Below average April to June Gu rains and conflict likely to reduce food security
Food security outcomes for poor households in conflict-affected areas in the Shabelle Valley including in Qoryoley and Jowhar Districts, parts of Galgaduud, northern Gedo, Bakool, and parts of Hiraan will likely deteriorate through July due to high food prices and unusually low access to labor opportunities.
Trade restrictions in conflict-affected areas are likely to increase local and imported cereal prices, which will continue rising atypical, particularly in Qoryoley and Hudur Districts, reducing food access from markets for poor households.
Through September, food and income access will likely remain typical in the central and northeastern regions. However, livestock culling will be likely if May rains were as below average as April rains, and livestock production and values would decrease. May rains are not expected to be far below average.
The April to June Gu 2014 rains had a delayed onset in many areas, and the amount of rain received has varied greatly between regions. During April, rains were erratic both in temporal and spatial coverage and were significantly below average. However, in early May, moderate to heavy rains were received in most parts of the South except in northern Gedo and coastal areas in Lower Juba that were dry. Heavy rains fell in Bay, Sablale District of Lower Shabelle, and Bardere District of Gedo Region at the beginning of May. Riverine and agropastoral areas of Hiraan received light showers while pastoral areas received moderate rains. In the central regions, Addun Pastoral livelihood zone and adjacent eastern areas in Galgaduud and Mudug received light showers with erratic distribution. However, Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone received moderate rains. Bari Region, East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone in Sanaag, and parts of the Nugal Valley in Nugal Region received no rains or only light showers. West Golis Pastoral livelihood zone received localized, moderate rains with good spatial distribution. Togdheer, Waqooyi Galbeed, and Awdal Regions received moderate to heavy rains with good temporal and spatial distribution. These rains resulted in flash floods in West Golis Pastoral livelihood zone, which caused damage to livestock and other property.
Generally, germinated crops in both riverine and agropastoral areas of the South that had been affected by moisture stress in April revived at the beginning of May with the resumption of near average rains. In most agropastoral areas, particularly in Hudur and Tayeglow Districts in Bakool Region, replanting took place in early May. Earlier planted crops did not germinate during the long dry spell in April. Most of the area planted in Wajid and Rabdhure Districts in Bakool Region have germinated, and they are now at the development stage.
Pasture and vegetation conditions have remained below average in most parts of the country due to the effects of the persistently dry weather in April. However, improved vegetation conditions were observed in most parts Awdal, Bay, the Jubas, Woqooyi Galbeed, southern Gedo, and parts of Lower Shabelle due to the effect of some rain in April followed by moderate rains in early May. Despite their erratic onset and poor spatial and temporal distributions, the Gu rains have generally improved both pasture and water conditions, resulting in improved livestock body conditions in many pastoral areas. Moderate kidding, lambing, and cattle calving took place in March/April 2014. As a result, milk production is currently near average.
Insecurity is still leading to a reduction of trade flows and increasing market prices. Areas severely affected by recent conflicts include Bakool and Hiraan Regions as well as Eldher, Harardhere, and Elbur Districts in Galgaduud, Lower Shabelle, riverine areas of Middle Shabelle, and parts of northern Gedo.
Trade restrictions in Bakool and Qoryoley District in Lower Shabelle have increased cereal prices. Red sorghum prices in Hudur for example increased by 26 percent from March to April and still higher than last year and the five-year average by 31 and 25 percent, respectively. Similarly, in Lower Shabelle, particularly in Qoryoley District, the white maize price increased by 27 percent from March to April, and it was 69 percent higher than last year. Also, imported commodity prices in Qoryoley atypically increased from March to April. These price increase is attributed by the increased insecurity and declining cereal stocks due to the below average Deyr harvest during January/February 2014.