FSAU Focus: Annual Post Gu 2003 Food Security Outlook


1. Executive Summary
Objectives of the Post Gu Food Security Outlook:

  • Assessment of agricultural and pastoral conditions following the main Gu rainy season

  • Identification and analysis of key factors influencing food security

  • Projection of food security outlook through the next Gu season (ending July 2004)

Overview of Methods

  • Secondary Data Analysis: satellite imagery, market prices, nutritional surveys, security reports

  • Field Assessment: agricultural and pastoral conditions, community and key informant interviews, farmer surveys, observation

  • Livelihoods Analysis: Integration of agricultural/pastoral field data with access variables (e.g., market prices) to project entitlement and food security outlook from livelihood baselines

  • Nutrition: Integration of nutritional surveys with food security outlook to project trends

  • Collaboration: Twenty Two agencies participated in field work and analysis. FSAU held a technical working session in Hargeisa with stakeholders to review preliminary findings

Key Findings

  • Gu rains (March-June) cumulatively above normal in southern agricultural areas (although distribution erratic), and generally below normal in northern pastoral areas, especially around Sool Plateau (Fig A).

  • Total Gu 2003 cereal production estimated at 169,400 Mt, 25% less than 2002 and 8% less than post war average (PWA). Fig B shows historic trends and sorghum-maize proportions

  • Largest declines in production in Bakol and Hiran (-89%, -86%), with the largest increase in Lower Shabelle (+34%)

  • Livestock/pastoral conditions generally normal throughout Somalia with notable exceptions in Sool Plateau/Nugal Valley areas, which have experienced four years of successive drought

  • Cereal market prices continue 5-year downward trend (Fig C).

  • Key factors affecting food security: civil insecurity, erratic rainfall and pest outbreaks combined with poor resource management, restricted livestock marketing.

  • Projected number of vulnerable rural populations with a scenario of Deyr rains of 100%=233,900 people and with Deyr rains 50% =616,300 (Maps 1a and 2a show distribution and level of severity)
Figure A: Per Cent Normal Precipitation 1 March 2003 - 30 June 2003

Figure B: Historic Gu Production Trends (1995-2003)

Figure C: Cereal Prices (aggregated across markets) in Somalia

Cross-Cutting Issues

  • Civil insecurity continues to fundamentally undermine food security, requiring more robust analysis and advocacy

  • Environmental degradation, particularly charcoal production, is accelerating and will erode away the very base of the Somali economy (pastoralism) and cultural identity, and inevitably lead to increased struggle over natural resources

  • Livestock ban remains, but exports slowing recovering

  • IDPs and poor urban populations continue to be chronically food insecure (estimated IDP population is 350,000)

  • Cross Border Cereal trade especially in context of large food aid in Ethiopia; requires analysis on the impact in Somalia's markets

1.1 Overview of the Gu 2003 Analytical Process

In August 2003, FSAU and partners (Agrosphere, CEFA, CARE, Concern, GTZ, MOA, OCHA, Oxfam, SC-UK (Somalia/Ethiopia), SCRS, WFP Somalia and World Vision) conducted field work throughout Somalia to assess the agricultural and pastoral conditions and outlook until April 2004. The field teams estimated total maize and sorghum production per district (area cultivated and yield per hectare) based on farmer/focus group interviews and field surveys. The teams also identified positive and negative factors which could affect the final production figures for each district. In pastoral areas the assessment emphasized livestock production and reproduction, particularly milk yields, herd composition, and herd dynamics. Field teams included nutritionists to promote integration of nutritional trends in the final food security forecast. In addition to the field work that forms the basis of the agricultural and pastoral assessments, analysis of satellite imagery, nutritional trends, market prices, and security were integrated for both triangulation and, when compared with the baseline information for each livelihood zone, projecting the food security outlook until April 2004. Since the Gu 2003 analysis includes a projected outlook through to Gu 2004 several assumptions are made:

  • Two scenarios are used for the coming Deyr seasonal production : 100% and 50% of post-war average. In consideration of information from the Climate Outlook Forum

  • Exchange rates are pegged at current rates due to the unpredictable political climate inside and outside Somalia.

  • Security conditions are taken as being similar to the current situation Estimates are made as to how households might increase or decrease productive activities (coping strategies), and how the availability of each activity differs from "normal" (influenced by seasonal and other factors). Potential coping activites include production of other crops (including fodder), sale of labour, exploitation of natural resources exploitation (grasses, poles, charcoal, gums, honey etc.), sales of live animal and milk and increased recourse to gifts and remittances.

The final integrated food security outlook is ultimately expressed as a percentage livelihood (i.e., food entitlement) deficit for livelihood zones of concern. The deficit figure, while expressed as a food deficit, should not be taken to indicate the need for a food-based response. The figure essentially refers to a gap in entitlements, and the problem could be one of a number of factors such as increased costs of key purchased commodities, or reduced availability of income-generating opportunities. It could be that food needs are being met but at the cost of neglecting other key items of expenditure. The FSAU convened a working session in Hargeisa on September 16 to present preliminary findings and to receive feedback from key stakeholders. Twenty two organizations attended this workshop and their input is highly appreciated. The FSAU hopes that the analysis in this report will assist agencies to design timely and appropriate strategies for both short and long term interventions that will enhance food security in Somalia. The FSAU encourages and welcomes consultation with interested agencies.

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