Food Security Outlook Update

The agropastoral north of the country remains Stressed through October

August 2014
2014-Q3-1-1-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

  • In spite of the improvement in grazing and watering conditions for livestock and the availability of milk, poor households in the northern part of the country are still facing Stressed levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2) due to the continued erosion in their income from livestock sales and their increasingly limited staple food access.

  • Continuing rainfall activity through the end of September in the north and the end of October in the south, with near-average cumulative rainfall totals, should help promote normal crop growth and development and ensure average harvests across the country in spite of the mixed progress of crops up until this point.

  • Continuing normal levels rainfall and the outlook for a generally good agropastoral season should translate into good market supplies, stable prices through the end of September, and a seasonal decline in prices beginning in October.

Current Situation

  • As usual, the beginning of August was marked by increasing rainfall across the country. Cumulative seasonal rainfall levels in most parts of the country are near-average (1981-2010), tending toward above-average. However, there are persistent small rainfall deficits in the East (agropastoral areas) and in the far West and Southwest (maize and cotton-producing areas).
  • For the most part, the main cereal crops are still currently in the sprouting and tillering stages of their growth cycle. However, there is some variation in the progress of plant growth and development from one area to another and within the same area. Ongoing planting activities for pulses in general and cowpeas in particular, mainly in the Sahelian region, are going normally. As usual, the main farming activities in other parts of the country are field maintenance and the application of fertilizer. Plant growth conditions around the country are stable.
  • The new pasture cover on northern rangelands is helping to improve grazing conditions for livestock and spurring the return of transhumant herds. The resulting improvement in the availability of and in access to milk and dairy products, in turn, is helping to bolster the diets of many rural households.
  • The general stability in market prices for staple foodstuffs for more than three months continues. In fact, this rather atypical price behavior in the midst of the lean season has driven maize prices across the country below the five-year average by more than 10 percent and has stabilized prices for other staple cereals such as millet and sorghum. These price trends are due, in part, to the smooth operation of markets and the good levels of trader inventories, which are still at least 30 percent above-average, and, in part, to government-subsidized sales of maize and rice. In addition, the steady flow of regular maize imports from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire is bolstering cereal availability on markets around the country, while harvests of green maize crops in southern areas of the country are forcing traders with older inventories to hasten to unload their cereal stocks.
  • Poor households in and around the Sahel Region are still facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity. Sale prices for livestock, their main source of income, are still down from last year and under the five-year average. This is due, in part, to the fact that livestock are not yet in ideal physical condition and, in part, to the sharp drop in demand on markets rendered inaccessible by the deterioration in road conditions with the torrential rains. Market attendance by major domestic and foreign traders (from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) is down sharply. Thus, steadily deteriorating terms of trade for livestock/cereals are approximately 30 percent below the five-year average. According to HEA analyses by the national early warning system updated in July of this year, this could create survival deficits for a minority of poor households.

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not affected the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for the period from July through December 2014. A full discussion of this scenario can be found in the Food Security Outlook for July through December 2014.

Projected Outlook through December 2014

According to the updated seasonal outlook, there is a good chance that the rains will continue through the end of September in the north and through the end of October in the south, with near-normal levels of cumulative rainfall. This will allow most crops to fully mature by October, producing average harvests. Normally, there should be harvests of short-cycle millet (in the East), fonio and maize (in the West), and cowpeas (in all parts of the country) as of September, improving the household food security situation. In fact, based on the good harvest prospects, most households across the country should continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least December. However, should the rains end before the last week of September in the northeastern part of the country, which is already showing cumulative rainfall deficits, there could be below-average levels of agropastoral production.

The government has planned to make subsidized sales of millet and sorghum (in addition to maize) and distributions of free food rations to households in and around the Sahel Region between August and October. This should help stabilize market prices for cereal crops until the seasonal decline in prices as of the beginning of October. With their access to fresh crops by October, poor households in Stress (IPC Phase 2) through the end of September are expected to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between October and December of this year.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work 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 approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics