Food Security Outlook

Average 2015 harvests likely to result in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity

October 2015 to March 2016
2015-Q4-1-1-BF-en

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Despite a poor start of the agricultural season, the increase in rainfall starting in mid-July and the normal and in some cases later than usual end-of-season rains have allowed most crops to properly mature and have increased expectations for near-average crop production across the country. 

  • Household access to new harvests is helping to promote normal food consumption, resulting in reducing demand on markets and staple food prices close to the five-year average.

  • The improvement in food consumption with ongoing harvests, labor opportunities for farm labor, and expected normal price levels will translate into Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity in all parts of the country between October 2015 and March 2016. 

National Overview

Current Situation

After the delays in the planting of crops, the pick-up in rainfall activity and adequate distribution of rainfall allowed most crops to complete their growing cycle. Cumulative seasonal rainfall totals for the period from April 1st through October 10th range from 298 mm in 22 days in Oursi in the Sahelian region to 1,308 mm in 64 days in Loumana in the Cascades region. In general, these cumulative rainfall numbers are near to above-normal (based on the average for 1981-2010). This rainfall has produced above-average levels of vegetation in most parts of the country (Figure 1). 

The normal to later-than-usual end of the rainy season has also helped produce good water levels in major water sources and average to above-average levels of new pasture growth, particularly in northern agropastoral areas of the country (see the map of NDVI anomalies). This is helping to provide livestock with a good food supply and keep them in good physical condition.

This season has also been marked by floods, which have caused physical damage. Of the 15,771 people affected by this flood damage, over half (9,129) are in Ouagadougou in the country’s Central region, 4,150 are in Dallo in the Central-Western region, 2,196 are in Bama in the Hauts-Bassins region, and 296 are in Diapaga in the country’s Eastern region. As far as crop losses are concerned, the floods mainly affected fields along water riverine areas such as the Mouhoun River, inundating approximately 30,000 hectares of cropland of which 70 percent was in Nayala province alone. However, this flooding will also help spur pasture production.

Damage from crop pests in the far northern areas of the country, particularly from locusts (Kraussaria angulifera) and grain-eating birds spotted in the area since the end of September, will affect yields of millet crops, particularly in the rural municipalities of Déou and Oursi and surrounding areas in Oudalan province. There have also been sightings of grain-eating birds (Quéléa) in Sourou province, mainly in the communes of Di and Lanfiéra. So far, the damage is confined to millet and sorghum crops in the milk grain stage, but it could quickly spread to rice fields in irrigated rice-farming schemes. These municipalities had already sustained heavy crop losses last season from these pest infestations.

As far as food security is concerned, household food consumption is stabilizing with access to fresh crops and expected proceeds from the sale of these crops, mainly cowpeas and maize. The sale of shea nuts and farm labor in the harvest are giving households other income-generating opportunities as well. With general price levels for crops close to the five-year average and no major change in rates of pay for day laborers working in the harvest (ranging from 750 to 1500 CFAF), households are expected to have average aggregate incomes for this time of year.

On the whole, market prices for cereal crops are close to the five-year average. There has been little if any movement in prices since the month of July (the start of the normal lean season) due, among other factors, to the limited scale of the government’s subsidized cereal marketing program and humanitarian operations compared with demand in areas previously experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of food insecurity (municipalities in Oudalan province and surrounding areas). 

In the area of nutrition, the government and its partners are running programs for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition in health facilities targeted at children under five years of age and pregnant or breast-feeding women.

There are still close to 33,000 Malian refugees in the country, over 90 percent of whom are in the Sahelian region. They are receiving assistance from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and its partners.

Assumptions     

The most likely food security scenario for October 2015 through March 2016 was established based on the following general assumptions:

  • Average levels of cereal production: In spite of the poor start of the growing season and localized crop losses, the normal to later than usual last rains of the season have helped or are presently helping most crops mature, which appear to be in reasonably good shape. Thus, cereal production by the country as a whole should be close to the five-year average.
  • Below-average cotton and cowpea production: In all likelihood, the 800,000 metric ton target for cottonseed production will not be met. The late start-of-season prevented the timely planting of cotton fields. In addition, certain growers were forced to downsize areas planted in cotton in favor of other crops. However, the rise in the producer price of cottonseed from 225 to 235 francs/kg should help cotton growers maintain their purchasing power. Furthermore, the pockets of drought during the flowering stage of cowpea crops and localized problems with excess water have negatively affected cowpea yields.
  • Normal progress of dry season farming activities: The good levels of major reservoirs will help facilitate normal market gardening and irrigated farming activities, except in areas where there have reportedly been breaks in dikes and dams as a result of heavy downpours.
  • Average cereal prices: With national food security stocks at normal levels, the volume of institutional procurements is not likely to disrupt markets. Thus, average levels of crop production will keep movements in the prices of major cereal crops in line with seasonal averages.
  • Average incomes: As usual, poor households will earn income from the sale of cash crops (cowpea, peanut, and sesame crops) and non-timber forest products (shea nuts and carob beans), gold mining activities, and market gardening activities during the outlook period. Assuming there is the same foreign demand for these products as last season, with prices in line with the average, households could generate normal amounts of income during this period.

Most likely food security outcome

Most poor households will have adequate food access from their replenished food stocks during the outlook period (the post-harvest period). With normal incomes and staple cereal prices hovering around the five-year average, they will be able to maintain their market access without destroying their livelihoods. Thus, poor households will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity for the entire outlook period. 

 

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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