Special Report: Market Functioning in Southern Somalia

Situation Report
Originally published
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Disclaimer: This paper addresses some of the issues related to the market feasibility of cash transfers and supply-side interventions. It does not consider issues related to the mechanism by which various forms of response could be provided nor does it explore other aspects of the local context, including security and conflict, which would affect the overall feasibility of continuing or expanding relief efforts. As with all information on southern Somalia, the situation is changing constantly and available information may not fully reflect current conditions. The paper examines staple food price conditions from July 2011 to October 2011 using FEWS NET and FSNAU price series, FSNAU import data, and FAO/WFP/FEWS NET cross-border trade data. It does not consider additional sources of data from other sources.


  • Markets continue to move locally-produced, imported, and relief food both within and between trade basins in southern Somalia. As trade is moving food between markets, cash or voucher-based interventions or supply-side interventions that rely on functional trade flows may continue to be effective response options.

  • Prices of local grains have decreased thanks to new supplies from the very small Gu harvest, some limited cross-border trade, the off-season harvest, and most importantly, the entry of relief food into the market.

  • Not all areas of southern Somalia are equally connected to each other through trade, so some areas remain poorly served by the new sources of supply that have become available since July. Aden Yabal remains more connected to the Central trade basin than to southern Somalia, and prices remain very high; Belet Xowa in Gedo region remains more connected to markets in the Mandera triangle in Kenya, and supplies remain tight. In the Juba valley, while prices of white maize have come down some, prices indicate that white maize supplies in the Juba valley remain very thin.