Ethiopia

FEWS Ethiopia Food Security Update: 19 May 2003

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments


Highlights

A multi-agency team recently concluded a re-assessment of food aid needs in Ethiopia. Its objectives were to review the adequacy of current emergency responses and determine whether additional food aid was required. The team concluded that while in some areas, food aid distributions until now have helped to save lives and protect household resources from further depletion, in other areas an inadequate and irregular distribution of food aid has not prevented out-migration, malnutrition and in some cases, mortalities.

The teams further concluded that 1,229,453 beneficiaries should be added to the January appeal figures, translating into an additional 79,336 MT of food aid required between May and October 2003.

April is normally the month when the belg season (mid February to May) reaches its peak in Ethiopia, with rains extending over most parts of the country, including the southern lowlands and the northern belg growing areas. Although the first dekad of April saw below normal precipitation in most parts of the country, the second and third dekads of the month were characterized by extensive rains across all but the northwestern corner of the country.

Despite the above normal rainfall in April, erratic and insufficient rains during February and March in some of the southern areas, where the 2002 drought was worst, lessened the potentially beneficial effects of the recent rains. Furthermore, there is growing concern regarding southeastern pastoral and crop dependent lowlands areas, where rainfall has been patchy. The recent rainfall caused flooding in some areas (due to heavy rains in Bale highlands of Oromiya region) while in other areas the dry spell continues.

This year's Cereal Availability Study was conducted between 13 March and 10 April 2003 by the European Union, WFP, CIDA and FEWS NET. According to this recent study, it is estimated that 207,410 MT of maize, wheat and sorghum will be available on the local market for local purchase of food aid in 2003. Nevertheless, several organizations have already started local purchase from the 2002/03 harvests. Therefore, the amount left for local purchase in subsequent months is estimated at 161,514 MT (67, 362 maize, 40, 576 sorghum, and 53, 576 MT wheat).

Cereal prices continue to be high, but stable. If the current high prices persist, farmers who are not categorized in the food aid beneficiary list may have to sell their productive assets at depressed prices to obtain enough food for their families and to secure input requirements.

Assessment finds additional 1.2 million in need of food aid between May and October 2003

The food security situation in the country is worsening. Eight multi-agency teams, led by the DPPC (Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission), were dispatched to four drought affected Regions (Tigray, Amhara, Oromiya and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP)) between March 20 and April 14. The mission's objective was to review the adequacy of current emergency responses and determine additional food aid needs.

The teams concluded that while in some areas the food aid distributions until now have helped to save lives and protect household resources from further depletion, in other areas an inadequate and irregular distribution of food aid has not prevented out-migration, malnutrition and in some cases, mortalities.

The teams further concluded that 1,229,453 beneficiaries should be added to the January appeal figures, translating into an additional 79,336 MT of food aid required between May and October 2003 (Figure 1). The main reasons stated for this increase include poor livestock conditions (and hence a decline in the terms of trade) and the absence of other off-farm income options; postharvest crop losses; an original under-estimation of those in need of food aid, poor targeting and a dilution of relief resources at household level.


Figure 1: Food Aid Beneficiaries and MT Requirements in 2003

Data source: Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission.
Graphics by FEWS NET/Ethiopia.


Both the January and subsequent April appeals are based on the assumption of a normal 2003 belg harvest in June-July. If the belg harvest is not normal, the current figures for the second half of the year may have to be revised once again. Beneficiary numbers will peak at 12.3 million in May and June, up from the previously predicted 11.2 million. This latest increase, which is a further boost from the 200,000 MT added in the March 14 addendum, will further stretch the already precarious food aid pipeline. The pipeline as of May 9 is supplying only 76 percent of the assessed needs (Table 1: assuming 15kg/ person/month). In addition, only 70 percent of the required food for supplementary feeding programs has been pledged thus far. These aggravating factors, coupled with delays in distribution of the already pledged resources have contributed to the high malnutrition rates illustrated in Figure 2.

Table 1: National Relief Food Assistance Requirements and Contributions between January and December 2003
Description
Cereals
Blended Food
Vegetable Oil
Total
Gross Requirements
1,374,919
135,375
6,750
1,517,044
Total Contributions
1,045,197
95,084
11,790
1,152,071
Unmet requirements (MT)
329,722
40,291
( 5,040)
364,973
Percentage of Requirement unmet
24%
30%
(75%)
24%

Source: WFP Pipeline, as of 09 May 2003.

Figure 2: Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) Surveyed between January and March 2003 for Selected Areas

Data source: Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission.

Figure 3: Areas and Number of People Needing Additional Emergency Food Assistance between May and October

Data Source: DPPC, Update on Current Food Situation and Additional Food Requirement, 24 April 2003. Graphics by FEWS NET/Ethiopia.


The eastern half of SNNP and Oromiya regions and the southern parts of Tigray account for many of the new beneficiary numbers (Figure 3), with the relative increase in number of beneficiaries in SNNPR (29 percent) higher than all the other regions. The main reason stated for the increase in SNNP is an initial under-estimation of those in need and increasing malnutrition due to a late start to the food aid distribution, which should have begun in January, but in fact started in March/April. Post-harvest losses, mis-targeting and mismanagement of food aid resources have also contributed to the increase in these areas. According to the recent assessment, immediate distribution of both cereal and supplementary food aid is required to save more than 20,000 people.

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MAP - Ethiopia: Food availability and need - 2003