The Food Supply Prospect document reports on the findings of the May-June mid-belg 2011 assessment jointly carried out by Government and Partners in six regions: Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali, SNNP and Tigray.
In Somali Region, the 2011 gu rains came late, were below normal and poorly distributed. While the rains brought some relief, the overall performance has been poor, bringing only limited benefits on pasture, browses and water availability. Severe water shortages have exacerbated the situation. Expenditure on water and other essential non-food items has been very high due to high prices. Pastoralists have been forced to trek long distances to find water. Moreover, a significant number of pastoralists from Kenya and Somalia have migrated to the Region.
Livestock conditions have severely deteriorated. Young, lactating and pregnant animals have suffered the most, resulting in rapidly declining milk production. Newborns slaughters have increased and livestock deaths have been reported during the extended dry period and onset of 2011 gu rains. The rains have not been enough to benefit rain-fed and flood recession farming communities but provided supplementary moisture for irrigated crops along Shebelle River. Furthermore, the prices for staple cereals and food items like sugar and rice have substantially increased following the failure of crop production and reductions in supply to remote areas. Prices of livestock deteriorated significantly, negatively affecting the terms of trade and the purchasing power of the pastoralists.
Declining livestock production and products, deteriorating livestock-cereal terms of trade, Poor crop production and high food prices will all contribute to a worsening of the food security situation. As a result, a total 1,438,826 people will require emergency food assistance in the second half of 2011.
In Oromia Region, the onset of ganna rain was late on average by 6-8 weeks in pastoralist areas of Borena, Guji and Bale zones. The onset of belg rain was also late, on average by 4-8 weeks, in cropping areas of Arsi, West Arsi, East Hararghe and West Hararghe zones. After onset, rains’ performance was erratic and uneven in distribution.
The prolonged dry period caused by the failure of 2010 hagaya rains and delayed on set of 2011 ganna/belg rains led to serious shortages of water and pasture, late and below normal coverage of short maturing crops and delayed planting of long cycle crops in most parts of these zones. Furthermore, physical condition of livestock is severely emaciated and livestock death has been increasing in most affected pastoral and agro-pastoral areas.
The supply of staple foods and other grain has been reported to decline except in East Hararghe. In Bale and Borena zones, the grain supply has been described as very low. On the other hand, livestock supply to the market was above normal in pastoral and agro pastoral zones as households have to sell more livestock to buy grain and also to get rid of the weaker animals. Terms of trade are not favoring pastoral and agro-pastoral communities.