Somalia

Somalia: Some food security improvements in south

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NAIROBI, 13 February (IRIN) - A food security watchdog for Somalia has predicted a good secondary harvest during January-February in southern Somalia, following a satisfactory Deyr, or short rainy season, in the country.
The Food Security Assessment Unit for Somalia (which is funded by the EU and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation) said in its latest report that in Hiiran region, south-central Somalia, the good Deyr season had resulted in crops "likely to reverse the poor food security situation that was predicted".

According to the report, crops in the area under cultivation are above normal and yields are expected to be good. Livestock conditions had also improved, it said.

The report, however, warned that longer-term food security issues affecting Hiiran region - such as poverty and low income levels - still remained, "particularly among the poor riverine groups (situated by the banks of the Shabelle river) of the region".

The Gedo region of southwestern Somalia, which had been food insecure for several consecutive years, "is now experiencing a period of temporary recovery" as a result of good Deyr rains, said the report. It noted that the region was currently moving from "a period of emergency food insecurity to a more chronic state of food insecurity".

It was important that "underlying factors which detrimentally affect livelihoods in the longer term in Gedo region are closely monitored", particularly if the March/April Gu rains are delayed or fail, the report added.

It noted that in the northern part of the region, near the towns of Luuq and Belet Hawa, insecurity had prevented planting, and a poor harvest was expected.

The report also noted that overall crop production in Gedo "contributes less than 15 percent to household food needs, because two-thirds of the population are estimated to be pastoralists". However, the other third of the population are riverine and agro-pastoral people and they rely on crops for an estimated 60-65 percent of their household income, the report pointed out.

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