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Unfavourable Prospects for 2013/14 Somalia Crops in Central, Southern Areas

13 February 2014

SOMALIA - In most central and southern cropping areas, the 2013/14 “deyr” season coarse grains were planted in November, with 4-6 weeks of delay due to late establishment of seasonal rains.

Overall “deyr” production, to be harvested between March and April, is expected to be below average, with particularly low levels of production in areas of Gedo as well as Middle and Lower Juba regions bordering Kenya, reports FAO.

In these areas, rains were firmly established only around mid-November, leading to a reduction in planted area (especially maize) of about 10-30 percent, and had erratic distribution and low amounts until their cessation in January.

In some surplus-producing areas of Middle and Lower Shabelle, extensive floods in November damaged germinating crops. However, floods have allowed significant planting of off-season crops in parts of Juba and Shabelle regions and their production, to be harvested in March-May 2014, is expected to be good.

Grazing conditions quickly worsening in the south

Pasture, browse and water conditions are in average to above average conditions in most northern regions.

At the beginning of November a tropical cyclone hit north-eastern Puntland region and torrential rains caused flash floods in Bari and Nugal regions that led to losses of human lives and livestock, and damage to housing and fishery infrastructures, with severe disruption of local livelihood systems.

In central (coastal) and southern areas that received well below average “deyr” rains, pasture conditions and water availability are quickly worsening as the long “jilaal” dry season progresses.

Prices of locally produced cereals increasing in recent months

In several markets, prices of locally grown maize and sorghum increased in recent months as seasonal patterns have been compounded by the low supplies from the below average 2013 “gu” harvest.

In Marka and Baidoa, two key markets located in major crop producing areas in the south, prices of maize increased from August to December by 11 and 13 percent, respectively, while prices of sorghum increased by 44 and 66 percent over the same period.

By contrast, prices in the capital Mogadishu were mostly stable. Compared to their levels of 12 months earlier, prices of maize in December were up to 29 percent higher and prices of sorghum were up to 66 percent higher. Sorghum prices increased more sharply and reached higher absolute levels than maize prices due to a comparatively larger sorghum production shortfall.

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