipeline and emergency food security reserves (EFSR) appear to be sufficient through the end of the year, localized malnutrition rates are increasing in some parts of the country, with particular concern in SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region). According to UNICEF, an estimated 60,000 children under 5 years are affected by Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) nationally. An additional nine Therapeutic Feeding Centers (TFCs) have opened since mid- June, making the current total 42, and 16 more sites are already planned. The centers currently admits and/or plan to admit less than 3,000 severely malnourished children meeting only less than 5 percent of the overall estimated need of severely malnourished children. This implies that the current supply of supplementary items like pulses and blended food will not be able to meet the new needs.

MAP - Figure 2: Percent of Rural Population in Need of Food Assistance by District (Aug - Dec 03)

As discussed in previous reports, water shortages and inadequate public health services have exacerbated the crisis. Recent assessments put 4.2 million people in critical need of water - a sharp 55 percent increase from the previous estimates of 2.7 million. This warrants the need for a comprehensive response that includes more than just food aid.

Malaria outbreak continues to spread

The good belg rains in Ethiopia (March to April) and the ongoing kiremt rains (June to mid-September) are expected to end the country’s 2002 drought, but may well lead to a new threat - an upsurge in malaria, which is the third biggest killer in the country. Malaria is endemic in Ethiopia and it affects about 75 percent of the population, with 5 - 6 million clinical cases reported annually. According to the Ministry of Health, the malaria incidence increased over the last five years, killing on average of about 100,000 people during an epidemic year. Although the traditional malaria risk areas are located at an altitude of less than 1,500 meters above sea level, the recent outbreak has spread to highland areas due to unseasonably high temperatures. (See Figure 3). Amhara, Oromia and SNNP Regions health bureaus have reported widespread malaria outbreaks affecting more than 200,000 people during the past three months.



Source: Centre for Disease Control, July 2003. Graphics by FEWS NET/Ethiopia.

Note: The first figure is only intended as a guide since mosquitoes do not respect boundaries and the risk areas shown may not be exact.

The ongoing post-drought rains, coupled with the normal seasonality of malaria in the country (September to January) are increasing the risk of malaria transmission. Ministry of Health experts are expecting an epidemic of malaria from September 2003 to January 2004. This post-drought epidemic is expected to pose a major public health problem among populations whose vulnerability to disease is heightened due to a period of high malnutrition associated with the recent drought.

Hence, epidemic malaria prevention and control is crucial. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), an integrated approach of surveillance, preventative, and treatment measures are crucial in order to reduce malaria transmission in relatively stable and malaria-free regions, and to control epidemic outbreaks in areas where transmission is more likely. The MOH will release a malaria preparedness plan in August, 2003.



Data Source: A Brief Assessment Report of Malaria Epidemics in Hadiya Zone, July 2003.Graphics by FEWS NET/Ethiopia.

Update of Kiremt (June to September) Rains

Kiremt rains approach their peak in the meher growing areas of the country during July and the beginning of August. This is typically the time when excessive rainfall results in flooding in many areas of the country, including the pastoral areas of Afar Region.

Good rainfall distribution since the beginning of June has made this year better than last year. Figure 5, which depicts the distribution of rainfall in July over Ethiopia compared to normal, shows that most of the country experienced normal to above normal rainfall for the month. Significant rainfall was sustained over western Ethiopia. The central highland areas observed the wettest conditions on record and hydro-electric power resumed, ending the need to ration electricity. The south-eastern part of the country remained seasonably dry.

Source: National Meteorological Service Agency of Ethiopia, different dekad reports. Graphics modified by FEWS NET/Ethiopia.

Towards the end of the belg season, in mid-April and early May, rainfall was well distributed over most of the country, supporting farmers’ efforts to plant long cycle crops for the meher season. This positive rainfall trend continued, with a timely start to the meher season in June, and well distributed rains since the first dekad of July, with the exception of the central and north eastern crop dependent areas of the country, where rains have been more erratic in their distribution.

Flooding, which is quite common along the major rivers of the country in July and August, has occurred in many areas, with minimal damage to crops reported. Some areas where rainfall deficits occurred at the start of season, like Bahir Dar, Wag Hemra, and Gonder areas of Amhara Region, have recovered. In the eastern areas of south Gonder and Bahir Dar significant precipitation caused floods which allowed for recession agriculture along the shores of Lake Tana. In many meher crop-producing areas, favorable soil moisture supported the establishment of a good crop.

However, a prolonged dry spell at the start of the season may have had a negative impact on long-cycle crops in central Amhara and north eastern parts of the country. Crop damage in the midlands and lowlands of Amhara and Tigray regions, due to moisture stress, is now a real possibility.

Good rainfall replenished pasture and water sources in the pastoral areas of Borena (Oromiya Region) and the northern tip of Somali and southern tip of Afar Regions. According to the recent Livestock Early Warning System (LEWS) situation report, forage and water availability in southern Ethiopia is mostly above normal and normal. Pasture and water conditions have also improved in the north eastern parts of Somali and central Afar Regions in the last month.

After the first week of August, rainfall normally starts to decline. Forecasts from the NMSA indicate that the seasonal rainfall is expected to continue over the meher crop producing areas for the first ten days (dekad) of August, after which it will lessen but continue during the second and third dekad of August. The next 90 days forage forecast from LEWS also indicates a likely improvement in southern pastoral areas of the country, but a decline of forage and water for livestock is expected in the eastern tip and some pockets of northeastern Ethiopia.

Cereal prices started to decline in many markets for the first time since November 2002

Cereal prices normally increase during the month of July, as it is the typical lean month. However, July 2003 cereal retail prices declined or were stable in many markets for the first time since November 2002 (see Figure 6). For instance, current maize prices in Addis Ababa market declined from a 45 percent divergence from historical average in June to 31 percent in July 2003 (Figure 7). Prices were lower due to the good weather conditions in many areas during the belg (April to May) and the ongoing meher season, and due to the prospect of average to above average production in the meher crop producing areas. Nevertheless, prices are still well above historical averages.

Declining cereal prices should be favorable to consumers, particularly to the poorest sections of population, who rely on the markets to meet most of their food needs at this time of the year.



Source: Market Information System of the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE), and the European Commission (EC); and data Archives of FEWS NET/Ethiopia. Graphics by FEWS NET/Ethiopia.

Notes:

1. Cereal retail prices represent staple cereal in each locality.

2. Historical Average prices (1995 - 2002) are deflated by their respective consumer price index values.

3. 1 Quintal = 100 kg; 1 Ethiopian Birr = 12 US Cents.

Disclaimer:

This document should not be construed as an official pronouncement by FEWS NET/Ethiopia or members of the Early Warning Working Group. Comments and suggestions regarding this report should be addressed to:

FEWS NET/Ethiopia
P.O. Box 1014
C/o USAID Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel: (251-1) 510088 or 510488
Fax: (251-1) 510043
Email: ethiopia@fews.net
Web site: www.fews.net

Footnotes

1 These agencies comprise Government ministries, such as, Ministry of Agriculture, Mapping Agencies, National Meteorological Service Agency, and donors and NGOs including USAID, FEWS NET, SC-UK, CARE, WFP, CRS, and others.