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Afghanistan Food Security Outlook, June 2020 to January 2021

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Food consumption in rural areas improves with the harvest, while urban poor are expected to face gaps

Key Messages
  • Due to above-average cumulative precipitation from October 2019 to May 2020, national wheat production is expected to be near average. However, slightly below average production is expected in localized northern areas due to rainfall deficits from October to December, and in localized eastern and southern areas due to crop diseases. Meanwhile, vegetable and fruit production in eastern areas is expected to be average, supporting access to income. Due to the above-average precipitation, rangeland conditions for livestock are also average to above average, with no major atypical livestock migration expected this year. Currently, increased access to food from the harvest is expected to be improving outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in most rural areas.

  • In urban areas, the easing of COVID-19 control measures in May has led to increasing labor availability and improvement in food consumption for some poor households. However, due to severe impacts of COVID-19 on job markets and higher prices of staple food commodities, many households have not recovered. Humanitarian assistance and gifts (Zakat) are expected to have prevented large consumption gaps for many in recent months. Despite this, many urban poor are expected to be facing some consumption gaps, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes likely to persist in many urban areas through at least January 2021 in the absence of additional assistance.

  • Between January and May 2020, about 86,400 individuals fled their homes due to conflict, with the greatest number of displacements in the eastern, northern, northeastern, and southern parts of the country. Due to separation from livelihoods, many of these households are likely to be facing food consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Additionally, more than 300,000 undocumented migrants have returned to Afghanistan from January to May 2020. Most of these migrants have come from Iran, given the weak economy and the severity of COVID-19 pandemic.