Update on Emergency Food Requirement from Aug to Dec 2005


This report brings together findings of a recently concluded DPPC-led Multi-Agency Emergency Needs Assessment. The purpose of the assessment was to provide indications of emergency food need for the second half of the year 2005. The findings are based on the analysis of major food security indicators, such as climate and weather, agricultural activities and crop production statistics, livestock conditions, market situation, additional income sources, and human and livestock health.

The report provides information on where and when emergency food assistance is required; the magnitude of the beneficiary numbers; their relief needs; causes for any unpredictable food crisis; and areas of immediate concern. Such information is intended to assist planning and implementation of appropriate and timely interventions at different levels within the relief system, both within and outside of government structures.

The geographical coverage of the assessment includes all Belg producing areas of the country that incorporates pastoral areas of Afar, Somali, Borena, Guji, Bale lowlands and South Omo. Some pocket areas in the Meher dependant areas, which were under, close monitoring and where sign of food shortage reported were also considered. Sixteen federal teams drown from various government and humanitarian organizations involved in the assessment. However, the assessment in most parts of Somali Region was conducted by the region in collaboration with NGO's and other humanitarian organizations operating within the region.

The Belg, relatively smaller season when compared to Meher, is of high importance both in the crop producing areas as well as in the pastoral communities. It has significant share in grain production and livestock supply throughout the country. Belg is also known as the main season in the pastoral areas of east, southeast and south, that is, Somali, low lands of Bale and Borena in Oromiya and South Omro in the SNNP Regions. Apparently, it is required to conduct assessment on various indicators of food security situation in both the cropping and pastoral areas of the country so as to have timely and continued intervention as conditions demand. The major finding of the assessment and the emergency food requirement for the remaining months of 2005 is presented here under.

Weather Conditions

Even though there were some variations with respect to timeliness, cessation, amount and distribution, the Belg rains were by and large favorable in most areas of the country. For example, onset of the rain was timely in almost all Belg producing woredas of South Tigray Zone in Tigray and in most zones of Amhara. The favorable Belg weather in Tigray created conducive situation for livestock except in some lowland areas where the Belg rain failed. In Oromiya it was erratic characterized by long dry spells but the overall performance both in terms of amount and distribution generally improved as of mid April. In the SNNPRR too, the over all weather condition was favorable for crop and livestock production.

Although onset was timely, an extended dry spell was reported from most places from February to mid March in Amhara. The situation showed improvement in the following two months (April and May) both in amount and distribution. The cessation extended into the beginning of June; in some cases overlapping with the start of the main Meher season.

With respect to pastoral areas, the performance of the February/May rains that is known as "Sugum" in Afar; Gu in Somali and Gena in the other pastoral areas of the country was reported to be normal. In Guji zone the rains started ten days earlier for all woredas except Liban Woreda and distribution being normal and generally fair. Despite dry spells at the beginning and its late start in Hamer, the amount and distribution was reported to be normal and in some places above normal in South Omo Zone.

Nevertheless, in Afar the performance of the rain in Zone Two and Four was very poor and below average. The Gu rains performed poorly in Shinile and Liban zones followed by Afder and Gode zones ceasing early in Shinile and Liban.

Although some positive aspects of the rain are indicated, there are exceptions with varied effects in almost all areas under the assessment. Among the common exceptions, besides irregularities of the rain were damages caused by flash floods as the result of excessive rains experienced in different areas of the east, southeast and south.

Agricultural Activities and Production Prospects

Planted areas of agricultural land in all crop-growing parts of the country were either high or normal, generally owing to favorable weather condition. In Tigray planted area shows significant increase over the last three years with expected better production as compared to the same period. Similarly, an estimated 24% increase of planted land as compared to last year was recorded in Amhara Region. Production prospect is also rated satisfactory in most parts even though a long dry spell forced farmers to replant in some pocket areas.

In most parts of Oromiya, farmers prepared land and planted either timely or in some cases even earlier than normal. However, in large parts of East Hararghe, some Woredas of West Hararghe, a woreda in Guji and two in East Shoa, planting was delaying due to late onset of the rain. In spite of this adverse condition, the total area planted on average increased in the region. As the result of better rains towards the end of the season, increases in area planted and low rates of pest and crop diseases in most Zones of the region, with the exception of East and West Hararghe, the over all crop production prospect in the region is promising.

Planted area was on average in high and midland, while slightly higher than average in lowland areas of the SNNPR. Planting was on time in high and midland areas but was delayed in some lowland areas of Wolayta, Dawro, Hadiya, KT and Gedio zones. Despite fear of significant yield reduction in many localities that were affected by flood, water logging, hailstorm, landslide, erosion and heavy wind, the overall performance of the season's harvest was expected to be better than the pervious year in most parts of the region.

Under the limited crop production practiced in Afar ( Abala, Dallol and Kuneba in Zone two and Argoba wereda in Zone Three under rain fed condition and in Asayita, Dubti and Afambo weredas under irrigation using Awash River) long cycle crops were planted with the minimal moisture received during Sugum but the crops were reported to have wilted. Agricultural Activity in rain fed areas started late and long cycle crops such as maize and sorghum were planted with the minimal moisture received during the season. However, crops were reported to have wilted due to inadequate moisture in Abaala, Dallol and Kuneba. In Argoba wereda, only four peasant associations benefit from Sugum rains and this year no planting was undertaken due to lack/absence of rains. In areas where irrigation is practiced land preparation was underway and the level of Awash River seems promising for the coming agricultural activities (August/September -- December).

Prospect of crop production in Somali region is expected to be below normal in all zones due to repeated floods in main riverine crop growing woredas of Gode and Liban zones with the exception of Jijiga zone where gu rains were very good. In Borena crop planting for the current season was on time in most parts. The overall performance of crop production was good in spite of damages caused by over flooding. In Guji Zone planted area increased in mid-highland woredas while heavy rains as well as dry spell in Liban and Odo-Shakiso woredas damaged planted crops. With the exception of some yield loss from sorghum in South Omo due to the occurrence of heavy rain, crop pests like aphids and disease, the overall performance of crop production in the Zone was satisfactory.

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