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GEOGLAM Crop Monitor Evaluates Impacts of Civil War on Agriculture and Food Security in Northern Ethiopia

Density of attacks vs cropland in northern Ethiopia

 

GEOGLAM’s Crop Monitor for Early Warning has released a Conflict and Food Security Report detailing agricultural production and food access issues facing Northern Ethiopia as a result of the Ethiopian Civil War.

 

In partnership with the major global food security and agricultural monitoring organizations, the monthly GEOGLAM Crop Monitor for Early Warning (CM4EW) bulletins provide consensus based assessments of current crop conditions in countries at risk of food insecurity to reduce uncertainty and strengthen decision support. As part of the CM4EW reporting, conflict is noted as a negative driver of crop conditions when the armed conflict or civil unrest inhibits field access or interferes with agricultural activities such as planting, working, and harvesting of the fields by farmers. However, the context and extent of conflict are unique to each region and have distinctive impacts that go beyond what can be demonstrated in the regular monthly CM4EW reports.

 

As such, the Crop Monitor Conflict and Food Security Reports are developed to provide further insight into each region’s specific conflict situation. These reports detail the history of the current conflict, the agricultural baseline, and specific impacts of conflict on agricultural production and food security using a combination of ground reports, data analysis, and critical input from regional partners. These reports are developed together with the primary partners monitoring crop conditions and food security globally, including FEWSNET, WFP, FAO, and EC JRC, and they serve to provide consensus-based information on the conflict and its impacts.

 

Crop Monitor Conflict and Food Security Report maps areas of concern for northern Ethiopia’s current and ongoing 2022 Meher season crop conditions.
Crop Monitor Conflict and Food Security Report maps areas of concern for northern Ethiopia’s previous and ongoing Meher season crop conditions.

 

The recently released Crop Monitor Conflict and Food Security Report focuses on the impacts of conflict on agricultural production and food security in northern Ethiopia. In November 2020, conflict erupted in Tigray region, located in the north of the country, after a delay in parliamentary elections triggered civil unrest which quickly escalated into a wider political and ethnic war.

 

In late June 2021, renewed fighting spilled over into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions. In conflict-affected areas of Tigray, Amhara, and Afar, the outcomes of the last three agricultural seasons as well as the current ongoing 2022 Meher season have been impacted by both direct attacks on the agricultural sector, such as: restricted field access, supply and transportation blockages, destruction of agricultural tools and livestock, and burning and pillaging of crops by armed forces, as well as indirect consequences of conflict, including: displacement, field abandonment, market disruptions, economic downturn, and input shortages.

 

Rising food prices and widespread inflation are a huge challenge for households struggling to produce and access basic food items. This graphic shows general inflation, food inflation, and non-food inflation rates in Ethiopia from January 2019 to June 2022. Source: Ethiopia Central Statistics Agency CPI reports
Rising food prices and widespread inflation are a huge challenge for households struggling to produce and access basic food items. This graphic shows general inflation, food inflation, and non-food inflation rates in Ethiopia from January 2019 to June 2022. Source: Ethiopia Central Statistics Agency CPI reports

 

Prior to the conflict, about 80 percent of the population in northern Ethiopia relied on agriculture as their primary source of food and income. As conflict has constrained agricultural production, households now face extreme food insecurity, partially due to missed harvests and crop destruction. Additionally, the conflict has resulted in market supply and access constraints that are contributing to rising food prices, making basic food commodities inaccessible or unaffordable for many households.

 

This leaves households reliant on humanitarian aid; however, roadblocks, movement restrictions, blockages, and theft make it difficult to deliver the necessary aid to households in need. In conflict-affected areas of northern Ethiopia, the 2022 Meher seasonal outcomes are likely to be constrained by persistent conflict and related socio-economic challenges which could lead to increased food insecurity and a greater dependence on humanitarian aid.

 

PlanetScope satellite imagery is one data source used to analyse planted area change and loss in Tigray.  This graphic shows an example of planted area loss detected in Tigray using image composites from July through October 2020 versus the same time period in 2021 (Image c/o Planet and NASA Harvest). The left image depicts planted fields in 2020, and the right image depicts bare ground in 2021.
PlanetScope satellite imagery is one data source used to analyse planted area change and loss in Tigray.  This graphic shows an example of planted area loss detected in Tigray using image composites from July through October 2020 versus the same time period in 2021 (Image c/o Planet and NASA Harvest). The left image depicts planted fields in 2020, and the right image depicts bare ground in 2021. 

 

The Northern Ethiopia Conflict Report also includes a recent  analysis of planted area change in the Tigray region from 2020 and 2021 undertaken by NASA Harvest, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with the objective of comparing planted area change estimates from satellite data to other data sources and interpreting findings in the context of the current conflict.

 

To read more about the impacts of the conflict in Northern Ethiopia on Food Security and Agriculture, go to cropmonitor.org to view the full report and analysis.

News Date
Sep 28, 2022
Author
Kara Mobley, Christina Justice, Mary Mitkish, Keelin Haynes