Rain failure in some parts of Ethiopia worsens food insecurity between now & Sept, as inflation also rears its head

29 Jun

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

The color code is indicator for countries-requiring food-assistance during 2014 . Red color is for shortfall in aggregate food production or supplies; Brown is for widespread lack of access; and Yellow is for severe localized food insecurity  (Map credit: FAO)

The color code is indicator for countries-requiring food-assistance during 2014 . Red color is for shortfall in aggregate food production or supplies; Brown is for widespread lack of access; and Yellow is for severe localized food insecurity (Map credit: FAO)

The June 2014 Food Assistance Fact Sheet of the United States Government states that, despite a fast-growing economy, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The statement goes on to indicate that the country “experiences high levels of both chronic and acute food insecurity, particularly among rural populations and smallholder farmers.”

This is a far cry from the May 28, 2014 claim by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who told the nation during celebration of TPLF’s victory over Ethiopian forces that Ethiopia has become food self-sufficient.

Notwithstanding that, in describing the food security situation in the country, the Food Assistance Fact Sheet states:

    Approximately 44 percent of children under 5 years of age in Ethiopia are severely chronically malnourished, or stunted. This lack of nutrients results in irreversible cognitive and physical impairments. The long-term effects of chronic malnutrition are estimated to cost the Government of Ethiopia approximately 16.5 percent of its GDP every year according to the UN World Food Program (WFP).

In response to this situation, the US is providing 161, 920 MT of food through WFP and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
 

Projected food security outcomes, June 2014 (Source: FEWS NET)

Projected food security outcomes, June 2014
(Source: FEWS NET)

June to September food security outlooks

A. Southern Somali region, Oromia and SNNPR

Household income from livestock and milk sales in southern pastoral areas and in south eastern Somali, Oromia and SNNPR is expected to decrease more than seasonally typical during the June to September long dry season. Following this would be early livestock migration and declining livestock productivity, which reduces households’ access to milk or associated income, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

This is accompanied by the anticipated increase in cereal prices due to seasonally low supply and declining livestock prices due to poor livestock body condition, which would continue to limit food access. Poor households in these areas will likely move from Stressed (IPC Phase 2, see below for definitions) currently to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). This makes the continued presence of humanitarian assistance from July to September 2014 extremely essential, according to the forecast.

Similarly, in southern areas low herd sizes do not allow poor and very poor households to receive enough income from livestock sales and livestock product sales to cover their food needs, their essential non-food needs, and essential expenses to protect their livelihoods. Therefore, most areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

In northern Somali region the forecast expects more than seasonal decline of pasture, browse, and in water availability. This will be followed by less regeneration than usual during the likely below average July to September 2014 Karma/Karan rains. By August, pasture and browse may be very difficult to locate, which is expected to bring unusual and widespread livestock migration.
Livestock body conditions will likely also deteriorate. Livestock prices are anticipated to decline due to the expected decline in livestock body conditions, decreasing household income.

Therefore, poor households in these areas will likely move from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in June to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with the continued presence of humanitarian assistance from July to September 2014.
 

B. Afar region

In northern Afar region, the below average July to September rains in Awis and Kilbati will not be sufficient to fully regenerate pasture and browse and refill all water points. After August, the dry season will cause the availability resources to further decrease. Households are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least September.
 

C. Belg-producing areas in eastern Tigray, Amhara, and Oromia

The average Belg production in these areas is expected to increase household food access. Moreover, the availability of the Belg harvest to the markets is expected at least to stabilize cereal prices in Belg-producing areas in northeastern Amhara, southern Tigray, and Eastern Oromia. Poor and very poor households will be able to address their minimal food needs from own production and purchases. Therefore the food insecurity in these areas will improve from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in July to September.

However, in the Meher-dominant, eastern, marginal areas in eastern Oromia, Tigray, and Amhara Regions, poor households will likely be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from July to September. While household income from labor during July to September is expected to seasonally increase in central and eastern Oromia, it is likely to be below normal due to the anticipated below-average Kiremt rains leading to less agricultural production in northeastern Amhara and Tigray. Moreover, poorer households in northeastern Tigray and in the Tekeze River catchment and lowland areas of East and West Hararghe Zones in Oromia Region exhausted their stocks from the below average 2013 Meher production in April. Therefore, poor and very poor households in northeastern Tigray and in the Tekeze River catchment will continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from July to September 2014 and beyond.
 

D. Inflation and the Consumer Price Index (CPI)

In May 2014, the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency (CSA) reported that the year–on-year general inflation rate increased by 8.7%; food inflation by 6.3% and non-food by 11.43%. In the month, the components of food index also showed increase: bread and cereals (4%), meat (7.5%), milk, cheese and eggs (10.4%), oils and fats (3.4%), fruits (1.6%), vegetables and pulses, potatoes and tubers (5.7%), sugar, jam, honey, and chocolate (2.3%), other food products(9.7%) and Non-Alcoholic beverages and coffee by (18.7%).

Since Ethiopia does not have automatic cost of living adjustments, this is taken care of when the ruling party feels the need for it. Accordingly, caught between the sudden escalation of prices and the forthcoming election, the prime minister announced last week that there would would be salary adjustments effective July 2014.
 

E. Terminologies and definitions

According to FEWS.net:

IPC Phase I: This relates to a situation that would not lead to acute food insecurity. This means that household groups do not experience short-term instability; or it is possible that they may experience short-term instability but are able to meet basic food needs, without engaging in disruptive coping strategies.

IPC Phase 2: In this situation, household group experiences short-term instability. It is also the case where the household’s food consumption is reduced and is minimally adequate, preventing the need to engage in irreversible coping strategies.

IPC Phase 3: Household group experiences short-term instability. The affected household would have significant food consumption gaps with high or above usual acute malnutrition. It is also possible that a household group is marginally able to meet minimum food needs only with irreversible coping strategies, such as liquidating livelihood assets or diverting expenses from essential non-food items.

IPC Phase 4: A household group experiences short-term instability; and it is possible that a household group may have extreme food consumption gaps. This would result in very high acute malnutrition or excess mortality. It is also possible that a household may have extreme loss of livelihood assets. This is likely to lead to food consumption gaps.

IPC Phase 5: Household group experiences short-term instability and also would have near complete lack of food and/or other basic needs. This would make starvation, death, and destitution an inescapable reality.
 

Related articles:

    The state of Ethiopian agriculture, prospects and pitfalls

    Persistent food insecurity tied to Ethiopia’s bleak future, caused by climate change

    በመጭው ዓመት ኢትዮጵያ ከ6.5 ሚሊዮን ኩንታል በላይ ስንዴ በግዥ ከውጭ ታቀርባለች – የምግብ ዋጋ ግሽበት 6.3% ሆኖ – ቁጥሩ ጤና ነውን?

    ማዕከላዊ ስታቲስቲክስ የዋጋ ግሽበቱን ወደ “ነጠላ አኃዝ ለማውረድ የተያዘው ዕቅድ ውጤታማ ሆኗል” ባለ ጥቂት ቀናት ውስጥ በአዲስ አበባ የሸቀጦች ዋጋ ንረት የት ሄደና ነው ይላሉ ኤኮኖሚስቶች

 

%d bloggers like this: