Food Insecurity Intensifies in Ethiopia

Despite improved rains at the end of April and beginning of May, Ethiopia is still expected to see worsening food security outcomes, according to a new alert released by FEWS Net.

The southern and southeastern pastoral areas of the country are expected to be hardest hit due to delayed and below-average Gu/Genna rains at the beginning of 2017. Widespread livestock deaths in these areas have led to reduced household purchasing power and widening food consumption gaps. As a result, food insecurity conditions are forecast to reach Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) from June through September.

In other areas of the country, persistent dry weather through much of April has delayed the growth of Belg crops and Meher long-cycle crops. This will likely mean lower maize output. The report also forecasts that the Belg maize harvest will be delayed by as much as two months. These expectations have raised food prices for maize and other staple crops, putting further pressure on poor households.

The National Disaster Risk Management Commission has raised its estimate of people in need of humanitarian assistance from 5.6 million to 7.81 million through June. In addition, recipients of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), which distributes food and cash transfers to poor households, will likely need additional support beyond the standard six-month distribution period.  

By: Sara Gustafson, IFPRI

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Carsten ten Brink