FSNAU releases the quarterly Food Security and Nutrition Brief - Focus on Post Gu Season Early Warning

Issued: June 25, 2014

Based on ongoing monitoring activities in addition to the results of rapid preliminary Gu (April-June) season field assessment carried out in June 2014, the food security situation is projected to deteriorate in Somalia in the post-Gu period (July-December 2014). Within the context of limited humanitarian assistance, the major factors contributing to the deterioration of the food security situation include below average harvest prospects as a result of late and erratic Gu rains, rising food prices, armed conflict and associated displacements as well as disruptions in farming and trade activities in the first half of the year.

The worst-affected areas where acute food insecurity is mostly likely to deteriorate include: Bakool (agropastoral and urban); Gedo (parts of agropastoral livelihoods) Hiran (agropastoral, riverine and urban); parts of the Lower Shabelle region; and the Cowpea Belt of central Somalia from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in the post-Deyr 2013 assessment to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Acute food security Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is also likely to persist in the Middle Shabelle (Riverine) and Middle Juba (Agropastoral) regions, the coastal areas of central Somalia and the 2013 cyclone-affected parts of Northeast. Of particular concern are urban populations in some of the main towns of the Bakool (Hudur), Hiran (Bulburte) and Lower Shabelle (Qorioley) regions. This is a result of the trade embargo imposed by insurgents following the military offensive against them in March 2014, resulting in a significant surge in prices of most essential food commodities, thereafter affecting purchasing power and food access of the urban population. This is having significant adverse impact on the food security situation of urban populations in these regions.

Malnutrition trends based on data from health facilities for January to April 2014 indicated a mixed trend across the country. Accordingly, high levels of malnutrition were recorded in southern Somalia as well as parts of the northwest and central regions. Seasonal diseases associated with the rainy season as well as reduced food access in the conflict-affected areas are among the key factors that aggravated malnutrition. However, improved access to milk in most pastoral and agropastoral areas is likely to mitigate the malnutrition situation in these areas in the months to come.

The Gu cereal crop production prospects are bleak due to largely below normal Gu rains as well as disruption of farming activities caused by armed conflicts, including in the high agricultural (cereal production) potential areas (Qorioley district in the Lower Shabelle region). The expected below average cereal production is likely to exert additional upward pressure on cereal prices. Cereal prices have been increasing since the beginning of the year in most markets of the country due to a lack of stocks from the previous below average Deyr 2013/14 harvest in addition to insufficient humanitarian assistance. The projected near normal Karan rains (July-August) in the Northwest is expected to improve the cereal harvest (Gu-Karan) in agropastoral areas (to be collected in November), which thus far have not performed well due to delayed and erratic Gu rains.

Most pastoral livelihood regions are likely to sustain the current food insecurity phase based on the Integrated Phase Classification  (IPC) severity scale. Livestock conditions are average in most pastoral areas despite late and erratic Gu rains, while milk availability is projected to improve with calving, expected in June-August in most areas. Pastoralists are also likely to benefit from anticipated increases in livestock sales during the upcoming Ramadan (July) and Hajj (October) festivities.  However, the expected increase in cereal prices in the context of reduced national cereal production and lack of humanitarian assistance will negatively impact the purchasing power of poor pastoralists.

Scaled humanitarian assistance is required from now at least to December 2014 to mitigate the imminent worsening of the food security situation in Somalia.

There are strong indications that an El Nino is likely to develop towards the last quarter of 2014.  In the context of Somalia, historically, El Nino has been associated with flooding and flood related damages. Further deterioration in the food security situation is possible in riverine areas in Southern Somalia and in low-lying areas across the country during the last quarter of 2014 if the El-Nino projection materializes.

Download the brief using the following link: http://www.fsnau.org/downloads/Food-Security-and-Nutrition-Quarterly-Brief-June-2014.pdf

For questions or further clarifications related to the technical release, you can contact us by sending an email to info@fsnau.org.