video

Blog

Horn of Africa: Urgent action needed to avert a hunger catastrophe after drought

Food security in the region is already affected by conflict and recovering from the effects of a devastating locust infestation in 2019. The situation has not been helped by the food prices inflation and food supply issues created by the Russia-Ukraine war. The situation could worsen, and forecasts indicate that the October-December 2022 rainy season could also fail, leading to an unprecedented catastrophe.

What is the impact of the drought in Somalia and other areas?

According to Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) more than 900 000 people in Somalia (one of the worst affected countries), mostly living in rural areas, have moved to internally displaced person camps since January 2021 due to the drought and lack of livelihood support.

There is a reasonable chance of famine in eight areas by September 2022 if crop and livestock production failure is widespread, key commodity prices continue to rise, and humanitarian assistance fails to reach the most vulnerable.

Pastoral communities have been hit particularly hard, livestock are dying inland due to lack of water and many small farmers cannot survive without their livestock. Drought has already led to the death of 3.6 million heads of livestock in Kenya and Ethiopia, in areas where livestock farming is the main source of income for local populations.

Consequently, many children are now not getting the milk they need. Across the three countries, malnutrition rates are rising: more than 7.1 million children are acutely malnourished, including about 2 million who are severely acutely malnourished, according to UNICEF.

More than 11.6 million people cannot access enough safe water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Many water sources have dried up or have become unsafe, heightening the risk of water-borne diseases, and increasing the risk of infections. Existing water deficits could be made worse by the heat, which is forecast to continue until September 2022.

What needs to be done now in response to the drought?

In the short term, there is a clear need for emergency aid. The FAO say that current levels of funding are inadequate given the scale of the problem. According to the OHCA lives will be lost without immediate funding. They estimate that $1.8 billion will be required, with $685.9 million received as of July 2022.

Somalia urgently requires $131.4 million to assist 882 000 people across 55 districts with immediate lifesaving and livelihood support. These famine prevention efforts in Somalia are only 46 % funded, and part of FAO’s wider Horn of Africa Drought Response Plan, covering also Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Funding levels remain low across sectors, with the 2022 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan funded at just 43% as of 4 August 2022. According to Rein Paulsen Director of FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience:

We know from experience that supporting agriculture at moments like this is hugely impactful – that when we act fast and at the right moment to get water, seeds, animal feed, veterinary care, and much needed cash to at-risk rural families, then hunger catastrophes can be averted.

How do we address this crisis in the long term?

The FAO launched a revised Rapid Response and Mitigation Plan, which focuses on four drought epicentres across the Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

The plan proposes support for local food production by vulnerable households by providing inputs for improved agriculture and livestock. It is also proposing regional solutions which aim to address the root causes of recurrent crises and increase community resilience. Such measures include increased investment in grain stores and sustainable animal feed production and the better integration of

displaced persons into their host countries. In Tigray, northern Ethiopia, the FAO is scaling up the urgent procurement of fertilisers to help farmers sow their fields during the critical planting season thanks to a $10 million loan recently approved by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). It is hoped that the provision of fertiliser will help restore the productive capacity of farmers in Tigray.

There is an urgent need for emergency humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa to save lives. However, it is obvious that long-term measures are also needed in the Horn of Africa to build resilience to ensure food security in the face of extreme weather events.

Making agribusiness decisions in uncertain times

At Farrelly & Mitchell, we understand the impact of global events on each region and part of the food system. We work closely with our clients on complex issues such as food security to help mitigate challenges and uncover information to plan ahead.

Our expert agribusiness consultants can unlock regional knowledge and share global insights to find workable solutions for your projects and strategic interests.

Author

Malachy Mitchell

Managing Director

Malachy Mitchell is co-founder and Managing Director of Farrelly & Mitchell. He works with CEOs, executives and leaders from private enterprises and public sector institutions.

Horn of Africa: Urgent action needed to avert a hunger catastrophe after drought

Food security in the region is already affected by conflict and recovering from the effects of a devastating locust infestation in 2019. The situation has not been helped by the food prices inflation and food supply issues created by the Russia-Ukraine war. The situation could worsen, and forecasts indicate that the October-December 2022 rainy season could also fail, leading to an unprecedented catastrophe.

What is the impact of the drought in Somalia and other areas?

According to Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) more than 900 000 people in Somalia (one of the worst affected countries), mostly living in rural areas, have moved to internally displaced person camps since January 2021 due to the drought and lack of livelihood support.

There is a reasonable chance of famine in eight areas by September 2022 if crop and livestock production failure is widespread, key commodity prices continue to rise, and humanitarian assistance fails to reach the most vulnerable.

Pastoral communities have been hit particularly hard, livestock are dying inland due to lack of water and many small farmers cannot survive without their livestock. Drought has already led to the death of 3.6 million heads of livestock in Kenya and Ethiopia, in areas where livestock farming is the main source of income for local populations.

Consequently, many children are now not getting the milk they need. Across the three countries, malnutrition rates are rising: more than 7.1 million children are acutely malnourished, including about 2 million who are severely acutely malnourished, according to UNICEF.

More than 11.6 million people cannot access enough safe water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Many water sources have dried up or have become unsafe, heightening the risk of water-borne diseases, and increasing the risk of infections. Existing water deficits could be made worse by the heat, which is forecast to continue until September 2022.

What needs to be done now in response to the drought?

In the short term, there is a clear need for emergency aid. The FAO say that current levels of funding are inadequate given the scale of the problem. According to the OHCA lives will be lost without immediate funding. They estimate that $1.8 billion will be required, with $685.9 million received as of July 2022.

Somalia urgently requires $131.4 million to assist 882 000 people across 55 districts with immediate lifesaving and livelihood support. These famine prevention efforts in Somalia are only 46 % funded, and part of FAO’s wider Horn of Africa Drought Response Plan, covering also Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Funding levels remain low across sectors, with the 2022 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan funded at just 43% as of 4 August 2022. According to Rein Paulsen Director of FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience:

We know from experience that supporting agriculture at moments like this is hugely impactful – that when we act fast and at the right moment to get water, seeds, animal feed, veterinary care, and much needed cash to at-risk rural families, then hunger catastrophes can be averted.

How do we address this crisis in the long term?

The FAO launched a revised Rapid Response and Mitigation Plan, which focuses on four drought epicentres across the Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

The plan proposes support for local food production by vulnerable households by providing inputs for improved agriculture and livestock. It is also proposing regional solutions which aim to address the root causes of recurrent crises and increase community resilience. Such measures include increased investment in grain stores and sustainable animal feed production and the better integration of

displaced persons into their host countries. In Tigray, northern Ethiopia, the FAO is scaling up the urgent procurement of fertilisers to help farmers sow their fields during the critical planting season thanks to a $10 million loan recently approved by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). It is hoped that the provision of fertiliser will help restore the productive capacity of farmers in Tigray.

There is an urgent need for emergency humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa to save lives. However, it is obvious that long-term measures are also needed in the Horn of Africa to build resilience to ensure food security in the face of extreme weather events.

Making agribusiness decisions in uncertain times

At Farrelly & Mitchell, we understand the impact of global events on each region and part of the food system. We work closely with our clients on complex issues such as food security to help mitigate challenges and uncover information to plan ahead.

Our expert agribusiness consultants can unlock regional knowledge and share global insights to find workable solutions for your projects and strategic interests.

Author

Malachy Mitchell

Managing Director

Malachy Mitchell is co-founder and Managing Director of Farrelly & Mitchell. He works with CEOs, executives and leaders from private enterprises and public sector institutions.

Malachy Mitchell's featured publications

See all posts

See all posts

Empowering global food and agribusinesses to make the right decisions.

Contact us