Panafrican News Agency

New report warns millions will be affected by food crisis in Horn of Africa

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) -  There is a high risk of worsening food insecurity in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda if forecast rainfall deficits materialise,  according to a report released on Wednesday by the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), a think-tank platform operating in the region.


FSNWG is co-chaired by IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations with the main mission to build consensus on critical issues facing policy and interventions.


The new report found that around 10.7 million people are currently food insecure across Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Karamoja region in Uganda.  


Although the food insecure population is lower than numbers observed during the drought of 2017 (15.3 million people), it said there is a high risk of a worsening situation due to forecast rainfall deficits.


"Also the delay in the start of the March to June long rains, coupled with forecast rainfall deficits in April are building on already dry conditions due to poor October to December rains over some parts of the Greater Horn of Africa," the report said.


In addition, latest findings indicate that the poor performance of the past season’s short rains already led to below-average crop production and deteriorating pastures in some agro-pastoral and marginal mixed farming areas.


As a result, experts warned that if the forecast rainfall deficits materialise in April, this would lead to an atypical increase in food insecurity, likely to peak from June to October.


Predictions also indicate that northeastern Kenya, south and central Somalia and south and eastern Ethiopia would likely experience a rapid decline in pastoral conditions.


"Dry conditions and high temperatures, between January and March, have already led to deterioration in pastures and water availability in these areas," according to the report.


Some of major impacts of the situation have affected livestock body conditions, reducing milk production, and leading to earlier-than-normal livestock migration.


However, experts noted that although a temporary relief is expected in pastoral areas during the second half of the rainy season (end of April - May), should rainfall deficits occur, the severity and size of the food insecure population might quickly rise afterwards.

-0- PANA TWA/AR 3April2019