Number of people needing humanitarian assistance on the rise.
ROME, Italy, July 14, 2017 – Poor rains across East Africa have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead – according to an alert released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The most affected areas, which received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall, are central and southern Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, northern Tanzania and northeastern and southwestern Uganda.
The alert issued by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) warns that the third consecutive failed rainy season has seriously eroded families’ resilience, and urgent and effective livelihood support is required.
“This is the third season in a row that families have had to endure failed rains – they are simply running out of ways to cope,” said FAO’s Director of Emergencies Dominique Burgeon. “Support is needed now before the situation rapidly deteriorates further.”
Increasing humanitarian need
The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the five aforementioned countries, currently estimated at about 16 million, has increased by about 30 percent since late 2016. In Somalia, almost half of the total population is food insecure. Timely humanitarian assistance has averted famine so far but must be sustained. Conditions across the region are expected to further deteriorate in the coming months with the onset of the dry season and an anticipated early start of the lean season.
The food security situation for pastoralists is of particular concern, in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where animal mortality rates are high and milk production from the surviving animals has declined sharply with negative consequences on food security and nutrition.
“When we know how critical milk is for the healthy development of children aged under five, and the irreversible damage its lack can create, it is evident that supporting pastoralists going through this drought is essential,” said Burgeon.
Livestock prices have plummeted because of poor animal body conditions and this, coupled with soaring cereal prices, has severely constrained pastoralists’ access to food. Rangeland and livestock conditions are expected to further deteriorate at least until the next rainy season starts in October.
Poor crop prospects
In several cropping areas across the region, poor rains have caused sharp reductions in planting, and wilting of crops currently being harvested. Despite some late rainfall in May, damage to crops is irreversible.
In addition, fall armyworm, which has caused extensive damage to maize crops in southern Africa, has spread to the east and has worsened the situation. In Kenya, the pest has so far affected about 200 000 hectares of crops, and in Uganda more than half the country’s 111 districts are affected.
In Somalia there are unfavourable prospects for this year’s main gu crops, after the gu rains were late with poor rainfall and erratic distribution over most areas of the country. In the Lower Shabelle region, the main maize producing area, seasonal rainfall was about 50 percent below- average and drought conditions are currently affecting up to 85 percent of the cropland.
In Ethiopia, unfavourable belg rains in southern cropping areas are likely to result in localized cereal production shortfalls. Drought is also affecting yields in Kenya’s central, southeastern and coastal areas. In Tanzania, unfavourable rains are likely to result in localized cereal production shortfalls in northern and central areas, while in Uganda there are unfavourable production prospects are unfavourable for first season crops in the southwestern and northern districts.
Cereal prices are surging, driven by reduced supplies and concerns over the performance of current-season crops. Prices in May were at record to near-record levels in most markets and up to double their year-earlier levels.
Mogadishu – Wednesday, 22 February 2016 – The following joint declaration was made in Mogadishu by H.E. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, and H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
1. We have come together as the heads of government of four countries in a region facing significant stress as a result of the current drought. Multiple seasons of failed rains and global weather patterns have, yet again, negatively affected the resilience mechanisms of millions of our people. This is evident in the immediate humanitarian crisis facing us today and will show up in longer term socio-economic vulnerability in communities that today are selling all their assets and uprooting their families for survival.
2. This situation, which may worsen in Somalia and result in a renewed famine over the coming months, could also have security and political implications in our region and beyond, as coping mechanisms are eroded and tensions over dwindling resources risks sparking conflict. Scores of people are moving both within countries and across borders in the hope of increasing their chances of survival. This upheaval is taking a particularly heavy toll on children and women, and makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks. Drought-related disease outbreaks and inter-communal conflict are already on the rise.
3. While each of our governments is mobilising to respond, the dire situation calls for international collaboration and regional partnership between governments, civil society, aid organisations, business and international donors.
4. We commit ourselves to regional cooperation to facilitate a more comprehensive response and strong partnership.
5. We commit to strengthening our cross-border collaboration and our efforts to establish security and stability in Somalia to ensure an effective response to the drought and to enable further progress in peace building and state building in Somalia. We further commit to the provision of appropriate protection and assistance to those compelled to leave their areas of origin as a consequence of the drought, including those who have fled to neighbouring countries.
6. We will be consulting on a regular basis to review progress on these issues, and to agree upon any necessary collective action that will help our countries and region respond to this emergency. Furthermore, we have instructed our respective foreign ministers and drought response teams to work together and keep us briefed.
7. In the longer term, we commit to working together bilaterally and through existing regional bodies such as IGAD, the African Union as well as the United Nations to address the underlying structural issues that commonly affect our economies, environments and communities, including cross-border rangeland and water resource management.
“In pastoral areas of Kenya, Somalia and southeastern Ethiopia, the widespread drought had a severe impact on pasture and water availability, and prices of livestock sharply decreased in recent months to very low levels, as livestock body conditions dramatically deteriorated. In these areas, the resulting sharp decline of terms of trade for pastoralists is severely constraining food access for large numbers of households” (FAO, P: 10, 2017).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has this month released a report that assessed the prices and the issues concerning food prices in the nations around the world. This is the droughts, lack of rain and the problems occurring after the El Nino that hit the African continent. Therefore, the sad reality with the influx of issues and variables, the food markets in different nations has hit a snag and they have gone up. At levels that are worrying, as the markets they haven’t had the same rise in added income compared to the prices of staple foods. This hits the poorest the most and gives them a harder day to day, as their added prices makes the cost of living even more turbulent and hazardous than it already is.
Like the Maize and Beans prices in Kenya:
“Maize prices increased in January by 9-14 percent in most monitored markets, as the output of the short rains harvest, currently underway in eastern and coastal lowlands, was sharply reduced due to insufficient rainfall. Prices of maize in January were 20-30 percent higher than 12 months earlier in several markets, also as a result of a below-average long rains harvest, recently completed in high potential western areas of the Rift Valley. Sustained imports from neighbouring Uganda contained the increased in maize prices. In drought affected coastal counties, sharper year-on-year price increases are recorded, and in December 2016 prices of maize in Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Taraka Nithi and Embu counties were up to 40 percent higher than a year earlier. Prices of beans are also at high levels and in January they were up to 40 percent higher than their year-earlier levels. Most pastoral areas were affected by drought, and prices of livestock declined in recent months as animal body conditions deteriorated. For instance, in Marsabit, Mandera, Garissa and Tana River counties, prices of goats in December 2016 were 15-30 percent lower than 12 months earlier” (FAO, P: 3, 2017).
That the prices of maize had added about 20-30 percent in a year time is worrying for the region, as the Kenyan market and the current state before the elections. The Kenyan state is borrowing at a steady haste for bigger infrastructure investments, but isn’t using funds to secure the agricultural output. This is lacking initiative or use of government subsidises to secure enough production, as much as there are droughts that has hit areas, where the prices has risen as a cause of lacking output or none as the climate has deteriorating the soil. That not only Maize has risen on higher prices, also the hiking of prices of beans shows the incapacity of agricultural output in general and also securing cheap government imports.
Like the prices of Maize and Sorghum in Somalia:
“Prices of locally-produced maize and sorghum continued to soar in January as the output of the 2016/17 secondary deyr harvest was affected by a severe drought and is estimated at 25 percent of last five-year average. In Mogadishu, prices of coarse grains increased up to 35 percent. In most markets of key maize producing region of Lower Shabelle, maize prices surged in January by 32-41 percent. Overall, prices of coarse grains in January in key markets of central and southern Somalia were up to twice their levels of 12 months earlier. Prices are likely to further escalate in the coming months, as an earlier than usual stock depletion will be compounded by concerns over the performance of the 2017 gu harvest. In pastoral areas, drought caused shortages of grazing resources, with deterioration of livestock body conditions. Livestock prices sharply declined in recent months, especially in the south, and are at very low levels, up to 60 percent lower than 12 months earlier. As a result of declining livestock prices and increasing cereal prices, terms of trade for pastoralists sharply deteriorated over the last 12 months. The equivalent in maize of a medium size goat declined in Buale market from 114 kg January 2016 to just 30 kg in January 2017. The severe drought has also caused a sharp decline in milk production and surge in milk prices” (FAO, P: 5, 2017).
So Somalia who has just gone through an election, has had a heavy affected by the drought, as the grains and food production has been hit by it. As proven with the rising food prices in Mogadishu and the prices has doubled in Central and Southern Somalia, in only a year! That proves the dire food situation, as the fierce internal fighting, the federation food production combined with the military fighting together with a drought has the food markets and food productions. Therefore the citizens and farmers are the losers, as they cannot have peaceful production, lacking rains and also insecurity of their own safety. All these things combined with the uncertainty of the electorate and the new administration. The steady rise of food prices has surely hit a population that did not need another crisis.
Rising prices in South Sudan:
“In the capital, Juba, prices of sorghum and maize declined in January by 6 and 10 percent, respectively, partly as a result of the harvesting of 2016 second season crops in southern bi-modal rainfall areas, which improved the domestic supply situation. Prices of other staples, wheat flour, cassava and groundnuts, followed similar patterns. In markets located in central and northern uni-modal rainfall areas, prices of sorghum increased by 15-20 percent in December 2016 and January 2017, after having declined in previous months with the harvesting of 2016 crops. In January, food prices in nominal terms were between 2 and 4 times above their levels in January last year, due to insecurity, a tight supply situation, hyperinflation and a significant depreciation of the local currency” (FAO, P: 5, 2017).
In South Sudan the new crisis of internal battles hit, even after the long term peace-agreement was fresh and the battles that started in July 2016. The continued escalation has hit the country. South Sudan administration has been busy fighting the SPLM-IO. The SPLM-IO has also been busier fighting the SPLA/M. Therefore the engagement with trying to get people to live in peace and fresh produce to happen in the country has stopped. That together with the civil war the agricultural output has been lost with the fleeing civilians and burning villages. Therefore in this current state, the food prices rise as the lacking food stocks of internal produced are dwindling, as the state needs more import of foreign food. Not only the inflation rates of the currency, the food production has been unstable. Therefore the rising prices and the armed situation create the rise of food prices. So the stability of the nation will also secure the currency and also the agricultural output, as of now is more or less in need of food aid because of the current in-fighting and lack of government oversight. This is unhealthy and makes even the security of food into a limbo.
Rising prices of Maize in Uganda:
“Prices of maize followed a sustained upward trend in recent months, increasing in all monitored markets by 33-58 percent between August and December 2016. Subsequently, prices followed mixed trends in January, declining in the capital, Kampala, as the second season harvest increased supplies, remaining firm in Lira market, located in a major cereal producing area, and continuing to increase in Busia, a key cross-border hub with Kenya. Overall, maize prices in January were up to 75 percent higher than a year earlier and at near-record to record levels, as the upward pressure exerted on prices by a reduced second season harvest, affected by poor rainfall in southeastern parts bordering lake Victoria, was compounded by a reduced first season harvest gathered last June/July and by sustained export demand from neighbouring countries, mainly Kenya and South Sudan. In Kampala, prices of beans and cassava flour, important staples, are also at high levels, and in January they were about 25 percent higher than 12 months earlier” (FAO, P: 6, 2017).
Ugandan government has already showed lacking instruments to the current drought and the lesser output during the election and campaigning of the current leadership. This is proven now with the monetary issues that are in dire straight in republic. The proof of the rising prices as the export of maize and others to South Sudan, as the added refugees who also needs foods and are also supported aided food. The government needs to secure added food production and development of bigger yields of the staple foods. That the food prices have sky-rocketed as the region has all been hit in corridors and districts where the dried lands have killed of livestock and others. Government has showed lacking oversight and mechanism from the government has not helped the dry-lands and the aftermath. Because of this with the added strains of a cash-strapped government after a heavy-burden state after elections, has not stagnated or had initiatives to stop the growing prices of food.
Maize prices are rising also in Tanzania:
“Prices of maize continued to increase in January in all monitored markets, as production prospects for the vuli harvest, currently underway in northern and eastern bi-modal rainfall areas, are unfavourable due to poor and erratic rainfall. Further support to prices was provided by concerns over the performance of the msimu harvest, to be gathered from May in central and southern uni-modal rainfall areas, as early-season dryness affected planting operations and crop establishment. Prices of maize in January were almost twice their year-earlier levels in Arusha, located in the northeast, while they were about 25 percent higher than in January 2016 in Dar Es Salaam, the largest urban centre” (FAO, P: 6, 2017).
That President Magufuli and his party like to be the example of the East Africa. Here the Tanzanian government are delivering the same sort of levels of rising prices. The maize prices are affected by drought and the Tanzanian government also have had to take in the refugees from other nations of late. This together with the less rainfall has pushed the prices on maize in Tanzania. Certainly the prices that doubled shows signs of lacking agricultural output and less yields as the rains and drought has happen during the last 12 month.
The numbers of rising food prices together with the lacking yields shows the worrying signs of lesser rain and longer dry seasons. This all hurt the citizens and the customers in the central regions or in urban areas who buys the foods from the agricultural districts, as much as the violence and the crisis in South Sudan and long term effects of the civil war in Somalia. This happens after the drought and other political issues, together with little efforts to add the yields, shows in the rising prices of staple foods. So now the people have to pay more for the same food they would have bought last year, in some places not only 20% added, but up to double or tripled. This is certainly added strains on the personal economy of the citizens in these nations. Peace.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – ‘Food Price Monitoring and Analysis – Bulletin’ (14.02.2017)
The Drought Situation
The Horn of Africa is in the midst of a major drought resulting from La Niña and reduced moisture influx due to the cooling of the ocean water in the east African coast. Whilst Member States of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are adept at managing droughts, what makes the current drought alarming in the Equatorial Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region is that it follows two consecutive poor rainfall seasons in 2016 and the likelihood of depressed rainfall persisting into the March – May 2017 rainfall season remains high. The most affected areas include, most of Somalia, South-eastern Ethiopia, Northern Eastern and coastal Kenya, and Northern Uganda.
The climate predictions and early warnings produced by IGAD through advanced scientific modeling and prediction tools, which were provided to Member States and the general public, have elicited early actions (preparedness and mitigation measures). Highly comparable to the 2010 GHA drought, the current depressed rainfall and resultant poor vegetation conditions since March 2016 eroded the coping and adaptive capacities of the affected people. It also depleted water points, reduced crops, forages and livestock production, increased food insecurity, and adversely affected the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the region.
The number of food insecure human population in the region is currently estimated at 17 million. Certain areas in South Sudan and Djibouti are already under an emergency food insecurity phase, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) classification scale. In Somalia, the number of food insecure people doubled in the last year alone.
In the drought affected cropping lands (over Deyr area in Somalia and coastal Kenya), 70 to 100 percent crop failure has been registered. Livestock mortality has been particularly devastating amongst small ruminants with mortality rate ranging from 25 to 75 percent in the cross border areas of Somalia-Kenya-Ethiopia. In addition, livestock prices have dropped by as much as 700 percent.
Terms of trade have declined in the region, with Ethiopia registering a figure of almost 10 percent. This is exacerbated by a substantial negative impact on external balances, as well as a small impact on financial sector-soundness in the other countries. The overall impact on fiscal positions is a likely increase in current budget spending and deterioration in the fiscal balance and weak adaptation capacity.
Despite the downtrend in global agriculture commodity prices, the drought has resulted in an increase in domestic food prices in the region. Cereal prices (e.g. maize) have gone up by about 130 percent, while those of critical food items such as oils, beans and wheat flour increased by at least 50 percent in some pastoralist areas. The limited financial and institutional capacity for effective adaptation to reduce exposure and vulnerability will result in limited safety net to the most vulnerable households.
Drought Response in the Horn of Africa
With the early warning and technical assistance provided by IGAD, Member States have initiated early action to mitigate the adverse impact of the current drought.
Somalia and South Sudan have declared drought emergencies. Kenya announced a doubling of expenditure on food relief to ease the pressure in the drought-affected counties, while Uganda shifted some of its development resources to finance emergency response in order to address food insecurity and livelihood protection. In Somalia, the President of the Federal Republic, as well as state and regional administrations led the issuance of appeals for support and coordinated actors and efforts that scaled-up food security activities to respond to the humanitarian needs of the country.
The USD 730 million allocated by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia boosted the response effort which, coupled by an above-average meher harvest, resulted to an almost 50 percent reduction in the number of food insecure people, for example, from 10.2 million to 5.6 million.
IGAD continues to reinforce the actions of its Member States using them as guide for complementary action on drought responses. Below are some of the major actions being undertaken by the IGAD Secretariat and its specialized institutions to manage the drought in the region:
Through the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) Platform, the ultimate purpose and objective of IGAD and its Member States is to mitigate the adverse effects of disasters through building resilience of relevant national institutions, communities and people, to end drought emergencies and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in the region.
In this regard, IGAD will remain vigilant in monitoring and advising the people of the region on the drought situation through its’ specialized institution, the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) domiciled in Nairobi, and shall continue to support and complement regional and national actions on drought response and recovery.