The impacts of two consecutive below-average rainfall seasons on crop and livestock production are driving high food assistance needs in Somalia, where Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to remain widespread through January 2022. Based on FSNAU’s preliminary field assessments, the gu cereal harvest in July/August is estimated to be at least 30-40 percent below the 1995-2020 average. Furthermore, a third season of crop and livestock production losses are anticipated during the October to December deyr rainfall season, based on long-term forecasts that La Niña and negative Indian Ocean Dipole conditions will result in below-average rainfall. Humanitarian partners reached approximately 14 percent of the national population with food assistance in June; however, food assistance plans remain unconfirmed for the remainder of the year.
In addition to weather shocks, food availability and access are constrained by conflict in southern and central Somalia, uncertainty over the parliamentary and presidential elections, and rising staple cereal prices linked to low domestic production and high global food prices. According to UNHCR, 11,000 people were displaced in Xudur, Bakool, and 13,000 people were displaced in Hobyo, Mudug, due to military and Al Shabaab activity in June. The situation in Xudur is of particular concern, with reports that insurgents are laying siege to Xudur town, ordering rural civilians to evacuate the area, and blocking food and non-food supply flows. Meanwhile, high and rising food prices are exemplified by the price of red sorghum in Baidoa, where it is 57 percent higher than July 2020 and 39 percent above the July five-year average.
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are anticipated in many riverine and agropastoral areas in southern Somalia. In areas that receive xagaa rainfall from July to September (southern Bay, Middle and Lower Shabelle, and southern Hiiraan regions), below-average rainfall and below-average Shabelle river water levels have worsened off-season crop production prospects. An exception is flood-affected areas of Middle Shabelle, where water is adequate to support some recessional cultivation of maize and other crops. The loss of gu stocks will not only affect household food availability but also reduce income from crop sales and agricultural labor and sustain high staple food prices. These factors will persist during the October to December deyr, which overlaps the secondary agricultural lean season.
In agropastoral areas of northwestern Somalia, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in Northwestern Agropastoral livelihood zone by October/November but persist in Togdheer Agropastoral livelihood zone until January. The gu maize harvest is significantly below average due to poor rainfall, lower area planted, and damage from pests (desert locust and stalk borer) and strong winds. Households have very limited cereal stocks, and their income from fodder and milk production and livestock sales will be inadequate to prevent food consumption gaps. However, while Togdheer Agropastoral has only one annual cereal harvest, Northwestern Agropastoral has two annual harvests. A forecast of above-average karan rains from July to September is expected to support an average sorghum and horticultural harvest in November.
In pastoral livelihood zones, the negative impacts of below-average rainfall on pasture and water availability, livestock health and reproduction, and milk production are driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Many poor households own inadequate livestock holdings, which constrain typical livestock sales and render them vulnerable to the effects of weather shocks on livestock-related income sources. However, dry pasture availability is somewhat better than anticipated and will likely last through September, except in Addun Pastoral and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones where pasture is depleting more rapidly. Seasonal livestock demand is also higher than normal. Cumulative livestock exports from Bossasso port from January to June exceeded the 2018-2020 average by 20 percent, and the price of a local quality goat is 5-10 percent above July 2020 and 55-75 percent above the five-year average in the major markets of Burao, Gaalkacyo, and Lascaanood.