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Somalia: Somalia Agriculture Profile 2012






Solomon Islands Agriculture Profile 2012

Reference Date: 20-July-2011



  1. Famine declared in two areas of southern Somalia

  2. Persistent armed conflict is still a major cause of food insecurity

  3. Record prices for sorghum and maize registered in most markets

  4. Currently, about 3.7 million people, more than a third of country’s population, are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance

Famine declared in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions

Limited access to food coupled with high malnutrition and mortality rates have led the United Nations to declare a status of famine in two areas of southern Somalia, namely the agro-pastoral livelihood zones of Bakool and Lower Shabelle ragions.


Currently, about 3.7 million people, more than a third of the country’s population, are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. Most of them are pastoral and agro-pastoral households in central and southern areas whose food security conditions have precipitously deteriorated since the poor outturn of the secondary 2010 “deyr” season harvested in March. Unless immediate large scale humanitarian interventions are forthcoming, food security conditions of drought-affected households are expected to further deteriorate until the onset of “deyr” short rainy season in October 2011 and other areas, especially in the south, are likely to fall soon into famine status.


During the past few months, several thousands of people have been internally displaced by the drought, with an increasing flow toward urban areas in search of assistance, or toward the main refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.


Civil insecurity and armed conflicts continue to represent the major serious threat to food security in most areas of southern and central Somalia, particularly in Mogadishu, parts of Bakool, Juba, Hiran, Mudug, Galgadud, Lower Juba and Gedo regions. This situation has resulted in loss of human lives, increased displacements of civilians, disruption of trade activities and increased transportation costs, while presenting an obstacle to the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Sorghum and maize prices at record high levels

Since last quarter of 2010, prices of domestically produced staple cereal crops have started to rise as a consequence of the depletion of local stocks and the uncertain prospects over the production of the 2011 main “gu” season. In June 2011, prices of sorghum and maize reached record levels in most markets of the country. From January to June 2011, maize prices have risen by 130 percent in Marka market, which is the main maize producing southern region of Lower Shabelle, while sorghum prices increased by 63 percent in Baidoa market, Bay region, located in the Sorghum Belt. In the capital city Mogadishu, prices of maize and sorghum increased over the same period by 96 and 80 percent, respectively. The temporary closure of the main wholesale market in Mogadishu for security reasons from the last week of February to April has also contributed to the escalation of prices.


Prices of imported rice increased during June in most markets, and were between 8 to 13 percent higher than in the previous year, mainly due to high fuel and transport costs reflecting higher international prices and the depreciation of the Somali Shilling against the US Dollar.

08/12/2010  A slow start to the secondary “deyr” season observed
Recent heavy rains in parts were a welcome change to the otherwise slow start to the secondary “deyr” season (October-December) rains. The slow start has strengthened moisture deficits in parts. Close monitoring of the rainfall amounts and distribution is warranted, especially in light of the predicted occurrence of the “La Niña” meteorological phenomenon that normally results in drier conditions in Somalia.

Abundant rains resulted in good 2010 main season cereal production
Harvesting of the 2010 main season “gu” cereal crops has been completed last September. According to the Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), production is estimated at a high of 242 000 tonnes, the best outturn in last 15 years. This is mainly due to early, abundant and well distributed rains that have improved yields across most agricultural areas and increased planted area due to the involvement of displaced people in farming, especially in Shabelle region. Exceptions have been reported in some areas of Central and Hiran regions that experienced crop failure due to poor precipitations as well as in Hiran, Juba and Shabelle river catchments where floods damaged standing crops. Adding some 8 500 tonnes of maize as a preliminary estimate of off-season production on flood recessional cropping areas, total 2010 “gu” cereal production is forecast at about 250 000 tonnes.

The abundant rainy season has improved rangeland conditions and water availability in key pastoral areas of the North, Central and Hiran regions, reducing livestock migrations and with positive effects on livestock body conditions and milk productivity.

Improving food security across the country
According to the FSNAU, an estimated 2 million people will be in need of emergency livelihood and life saving assistance until the end of 2010, about 650 000 people less than in the first semester of 2010. The food security situation started to improve in March 2010 with the good 2009/10 “deyr” crop production and has continued with the current good “gu” harvest. At the same time, civil insecurity and armed conflicts continue to represent a serious threat to food security in most areas of southern and central Somalia (particularly in Mogadishu, parts of Bakool, Juba, Hiran, Mudug and Galgadud regions) and, more recently, also in parts of northern Sanaag and Bari regions. This situation has resulted in losses of human lives, escalating displacements of civilian population (with about 300 000 new IDPs since January 2010), disruption of trade activities, increased transportation costs and obstacles to humanitarian interventions by humanitarian agencies.

Cereal prices declining but market disruptions continue to limit proper transmission
The price of sorghum, the main staple food in the local diet, which was increasing since early 2010 due to the escalation of armed conflict, started to decline in June due to favourable prospects of the “gu” season production. In Mogadishu retail markets, red sorghum was traded at SoS 5 000 per kg in August 2010, about 40 percent less than the price two months earlier. The lowest retail sorghum prices in August 2010 were registered in the important producing areas of Baidoa, with SoS 4 325 per kg, while very high prices were reported in Galkayo market in the Mudug Region, with about SoS 8 000 per kg, due to its remoteness from main producing areas and the intermittent disruptions to trading activities due to conflicts. The frequent suspension of humanitarian assistance and food aid delivery in conflict affected areas determines localized food shortages with upward pressure on local prices.

In November 2009, Saudi Arabia lifted the nine-year ban on livestock exports that followed the suspected Rift Valley Fever. The measure immediately fostered livestock exports with positive impact on incomes of traders and pastoralists in central and northern provinces, especially for the communities near the ports. During the first six months of 2010, livestock exports through the ports of Berbera and Bosasso increased by about 33 percent compared to the same period in 2009 and by about 22 percent compared with last five years average.