Food security situation likely to deteriorate

Kathmandu, January 21

The District Food Security Networks (DFSNs) anticipate that the food security situation will deteriorate during the period of mid-November 2016 to mid-March 2017.

DFSNs forecast that during mid-November 2016 to mid-March 2017, no VDCs are likely to be classified as severely food insecure. However, the number of VDCs likely to be classified as highly food insecure will increase to 46 from 31 at present, as per the report. Moreover, the number of VDCs likely to be classified as moderately food insecure will also increase to 179 from 175 currently.

DFSNs project that 46 VDCs (seven in Bajhang, nine in Bajura, five in Dhading, 18 in Humla, and seven in Kalikot) may be classified as highly food insecure. DFSNs attributed this outlook to the lean period during February to April when household stocks of paddy would decline and no new crops would have been harvested, as per Nepal Food Security Bulletin, which is jointly produced by the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD)'s Food Security Monitoring Unit and the World Food Programme's Food Security Monitoring and Analysis Unit.

In the mid-and far-western hills and mountains, this period coincides with the traditional seasonal out-migration and hence remittance inflow is also expected to be low.

DFSNs predicted that 179 VDCs in 14 districts (15 in Achham, 14 in Baitadi, 20 in Bajhang, 19 in Darchula, 11 in Dhading, seven in Dolpa, 18 in Doti, 11 in Gorkha, nine in Humla, 23 in Kalikot, 15 in Mugu, nine in Nuwakot, two in Rasuwa, and six in Sindhupalchowk) may be classified as moderately food insecure.

In addition to the lean season effect, the food security situation in many mountain districts of the mid- and far-western regions might be affected by snow, which would also hinder the air-lifting of food commodities to remote districts, like Dolpa, Mugu and Humla.

Income from non-timber forest products, a key seasonal livelihood activity, will also be low during the winter season, says the bulletin.

DFSNs forecast that the rest of the country will be classified as minimally food insecure. In those areas, households will have remaining food stocks (from the paddy harvest) and will continue to receive income through on-farm and off-farm sources.

Furthermore, DFSNs do not anticipate any major shocks or disasters that would affect the food security situation except for the possibility of snowfall that would impact road access and supply chains in more remote areas. Snowfall, on the other hand, is also a potential source of irrigation for the winter crops in many of the mountain districts.

The MoAD estimates the total production of summer crops (paddy, maize, millet and buckwheat) at 7.81 million metric tonnes. Production of paddy and maize, the two most important summer crops, is estimated at 5.23 million metric tonnes and 2.26 million metric tonnes, respectively, an increase of 21.66 and 1.25 per cent, respectively, compared to last year, the bulletin adds.