Seasonal Monitor

Rainfall deficits in September in Mauritania and Senegal may affect crops

October 2017

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
Concentration of displaced people – hover over maps to view food security phase classifications for camps in Nigeria.
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.

Key Messages

  • The seasonal rainfall has been globally average to above average (Figure 1 and Figure 2) over most of the region, but September rainfall has been below average over most of the Sahelian zone with pockets of severe deficits in areas of Senegal, Mauritania, Niger and Chad.

  • September rainfall deficits are damaging to crops as the timing coincides with the grain filling phase when crops are particularly vulnerable to dryness.  These deficits are likely to result insignificant crop and pasture production shortfalls when combined with long dry spells (Figure 3).

  • The severe rainfall deficit and very long dry spells that northern Senegal and southwestern Mauritania already experienced in July, coupled with the September dryness and bad rainfall distribution is likely to have an impact on crop and range performance (Figure 4 and Figure 5). 

  • The ITF continues its southward retreat (Figure 4), and will likely pull out of the Sahelian zone by mid-October marking a timely end of the growing season.

  • The medium-term forecast for the next two weeks (October 23rd– October 30th) calls for light to moderate rainfall over the Gulf of Guinea countries and the rest of the region will be dry.

UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS

  • The Intertropical Front’s (ITF) continues its southward retreat, practically leaving the northern half of the Sahelian zone to the dry season.  It is south of its climatological position over the entire region (Figure 3).
  • The major season in the bi-modal zone has been very good and despite some limited fall armyworm damage an average to above average harvest is expected.  The “minor growing season” in the bi-modal zone started in late August but rainfall remained below average till the end of the second dekad of September.  Moderate to heavy rains during the third dekad of September and first dekad of October have brought a significant improvement.  Based on the medium term forecast moderate to heavy rainfall is expected through the rest of October and will be very beneficial to the minor season crops.  This is an area where crops are not photoperiod sensitive and rainfall that is almost always beyond crop water requirements.  A couple of moderate rainfall events within the first half of November are highly probable.  Therefore, the minor season outcome is likely to be average despite a dryness experienced at the beginning.
  • For the rest of the Sudano-Guinean, out of the bi-modal zone, the growing season has been good.  Despite the rainfall deficits experienced in September in Ghana, Togo, Benin and part of southern Nigeria the season outcome is expected to be at least average based on the recent crop assessment missions.
  • For the Sahelian zone areas affected by September rainfall deficit and bad time distribution include most of the regions of Tillaberi, Tahoua, Maradi, Zinder and Diffa in Niger, the western part of the Lac region, the northern part of Batha Est and Wadi Firra regions in Chad (Fig. 3).  These areas will experience crop and range production shortfall and the impact of rainfall deficit and bad distribution on crop productivity could be divided into the following categories:
    • Extremely low yield for the red hatched areas
    • Very low yield for the yellow hatched areas
    • Low yield for the yellow non-hatched and hatched non-colored areas

Pastures are not affected the same way as crops since the biomass must have reached its peak by late August and early September in the rainfall deficits affected part of the Sahelian zone.  However, pastoralists should be affected not by the lack of pastures but by the surface water shortages.  Therefore, for pastoralist stationed in rainfall deficit and bad time distribution are expected to start their southward migration earlier than normal toward better pastures and surface water resources areas.

The western part of the Sahelian zone, northern Senegal and southwestern Mauritania, experienced rainfall deficit and significantly long dry spells (Figure 4 and Figure 5).  This part of the region again experienced in September deficits and bad time distribution of rainfall.  This has resulted into too short of a season making the northern Senegal-southwestern Mauritania area in worse conditions that indicated by the above classification that was only based on September conditions.  Therefore, crop and range performance in northern Senegal and many areas in Mauritania should vary from complete failure to extremely low yield.

  • Fall armyworm presence was reported in several countries during a mid-September PREGEC meeting held in Conakry, Guinea.  These were Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia and Togo.  At the time the damage was minimal due the above average rainfall that kept the pest infestation at a low level.  CILSS, FAO and the concerned countries have teamed up for a close monitoring of the pest.

FORECASTS

  • The short and medium-term NOAA/CPC’s forecasts call for moderate to heavy rains over the Gulf of Guinea countries.
  • The October seasonal forecast from the NOAA-NCEP calls for climatology over the region.

About this Report

The seasonal monitor, produced by the FEWS NET USGS regional scientist and FEWS NET Regional Technical Manager, updates rainfall totals, the impact on production, and the short-term forecast. It is produced every 20 days during the production season. Find more remote sensing information 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 34 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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