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Supply is sufficient for solvent demand despite atypical price increases

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Niger
  • February - September 2022
Supply is sufficient for solvent demand despite atypical price increases

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  • Messages clé
  • NATIONAL OVERVIEW
  • Messages clé
    • Following low carryover stocks and lower rainfed crop production in 2021 due to rainfall deficits and reduced land, cereal supplies are below average. Market supplies are also below average, but sufficient to meet demand, which mainly consists of commercial and institutional purchases. Staple food prices in the markets are also substantially higher in January 2022 than the five-year average across the Sahel and West Africa region.

    • All pastoral areas experienced a decline in fodder production as a result of a rainfall deficits, along with disrupted access to pasture due to conflicts. However, with the fodder available, the livestock physical conditions and market values are average.

    • Security tensions persist in the regions of Diffa and Tillabéry, Nord Tahoua, and Sud-ouest Maradi, with conflict spreading to other areas in some hotspots. These conflicts continue to prevent off-season agricultural activities, disrupt the movement of livestock and farm labor, and hinder market operations in affected areas.

    • Overall, food security is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in February 2022 due to residual cereal stocks, food and cash contributions from off-season crops, and income from livestock sales which are enabling households to access food and to make non-food expenditures without resorting to negative coping strategies. Stressed acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2!) prevails in the Diffa region and Sud-ouest Maradi, where food assistance is regularly provided and covers gaps in food needs. In the Tillabéry and Nord Tahoua regions, poor households are unable to cover their food needs because of cereal stock deficits and financial difficulties, as well as a lack of access to food assistance due to conflict and insecurity, resulting in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) for the majority of poor households.


    NATIONAL OVERVIEW

    Current Situation

    The current situation in Niger is still dominated by insecurity and conflict in three main hotspots, with consequences for Niger and the livelihoods of households: Liptako Gourma, known as the triangle border region, the Lake Chad Basin, and northwestern and north-central Nigeria. While the conflicts have stayed the same in terms of intensity and scope in southeastern and southwestern Niger, they have continued to worsen in Liptako Gourma.

    Terrorist attacks have continued since the conflicts began, in 2015 in the Lake Chad Basin, and in 2017 in Liptako Gourma and northwestern and north-central Nigeria, but the number of security incidents has seen periods of decline, resulting in an overall year-on-year decline. From the 676 security incidents recorded between 2019 and 2021, 47 percent occurred in 2020 and 37 percent occurred in 2021 (Figure 1). However, these downward trends were mostly observed in the conflict zones in the northeast and northwest and in central-north Nigeria, and less so in the Liptako Gourma zone, where there is an upward trend.

    However, security incidents have become deadlier year on year with a total of 1,905 victims recorded over three years, of which 13 percent were in 2019, 32 percent were in 2020, and 55 percent were in 2021. The 2021 terrorist attacks caused as many casualties as the 2019 and 2020 attacks combined. The highest number of victims in any year was recorded in the insecure and conflict-affected zones of Liptako Gourma.

    These attacks have triggered forced displacement within Niger and from other countries. At the end of December 2021, there were an estimated 600,000 displaced persons in the country, compared to 565,913 persons in 2020, and 434,664 persons in 2019. Over 50 percent of these are internally displaced persons, the majority of whom are in the Tillabéry region in Liptako Gourma. 

    In addition to disrupting trade and livelihood activities and reducing the availability of cereals in the affected areas, conflict and insecurity have caused a decline in agricultural production, loss of income, and loss of productive assets among households, including livestock and cropland. According to a 2021 FAO analysis of the impacts of shocks in Niger, 16 percent of households have experienced economic shocks that have reduced their ability to trade and operate a business as they had done in the past.

    As at February 6, 2022, there are 8,686 confirmed COVID-19 cases — an increase from January 31, 2022 — and there have been an estimated 302 deaths, according to the Ministry of Public Health, Population and Social Affairs' monitoring and response committee.

    The highest numbers of confirmed cases were recorded in the Niamey and Agadez regions, with 65 percent and 22 percent, respectively, and infection rates estimated at 412.39 cases/100,000 inhabitants for Niamey and 189.42 for Agadez.

    However, the case fatality rate is higher in the regions of Tahoua (9.56 percent), Maradi (7.89 percent), and Zinder (6.06 percent).

    The mass vaccination campaign is underway and as of January 31, 2022, 1,442,884 people had received their first dose (9.1 percent) and 1,025,950 people had received their second dose (6.5 percent).

    The Niamey region, which continues to record the highest number of positive cases, is where migrant workers usually come to engage in domestic work, small-scale trade, and housekeeping, and to earn seasonal income for food and non-food expenses in their households (Figure 3). With COVID-19 still around, labor demand for domestic work and housekeeping, and the income earned from these tasks, are higher than in 2020, but below pre-pandemic levels. In fact, this labor supply exceeds demand due to the large influx of migrant workers looking for alternatives to fill the gaps in agricultural production. This is consistent with the results of a Mixed Migration Centre survey conducted between July and September 2020 on COVID-19 and the socio-economic situation of migrants in Niger, which indicated that the 45 percent of men working in urban centers have seen their incomes decline after losing their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.

    The country was also hit by floods following heavy rainfall between July and August 2021, with the damage caused affecting 250,331 people. Losses are mainly of agricultural production, livestock, and other goods. The worst-hit regions are Diffa, Dosso, Tahoua, Maradi, and Zinder, where the number of people affected ranges from 2,500 to over 15,000.

    According to the final official figures published by the Nigerien government, cereal production for 2021–2022 amounts to 2,949,817 tons, which falls short of the population's annual food needs by 40 percent. It is also 37 percent less than 2020 production and 39 percent less than the five-year average (Figure 4). All regions have a deficit, but the highest deficits are recorded in Agadez (99 percent), Diffa (83 percent), Tillabéry (56 percent), Tahoua (48 percent), and Zinder (37 percent).

    With carryover stocks and imports estimated at 678,475 and 997,632 tons, respectively, added to net national production, the country's food supply is estimated at 4,625,924 tons, which reduces the cereals deficit significantly — by 12 percent.

    In addition, harvests are continuing for both flood recession crops and off-season crops in the regions of Maradi, Zinder, Dosso, Sud Tillabéry, and Tahoua. This is increasing food availability and the chances of diversifying food rations and income. The government's support for agricultural equipment and inputs and the availability of groundwater and surface water will contribute to near-average off-season production, except in the Agadez region, where the replenishment of the water table is low following a rainfall deficit recorded at 11 of the 13 monitoring stations, according to the Directorate of Statistics' final results report.

    Regarding the pastoral situation, fodder production this year is estimated at 18,053,297 tons of dry matter, compared to an estimated annual fodder requirement of 33,323,213 tons, resulting in a fodder deficit of 46 percent. This is also 43 percent lower than in 2020 and 4 percent lower than the five-year average (Figure 5). This year's fodder deficit of 15,269,917 tons of dry matter is the second-highest recorded in 12 years, with the highest recorded in 2009 at an estimated 16,137,329 tons.

    Apart from the Agadez region, where there is a 6 percent fodder surplus, all regions have a fodder deficit, ranging from 33 percent (Dosso), 35 percent (Maradi), and 37 percent (Tahoua and Zinder) to 64 percent (Tillabéry) and 76 percent (Diffa). In spite of this deficit, livestock are in average physical condition thanks to feed supplements which are 50 percent more expensive than average and resulting in above-average feed expenses.

    Livestock health is also generally normal, although cases of avian flu have been reported in poultry farms in Niamey. The livestock health services quickly made and acted on the decision to cull the poultry in all affected farms and ban poultry imports. This situation is causing decreases in income among households that rely on livestock-farming, since they have lost their main source of income.

    Due to border closures, conflicts, and insecurity within and along the borders, livestock movements are disrupted: they are more internal than usual, toward more secure areas, and less toward the transhumance countries. This situation is resulting in overcrowding of livestock around the scarce fodder available and conflicts over pastoral resources. Pastoral resources are decreasing, which is resulting in additional expenses for livestock maintenance.

    Supplies are considered acceptable in most markets, except those located in insecure/conflict zones. However, supply and stock levels remain 15 to 60 percent below average for all products, depending on location. Sorghum and maize supply and stock levels have seen the biggest drop because of the combined effect of the decrease in production recorded in several production areas this year, and the dysfunction/disruption of supply flows following the continued ban on cereal exports in certain supplier countries (Burkina Faso and Mali) and/or the insecurity/conflict that is rife on certain supply routes. This is making commercial transactions difficult and increasing road harassment and transfer costs. While some demand comes from consumers, it mostly comes from purchases made by traders and institutional stocks, which dominate demand in most markets, especially those in Maradi and Zinder.

    Average prices are up from the same period last year by 17 percent for both millet and maize, 15 percent for sorghum. Average prices are up from the five-year average by 31 percent for millet, 28 percent for maize, and 25 percent for sorghum. The biggest increases in cereal prices (over 35 percent) from the same period last year and the five-year average have been seen in markets in the following regions: Agadez (Agadez Commune and Arlit), Dosso (Dogon Doutchi, Dosso Commune, and Gaya), Maradi (Dan Issa, Dakoro, Guidan Roumdji, Mayahi, Maradi Commune, Tchadoua, Tessaoua, and Sabon Machi), Tahoua (Abalak, Badaguichiri, Bouza, Bagaroua, Birni N'Konni, Koundoumawa, Tanout, and Tounfafi), Tillabéry (Abala, Ayorou, Ballayara, Bankilaré, Filingué, Gothèye, Ouallam, Téra, and Tillabéry Commune), and Zinder (Dungass, Koundoumawa, Magaria, Matamèye, Mirriah, and Zinder Commune).

    Both supply and demand for livestock remain stable overall in most markets. However, supply is increasing in insecure areas where distressed livestock farmers are selling in a panic to avoid losses from theft and looting by non-state armed groups. Demand comes mainly from local buyers (traders, butchers, and graziers) and some foreign traders (Burkinabe, Nigerian, and Senegalese). Nigerian traders in markets remain scarce due to the ongoing civil insecurity in the country and the continued depreciation of the naira. Average prices are up slightly from the same period last year for all types of livestock: 15 percent for goats, 11 percent for bulls, and 5 percent for rams. They are also up from the five-year average, by 22 percent for goats, 17 percent for rams, and 7 percent for bulls. However, bigger price decreases from the same period last year and the five-year average have been recorded for cattle in the Maradi Commune (-15 percent) and Mokko (-13 percent) markets; for goats in the Maradi Commune (-42 percent), Torodi (-21 percent), and Boureimi (-13 percent) markets; and for sheep in the Nguel Kolo markets (-10 percent) due to lower demand in these markets. Due to an increase in livestock prices, the terms of trade currently benefit livestock farmers, who can access 120 kg of millet by selling a goat, although this is 24 percent less millet than the five-year average.

    Based on the results of the various analyses of food security, nutrition, and people's livelihoods, the Nigerien government, in collaboration with technical and financial partners, developed an emergency plan to assist those identified as food-insecure from November 2021 to March 2022. The plan's main aim is to improve access to food, protect and strengthen livelihoods, and facilitate access to food for food-insecure households. It will be implemented in two phases, the first of which spanned November 2021 to January 2022 and consisted of free food distribution to 51,000 households – that is, 357,000 people in 39 communes in the regions of Tillabéry, Diffa, Maradi, and Tahoua. While the majority of poor households in the Diffa and Maradi regions have 100 percent of their food needs covered by food assistance, only 5 to 10 percent of people in the communes of the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions receive assistance.

    The second phase, which is being planned, will last from February to March 2022. It will concern all communes with food-insecure populations and run alongside an operation to sell cereals at moderate prices. This second phase will provide 2.5 million people with a monthly food ration equivalent to 2,100 kcal per person per day.

    Food security outcomes: As a result of reduced overall agricultural production in the country, cereal stocks have run out, especially for most poor households, who have not only suffered from adverse weather events but also have reduced land. Markets are the main source of food and consumer product prices are very high. Purchasing power for poor households comes from the sale of agricultural labor on off-season crop sites (although the income earned is reduced due to high supply), remittances from migrant workers, and small ruminant sales, which provide income to cover food needs. Thus, overall, food insecurity is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in most livelihood zones. Poor households in the Diffa region and Sud Maradi are also being affected by depleted cereal stocks and reduced income following loss of local jobs due to insecurity and rising market prices. Nevertheless, they have access to basic necessities equivalent to 2,100 kcal per person per day due to regular food assistance from the government and humanitarian actors, maintaining households at Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). In the regions of Tillabéry and Nord Tahoua, as well as not having their own cereal stock, poor households are losing small ruminants to theft and looting, and local jobs and seasonal income due to conflict and insecurity. Thus, given the very high food prices, their purchasing power is insufficient to buy enough food for 2,100 kcal per person per day. Increasing attacks by armed groups, often targeting civilians, are hindering humanitarian access to provide food aid to enough households. For the majority of these areas, and poor households, are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    According to the results of the nutrition and mortality survey conducted in September/October 2021, Niger's global acute malnutrition rate stands at 12.5 percent and its severe acute malnutrition rate at 2.7 percent. The deterioration of food consumption in the country due to the drop in agricultural production, the very high market prices, and limited health services due to COVID-19 and insecurity could have a serious impact on child nutrition. 

    National Assumptions

    The most-likely scenario for food security from February to September 2022 is based on fundamental assumptions on the evolution of the national context, which are as follows:

    • Security incidents will increase compared to past seasons and years as the creation of new self-defense groups pushes terrorist groups to acquire more weapons and logistics resources. As terrorist groups increasingly target civilians and communities with more weapons and other logistics resources, there may be more fatalities than before.
    • According to the first climate forecast analyses, the season will start normally with mostly average-to-above-average rainfall across the country between June and August 2022.        
    • With low vaccination rates, the emergence of the new Omicron variant, and the volatility of the COVID-19 situation, particularly in several neighboring countries, there could be a new wave of COVID-19 cases, with effects on household livelihoods and economic opportunities in the country similar to those observed this time last year.
    • Flood recession crops will grow according to the usual schedule from January to April 2022. Average market garden crop production and average harvest prospects for flood recession crops are expected. This will result in average income opportunities for poor households, enabling them to maintain their food access while helping diversify their diet by consuming some of the fruits and vegetables produced.
    • National biomass production is insufficient and livestock will be unable to access sufficient fodder between April and June 2022, which will disrupt the movement of transhumant herders, who will remain within the country due to conflict and insecurity. Internal and cross-border livestock movement will be disrupted throughout the outlook period due to conflict and animal theft and looting. Between July and September, physical conditions of livestock will improve and milk availability will increase, which will help increase food and income for livestock-farming households, except in areas of conflict and insecurity.
    • Given the low levels of carryover stocks/residual cereal stocks from the previous agricultural year, traders, farmers' organizations, institutions, and state entities are replenishing stocks earlier and demand pressure will be observed in the markets in the good agricultural production areas of Maradi and Zinder, creating an additional upward trend in market cereal prices in these areas.
    • Local employment in maintaining and harvesting irrigated crops between February and April and rainfed crops between June and September will allow poor households to earn an average income and maintain access to food, albeit reduced due to rising prices, especially in areas of conflict and insecurity where supplies are more than 50 percent below average. Opportunities to sell straw, wood, and handicrafts will provide income and improve their purchasing power, which remains low amid high food prices.
    • Eastern migration to the traditional destination areas and countries will be below average given the ongoing restrictions and land border closures. Remittances will be higher than last year but will remain below average due to the lingering residual effects of COVID-19 on the economies of host countries.
    • Dry cereal supplies in rural and urban markets will remain low and below average due to low carryover stocks, low production levels locally and in supplier countries, and road harassment, which will hinder cross-border trade and flows. However, supplies will be sufficient for traders to replenish their stocks.
    • Overall demand for cereals for household consumption will be above average as a result of a gradual increase in demand due to direct institutional purchases and increasing use of markets by poor households and those in typically deficit areas.
    • Internal flows will continue but at a lower-than-average level due to deficits, low carryover cereal stocks, and deficits in supplier countries.
    • Prices will continue their atypical upward trend and will exceed the five-year average throughout the outlook period due to low carryover stocks, and deficits in the country and in sub-regional countries.
    • Livestock markets will remain busy and livestock prices will remain similar to last year. However, prices will decline and remain below the five-year average due to low demand for exports to Nigeria, which remains the largest destination market for livestock.
    • The humanitarian interventions planned by the government and its partners in all regions, and particularly in the Diffa region and Sud Maradi, will help maintain good availability of consumer products in the markets and among poor households, and will support household access to cereals in areas with a structural deficit.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Poor households usually run out of their own stocks in April or May, but given this year's low production, they will run out as early as March and will rely heavily on markets to access food. To earn an income and access food, most will engage in casual labor and livestock sales. However, poor households will only be able to sell three to four goats over the outlook period given current herd sizes, resulting in smaller-than-normal cereal purchases: under the current terms of trade, four goats will only purchase enough cereals to cover the caloric needs of a family of six for two months.

    Other income opportunities, such as casual labor, will help fill the gap during this period, as will milk production, but milk production will be seasonally low and only available to those who move with livestock. In addition, given that there are fewer opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of households will struggle to meet their non-food needs. Most livelihood zones are therefore expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    The Diffa region and Sud Maradi are likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with food assistance since not only do poor displaced households lack their own cereal stock, but also they will not have sufficient income to cover their food needs and non-food expenditure. Households in the Tillabéry region and Nord Tahoua will face a lack of stock and income-earning opportunities in order to buy cereals, which will be at high prices. This will result in households having access to only limited quantities of cereal products and finding themselves unable to cover non-food expenditures. These areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from March to September 2022.

    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario.

    AreaEventFood Security Outcomes

     

     

    NATIONAL

     

     

    Increased security tensions

    The flow of consumer, cash, and livestock products would be significantly reduced and migration and remittances would decrease. Space for humanitarian action would be reduced and there would likely be an increase in the number of people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    NATIONALAn increase in COVID-19 cases and reenactment of COVID-19 restrictionsIncome in both rural and urban areas would drop significantly, leading to food insecurity for households dependent on informal-sector activities.
    NationalDelayed or inadequate funding for implementing the food and humanitarian response planThe quantities of cereals and cash distributed would decrease, as would the number of beneficiary households. This would result in food and livelihood protection deficits for a larger area and an increase in the number of food-insecure areas and households. Pressure on the markets would be intense where significant increases were observed.
    NATIONALA short off-season and flood-recession crop season due to the rapid drying up of water points and the limited replenishment of the water table

    The area sown would be reduced, as would dry-season agricultural production. Dry-season agricultural income would decrease due to lower production, lower demand for labor and fewer products sold.

    NATIONALA delayed start to the agricultural season, longer dry spells, and sudden cessation of rains in SeptemberAgricultural and pastoral production would decline. There would be speculation over soaring prices. More households would be in food deficit.


    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. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Figures

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for typical year

    Source:

    Figure 2

    Figure 1

    Source: ACLED

    Figure 3

    Figure 2

    Source: Commission Surveillance -Riposte/MSP/P/AS

    Figure 4

    Figure 3

    Source: Commission Surveillance-Riposte/MSP/P/AS

    Figure 5

    Figure 4

    Source: Direction de la statistique/Ministère de l’agriculture

    Figure 6

    Figure 5

    Source: Direction du développement pastoral/Ministère de l’élevage

    Figure 7

    Figure 6

    Source: SIMA

    Figure 8

    Figure 7

    Source: SIMA

    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.

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