Ethiopia

FEWS Ethiopia Food Security Update: 14 Feb 2003

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Donors have so far pledged enough food aid to cover only 54 percent of Ethiopia’s 2003 emergency relief requirements. Food aid to supply supplementary food aid programs is critically low at 32 percent of requirements. This is particularly worrying given the very poor nutritional status being reported in many areas of the country.

While current cereal food aid pledges appear to be sufficient to partially cover needs through mid-June, most of the already -pledged food aid has not yet arrived in country. Ongoing distributions rely on supplies from the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR), where current stock levels are low. Food aid pledges need to translate into actual deliveries quickly or food aid distributions will be halted altogether as early as March.

On-going food aid distributions have to be scaled up in the coming months in order to reduce consistently high levels of malnutrition. Most importantly, additional pledges to meet the needs of supplementary feeding programs are urgently required to prevent a further deterioration in nutritional status and increased mortality.

According to the National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA) forecast for the March-May (belg) season, northeastern Ethiopia, including most of Afar, parts of eastern Tigray, eastern Amhara, central Oromiya and northern Somali Regions will receive near normal to above normal rainfall.

The rest of the country should expect near normal to below normal rainfall for the March-May period. This could have a negative impact on long cycle crop production, coffee and chat cultivation and the availability of pasture and water for livestock.

Contrary to recent trends, cereal prices declined slightly in January. Possible reasons for the drop include ongoing food aid distributions in drought affected areas and farmers’ and traders’ optimism about the prospects for the ensuing belg season.

Food aid pledges are encouraging but a significant shortfall remains

Donors have pledged enough food aid to cover only 54 percent of Ethiopia’s 2003 emergency relief requirements (Table 1). While this represents an improvement over last month, the shortfall is still worrying. Of particular concern, food aid to supply supplementary feeding programs is critically low, meeting only 32 percent of requirements at the same time that critical levels of malnutrition are being reported in many areas of the country (see nutrition section below). On a positive note, vegetable oil requirements have been fully met.

In terms of individual contributions so far, the European Union (42%), the United States (40%) and the United Kingdom (9%) are by far the largest contributors of food aid this year.


Table 1. Status of Food Aid Pledges Against 2003 Requirements by Donor and Type of Food Aid
Donor
Food Aid (in Metric Tons)
Individual Pledges as Percent of the Total
Cereals
Vegetable Oil
Blended Food
Total
Australia
2,324
2,324
0.3
Canada
3,510
3,510
0.5
Denmark
2,150
2,150
0.3
EU
325,294
325,294
42.2
Germany
7,715
7,715
1.0
India
10,000
10,000
1.3
Ireland
4,276
280
4,556
0.6
Italy
2,466
2,466
0.3
Japan
1,000
1,000
0.1
Sweden
20,000
20,000
2.6
Switzerland
1,314
1,314
0.2
UK
69,678
69,678
9.0
USA
259,823
12,346
33,640
305,809
39.7
Menschen fr
Menschen NGO
13,357
891
14,248
1.9
Others
60
1,182
1,242
0.2
Total Pledges
719,501
12,346
39,459
771,306
100.0
Requirements
1,312,609
4,142
124,391
1,441,142
Pledges as Percent of Requirements
55
298
32
54
Source: World Food Program, 4 February 2003.

In theory, current cereal food aid pledges should be sufficient to partially cover needs through mid-June albeit at a reduced ration (12.5kg per beneficiary per month versus the standard 15kg). In reality, however, most of the food aid already pledged has not yet arrived in country. On-going distributions have been drawing on the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR), where current stock levels are low, and getting lower. Unless repayments are made by aid agencies that previously borrowed from the emergency reserve and food aid pledges translate into actual deliveries more quickly, food aid distributions will be halted altogether as early as March (Table 2).

Table 2. Monthly Stock Projection for the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR), January-March 2003 (in Metric Tons)
Month
Available stock at the beginning of the month
Expected repayments during the month
Actual and projected loans from the reserve
Stock balance at the end of the month
A
B
C
D=A+B+C
January
51,777
71,578
90,927
32,428
February
32,428
127,272
106,127
53,573
March
53,573
56,317
123,446
-13,556
Source: Emergency Food Security Reserve Administration (EFSRA).

Additional pledges are required to cover needs from June to September, when the traditional ‘hungry season’ occurs in most crop dependent areas.

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