Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF): UN to spend $100 million to fight hunger as Ukraine conflict disrupts food markets (14.04.2022)

World Food Programme: Hunger in West Africa reaches record high in a decade as the region faces an unprecedented crisis exacerbated by Russia-Ukraine conflict (08.04.2022)

Needs are escalating much faster than we are currently able to respond – this in an immensely complex and volatile operational environment.

DAKAR, Senegal, April 8, 2022 – The number of women, men and children affected by a food and nutrition crisis in West and Central Africa is expected to reach a new record high in June 2022 – quadrupling in just three years from 10.7 million in 2019 to 41 million in 2022 – unless appropriate measures are urgently taken, reveals the Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis released in March 2022.

Following the high-level conference in Paris on food security and nutrition situation in West Africa, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are calling for longer-term political and financial commitments to address the worst food security and nutrition crisis to strike the region in ten years.

“The situation is spiralling out of control. Needs are escalating much faster than we are currently able to respond – this in an immensely complex and volatile operational environment,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa.

“Both governments and partners need a step-change in tackling the underlying drivers of hunger and malnutrition. Bold and rigorous political actions are needed now, including lifting barriers to the regional trade and ensuring the most acute needs are met during a lean season that is projected to be extremely challenging in the region” Nikoi added.

There is a high risk that the food and nutrition crisis will be further aggravated due to persistent insecurity that continues to trigger massive population displacement, the impact of the climate crisis, disrupted food systems, limited food production, barriers to regional trade and the socioeconomic fallout from the pandemic which has devastated national economies. Furthermore, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is violently disrupting the global trade of food, fertilisers and oil products, with the already high prices of agricultural products reaching record highs not seen in the region since 2011.

While the increase in staple food prices has been steady in all countries in the region, a staggering 40 percent jump from the 5-year average has been witnessed in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Mali and Mauritania – pushing basic meals out of reach for millions of women, men and children.

“This unprecedented food crisis the region is facing offers an opportunity for us to address the root causes of food insecurity in the sub-region by developing food and agricultural systems that are less dependent on external shocks, and a more productive and efficient local agriculture with a particular emphasis on the consumption of local food products” said Dr Gouantoueu Robert Guei, Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa and FAO representative in Senegal.

The nutritional situation also remains a grave concern in the region, particularly in the Sahelian countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad where an estimated six million children under five are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022. Nutritional analyses conducted across the Sahel and in Nigeria point to a crisis or emergency situation in several locations in Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria.

“Africa has the largest untapped potential of arable land, yet most of these countries import food. Governments need to support long-term agriculture plans for the next generation, including investments in developing agriculture, livestock and fisheries to achieve food security”, said Benoit Thierry, IFAD Regional representative in West Africa.

The March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé projections suggest that in coastal countries, the number of food insecure people has doubled since 2020, rising from 3 million people in the June-August 2020 period to over 6 million in June-August 2022. This includes nearly 110,000 people facing Emergency (Phase 4) levels of food insecurity. The coastal region is likely to experience further increases in food prices and disruptions in the supply of agricultural products (especially fertilizers), due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“Acute food insecurity is no longer restricted to the Sahel; it is expanding into Costal countries. We need to respond in a way that is sustainable, at the right scale, and that tackles the multifaceted socio-political and socio-economic elements of the crises the region faces. This will only be achieved through enhanced collaboration, coordination mechanisms at national and regional levels, and leadership at all levels, including from governments, donors, and UN agencies” Nikoi added.

Drought in the Horn of Africa: New Analyses Flag Mounting Risks, Need to Support Rural Families (11.02.2022)

A drought picture from a previous drought in Somalia (sometime in 2016)

FAO senior officials visit affected areas in the rush to save lives and livelihoods.

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 11, 2022 – An extended, multi-season drought is driving acute food insecurity in the Horn of Africa, with 12 to 14 million people now at risk as crops continue to wither and animals weaken, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and partners warned today.

Resource-based conflicts are escalating as competition for water and pasturelands increases, and malnutrition rates are rising in affected areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, highlighting the need to sustain the rural livelihoods that underpin peace and food security across the Horn.

At a briefing to international donors in Nairobi, FAO and its partners reported that the food security outlook in the region will be highly dependent on the performance of the upcoming rainy season, with forecasts currently uncertain.

In a worst-case scenario in which the rains completely fail and agricultural-dependent communities do not receive adequate support, the number of highly food insecure people could climb to 15-20 million – with some worst-affected households facing “catastrophic” hunger conditions.

“Drought cycles are intensifying and occurring with greater frequency. Immediate humanitarian action to support farmers and herders is needed now,” said Bechdol, after visiting Kenyan communities where goats and cows are dying from lack of water and pasture. “The international community has a narrow window to prevent a major humanitarian catastrophe here,” she said.

“Alarm bells have already been rung – scaled-up action is needed now,” said Phiri. “FAO carried out anticipatory actions during the latter half of 2021 in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia to mitigate the impacts of drought on over one million rural people and so far a crisis has been mitigated. But much more is needed as the situation deteriorates and as crisis looms,” he said.

A plan to help rural families cope 

Under FAO’s new Horn of Africa Drought Response Plan, $130 million is urgently needed to provide time-critical assistance to highly vulnerable communities in drought-hit regions of the three countries. The plan supports the production of up to 90 million litres of milk and up to 40 000 tonnes of staple food crops in the first part of 2022, putting over one million highly-food insecure people on a safe footing.

For pastoralist families, FAO aims to deliver animal feed and nutritional supplements, provide mobile veterinary health clinics, transport 10 000 litre collapsible water reservoirs to remote areas, and upgrade existing wells to run on solar power.

For farming families, FAO aims to distribute drought-tolerant early-maturing varieties of sorghum, maize, cowpea and other beans and vegetables.

FAO is also carrying out cash transfers and cash-for-work programmes to ensure the most vulnerable can access food.

Additional new analysis published on Thursday from the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) for Somalia, hosted by FAO, shows that in Somalia alone, the number of acutely food insecure people (IPC Phase 3 and 4) is expected to increase from 3.5 to 4.1 million between January and March 2022, if humanitarian assistance is not received on time.

FAO’s Deputy Director-General, Beth Bechdol; Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, David Phiri; and Director of Emergencies and Resilience, Rein Paulsen have just completed a visit to Kenya to raise awareness on the drought and see FAO’s vital response in action, including in Isiolo and Marsabit counties in the north.

IGAD and FAO Call for Urgent Actions to Mitigate the Impacts of Drought Across the Horn of Africa (18.11.2021)

A joint statement by the IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu and the FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, Dr Chimimba David Phiri.

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 18, 2021 – Vulnerable communities in the IGAD region continue to experience a complex mix of re-enforcing shocks and stresses that are eroding their resilience to food and nutrition insecurity. As of October 2021, 26 million people were already facing high levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3+), according to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), which is co-chaired by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Due to the threat of worsening drought conditions, food insecurity will likely rise during the first half of 2022 across the Horn of Africa. Urgent action is therefore required now to safeguard livelihoods, save lives, and prevent possible starvation in some areas.

Drought conditions are already affecting the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, southern and central Somalia, and Belg-receiving areas of southern and south-eastern Ethiopia as consecutive poor rainfall seasons have driven below-average crop production, rising cereal prices, poor rangeland conditions, reduced livestock production, and drought-related  animal deaths in many areas.

Moreover, as forecast by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), the start of the current October-December 2021 rainy season has been significantly delayed, with little to no rainfall observed to date in many areas, raising the probability of another poor season. Should this occur, agricultural and pastoral conditions will further deteriorate, causing households already struggling with the effects of multiple, concurrent hazards (climate variability, conflict, COVID-19, and desert locusts) to employ negative coping strategies and reduce their food consumption. This is a major source of concern as food insecurity in the region has historically increased sharply following consecutive poor rainfall seasons.

IGAD Member States continue to work in collaboration with development partners to anticipate and respond to various food security threats and build the resilience of vulnerable communities to recurrent threats and crises. During the desert locust upsurge, for example, the unparalleled support of resource partners and multi-agency coordination averted USD 1.3 billion worth of cereal losses, meeting the cereal requirements of 29.1 million people. Desert locust livelihood recovery support continues for more than 200 000 households.

IGAD and FAO share a long-standing history of successful partnership and collaboration in building the region’s resilience in several areas, including but not limited to: livelihood support to strengthen resilience against droughts; food security information and analysis; early warning and disaster risk management; implementation of cross border actions in close collaboration with the respective communities, local and national authorities; conflict prevention; natural resource management; market access and trade; and capacity building; institutional strengthening and coordination through the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI).

Such resilience-building efforts have significantly improved the ability of households to withstand the impacts of shocks. However, the increased frequency of climatic hazards, combined with the effects of other stressors, is threatening these hard-won gains. It is, therefore, crucial to act now to protect these resilience gains and prevent more people from sliding into food insecurity and malnutrition.

To this end, we must support farmers and herders who are experiencing the impacts of poor harvests, depleted food and animal feedstock, and rising food and water prices. More specifically, IGAD and FAO call for a scale-up of contributions to existing and future Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) as the response remains grossly underfunded in the relevant countries. Through rapid, collaborative action by all actors, we can safeguard the lives and livelihoods of communities currently bearing the worsening effects of the drought, while at the same time, protecting households’ longer-term resilience.

Somalia: Council of Presidential Candidates (CPC) – Press Statement (18.02.2021)

Somalia: Gurmad Party – Statement on Peaceful Election Demonstrations Issued by Gurmad Presidential Candidate, Dr. Abdinasir Abdille Mohamed (17.02.2021)

Somalia: UN and Government of Somalia call for urgent scaling up of emergency response as 2.65 million Somalis are projected to be in acute hunger (17.02.2021)

17 February 2021, Mogadishu – Over 2.6 million people in Somalia are expected to be in extreme food insecurity according to the latest joint technical assessment released by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). The report cites poor rainfall, flooding and desert locusts among the main contributing factors and warns that the situation could worsen through mid-2021 in the absence of large-scale and sustained humanitarian assistance.

FAO and the Government of Somalia have emphasized the urgency to increase support to sustain ongoing desert locust control and surveillance efforts, and to provide rapid emergency assistance over the coming months.

“Despite relative progress, there has been a new upsurge of desert locusts that has destroyed crops. We will continue working as a combined force to combat the threat of Desert Locusts and mitigate the potential of a more devastating outcome,” said Said Hussein Iid, Somalia’s Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation.

The report highlights that desert locusts will continue to pose a serious risk of damage to both pasture and crops countrywide through mid-2021. In addition, available forecasts indicate an increased likelihood of below-average rainfall during the 2021 Gu (April-June) season across most of the country, which would further exacerbate food and nutrition insecurity for millions of people.

“With the Government’s support, our teams and partners have maintained operations in control and surveillance, while delivering crucial humanitarian assistance and livelihood support during extremely challenging circumstances. Expanding the emergency response is crucial and underway, with a focus on interventions aimed at reducing food consumption gaps, saving lives, and protecting and preserving livelihoods,” said Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO Representative in Somalia.

From July to December 2020, assistance reached more than 1.8 million people per month on average in parts of Somalia. This large-scale humanitarian and government support helped to minimize the magnitude of the crisis and funding is needed urgently to boost efforts to reduce the new food security threats the country is currently facing.

Approximately 1.6 million people face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in the presence of planned humanitarian assistance during the first quarter of 2021. An additional 2.5 million people are Stressed (IPC Phase 2), bringing the total number of people experiencing acute food insecurity to 4.1 million. This also includes approximately 840 000 children under the age of five who are likely to be acutely malnourished, including nearly 143 000 who are likely to be severely malnourished. According to FSNAU-FEWS NET, from April to June 2021, food insecurity is expected to deteriorate. largely among poor rural, urban and displaced populations, due to the multitude of threats and crises. Humanitarian assistance must be sustained through mid-2021 to prevent Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes for nearly 2.7 million people.

“Somalia’s long-standing crises are compounded now by the ‘triple threat’ of the COVID-19 pandemic, Desert Locust infestations and climatic shocks,” said the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Adam Abdelmoula, who also serves as the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia. “We must continue to work with all humanitarian partners to ensure the most vulnerable Somalis are able to withstand the challenges and build resilience against future shocks. I urge all partners to work together across the humanitariandevelopment and -peacebuilding paths to address the root causes of these crises and build lasting solutions that leave no one behind,” he added.

Karamoja is running into a possible food crisis, but Mzee says its green!

Greetings. These pictures were taken at Kobebe dam, in Karamoja, as I waited for H.E Uhuru Kenyatta. I was at Latitude 2° North & 48 minutes (2°48 N). You can see how green it is!! The temperature, at that moment, was 22° celsius, very pleasant. The myth that Karamoja is dry is only perpetuated by those that do not know the opportunities available. Yes, Karamoja gets rain for fewer months than in the South of Uganda” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 12.09.2019).

Well, its one of those days. The President shouldn’t demystify the area, but govern it properly. As there are already warning signs in concern of the food security in the region of Karamoja in August 2019. Therefore, the President should have warned about this and worked with the right authorities to secure the public. Instead, his busy with a photo-op and spreading his good news before yet another high ranking meeting with foreign dignitaries.

Let me show first, what IPC 3 means and also what the FAO warns about. Let’s take a look.

FEWS Net IPC 3 meaning:

PHASE 3 Crisis. Households either:

– Have food consumption gaps that are reflected by high or above-usual acute malnutrition;

OR

– Are marginally able to meet minimum food needs but only by depleting essential livelihood assets or through crisis-coping strategies” (FEWS NET – ‘Integrated Phase Classification’).

FAO Food Security Outlook:

In Karamoja, a typically high sorghum prices and below-average firewood-to sorghum terms of trade continue to significantly limit household food access and maintain above-average acute malnutrition prevalence. Due to a poor start of the rainfall season and reduced area planted, delayed harvests will gradually begin in September and sorghum production is expected to range from 20 to 40 percent below average on the district level. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to persist through September and into October. As harvesting progresses, food security will gradually improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through January” (FAO, 30.08.2019).

So, when the President speaks of the green land of Karamoja, his not concerned or thinking about the public. As they suffer malnutrition and lacking production of sorghum in the region. This should worry a President and he should think of the public there. Instead, his blowing praises on green fields and putting up tents to meet another head of state.

This shows that the President isn’t there to act upon the warned trouble ahead. The state should act upon the problematic food security. It should create and make arrangement to secure the public get enough food, the rising malnutrition shows signs of maladministration.

Certainly, the President doesn’t want to hear that, as his all about Steady Progress, but this problem in Karamoja is prevalent and repetitive. Its not like this haven’t happen in the region before, it has and is something the NRM and President could have acted upon. That is if he cares, alas, he don’t. His had 33 years to do something and ensure food security.

This is because of the reduced area planted with crops/cereals in the region and also the delayed harvest, also a poor rainfall in the season. All of these things should worry anyone, but the President is praising green grass. So we better let him be and praise his wisdom. Because, people is starving since they believe in myths. Peace.

IGAD: CEWARN positioned to expand its integrated data collection and analysis system towards full regional coverage (01.05.2018)

Ethiopia: The Economy is struggling, not a rising lion as previously forecasted!

For as long as I can remember there gone stories of the amazing rise of the Ethiopian economy, the financial markets and the outputs out of this world. Where the money would grow ten-folds within minutes of its arrival. Like a mirage the number’s must have appeared in front of our eyes and stories that, we are told over the recent years. The Ethiopian powerhouse and the serious contender with Nigeria and South Africa. With their railways, banks and development projects, the powerful dam and all the others. It must have been a ride for the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalgn, must be so proud of his achievement.

Why I say that, because a booming economy does not do this:

“Ethiopia and World Bank have signed a 1.3 billion dollar grant and loan agreement to enhance equitable services and reduce food insecurity. The agreement was signed by Abraham Tekeste (PhD), minister of Finance & Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) and Carolyn Turk, World Bank’s country director for Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Sudan” (All Africa, 2017).

So when a booming economy, that has such magnificent rates and growth prospects should not and no need for extensive borrowings from the World and subsidiaries, to say they need so is a lie. The debt and the international support for projects and food security is not a sign of a sound and strong economy. More of the latter if I beg to differ. On that, alas the recent weeks has proven this. World Bank was ushered in the end of September, but it is now cash-crunch time.

Not the jolly Captain Crunch, but the credit is due.

“Ethiopia will devalue its currency to attract foreign investment and close the gap in foreign trade, President Mulatu Teshome said at the opening of the bicameral parliament on Monday. He said his government is faced with a serious shortage of hard currency and export trade has dwindled in last three years. Mulatu said major projects like the construction of railway and universities will not be carried out this budget year due to a serious shortage of finances” (ESAT, 2017).

The seriousness is there and it is bleak, when the President Teshome shows up and spread enlightenment to the world. That the economy is fragile and not at its peak, is clear when all the prestige and the giant projects are now put on hold until further notice. Clearly, the financial strains have hit the economy, as well as their exports has given them less hard currency.

It does not go well, when just days ago, when this hit the fan as well:

Double-digit inflation keeps threatening the macroeconomic conditions of the country as the headline inflation rate hit 10.8pc last month, according to the Central Statistical Agency (CSA)- the highest since October 2015. It is in contrary with the target of the government in the second edition of Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP II) to keep inflation in a single digit. The hike in the price of cereals such as teff, maize, wheat, barley, beans and sorghum coupled with holiday-driven price upsurge is the primary reason for the inflationary pressure last month, keeping the food inflation stagnant around 13pc.“As September is a time of multiple holidays, it is believed to influence the increase in the inflation rate,” the report of CSA reads” (Berhane, 2017).

That the cash crunch and the double-digit inflation hits the Republic is not a good look. The proof of the currency value falling, lack of hard currency and new Multi-National loans proves that the Financial Sector and Financial Institutions are strained. There is nothing more to give, it is just bones and not meat. It is just a matter of time before the boiling bones gives no taste to stew as well!

In addition, you the economy is bonkers when their agency spread out this sort of tales, at the time the devalued currency is told to the public on other platforms.

This is from the Ethiopian News Agency:

“The diplomats, who observed the government’s direction at the joint session of the parliaments, whom ENA has talked to also forecasted the country`s economic growth to be amplified in better manner referring the current stability of the nation. Ambassador of Bangladesh to Ethiopia Monirul Islam said the growth that Ethiopia’s economy has witnessed was ‘wonderful’ despite the drought and other problems. “It was 10.9 percent and this year I hope it will be more than that because there is a good rain, everything is good, the state of emergency has been lifted and everything is normal”. “So I think the economy should perform better especially in the agriculture sector as well as in the industry sector”, he pointed out” (ENA, 2017).

I do not know if Ambassador Islam lives in alternative reality or trying to sugarcoat the situation of the dire economic state that the Republic is facing, but it makes good propaganda for the ones who still want the fantastic picture spread around the globe. That the Ethiopian economy is sound and still growing. However, it is hard to grow when you lack currency, you have growing inflation and you are borrowing more funds. I do not know, which economy or financial system that it works splendid in. Certainly not this one.

In addition, the news of the financial rising tiger or lion of Ethiopia has been a mirage, a fraud and play for the world to see. At this stage and in time, it is far from it. The Ethiopian economy is plummeting and at amp speed. If you eat up the crap the ENA serves you, it must certainly serve your kind, but it is not reality. The President even said so, the reports are striking and the added loans proves the dire state.

The ones who is the most hurt. It is the citizens who needs the hard currency to buy food and live, they are punished for the reckless care of the financial system. They are the ones who suffers, because of how the state decided to conduct their affairs. They are the ones who feels the inflation, the rising prices and still has to get by. It is not right, but that is how it is. The Ethiopian government should subsidize and make sure the people get enough. However, do not expect that. This is from the same government that sent Agazi squad to Amhara and Oromia to kill and destroy. They do not care, unless they have too or if it keep them in power. Peace.

Reference:

All Africa – ‘Ethiopia: World Bank Assents U.S.$1.3 Billion Finance to Ethiopia’ (30.09.2017) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201710090243.html?utm_campaign=allafrica%3Aeditor&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=promote%3Aaans%3Aabljpw

Berhane, Samson – ‘Gov’t Sees Double Digit Inflation, Again’ (08.10.2017) link: https://addisfortune.net/articles/govt-sees-double-digit-inflation-again/

ESAT – ‘Ethiopia President Says Country is Broke’ (09.10.2017) link: https://www.tesfanews.net/ethiopias-president-says-country-financial-crisis/

ENA – ‘Diplomats Laud Economic Performance of Ethiopia’ (10.10.2017) link: http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/economy/item/3814-diplomats-laud-economic-performance-of-ethiopia

 

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