Food security outcomes to improve due to average national harvest prospects
Populations in the south and marginal areas in the north continue to experience food gaps and face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to last season’s poor harvests and below-average incomes. Most areas in the north continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2 and 2!), both in the presence and absence of humanitarian assistance. Although most humanitarian organizations are expected to end assistance in March, assistance may continue into April in some districts partly to avoid premature harvesting of crops. The food security situation is expected to improve across the country during the main harvest in April/May.
Heavy and widespread rainfall continued in February and March. As the official rainfall season closes end of March, the bulk of the country has received cumulative rainfall totals that are double normal levels or more. Only a few northern and southern marginal areas range from average to about 125 percent above average rainfall.
FEWS NET’s earlier assumptions for maize area planted, seed availability, and the impact of the fall armyworm have been updated based on subsequent developments. Area cropped to maize is now assumed to be above average due to the addition of late planted crops. The ability of households to access seeds for planting was higher than anticipated earlier in the season. The fall armyworm situation has evolved since the onset of the outbreak and the estimated damage or crop loss has been minimal compared to earlier projections.
As a result of the above updates, the availability of cereal from own production among poor households will extend through September. However, poor households in the south and marginal areas in the north will still face some difficulty in meeting their livelihoods protection, because of the severity of last year’s drought, recent flooding in some southern communities, and ongoing economic challenges, hence Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes are expected between May and September. In most northern and other high-producing areas, increased availability of own produced food will improve outcomes to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) between May and September.