Weekly Humanitarian Highlights in Ethiopia, 14 January 2013

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 14 Jan 2013

Food Security Update

Preliminary results of the needs assessment indicate that the meher harvest (October to December) should be near- to slightly above-average in most meher-cropping areas of central, western and north-western Ethiopia. This good harvest outlook comes despite reduced production of maize and sorghum due to irregular rainfall, both in terms of amount and distribution, received at both the beginning and end of the kiremt rainy season (June to September). The good harvest should have a positive impact on market supply and staple food prices during the first quarter of 2013, with cereal prices already trending toward stability or slight declines. Further declines are expected as the harvest concludes and even more cereals enter the market.

Reduced yields are likely in parts of the eastern and southern lowlands and belg-dependent areas of the central highlands, including in eastern Amhara, low-lying areas in eastern, southern and southeastern Tigray, most parts of East and West Harerge and parts of Arsi, Bale, Borena, North Shewa and West Shewa zones (Oromia Region), as well as the agricultural and agro-pastoralist areas in Somali Region. The below-average production is associated with the delayed start of the belg/gu (March-May) rains in 2012, which coincided with the preparation of land and planting of long-cycle crops. This led to less land being planted, long dry spells within the rainy season, and/or early withdrawal of the kiremt rains, as well as localized hailstorms, flash floods, water logging, and pest infestations in some areas. Poor and very poor households in these areas require humanitarian assistance to meet basic survival needs in the coming months.

In the pastoralist lowlands, meanwhile, the recent deyr/sugum (October to December) rains largely replenished water sources and supported regeneration of browse and pasture, resulting in improved livestock body condition and production. In some areas, however, water and pasture availability remains poor, including in East and West Harerge and Bale zones (Oromia), Dasenech woreda of South Omo zone (SNNPR), Tselemet woreda of North Gondar zone (Amhara), and pockets of Afar, central and southern Somali and eastern Tigray Regions, and may not sustain livestock adequately beyond February 2013. Shortages of water and pasture are expected to continue until the advent of the next belg/gu rains and are likely to result in increasing demands for assistance, particularly provision of water for human and animal consumption. For more information, contract wfp.addisababa@wfp.org

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