Food insecurity to improve in traditional surplus areas, but persist in marginal production areas
Last season’s El Niño-induced drought has been compounded by increasing macroeconomic challenges that the country is facing. During the current 2016/17 lean season, significant populations in the south and marginal areas in the north continue to experience food gaps and face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes between February and April. For the bulk of the north, Stressed (IPC Phase 2 and IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are expected for February through March, both in the presence and absence of humanitarian assistance respectively.
The food insecurity situation is expected to improve starting in May, during the main harvest period. Despite favorable rainfall, areas in the south are expecting below-normal cereal production due to crop input shortages, pests, and low cropped area. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in the southern and marginal northern areas between May and August. These areas are then projected to deteriorate into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in September. The north and other high maize producing areas are expected to have average production this season. So, for the bulk of the north, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected from May to September, as poor households consume own-produced cereals.
All areas in the country received normal to above normal rains in January. By the third week of February, cumulative rainfall for more than half of the country was 125-200 percent above normal levels. The good seasonal rainfall has improved water availability for human, cropping, and livestock usage. However, the heavy rainfall has also contributed to soil erosion, crop damage, waterlogging, and leaching in most areas. This is compounded by a national shortage of fertilizers and an outbreak of the hard-to-control Fall Armyworm in all provinces and some peri-urban areas.