Wheat harvesting has now concluded in most lower elevation areas (except in parts of the central and northeastern regions) and is expected to last from early August to around mid-October in higher elevation areas in the northeast and central highlands. Planting of second season crops—mainly maize and rice—has started in lower elevation areas. However, according to field reports, planting has started later than normal and land area planted is expected to be below average due to the impacts of atypically dry conditions and ongoing conflict. In northern parts of the country, harvesting of fruit such as melon and watermelon is supporting seasonal improvements in income-earning from crop sales and labor opportunities, with production expected to be near average.
Overall, conflict and below-average wheat production are currently limiting access to typical sources of food and income, with worst-affected rural areas expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes in the coming months. Meanwhile, above-average food prices and below-average purchasing power due to limited labor opportunities and below-average remittances are constraining food access for poor households in both urban and rural areas of the country. Due to escalated conflict since May, an increased number of households are being displaced, with most expected to be experiencing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes where assistance is available or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in the absence of assistance.
Below-average precipitation has deteriorated pasture conditions and fodder availability—particularly in the west and parts of the north—resulting in declining livestock prices in worst-affected areas as households engage in atypical sales. Prior to Eid-ul-Adha in July 2021, livestock prices increased slightly for a short period due to higher demand. As of June 2021, the average price of a one-year-old female sheep (alive) was 15 percent above the four-year average at the national level though below average in many affected provinces according to data from MAIL. Overall, households’ income from livestock sales this season has been lower than last year and below average in affected areas due to lower livestock prices, which are expected to decline further throughout the projection period due to dry conditions and worsening insecurity.
Levels of conflict and insecurity continue to increase across the country. According to OCHA, 329,546 individuals have fled their homes due to insecurity from January 1 to July 13, with more than half of the displacement occurring since May. Displacement totals this year are 55 percent higher than the same time period of last year, with northeastern, northern, and southern parts of the country worst affected. In southern areas, intensity of conflict is impeding access to orchards and, despite favorable orchard crop production, income from crop sales and harvesting labor opportunities will likely be significantly below average. Conflict has also been increasingly impacting border areas and, given likely further escalation of conflict in the coming months, some disruptions to trade flows are expected to continue putting upward pressure on prices of impacted commodities (such as fuel).