The FAO Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) has released updated country briefs for Ethiopia and Tanzania. These briefs provide up-to-date food security and agricultural information, as well as forecasts for cereal imports and production and other food security-related indicators.
In Ethiopia, the number of people facing food insecurity increased by 2.2 million between December 2016 and May 2017 as a result of prolonged drought. The majority of people impacted live in the southern pastoral areas; in the southern Somalia Region, around 1.8 million people are estimated to be facing IPC Emergency-level food insecurity. The development of “meher” season crops (planted in June and estimated to be harvested starting in October) has been generally favorable, with rainfall being average or above-average in most major cropping areas. By contrast, the “belg” harvest, which typically begins in June, was delayed by two months because poor rainfall delayed planting. The “belg” harvest is anticipated to be below average. Fall armyworm infestation also continues to pose a threat, particularly to the maize crop. As of late July, 521,000 hectares of maize were reported to be infested with the pest. The impact of both the fall armyworm infestation and the failed “belg” harvest on maize prices has been significant – maize prices have surged in all monitored markets in the past few months. In July, prices were up to 75 percent higher than their year-earlier levels in most markets.
In Tanzania, maize production for 2017 is anticipated to be below the average for the previous five years, at 5.5 million tonnes. This decline in maize production is due in large part to poor rains in the central and northern regions of the country. Fall armyworm is also impacting Tanzania, but the infestation appears to be more localized than in Ethiopia. Maize prices declined by 30-45 percent between April and July 2017, following a surge to record highs between August 2016 and April 2017. The Government of Tanzania also imposed a maize export ban in June 2017, which drove prices down further. However, despite these declines, maize prices remain significantly high – 60 percent higher in July than their year-previous levels. GIEWS reports that Tanzania is generally food-secure, with the exception of the northeastern areas. In these areas, poor households are expected to experience IPC Stressed-level food insecurity until early 2018.
By: Sara Gustafson, IFPRI