Food Security Outlook

Poor households in northern pastoral areas will be “Stressed” from July to September

April 2013 to September 2013

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

  • Very poor and poor households are currently able to meet their consumption needs with two to three regular meals per day and without the need to resort to any unusual coping strategies. As a result, at least 80 percent of households are facing Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

  • High staple food prices and limited streams of nonfarm income, due to a focus on on-farm agricultural activities, will affect the quantity and quality of food access between July and September. During this period, at least 25 to 30 percent of households in livelihood zones 8 and 7 in the north will have food security issues, and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.  

  • Near or above-normal levels of income from on-farm labor, gold-washing activities, and livestock sales, as well as the effects of cash transfer and malnutrition prevention programs, will bolster household food access and will help to limit losses to livelihood assets throughout the outlook period.

National Overview

Current Situation

Household food consumption is deemed adequate with most households consuming two to three regular meals per day. Last season's harvests, which were forty to sixty percent above-normal, and additional off-season crops are enabling poor households to continue to live off their food stocks which, in the areas of concern, deplete during a normal year by sometime between February and April.

There is good food availability (in both cereals and market garden produce) on markets across the country, which are primarily being supplied by traders at this time. Wholesale traders and farmer organizations have normal levels of cereal inventories, totaling over 8,300 metric tons. Stocks of imported rice (five to 25 percent broken rice) are meet current consumption needs, and at 151,934 metric tons, they meet over 230 percent of monthly needs.

Cereal imports are exceeding exports. More specifically, on average between January and March, there were 11,200 metric tons of imports (70 percent of which was rice), compared with less than 700 MT of exports. Most imported maize is coming from Ghana and Côte-d’Ivoire, while the main destination for exports is Niger, through markets in the eastern part of the country. Overall, the volume of exports is near normal.

In general, market prices have been stable since January. Prices for white maize, white sorghum, and millet on almost all markets are down from the same time last year by an average of 12 percent, 15 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. In addition, sorghum prices on the Djibo, Niénéta, Ouahigouya, and Pouytenga markets are down by as much as 20 percent due to the low demand compared with supply. On the whole, maize and sorghum prices are similar to the five-year average, while millet prices are above-average by 10 percent in crop-producing areas and by six percent on retail markets.

Livestock in pastoral areas are being affected by the inadequate quantity and quality of natural pasture and the drying up of surface watering holes, particularly in the Sahel, the North, and the north central areas of the country (livelihood zones 8, 7, and 5). However, pastoral conditions are better than usual for this time of the year due to the high rainfall levels during last year’s rainy season. Market supplies of agro-industrial byproducts (AIBP) are good with prices near the five-year average (6,500 to 8,000 FCFA). The departure of transhumant herds towards the southern part of the country and to the coastal states of Benin, Togo, and Ghana were normal in February and March.

Supplies on livestock markets (Djibo, Dori, and Gorom-Gorom) are down from the same time last year, since pastoralists with remaining food stocks are not forced to sell their animals this year to access food. Demand is at normal levels, sustained by exports to the coastal states (Côte-d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Benin) and Nigeria, as well as by pastoral households within Burkina Faso who are rebuilding their herds. Prices are high due to the good physical condition of livestock and the low supply compared with demand. More specifically, prices for bulls are up by 16 to 20 percent and prices for small ruminants are up three to 35 percent compared with last year's levels and are above the five-year average by 24 to 27 percent and two to 24 percent, respectively. As a result, terms of trade are in favor of pastoralists, with the sale of a Sahelian male goat bringing in the equivalent of 180 to 200 kg of millet, compared with the five-year average of 150 to 180 kg.

Income from cash crops (groundnut, cowpea, and sesame crops) is also above the five-year average, though household availability of these commodities is increasingly limited at this time of year. The last harvests of cowpeas, groundnuts, and sesame were above the five-year average by 30 percent, two percent, and 66 percent, respectively. In addition, prices for these crops are up by an average of 30 percent (cowpeas), 40 percent (groundnuts), and 65 percent (sesame).

For off-season crops, and in particular market garden produce, water resources were sufficient for producers to grow one to two rounds of crops, which is similar to a normal year. Harvests are underway and output from certain areas (in the north) is more than 30 percent above the five-year average. Assistance from government and FAO projects and programs, in the form of farm implements, seeds, and inputs, also helped boost production. Prices for market garden produce have dropped by 30 to 40 percent since the first harvests in December-January, but are still close to normal for this time of year (12,500 FCFA for a 100 kg sack of onions and 60,000 FCFA for a 100 kg case of tomatoes). In addition to their direct contribution to the household diet, market garden crops are generally sold as an income source in order to purchase cereals, livestock, etc.

As in previous years, gold-washing activities continue. These activities are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to seasonal labor migration. On average, variable monthly income from these activities can range from 20,000 FCFA to as much as 40,000 FCFA. In general, the international market price of gold has held stable, with a gram of gold currently selling for between 25,000 and 26,500 FCFA on-site, compared with 20,000 to 25,000 FCFA in the last three years.

As of April 22nd of this year, there were approximately 49,975 Malian refugees in the country, concentrated mainly in Soum (35 percent), Oudalan (33 percent), and Séno provinces (21 percent). There have been close to 10,000 new arrivals since the beginning of the military intervention in Mali back in January. A survey of health and nutritional conditions at the Mentao, Goudebou, Saa-Nionogo, and Dibissi camps between February 18th and March 10th shows high rates of anemia among women and children under the age of five. The high rates of acute malnutrition are troubling, particularly in the Goudébou camp, where the global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate is 24.5 percent and the severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rate is 5.3 percent, above the WHO emergency threshold. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the probable causes of these high rates of malnutrition are inadequate dietary diversity and poor hygiene. A door-to-door screening campaign has been started as an emergency measure to refer malnourished children to health facilities for treatment. The World Food Program (WFP) has planned a blanket feeding program for children between six and 23 months of age. WFP is also furnishing monthly food assistance, based on a 2,100 kilocalorie per person per day basket of food, consisting of cereals, pulses, corn-soybean blend oil, salt, and sugar.

The humanitarian operations currently in progress or conducted between January and March have been designed to build the resilience of populations affected by last year’s crisis. Examples include programs for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition at health facilities (by the WFP, UNICEF, Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, and CIDA/VOCA) for a target group of at least 153,000 children under five years of age and pregnant or breast-feeding women, school meal programs (supplying 1,621 metric tons of food for 96,124 children), cash-for-work programs (by OXFAM, WFP, Action Against Hunger, and Christian Aid) for 130,000 or more households, and extra assistance for farming and livestock activities (from the FAO). A total of over 1,200 metric tons of food has been distributed to households under food-for-work programs and at least 885 metric tons of food have gone into the establishment of village-level food stocks.

Assumptions

The most likely food security scenario for the period of April through September 2013 is based on the following general assumptions:

  • Normal or above-average levels of rainfall: According to seasonal forecasts, the rainy season will most likely get off to a normal start, producing normal to above-normal levels of rainfall in Burkina Faso between June and September. Since rainfall conditions are a contributing factor that determines the success of farming activities, FEWS NET is currently expecting a near-normal growing season.
  • Cereal prices: Based on current prices, which are following normal seasonal trends, cereal prices (particularly sorghum and maize) are expected to remain below last year's levels but stay approximately five to 15 percent above the five-year average through the end of June. However, there is likely to be strong pressure on millet prices due to two factors: 1) low market supplies of this crop and 2) the potential for speculation during Ramadan in July, which is generally a high-demand period. As a result, millet prices could exceed the five-year average by at least 20 percent.
  • Institutional cereal demand: There was weak cereal demand (7,500 MT) this year during the post-harvest period (December to March), which is generally a time when institutional stock-building activities take place. This institutional demand should be sufficiently met by the inventories of wholesale traders and farmer organizations, who have stocks totaling over 8,300 metric tons of cereals and 1,010 metric tons of cowpeas, as of the end of March. Cereal sales by large-scale producers could help bolster marketable inventories through August/September and could be solicited for institutional procurements beginning in July.                                                      
  • Market supplies: Markets will continue to be well-stocked with food commodities. There will be a normal flow of cereals from surplus-producing areas to deficit-producing provinces, allowing traders to build up normal inventories. Additional output from off-season crops and imports should also help ensure good market supplies throughout the outlook period. However, exports to Niger in the wake of last year’s poor growing season in Nigeria could reverse the normal direction of maize trade flows.
  • Cottonseed production: According to farmers, the production target for this growing season is 730,000 metric tons, up 16 percent from last season and up almost 40 percent compared to the five-year average. However, farmers' income could decline slightly compared to last year due to the announced cut (four percent) in the purchase price of cottonseed (to 235 FCFA/kg) and an increase in the cost of fertilizer. Despite a three percent subsidy for NPK and a seven percent subsidy for urea, prices for both types of fertilizer are above last year's levels. NPK is selling for 15,500 FCFA per 50 kg sack compared with 15,000 FCFA last year and urea is selling for 15,500 FCFA per 50 kg sack, up from 14,500 FCFA last year. In addition, based on the new, recommended farm policy in the country’s main cotton-producing area, larger tracts of land could be planted in maize which would boost output of this crop.
  • Animal grazing and watering conditions: Normal transhumant livestock movements are expected between April and June. Non-transhumant animals will face the usual grazing and water access problems caused by inadequate supplies of pasture and water during this period. However, livestock will be in above-average physical condition this year, due to last season’s good rainfall conditions. Return migration by transhumant herds will begin in July with the growth of fresh pasture.
  • Livestock prices: Livestock prices are currently up compared to last year's levels and the five-year average.  However, they will steadily decline between now and the end of June with the deterioration of pastoral conditions. New weight gain by livestock beginning in July and high demand during Ramadan and prior to the celebration of Tabaski in October will help keep prices at least 30 percent above average between July and September.
  • Livestock/cereal terms of trade: Based on the current high prices of livestock, terms of trade should continue to favor pastoralists between April and September. However, the high price of millet could drive livestock to millet terms of trade down 10 to 15 percent compared to average.  
  • On-farm labor income: There is normally a high demand for labor throughout the outlook period for both farming activities and the tending of livestock. Daily wage rates are up 25 to 50 percent as an indirect result of competition with gold washing activities, which workers find more attractive. This will produce a proportional increase in casual labor income levels.
  • Malian refugees: With the ongoing efforts to stabilize the socio-political situation in Mali, Burkina Faso is not expecting another massive influx of refugees. The UNHCR and its partners have put together plans to meet the assistance needs of the 50,000 refugees within the country. The biometric survey currently underway should help establish the exact number of people in need of assistance. This assistance will be administered by the WFP and other stakeholders, who are supplying monthly food rations to the refugees.
  • Health and nutritional conditions: Ongoing programs for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition in children under the age of five, as well as pregnant and breast-feeding women, started in 2012 should stabilize, if not improve, the health and nutrition situation in Burkina Faso. The availability of fruits, nonwoody forest products (between April and September), and green leaves (between July and September) could improve household dietary diversity and help stabilize acute malnutrition rates.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Even very poor and poor households will have normal food intake between April and June, based on two to three meals per day. Remaining household food stocks and affordable food prices will help keep households at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

The lean season, which normally starts in June, will be shorter than normal (July to September) due to the 2012 crop production surplus. Above-average incomes and ongoing cash-for-work programs will help facilitate household food access. As a result, households are not expected to resort to any coping strategies that would cause irreversible damage to their livelihoods. Thus, very poor and poor households in all areas of the country, with the exception of livelihood zones 7 and 8, will experience Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between July and September.

Areas of Concern

Livelihood Zone 8 (North Transhuman Pastoralism and Millet) 

Current Situation

Very poor and poor households normally account for 20 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of the population of this zone, where the main livelihood activities are millet-farming and transhumant livestock-raising.

According to the final 2012/13 crop production figures, local cereal production would meet 101 percent of the zone's cereal needs. Very poor and poor households, whose crops normally do not last more than four or five months (or beyond January/February), have cereal stocks large enough to last them through May/June of this year. As a result, very few households are resorting to area markets at this time. In addition, the NGO "HELP" has established food stocks in the area (650 metric tons of cereals) to be sold at subsidized prices during the lean season (June through September).

Markets are well-stocked with cereals supplied mainly by assembly markets in Pouytenga and Ouagadougou. With greater supply than demand, prices for staple cereals, particularly millet and sorghum (at 237 and 213 FCFA/kg, respectively), are down 21 and 23 percent compared to last month, respectively. Normally, prices at this time of the year are increasing. As a whole, price levels are more or less stable from last year (down by less than six percent), but are above the five-year average (by 25 percent for millet and 21 percent for sorghum).

After last season’s good rainfall conditions, there is relatively good pasture and water availability, compared to average, for transhumant livestock-raising activities, the main livelihood of local populations. The normal lean season for livestock (April through June) has just gotten underway, marked by the drying up of animal watering holes and a growing scarcity of pasture. There are close to 37,000 additional heads of livestock in the area due to the presence of refugees. However, the local authorities and their partners have been working to drive these animals into a special grazing area and sensitize the host population to the importance of peaceful cohabitation. However, with transhumant herds no longer able to cross into Mali, the large animal population is putting pressure on local resources, prompting pastoralists to start heading south.  Nevertheless, livestock are still in good physical condition and there are good market supplies of agro-industrial byproducts, which are being sold at prices that are 13 percent below last year's levels due to new government subsidies.

Livestock prices, particularly for small ruminants (male goats and sheep) are, on average, 43 to 44 percent above the five-year average due to tight supplies and above-average demand from exporters. These high prices are facilitating pastoral households' access to agro-industrial byproducts and cereals on local markets. Terms of trade are favorable to pastoralists, with the sale of a Sahelian male goat bringing in the equivalent of at least 180 kg of millet.

There is normal milk availability for this time of year from dairy cows and animals in sheep fattening facilities, who sell their milk to local mini-dairies. The current price of pasteurized milk is 750 FCFA/liter compared with 600 to 650 FCFA last year. The rise in price is, most likely, the result of an increase in demand from the refugee population in this area.

Working members of very poor and poor households who are not employed in livestock-raising activities are often engaged in gold-washing activities as a way to generate cash income. On average, a gram of gold is selling on-site for 25,000 XOF, which is similar to the two-year average. Stable demand for labor for livestock-raising activities has also kept labor wages for this income source at near-average levels.

There are 16,247 Malian refugees in the area, representing 34 percent of the country's total refugee population. The refugees are getting assistance from the government and the humanitarian community. There are distributions of monthly food rations and a program for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition.

Local primary schoolchildren are getting daily food rations through school feeding programs. There are also ongoing resilience-building programs (livestock assistance, cash-for-work, and programs for the prevention of malnutrition) administered by the WFP, OXFAM, HELP, and the FAO for households affected by last year’s crisis. At least 20,000 households are being assisted through cash-for-work programs and over 8,000 children under the age of five, as well as pregnant or breast-feeding women, are receiving food rations under programs aimed at the prevention of acute malnutrition.

According to the SMART survey conducting in September-October 2012, the GAM rate was 10.1 percent. This is below the GAM rates observed during the past three years (10.7 percent to 14.7 percent). Household meal consumption (an average of two to three meals per day) and dietary diversity are both normal.  The current diet mainly consists of cereals, milk, oil, sugar, and leaves, which is normal for this zone. As a result, this livelihood zone is currently experiencing Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

Assumptions

The most likely food security scenario for the period of April to September is based on the following assumptions:

  • Normal start of the growing season: In the absence of a more detailed seasonal forecast for the country, current forecasts indicate that Burkina Faso will likely get average to above-average levels of rainfall between June and September. This will translate into normal crop and pasture growth, with a possibility of localized flooding.
  • Access to pasture and water resources: There will be normal pasture and water access, with the normal livestock lean season extending from April to June, marked by a scarcity of pasture and watering holes. New pasture growth and development will improve the condition of livestock between July and September.
  • Livestock prices: Prices will stabilize between April and June, in line with normal seasonal trends, but could surpass the five-year average by more than 30 percent between July and September due to an increase in demand during Ramadan in August. 
  • Transhumant herd movements: Herd movements began in February-March and should follow normal patterns. Return migration is expected to begin in July with the growth of fresh pasture and the availability of water. An improvement in security conditions in areas along the Malian border will facilitate return migration by transhumant Malian herds who will take advantage of the area's pasture resources.
  • Wage income: Income from the tending of livestock will remain stable at near-normal levels.
  • Milk and dairy consumption: Consumption levels will be similar to normal. Income from milk sales will increase relative to the rise in prices, which could be more than 20 percent above-normal. The UNHCR and its partners have arranged for the distribution of 300 liters of milk per week beginning in early April to prevent malnutrition at the Goudebou refugee camp. The milk will be collected from within a 50 km radius, which will benefit local pastoralists.
  • Cereal markets: Markets will be well-stocked with cereals, supplied mostly by traders. Prices for staple cereals (millet and white sorghum) will rise in line with normal seasonal trends for the April to August period, staying at least 20 percent above the five-year average. Millet prices, in particular, could climb by more than 30 percent in response to the unusually sharp rise in demand during Ramadan (July and August) as millet has several different uses (making porridge, charitable gift-giving, etc.) at this time. This will weaken terms of trade, which will still be in favor of pastoralists due to high livestock prices.  
  • Household food consumption: The depletion of household food stocks, the limited available of income sources, and the high price of food will prevent poor households from procuring adequate food supplies, which will affect both the quantity and the quality of household food intake.
  • Global acute malnutrition rates: Intensive farm work and poor access to health services due to the isolation of certain villages could drive GAM rates in this area above both the seasonal average and established warning thresholds.
  • Size of the refugee population: There will be no significant change in the size of the refugee population in this area, given the measures being contemplated by the international community to normalize the socio-political situation in Mali.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Remaining food stocks and favorable conditions for food access on area markets (due to well-stocked markets, terms of trade in favor of pastoralists, etc.) should ensure normal household food intake through the end of June. Thus, very poor and poor households will experience Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between April and June.

The lean season will be shorter than normal and will begin in July. The availability of village-level food stocks, cash transfers, and programs for the prevention of malnutrition in children under the age of five, as well as pregnant or breast-feeding women, will help facilitate household food access. However, prices that are more than 20 percent above-average will prevent very poor and poor households from procuring adequate food supplies on local markets and will force them to reduce the number, size, and quality of their meals. Moreover, the area’s isolation during the rainy season could threaten the regular flow of market supplies and hinder access to health services, such as programs for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition. This could help keep acute malnutrition rates above the warning threshold of 10 percent. Acute food insecurity levels in this area will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between July and September.

Livelihood Zone 7 (North and East Livestock and Cereals)

Current Situation

Output from the 2012/2013 agricultural season will meet between 65 percent and 119 percent of this zone's cereal needs. According to field assessments led by SAP (the national early warning system), the harvests of very poor and poor households will meet their consumption needs for five to eight months, compared to three to five months during a normal year. In other words, these households will be able to live off of their own production until sometime between the end of March and June. On average, the good cowpea harvest - the zone’s main cash crop - was 79 percent above last season's levels and more than 120 percent above the five-year average.

Markets are well-stocked with cereals from surplus-producing areas in western Burkina Faso or directly from the Pouytenga and Ouagadougou markets. In general, prices for staple cereals (millet and sorghum) have been stable compared with last month but down anywhere from two to 21 percent compared to the same time last year. Prices are generally similar to or above (by up to 22 percent) compared with the five-year average.   

Animal grazing and watering conditions are still satisfactory despite the gradual drying up of watering holes and the growing scarcity of pasture, which is normal for this time of the year. Herd movements by transhumant livestock have also been normal with the departure of herds towards southern and eastern areas of the country, as well towards the coastal states, in February-March. Markets are currently well-supplied with agro-industrial byproducts, with the price of a 50 kg sack of AIBP (SN-CITEX) ranging from 6,000 to 7,000 FCFA, compared with 8,500 to 10,000 FCFA during the same time last year.

Animal supplies on livestock markets are down from last year. However, demand from households rebuilding their livestock herds and from traders exporting to neighboring countries (Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire) continues to remain strong. Prices for Sahelian male goats and sheep on the Djibo market are up from last year by 42 percent and 20 percent, respectively, and are above the five-year average by 43 percent and 44 percent, respectively. Thus, terms of trade are in favor of pastoralists, with the sale of a Sahelian male goat bringing in the equivalent of 170 to 180 kg of cereals.

There is normal milk availability, although the price of a liter of milk is up 25 to 50 percent due to a growing demand from the refugee population and from urban centers.  This is helping to boost the incomes of pastoral households.

The main source of household income is the sale of livestock (small ruminants and poultry) to finance early purchases of cereals or animal feed, or to cover other household expenses. Gold washing activities are also generating normal levels of income, with a gram of gold selling for between 25,000 and 26,500 FCFA. These activities are attracting growing numbers of workers, who find gold washing more lucrative than labor migration. Cowpeas - the area's main cash crop - are selling for about 12 to 38 percent above the five-year average, although on-farm stocks of this commodity are now generally depleted.

The area has 25,797 Malian refugees, concentrated mainly in Soum and Séno provinces and making up 53.8 percent of the country's total refugee population. Their food and nutritional needs are being met by monthly food ration distributions by on-site humanitarian organizations, such as the WFP and CRS. There are close to 17,488 additional heads of livestock in the area due to the refugee population although the local authorities have conducted sensitivity-training programs for host populations and have established special grazing areas to prevent potential disputes over the sharing of local water and pasture resources.

Since last year, more than 36,000 children under five years of age, as well as pregnant or breast-feeding women, are being provided monthly supplementary food rations by programs for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition at health facilities. School meals for primary schoolchildren are being provided under the current WFP program. Ongoing resilience-building programs (cash-for-work and assistance programs for the off-season in pastoral areas) are targeting mainly very poor and poor households affected by last year’s food crisis (totaling over 65,000). Social service programs have a stock of 85 metric tons of food to assist these households.

According to the findings of the SMART survey conducted in September-October 2012, GAM rates range from 10.1 to 12.6 percent. Though above the WHO warning threshold, these GAM rates are within the range of rates reported during the past three years (9.8 percent to 14.7 percent). Households are consuming at least a normal two meals a day. There are no signs of a deterioration in food consumption and no indication of coping strategies that would impair local livelihoods. The area is currently experiencing Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

Assumptions

The most likely food security scenario is based on the following assumptions:

  • Normal start of the growing season: In the absence of a more detailed seasonal forecast for Burkina Faso, the current rainfall outlook indicates that Burkina Faso will receive normal to above-normal levels of rainfall between June and September, translating into normal crop and pasture growth. There will also be localized flooding, with damage to fields and crop losses.  
  • Transhumant herd movements: Transhumant livestock movements will be normal, with herds leaving the area in February-March for southern and eastern Burkina Faso, as well as coastal countries, and then returning in mid-July. The shortage of pasture and watering holes will give rise to normal animal grazing and water access problems between April and June. New pasture growth beginning in July will improve the physical condition of livestock.
  • Livestock trade: Supply, demand, and prices will be in line with normal seasonal trends. Prices will decline between April and June due to two factors: 1) animals losing weight and 2) reduced attendance at livestock markets with the start-up of farming activities and the deterioration in road conditions. However, based on their current high levels, livestock prices will stay above last year's levels and the five-year average. The heightened demand for livestock during Ramadan (July/August) could also help boost prices.
  • Markets: Normal trade flows of cereals and agro-industrial byproducts from western, surplus-producing areas during the post-harvest period will ensure normal, market supply levels of these commodities. Cereal prices will follow normal seasonal trends, with price increases between July and September. With Ramadan falling right in the middle of the lean season, the above-average demand for millet will drive millet prices up by at least 20 percent as of the middle of July. The price of sorghum, the main substitute cereal, will also rise by 10 to 15 percent. As a result, very poor and poor households will have difficulty maintaining access to staple foods once their own stocks are depleted.
  • Near-normal milk availability: Milk availability is normally limited between March and June due to the departure of transhumant livestock and limited pasture within the zone. Local milk supplies will improve as of July.
  • Income from milk sales: The 25 to 40 percent increase in milk prices, in response to mounting demand from processing plants and the refugee population, will generate above-average incomes. There will be no change in incomes from on-farm labor, which includes the tending of livestock.
  • Household food consumption: There will be no improvement in household food consumption. On the contrary, the depletion of household food stocks and high staple cereal prices in the area will make it difficult for poor households to procure adequate cereal supplies on the market. This will affect both the quantity and quality of household food consumption. Very poor and poor households will reduce down to a single meal per day, as well as limit the size of this meal.   
  • Global acute malnutrition rates: Intensive farm work and poor access to health services due to the area’s isolation during the rainy season could drive GAM rates above both the seasonal average and established warning thresholds.
  • Size of the refugee population: There will be no significant changes in the size of the refugee population, given the measures being contemplated by the international community to normalize the socio-political situation in Mali.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Food consumption by very poor and poor households will remain within the normal range between April and June, with at least two meals per day. The area will experience Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity during this period. However, as of June, the depletion of their food stocks and their market dependency will force households to reduce the number, size, and quality of meals during the lean season. The above-average demand for millet for Ramadan will put heavy pressure on millet prices, making it difficult for very poor and poor households to maintain access to millet for their daily meals. As a result, households will cut back from their usual two meals per day to a single meal. Thus, at least 25 to 30 percent of very poor and poor households will be unable to maintain adequate food intake between July and September and will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity. Moreover, the inaccessibility of local villages with the deterioration of road conditions during the rainy season could complicate the implementation of programs for the prevention of malnutrition. Adding to the problem, the start-up of farming activities will limit the use of health services by women and children. This could rule out the successful attainment of the goal of stabilizing, if not reducing, global acute malnutrition rates.  In such case, GAM rates would stay between 10 and 13 percent, exposing the area to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between July and September.

Area

Event

Impact on food security outcomes

Nationwide

Delay in the start of the growing season throughout the country

Traders will stockpile cereals, which will artificially inflate prices. The delay in the return of transhumant herds will raise the price of milk and dairy products. Workers returning from gold washing sites for the beginning of the growing season could leave again, leaving fewer able-bodied workers to grow crops.

Rainfall deficit during the growing season

Such a deficit, due to low levels of rainfall or a shortened rainy season, will affect production levels for all types of crops. As a result, food prices would increase.  

Livelihood zones 7 & 8

Withdrawal of humanitarian workers and the deterioration of security conditions

This could slow, if not prevent, the delivery of assistance to target households, disrupting cereal trade and aggravating food insecurity and nutritional problems for local populations.

Locally heavy flooding

The isolation of these areas and the disruption of markets will limit income-generating opportunities for local households and increase assistance needs. Ensuing losses to livelihood assets, including crops, will limit local food availability and make poor households food-insecure.

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 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