Crop prospects in the South are fair despite a delayed start to the agricultural season
- Humanitarian assistance distributed by WFP, ADRA and CRS is contributing to reducing food consumption gaps in the South, where most households are now facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food security outcomes. Although food stocks were exhausted very early, and assets are atypically depleted, availability of labor and wages are both at near-normal levels, as the area cropped is reported to be near-average in many areas.
- The late onset of the rains in the south delayed the start of the agricultural season; however this delay is not expected to have significantly affected crop development. Staple and cash crops are developing normally in the south. However, in the eastern and northern parts of the country several consecutive weeks of below-average rainfall, which resulted in drought being declared in some eastern areas, will potentially impact harvests for the second cultivation season for rice, grown from December to February.
- In the south staple food purchase prices remain higher than the average in many markets, especially in the extreme south. This includes prices for locally produced staple foods as well as imported rice. In addition to the high dependency on market purchase this last year, these high staple food prices have also contributed to reducing household purchasing power.