Food Crisis Monitor

Last Updated: 17th June 2011

The Food Crisis Monitor is a new product of FSNAU in response to the rapidly evolving food security situation in Somalia. This is the second update and it will be updated periodically to present a snapshot on the recent developments in the main drivers of the food security crisis including; international and local food commodity markets and climate.

Markets (Monitoring Food Access)

  • Prices of locally produced cereals continue to skyrocket since October 2010 in all regions of Somalia, significantly surpassing their 2008 hyperinflation peaks. With the exception of Northwest which had exceptionally good 2010 Gu-Karan harvests, prices of locally produced cereals have almost tripled in some sorghum producing areas (Sorghum Belt) and doubled in most other regions since May 2010. The current price inflation is due to depleting grain stocks in domestic markets, high demand and accelerating retail prices of fuel. Anticipated below normal Gu 2011 cereal harvest due to poor seasonal rains is another contributing factor to escalating cereal price prices. Thus, with an imminent poor seasonal crop production, prices are not expected to slow down in the short-run.
  • Conflict-induced trade and economic disruptions in main distribution markets in South-Central Somalia, increased transport costs due to fuel price increases, poor road accessibility and price transmission from international markets continue to place upward pressure on prices of imported goods in Somalia and, through substitution, on the price of local cereals. This, aggravated by an unprecedented shortfall in seasonal local cereal production and is causing further ripple effects with prices of commercial import commodities showing steady increase. The price of sugar is at an all time high while the prices of vegetable oil, wheat flour, wheat grain and rice vary from region to region, closely trailing and in some regions almost neck to neck with 2008 peaks. Instability in the global supply and demand balance during 2010/11 marketing season for coarse grains (particularly maize), pushed international prices above their 2008 peaks. However, current forecast indicates almost a 4 percent rise in world production of coarse grains in the new 2011/12 season given ideal weather conditions.
  • International rice prices remained stable in the first half of 2011 mainly as a result of abundant supplies in major exporting countries, shielding the cereal markets from the influence of soaring coarse grain prices. This price stability is projected  to continue in the short-run due to surplus exportable stocks and continued expansion of world output.
  • If the current situation is sustained, more and more of the rural and urban poor are likely to fall further into crisis, unable to purchase sufficient cereals and other items in order to meet their minimum expenditure food  basket needs.

Climate (Monitoring Food Availability)

Analysis by FEWSNET/USGS indicate that since the last quarter of 2010, most pastoral zones in the Eastern Horn of Africa experienced the worst drought in decades since 1950/51. In addition, the region has experienced two consecutive seasons of significantly below-average rainfall with far reaching socio-economic implications that include failed crop production, significantly high livestock mortality, lack of water, and mass migration among others. This situation coupled with the effects of the global food crisis, is likely to represent the most serious food insecurity situation in the Horn of Africa both in terms of scale and severity.

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