Ethiopia Food Security Outlook Update, June 2020 to January 2021
Atypically high assistance needs persist due to multiple drivers exacerbated by COVID-19
• High levels of acute food insecurity persist across much of central and eastern Ethiopia due to compounding effects of COVID-19 related restrictions, continued drought recovery, atypically high food prices, conflict- related displacement, weather hazards, and desert locusts. Of greatest concern are areas in north-central Amhara, specifically the Wag Himera Zone, where people and livestock movement are significantly restricted and even with ongoing assistance households still face food consumption gaps, with Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes expected through September. • Other areas of high concern in the country include the lowlands of East and West Hararghe, lowlands of Bale, Guji, Arsi, and parts of Borena zone along the Oromia/Somali border, and parts of Somali Region. In these areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are anticipated to persist through much of the projection period. This is largely driven by limited access to remittances, low income from casual and agriculture labor given restricted movement, and high food prices.
• Although belg rainfall was generally favorable, the national belg harvest is expected to be below average due to lower than normal area planted and damage to crops by desert locust. Rainfall from the belg season continued without interruption up until the mid-June start of the kiremt rains, favoring continued engagement in agriculture activities. However, engagement in these activities is somewhat below normal as migratory labor is limited and access to agriculture inputs is below average. Some crop losses associated with desert locusts and flooding coupled with the below- average area planted is also expected to lead to slightly below-average meher production.
• Seasonal forecasts suggest a below-average 2020 deyr season is likely. While pasture and vegetation conditions across much of the country are well above the median currently, and the above-median soil moisture may mitigate the impacts of the below-average deyr rains, a deterioration in livestock body conditions, productivity, and prices are still expected in late 2020. While it falls outside of the current projection period, it is worth noting that preliminary research suggests there is a possibility for a below-average March to May 2021 season as well, and past trends indicate food security conditions can deteriorate notably in the Horn of Africa with two consecutive below-average seasons.