Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The delay in long rains in North-Eastern Ethiopia is likely to affect food security in the region, which produces nearly half of the region’s food needs, according to an assessment carried out by UN agencies.
Despite the improvement in mid February to May, rains in the second half of the season is supporting new agricultural activities – including preparation of land for the June to September crops – in parts of southern and north-eastern Ethiopia.
The Southern and Eastern Nationalities (SNNPR) and Oromia, southern Tigray, eastern Amhara and north-eastern Afar, the overall delay in the rains means that many farmers have opted to plant short-cycle crops, rather than longer-maturing crops in order to have two harvests within the year.
The harvest, which accounts for up to 40 per cent of annual production in some areas, is expected to be much reduced as a result, leading to growing food insecurity in dependent areas, the UN Humanitarian Office (UNOCHA) said.
“The situation in SNNPR is of particular concern: the near total failure of the harvest in sweet potato-dependent areas, including Kembata Tembaro, Gamo Gofa, Hadiya and Wolayita, has been compounded by the loss of a second consecutive crop failure, affecting a wider segment of the population,” UN OCHA said.
According to the Emergency Nutrition Coordination Unit (ENCU), admissions of severely malnourished children continue to increase, with earlier and greater increases than in 2011.
Admissions increased by 15.3 per cent from January to February and by a further 27 per cent from February to March.
In the southern and south-eastern pastoralist lowlands, the timely onset and good performance of the rains between April to June has improved water availability and pasture conditions in most areas.
Livestock producers are now able to buy more grain with the sale of their livestock. In April, the price of a goat increased 32 to 40 per cent on 2011 prices.
Over the past two weeks, ongoing water trucking activities have further decreased from 87 to 26 trucks currently deployed in two regions.
Following good rainfall in areas where water trucking was ongoing, all trucking activities have ceased in SNNPR (down from 18).
The Ethiopian government and humanitarian partners continue to review water trucking requirements nationwide and assess needs in areas that have received no or below-normal rainfall to date.
Second round (2012) relief food dispatches targeting 2.9 million people reached 66 per cent as of 7 May, including 74 per cent dispatched to other areas.
The third round relief food dispatch, which targets 3.2 million people nationwide, is also progressing in Afar, Gambella, and SNNPR, with 21 per cent of total allocations dispatched as of 7 May.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 14May2012