FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE
Far-farm harvests have come to an end across the region with the exception of Wadaka payam, which is still harvesting due to late planting in October. Good yields were recorded since the crops were not damaged by the previous floods and heavy rainfall.
Though Blue Nile normally suffers from the highest levels of hunger, improvements in food security have been reported across the four payams. In Chali payam (for instance, households are entirely consuming food from their own production). In Marinje, Yabus Payam, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon and lemons are available. Mangoes will soon be harvested in Balila in Wadaka, Jindi in Chali and Moguf and Belatuma in Yabus payams.
Despite reports of improved food security, households are already reporting lack of food stocks. The primary cause of poor harvests was pests, affecting short-duration sorghum. Flooding and heavy rain also had an impact on food production. In Yabus for instance, less than a quarter of the households have started depending on markets as the source of their food. However, only a quarter of the households can afford to buy food and sustain these purchases for long. Communities in Komo Ganza have recorded lack of food stocks as a result of very poor farm production due to floods and rain. In addition, the soil is not suitable for crops such as sorghum. Communities are now depending solely on markets, selling ground nuts, sweet potatoes, yams, dry okra among others in exchange of food.
As earlier reported, communities in Chali and Yabus engaged in economic activities such cutting of grass, lumbering and charcoal burning as an alternative source of income. In Yabus for example, bamboo became the most valuable resource and sold in larger quantities to Maban. On the other hand, mining continued in Wadaka and Yabus payams.
With far farm harvests almost complete, it is evident that the agricultural season did not perform well, which will have an impact on food security as the lean season progresses. Harvests appear to have been bad particularly in Western Kadguli where around 80 per cent of households reported below normal harvests. The crops worst affected by the floods were short-duration sorghum and ground nuts, which are of great importance to this part of the region. Households are already reporting that they have no food, which means that the majority of households will need to purchase sorghum earlier this year and sustain these purchases for longer than normal. This is a concern and needs to be closely monitored.
Poor harvests were realized in Al Sunut with reports of people suffering from moderate hunger. This was accompanied by an increase in the percentage of households resorting to extreme copying strategies. In Habila, the harvest was also not good, with many households reporting below-normal harvests. In Dilling, there was an increase in the per centage of households with no food stocks – as a result, there is a likelihood that households will be food insecure by the end of March.