Relatório especial

Pasture deficits in the Sahel to continue until at least July 2018

26 Março 2018

CIF 2.0 Fase de Insegurança Alimentar Aguda Baseado

1: Minima
2: Stress
3: Crise
4: Emergência
5: Fome
Poderia ser pior sem a assistência humanitária em vigor ou programad
A maneira de classificação que utiliza FEWS NET é compatível com a CIF. A análise compatível com a CIF segue os protocolos fundamentais da CIF mas não necessariamente reflete o consenso dos parceirosnacionais com respeito a segurança alimentar.

CIF 2.0 Fase de Insegurança Alimentar Aguda Baseado

1: Minima
2: Stress
3+: Crise ou pior
Poderia ser pior sem a assistência
humanitária em vigor ou programad
A maneira de classificação que utiliza FEWS NET é compatível com a CIF. A análise compatível com a CIF segue os protocolos fundamentais da CIF mas não necessariamente reflete o consenso dos parceirosnacionais com respeito a segurança alimentar.
Para os países de Monitoreo Remoto, FEWS NET utiliza um contorno de cor no mapa CIF para representar a classificação mais alta da CIF nas áreas de preocupação.

CIF 2.0 Fase de Insegurança Alimentar Aguda Baseado

Países com presença:
1: Minima
2: Stress
3: Crise
4: Emergência
5: Fome
Países sem presença:
1: Minima
2: Stress
3+: Crise ou pior
Poderia ser pior sem a assistência
humanitária em vigor ou programad
Concentração de pessoas deslocadas – desloque o cursor sobre os mapas para ver classificações de fases de segurança alimentar para acampamentos na Nigéria.
A maneira de classificação que utiliza FEWS NET é compatível com a CIF. A análise compatível com a CIF segue os protocolos fundamentais da CIF mas não necessariamente reflete o consenso dos parceiros nacionais com respeito a segurança alimentar.
Para os países de Monitoreo Remoto, FEWS NET utiliza um contorno de cor no mapa CIF para representar a classificação mais alta da CIF nas áreas de preocupação.

As mensagens-chave

  • Mediocre performance of the 2017 rainy season in the Sahel has led to pasture and water deficits in many areas that will persist until at least July 2018. Poor rains also led to below-average rainfed harvests in localized agropastoral areas of the Sahel, and the limited availability of surface water continues to contribute to low yields for off season cropping. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity is already present in southern areas of Mauritania and is expected in other affected areas in the Sahel during the 2018 lean season (pastoral: April – June, agropastoral: June – September).

  • Mauritania and northern Senegal have been the most significantly impacted. Although rainfall deficits were more wide-spread in 2017, the severity of deficits was similar to 2014, the last year to see significant agropastoral deficits in the western Sahel. The limited regeneration of pasture and water points led many transhumant pastoralists to begin their southward migration early, in September/October as opposed to November/December as they would in a typical year. 2017 rainfed and 2017/18 irrigated off-season agriculture have also been significantly impacted in some areas.

  • Pastoral areas of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad also saw early southward migration of transhumant pastoralists in late 2017. The limited availability of pasture in Niger and Chad, coupled with insecurity in the Lake Chad region (which prevents typical herder movements), means that pastoralists are seeking grazing for their animals in atypical areas. While deficits are more localized in Mali and Burkina Faso, both are destinations for pastoralists from neighboring countries.

  • The stress of limited pastoral resources on herds and household incomes has led to an early start of the pastoral lean season in many areas. Livestock sale prices are already low in many areas as a result, and current pasture deficits will persist or grow larger until July, after the start of the rainy season in June. There is also concern that conflict for resources between pastoralists and farmers in typical and atypical grazing areas could increase between the two groups.

  • Although long-range rainfall forecasts have limited skill in West Africa, available information suggests June to September 2018 rainfall will be near average. Across the region, pastoral incomes will increase again in the second half of 2018, owing to improving livestock body conditions that leads to increased availability of milk and income from livestock sales during Ramadan and Tabaski. However, the rebuilding of livestock herds will be slower than normal for affected areas.

2017 rainfall season

The Sahel has one rainy season from June to September. Pasture and water point regeneration from these rains are what many pastoralists rely on for their herds for much of the coming year; many others are transhumant and move to the greener south during the dry season. The season is also important for rainfed cultivation and irrigation for the off season that continues through the first half of the year. Rainfall during the 2017 season was below average and/or erratic for several pastoral areas of the Sahel, with rainfall more than 25 percent below average in some areas (Figure 1). Mauritania and northern Senegal registered the largest rainfall deficits, but the mediocre performance in the season also affected pastoral and agropastoral zones across the Sahel.

Implications for pastoralists and agropastoralists

The mediocre performance of the rainy season led to deficits in pasture and water point regeneration in key areas across the Sahel. In localized northern cropping areas, it has also contributed to below-average main season (October-November 2017) and irrigated off season (January-March 2018) harvests.

Pastoral zones

The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is a remotely sensed measure of greenness that is used to proxy vegetative growth. At the end of the 2017 rainy season in October, the NDVI showed deficits in vegetative growth across pastoral and agropastoral areas of northern Senegal, Mauritania, and in to western Mali (Figure 2). More moderate, but still important, deficits were observed across some pastoral regions of northern Mali, northern Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. In many cases across the region, water points are also below-average (Figure 3), limiting the available surface water for animals. The below-average pasture levels and water point regeneration were corroborated during the annual end of season field assessments in late 2017, where all Sahelian countries noted pastoral resource deficits in at least some, if not most, areas.

Agropastoral zones

The Water Requirement Satisfaction Index, a water balance model that estimates the extent to which observed cumulative seasonal rainfall meets crop needs, indicates 2017 rainfall performance was mediocre, to even poor or failure, in meeting crop water needs in isolated agropastoral areas of the Sahel (Figure 4). This does not capture, however, the erratic time distribution of rainfall that impacted crops mid-season in central areas of the region. The end of season Evapotranspiration anomaly, another remotely sensed measure of plant health, better captures these impacts on cropping performance in agropastoral areas in 2017 (Figure 5), as does mid-season NDVI (Figure 6)[1]. While national-level agricultural production was near-average in Sahelian countries, the same annual end of season field assessments that identified pastoral resource deficits in late 2017 also confirmed localized cropping deficits in some agropastoral areas, which are important to consider when assessing the food security status of affected communities. In many of the same areas, the impacts of poor rainfall have carried into the off season, where below-average surface water availability for irrigated and flood recession agriculture is restricting cropping activities in some areas during the dry season.

Impacts by region

Mauritania and northern Senegal experienced the largest rainfall deficits in the region in 2017. Although deficits were more wide-spread in 2017, rainfall was similar to 2014, the last year to see significant pastoral and agropastoral rainfall deficits. In addition to registering below-average cumulative rainfall, the season was characterized by long dry spells, particularly at the beginning of the season. This led to significant pasture deficits across Mauritania and northern Senegal, where pasture is already relatively sparse in a typical year. Due to the limited pasture and fodder availability, transhumant pastoralists began their southern decent early at the end of the rains in September/October, as opposed to November/December in a typical year. In Mauritania, atypically large declines in livestock prices began in November as households began to destock animals, expecting livestock body conditions to deteriorate and in order to cover maintenance expenses for the rest of the herd. Livestock to cereal terms of trade are moderately below the recent average (Figure 7) and contribute to restricting household purchasing power. Household stocks from both main season rainfed and off season irrigated harvests, which typically accoun for up to half of poor households’ income, are also significantly below average. Focus group interviews in affected zones indicate that income from agricultural labor, which typically accounts for up to one fifth of poor households’ income, is less than half of normal. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity is already present in worst-affected areas and will continue through August/September 2018.

Deficits in Mali and Burkina Faso were more localized. Significant deficits were not noted at the national level, however localized areas of below-average pasture regeneration were observed, and both Mali and Burkina Faso are destination areas for transhumant pastoralists from neighboring countries. Early transhumant movements to Mali and Burkina Faso, with herders from neighboring countries remaining for longer than normal, has moderately increased competition for available pasture, browse, and water. Additionally, ongoing insecurity in both countries has impacted transhumant movements. Livestock prices in Mali and Burkina Faso remain generally average, with households beginning to increase sales in advance of the lean season. Worst-affected areas of Mali and Burkina Faso will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September 2018.

Pasture deficits across Niger and Chad, while not as significant as those observed in Mauritania and northern Senegal, are more significant than in Mali and Burkina Faso. For the third consecutive year, Niger has seen mediocre regeneration of pasture and water resources across the pastoral and agropastoral belt. For the 2017/18 pastoral season in Chad, two thirds of the country has registered significant pasture deficits, including all northern pastoral regions. Transhumant movements began a month early in both countries. The limited availability of pasture in Niger and Chad, as well as insecurity in northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, which prevents typical herder movements, mean pastoralists are seeking grazing for their animals in atypical areas – often further west from Niger or further south in Chad. Livestock prices are 10 to 30 percent below average, owing in part to increased supply on markets. A more significant decrease in livestock body conditions is expected in the coming months, which is expected to impact livestock sale prices further. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity is expected among worst-affected populations across the pastoral belt in Niger and Chad.

 

[1] In general, end of season NDVI is used to assess pasture availability for the dry season while in cropping areas, mid-season NDVI gives the best indication of crop performance.

Outlook

The stress of limited pastoral resources on herds and household incomes has led to an early start of the pastoral lean season in many areas. In Niger and Chad, the start in February is more than a month early, and depending on the area, it began even earlier in Mauritania and likely in Senegal. Further, the important reduction in cropping and associated labor in Mauritania during the dry season will leave agropastoral households with limited incomes until the start of the start of the rainfed cultivation season in June. Livestock that remain at the homestead in pastoral and agropastoral zones will see body conditions deteriorate faster than they typically would during the dry season, contributing to a reduction in household food and income sources through at least June. Current pasture deficits (Figure 8) will remain continue or become further exacerbated until the start of the rainy season. Given the early, and in some cases atypical, transhumant movements, there is also concern that conflict between pastoralists and farmers along transit corridors could increase beginning with the rains in May 2018 compared to previous years due to the increased competition between the two groups for resources.

Currently, rainfall during the June to September 2018 season is expected to be near average, although it is difficult to forecast rainfall this far out for West Africa. Across much of Mauritania, northern Senegal, Niger, and Chad, herd sizes are expected to have declined due to increased sales between 2017 and 2018. Across the region, however, pastoral incomes will increase again in the summer, owing to improving livestock body conditions, contributing to increased availability of milk and income from livestock sales during Ramadan and Tabaski. However, the reconstitution of livelihoods will be slower than normal for affected areas.

About FEWS NET

A Rede de Sistemas de AlertaPrecoce de Fome é líder na provisão de alertas precoces e análises relativas à insegurança alimentar. Estabelecida em 1985 com o fim de auxiliar os responsáveis pela tomada de decisões a elaborar planos para crises humanitárias, a FEWS NET provê análises baseadas em evidências em cerca de 35 países. Entre os membros implementadores refere-se a NASA , NOAA, USDA e o USGS, assim como a Chemonics International Inc. e a Kimetrica. Leia mais sobre o nosso trabalho.

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