Somalia Key Message Update: Slowly receding flood waters likely to delay Deyr 2019/20 off-season harvests until March, November 2019
Sustained humanitarian food assistance is supporting recovery from drought in many accessible areas, leading to Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) or Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes. However, the number of beneficiaries reached (1.9 million) remains below the number in need, which is now likely higher than previous estimates of 2.1 million due to recent flooding that has displaced approximately 370,000 people. Where the reach of food assistance is below 25 percent of the population in drought or flood-affected areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are present. Food insecurity is most severe in Bay Bakool Low Potential Agropastoral livelihood zone, where Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are present.
Above-average Deyr rainfall in October led to flooding in south-central riverine and low-lying agropastoral areas. Land preparation for the main Deyr cropping season has been suspended in many riverine and some agropastoral areas and an estimated 84,000 hectares of farmland were destroyed. However, a reduction in rainfall intensity from early to mid-November facilitated high levels of cultivation in other agropastoral areas, which is likely to lead to average Deyr cereal production. In contrast, continued rainfall and slowly receding flood waters are anticipated to delay recessional cultivation and sustain low labor demand in flood-affected areas. After flood waters recede, an above-average, off-season maize harvest is most likely but will be delayed until March.
Warmer-than-normal temperatures and favorable rainfall through mid-October in Northwestern Agropastoral livelihood zone has supported short-cycle sorghum maturation and yields at better-than-anticipated levels. However, smut fungi and stalk-borer outbreaks resulted in near maize crop failure. According to the Somaliland Ministry of Agriculture, the net Gu/Karan harvest, which will be completed in December, is now estimated to be 41,000 metric tons, which is near the five-year average. Sorghum crops for consumption and fodder sales, combined with a seasonal increase in milk production, is expected to drive improvement from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for poor households through May, despite generally low livestock holdings.
Average to above-average Deyr rainfall has replenished rangeland resources in most pastoral areas, leading to medium to high livestock conceptions for the March to May birth cohort. Conversely, Deyr rainfall has been below average in Northern Inland Pastoral and some Coastal Deeh Pastoral areas in northeastern and central Somalia, which has driven atypical migration. Based on field reports, an ongoing locust infestation in Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone has yet to significantly reduce overall vegetation availability for livestock and swarms are expected to move toward Ethiopia. Overall, improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is expected from March to May due to anticipated increases in livestock herd size, value, and milk production. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to persist in Guban Pastoral, East Golis Pastoral of Northwest, and Addun Pastoral of Central, where livestock holdings will remain low.
Nationally, retail sorghum and maize prices in October remained above the respective October 2018 and five-year averages due to the impact of the below-average Gu harvest on market supply and reduced trade flows during the above-average rainy season. Markets stocks are currently supplied with food commodity imports, recent off-season harvests, and Gu carry-over stocks that were released before the Deyr harvesting period. Disruptions to trade flows from rain and flooding have led to significant price spikes in riverine and low-lying agropastoral areas, where food prices ranged from 54 to 101 percent above October 2018 and 5 to 35 percent above the five-year average. Prices are generally expected to remain above average until Deyr harvests start to become available in late December.