Food Security Outlook

Poor households face near-normal food insecurity conditions

January 2013 to June 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

  • Food consumption by very poor and poor households is currently relatively normal with most households consuming two to three meals per day. Household food stocks are expected to be sufficient to meet consumption needs for an additional three to five months, and income levels (both farm and nonfarm) are currently above the five year average. Minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) is expected from now through June 2013. 

  • December prices for staple cereals were at their lowest levels of the year and were, on average, down two to 14 percent compared to November. However compared to the five-year average, millet prices were up 36 percent, sorghum prices up 22 percent, and corn prices up 13 percent.

  • Even with an influx of an additional 2,000 refugees since the end of December, the situation of Burkina Faso's approximately 40,000 Malian refugees is considered manageable by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). These refugees' assistance needs should be sufficiently meet by humanitarian assistance programming which were designed for a population of over 100,000 refugees back in August of last year.

National Overview

Current Situation

Official production figures released in January indicate that last season's cereal production was close to 4.9 million metric tons, which is a 26.9 percent increase compared to the five-year average. Likewise, production of cash crops was up 16.5 percent and production of other food crops (cowpeas, yams, and sweet potatoes) was up 29.9 percent compared to the five-year average. Per capita cereal availability is estimated at 264 kg, which compares to 190 kg per capita during a normal year.However, eight of the Burkina Faso's 45 provinces (Yatenga and Passoré provinces in the northern region, Bam and Namentenga provinces in the north-central region, Séno province in the Sahel, Boulgou province in the central-east region, Boulkiemdé province in the central-west region, and Nahouri province in the south-central region) still have structural deficits with regards to the percentage of consumption needs met by crop production, ranging from 65 to 89 percent. 

Due to the recent harvests, household food stocks have been completely replenished and very poor and poor households currently have sufficient food stock to meet consumption needs until sometime between March and June. The duration of these stocks is comparable to or is about two to three months longer than usual. Local markets, which are primarily provisioned by crop sales from famers in the area, currently have good cereal availability. Trader inventories and village-level food stocks are still being replenished. Preparations for procurements are currently being made to rebuild institutional stocks. The expected volume of these procurements (28,000 MT) is expected to be well above the five-year average (10,000 MT).

There is adequate water availability for a good harvest of off-season crops. Agricultural input assistance programs by the both the government (350 irrigation kits, 811 power-driven pumps, 103 metric tons of improved seeds, and over 2,700 metric tons of fertilizer for the development of 15,769 hectares of cropland) and its partners (ex. FAO supplying 5,000 households with seed and equipment) have been larger this year than normal, and as a result, there is good cause to expect off-season harvests to be better than last year and surpass the five-year average by at least 30 percent. In all, harvests of an additional 54,000 MT of cereals, 59,500 MT of tubers, and 1.15 million MT of market garden crops are expected between now and April.

Livestock food and water needs are currently being met, and there are sizeable fodder stocks (over 58,700 MT) consisting of crop residues, sown pasture, and hay from natural pasture The supply of agro-industrial byproducts is also good and prices  for these byproducts (6,250 to 8,000 F CFA) are similar to the five-year average.  

Similar to the normal seasonal trend for this time of the year, livestock market supply has generally been stable since October. However, supply is slightly down compared to the same time last year. Market demand for livestock has been sustained by end-of-the-year holiday season purchases and normal levels of exports to Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire. As a result, mid-December prices, particularly for small ruminants, were 16 to 17 percent higher than last year and 21 to 50 percent above the five-year average. Terms of trade for Sahelian male goats to millet are favorable to pastoralists, but are 12 to 16 percent below-normal due to high millet prices.

A seasonal decline in cereal prices continues with prices in December being the lowest reported during the entire calendar year. Most markets are supplied by farmer inventories. Prices for major cereal crops (millet, corn, and sorghum) fell by two to 14 percent between November and December. Maize and sorghum prices were down from the same time last year by 12 and eight percent, respectively, though millet prices were up by four percent. December prices for all three crops were above the five-year average (by 36 percent for millet, 22 percent for sorghum, and 13 percent for corn). At 207 CFAF/kg, the price of millet is in general higher than that of other crops for a variety of reasons, including the postponement of millet harvests in cotton-growing areas to bring in the cotton crop (resulting in a delay in their shipment to local markets) and the low levels of trader inventories at the beginning of the harvest season, driving up demand.

In general, cash crop (cotton, cowpeas, sesame, and groundnuts) harvests were good. In addition, market prices for these crops have been above the five-year average which has increased cash incomes, particularly for middle-income and better-off households. Procurements of cottonseed in cotton-growing areas began in December and will continue for the next few months. The purchase price of a kilogram of cottonseed is up by 10 percent from last season and in addition to that, there is a standard incentive bonus of five CFAF/kg this year, which brings the final price for cottonseed to 245 CFAF. This represents a 30 percent increase compared to the five-year average. As these cotton-producing areas are also important areas for maize production, ongoing procurements of cotton could be indirectly responsible for maize market shipment delays by local farmers, thereby driving up maize prices. Average prices for other cash crops, such as cowpeas and groundnut seeds, are above the five-year average by 40 and 54 percent, respectively. However, these crop's prices are comparable to or slightly lower than last year's figures (by less than 10 percent).

Sales of market garden produce are generating sizeable amounts of income for farmers growing these crops. For example, a 100 kg sack of onions is selling for between 70,000 and 80,000 CFAF (14 to 17 percent more than last year), a case of tomatoes is selling for between 50,000 and 60,000 CFAF (11 to 20 percent more than last year), and green beans are selling for 250 to 325 CFAF/kg (which is comparable to last year’s prices). An increase in the number of foreign buyers from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire compared with previous years, due to a proliferation of new processing plants for market garden crops (particularly in Ghana) are fueling demand for these crops in Burkina Faso.

The gathering of nonwoody forest products (the fruit and leaves of Adansonia digitata (baobab trees) and the fruit of balanite, tamarind, and acacia trees) is an important source of income, particularly for very poor and poor households. The availability and selling prices of these products are on par with the norm at this time.

In many areas, gold washing activities are the main source of labor income and immediately after the harvests, farmhands went back to their work at small-scale gold washing sites. The proliferation of these haphazard operations in certain municipalities has significantly reduced out-migration by youths to coastal states and large cities. In fact, small-scale gold washing activities producing on average a casual monthly income of 20,000 to 40,000 CFAF and, on occasion, as much as 80,000 CFAF and are proving to be more attractive than the prospect of traditional migration income. The 20 to 33 percent jump in the price of a gram of gold compared with the two year average is the main motivating factor in attracting workers to this activity.

Other sources of income, particularly for pastoralist households, are livestock fattening activities and the sale of milk and dairy products. There are a growing number of small processing plants who are buying up milk at an average price of 300 CFAF/liter and then reselling at anywhere from 500 to 600 CFAF, which is on par with the norm for this time of year. The volume of milk processed on a daily basis since August of last year is up by at least 50 to 100 percent compared to the same time last year, which was a particularly difficult year for livestock.

As of the end of December, there were approximately 38,800 Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, concentrated mainly in livelihood zone 8 (North transhumant pastoralism and millet) with 53 percent of the country’s registered refugees, and livelihood zone 7 (North and East livestock and cereals) with another 30 percent. The refugee population is still growing with an additional 2,000 refugees reportedly entering the country since the beginning of armed fighting in Mali in mid-January. The food needs of the Malian refugees are being met mostly through monthly food ration distributions by WFP and CRS. WFP arranged for the distribution of 519.2 metric tons of foodstuffs in December, covering close to 95 percent of the refugee population's needs. This WFP assistance is expected to continue over the next several months. 

As far as humanitarian assistance is concerned, the country’s local partners are talking about extending their country programs and rehabilitation/recovery programs for populations impacted by the 2012 crisis to include: 1) the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition at health facilities (by WFP, UNICEF, ACF, Save the Children, ACDI/VOCA), 2) the provisioning of school meal programs in the Sahelian region with food supplies (1,872 MT) for the January to March period (by WFP), 3) the reinforcement of livelihoods through cash transfer or food-for-work programs (by OXFAM, WFP, ACF, Christian Aid), and 4) the scaling up of assistance for farming and livestock rearing activities (by the FAO).

Assumptions

The general assumptions underlying the most likely food security scenario described on the following pages for the period of January through June 2013 in both focus areas, namely livelihood zone 8 (North transhumant pastoralism and millet) and livelihood zone 7 (North and East livestock and cereals) are as follows:

  • Grain prices: Above-average volumes of institutional and private grain procurements, beginning in January in order to reconstitute currently low levels of cereal stocks, is expected to trigger an atypical rise in grain prices as of February. The general meeting of the National Food Security Council in early December recommended rebuilding the national food security reserve and buffer stock with 35,000 and 10,000 metric tons, respectively. Thus, SONAGESS will be mobilizing 35,000 metric tons of grain which will likely put pressure on cereal markets, particularly in crop collection areas. This will drive prices up 10 to 15 percent over the next few months, directly affecting prices in high consumption areas of the North and the Sahel.
  • Trade: There will be a heavy flow of domestic cereal trade from surplus producing areas to consumption areas through March to meet demand associated with rebuilding trader inventories and village stocks. This should ensure good cereal availability in deficit production areas of the North. Cross border trade flows should remain at normal levels given good crop production levels throughout the region.  The government is not expected to take any special measures to step up border controls on cereal exports.
  • Good market supplies: The additional production from off-season cropping and cereal trade flows from surplus producing areas to deficit provinces should ensure good market supplies in these provinces through the month of June.
  • Off-season crop production: Harvests of off-season crops are expected to be good due in part to good water availability which is allowing crops to fully mature and in part to assistance programs from the government and its partners in the form of inputs and equipment. Crop production could reach 30 percent above the five-year average, which would help improve dietary diversity. However, this larger supply of crops could drive down prices starting in February by 60 to 70 percent, particularly for onions and tomatoes, placing prices close to the average. Sales of market garden produce normally account for between three and 10 percent of household farm cash income.
  • Migratory movements by transhumant livestock: The good availability of pasture and water should ensure a normal pattern of seasonal migration by transhumant livestock between March and June. Thus, livestock in the northern part of the country will begin heading south and towards the coastal states as of February/March and will then start returning to their home bases in July.
  • Livestock prices: Current pasture and water availability should help keep animals in good physical condition between now and the beginning of the pastoral lean season (April through June) marked by the drying up of animal watering holes and the decline in pasture availability. As usual, livestock prices should be stable through the end of March, before trending downward between April and June. However, prices should stay at least 10 percent above the five-year average due to the good physical conditions of livestock and high demand for exports to Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Livestock/cereal terms of trade: With the current high price of staple cereals, particularly for millet, and cereal prices increases expected over the next few months, livestock/cereal terms of trade will continue to favor pastoralists, but could be as much as 10 to 15 percent lower than usual as cereal prices increase faster than livestock prices.
  • Gold washing activities: Income from gold washing activities will be stable between January and June in line with gold price trends. Incomes should be 10 to 15 percent higher than usual with the proliferation of small-scale gold washing operations in virtually all municipalities in the northern part of the country and a 20 to 33 percent increase in the price of a gram of gold compared to prices over the past two years. 
  • Humanitarian aid: There are no plans for any emergency food aid programs in the next few months. Current household food stocks, upcoming harvests of off-season crops, and cash income generating trends should enable very poor and poor households to make it through what is expected to be a normal lean season between June and September.  However, ongoing assistance programs will continue and will serve 1.3 to 2 million recipients in the first half of the year.
  • Malian refugees: The deterioration in the situation in Mali will create a massive influx of refugees. As a result, the refugee population could grow by 30 to 40 percent between now and June. With none of the existing camps operating at full capacity, the humanitarian community should be able to handle this new influx of refugees with adequate additional funding for their various programs. Even with the steady influx of new refugees, the original assistance program designed for a projected population of 108,000 refugees back in July of last year should suffice to meet the refugees' food needs.
  • Health and nutrition: Good household food access and current and scheduled programs aimed at preventing malnutrition for the first half of this year should stabilize health and nutritional conditions.
  • The start of the upcoming rainy season: According to seasonal forecasts, the rainy season should begin on schedule. Thus, the first rains will begin in the west (a major crop-producing area) in May/June and in the central and northern parts of the country (more arid high-consumption areas) in June/July.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Based on their current levels of food stocks, very poor and poor households will be able to meet their food needs for the next three to five months. The good performance of cash crops and their positive price trends, the additional output and income from off-season farming activities, and flows of miscellaneous non-farm income should help facilitate household food access between April and June when households depend on market purchases. At least 80 percent of households will be able to consume a normal two to three meals a days through the end of June. In addition, current and scheduled humanitarian aid programs will help bolster household livelihoods. Thus, very poor and poor households, including Malian refugee households, will be facing only Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through the end of June.

Areas of Concern

Livelihood Zone 8 (North Transhuman Pastoralism and Millet)

Current Situation

Livelihoods in this zone, where very poor and poor households normally account for 20 and 40 percent, respectively, of the local population, are primarily based on millet production and transhumant livestock-rearing.

Good local harvests, particularly those of very poor and poor households, will meet household consumption needs for two to three months longer than usual. Harvests, which normally cover household food needs for approximately four months, could last as long as long as five to seven months or, in other words, through April or May.

Staple cereal prices and, more specifically, prices for millet and sorghum on the Gorom-Gorom market are at 318 and 275 CFAF/kg, respectively. These prices are in line with normal seasonal trends and are down nine and eight percent, respectively, from their peak levels during last August. Compared to November, prices remain unchanged. Prices for both crops are up from last year (by 27 percent and 21 percent, respectively) and from the five-year average (by 61 percent and 54 percent, respectively).

Cowpeas are this area's main cash crop and this year, the cowpea harvest was above-average. Prices for cowpeas on the Gorom-Gorom market are stable compared to last month and last year but are 48 percent above the five-year average. This is due to high demand for these crops from workers at gold washing sites and high demand from foreign traders (mostly from Nigeria and Ghana).

Transhumant livestock-rearing activities, the main livelihood activity in this zone, are benefiting from good pasture and water availability due to the good 2012 rainfall conditions. With civil insecurity threats in neighboring countries, the government has deployed hundreds of troops in this area, whose presence has been disrupting livestock activities, prompting transhumant herds to head south earlier than usual.

There is an above-average supply of milk and dairy products. High demand from milk processing plants has driven the price of milk at collection centers (300 XOF/liter) up 20 percent compared to the three-year average. Livestock prices in general, and for small ruminants in particular, are 30 to 50 percent above the five-year average due to the good physical condition of animals and their better resale prices abroad (in Nigeria and Ghana).

Village food stock levels in this area are above-average with approximately 16 metric tons due to carry-over stocks from programs mounted by humanitarian agencies (particularly NGO Help) last year to manage the food crisis. In addition, primary school children in this area are receiving daily food rations through school meal programs provisioned by the WFP.

Working household members of very poor and poor households not employed in livestock-rearing activities are turning to gold washing activities as a source of cash income. A gram of gold is currently selling for between 30,000 and 40,000 XOF at gold washing sites, 20 to 33 percent above its average price for the last two years. Wage income from employment in livestock-rearing operations is normal.

This area is currently housing 20,295 Malian refugees, or 53 percent of the country’s refugee population. However since November, the UNHCR has been attempting to relocate all refugees in this area to livelihood zone 7 in order to facilitate the operation of humanitarian assistance programs. Most of the refugees' food needs are being covered by the WFP and CRS through the distribution of approximately 290 metric tons of food supplies in the form of monthly rations (consisting of 12 kg of cereals, 3 kg of legumes, 0.75 kg of oil, and 1.5 kg of CSB+). These rations are also being provided to the host population. Livestock owned by the refugees were present in this area during the rainy season but have since returned to neighboring pastoral areas of Mali.

The number of meals consumed by local households (an average of two to three meals per day) and dietary diversity measurements are in line with a normal year. The local diet consists mainly of cereals, milk, oil, sugar, and edible leaves.

According to the findings of the SMART survey conducted in September-October 2012, the global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate is at 10.1 percent, which is below reported GAM rates for the last three years (10.7 percent to 14.7 percent). There are ongoing programs in this area for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition, mainly operated by the WFP through local health facilities. This livelihood zone is currently food secure with households facing Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

Assumptions

The most likely scenario is based on the following assumptions specific to this livelihood zone:

  • Livestock feeding and watering conditions: Livestock will have normal access to pasture and water resources. As usual, the lean season for livestock will run from April to June.
  • Seasonal migration by transhumant livestock: There will be a normal pattern of seasonal migration by transhumant herds to their usual destinations in the south or in the coastal states beginning in February/March. These herds will return beginning in July with the growth of fresh pasture.
  • Agricultural wage income: There will be no change in agricultural wage income or in income relating to livestock tending activities.  
  • Milk and dairy production: Production levels will be close to normal, covering two to three percent of consumption needs.
  • Livestock prices: Livestock prices will be stable through the end of March before declining between April and June, in line with normal seasonal trends. However, high demand from exporters will keep livestock prices up to 30 percent above-average.
  • Cereal markets: Cereal markets will receive a normal inflow of supplies from farmers through the end of February. Starting in March, traders will then be the primary suppliers of cereals to local markets. 
  • Cereal prices: Prices for staple cereals (millet and sorghum), which are still about 50 to 60 percent above the five-year average, could rise even further beginning in March when the area’s food supply will be highly dependent on southern markets, particularly Ouagadougou and Djibo. Cereal procurements to rebuild stocks beginning in January/February will further contribute to the price increases. This will erode livestock to cereal terms of trade, and will reduce food access of very poor and poor households on local markets.
  • Growth of the refugee population: The size of the refugee population in this livelihood zone will continue to grow between now and June despite ongoing resettlement efforts. The military operations in northern Mali will trigger a new influx of refugees and an increase in crime which, in turn, could limit or completely shut down humanitarian assistance programs.
  • Growth of the livestock population: The new influx of refugees and their accompanying livestock herds will put pressure on existing resources, speeding up seasonal migratory movements towards southern part of the country. This could contribute to weakening household livelihoods.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

The quantity and quality of household food consumption should be relatively normal between now and the end of March. This will be followed by a gradual deterioration in food consumption due to poor market access and deteriorating livestock conditions. However, these problems will be mitigated by favorable terms of trade for pastoralists and scheduled cash transfer or food-for-work programs by humanitarian agencies. As a result, the levels of food purchases on local markets will be below-average and will concern less than 20 percent of households. Very poor and poor households, including refugees, will face only Minimal levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) throughout the outlook period.

The extension of humanitarian programs aimed at preventing and treating acute malnutrition through community screening activities and the distribution of nutritional supplement rations should stabilize if not reduce malnutrition rates throughout the outlook period.

Livelihood Zone 7 (North and East Livestock and Cereals)

Current Situation

The food security situation of very poor and poor households, representing 20 and 40 percent, respectively, of the local population (approximately 1.18 million individuals), is generally satisfactory with most households consuming two to three normal meals a day. According to the qualitative joint assessment organized by the national early warning system (SAP) and its partners, the harvests of very poor and poor households will meet household consumption needs for five to eight months or until sometime between the end of March and June. This compares to a normal year when food stocks generally last approximately three to five months.

Prices for staple cereals (millet and sorghum) fell to their lowest level of the season in November, only to immediately increase again in December on certain markets due to high demand as traders rebuild their inventories. While prices on northern markets (Djibo, Dori, and Yalgo) have come down by three to 36 percent, prices on eastern markets (Bogandé, Sebba, and Gayeri) have increased by six to 14 percent. As of the end of December, millet prices ranged from 146 to 218 CFAF/kg and sorghum prices ranged between 87 and 209 CFAF/kg. On average, millet prices were down by five percent and sorghum prices by 15 percent compared to December 2011 but were above the five-year average by 12 percent and three percent, respectively.

There is still adequate water availability for livestock, with crop residues and pastures helping to keep animals in good physical shape. This season’s pasture stocks are at record levels (at least 8,900 metric tons). The Ministry of Animal Resources' annual campaign to vaccinate local livestock against contagious bovine pleuropneumonia is currently in progress, which should help reduce fatality rates over the next few months.

The main sources of income for very poor and poor households are livestock sales (small ruminants and poultry) and crop sales (cowpeas and millet). On average, cowpea production increased by 257 percent compared to the five-year average, and prices have generally been stable since October, ranging from 27,000 to 38,000 CFAF for a 100 kg sack. Cowpea price levels have been up seven percent from last month but have been down seven percent compared to December 2011. Compared to the five-year average, cowpea prices have increased 27 percent. Prices are expected to increase between now and the next round of harvests, in line with normal seasonal trends, as market supplies from farmers grow steadily tighter.

With these good household food security conditions, there is a growing trend to rebuild livestock herds, as reflected by market demand from livestock breeders for young animals. Market supplies of Sahelian male goats and sheep have been more or less stable since November. Average prices are up from last year by 17 percent for male sheep and 16 percent for male goats. Compared to the five-year average, male sheep and goat prices have increased by 33 and 21 percent, respectively. As is the case in other parts of the country, the high prices of livestock in this livelihood zone are the result of high demand from livestock exporters, particularly on the Djibo market.

Livestock to cereal terms of trade are generally favorable for pastoralists, with the proceeds from the sale of a Sahelian male goat purchasing between 156 and 174 kg of millet. However, even with the improvement in livestock prices, they are 12 to 16 percent lower than average due to the comparatively high price of millet, with a male goat normally bringing in between 177 and 207 kg of millet.

Gold washing activities are also generating increasingly large amounts of income in most departments. With the slow-down in farming activities, working members of very poor and poor households are back to work at gold washing sites, lured by the price of gold, which is selling for 30,000 to 40,000 XOF/gram, 20 to 33 percent above its two-year average.

Residents of this livelihood zone do not normally engage in market gardening activities. However, with the good water availability and the assistance furnished by the government and its partners (the FAO in particular) in the form of seed aid and equipment, there is every reason to expect an expansion in the area planted in these crops to as much as 50 percent above the five-year average.

Since July, children under the age of five and pregnant and breast-feeding women have been served by programs aimed at preventing and treating acute malnutrition at local health facilities through distributions of monthly supplemental food rations, mainly by the WFP, UNICEF, the WHO, and ACF. The WFP is also provisioning school meal programs for primary school children with 1,782 metric tons of foodstuffs from January through March.

This livelihood zone currently houses 30 percent of the country’s Malian refugee population (10,500 individuals), mostly concentrated in the Soum province. However, with the opening of the new refugee camp in Godebou in Séno province and the UNHCR’s plan to resettle refugees from other parts of the country at this camp, the area will be accommodating nearly 80 percent of the country’s refugee population in the next few months. Close to 2,000 of the expected 20,000 refugees had already been moved into the camp as of last November. Their food and nutritional needs are being covered by distributions of monthly food rations by on-site humanitarian organizations such as the WFP and CRS. As a result, the refugees' presence will have little impact on local markets.

As of October, the quantity and quality of food consumption was adequate for at least 80 percent of households (compared with only 16 percent in February 2012, according to the WFP Emergency Food Security Assessment). With the availability of fresh crops and the replenishment of household food stocks, households are eating normally (two to three meals a day). The main source of cereals is on-farm production (accounting for at least 80 percent of cereal supplies). The local diet consists mostly of cereals, milk, oil, sugar, legumes, and edible leaves. There are no signs of atypical coping strategies at this time. On the contrary, local households are rebuilding their herds by purchasing breeding animals and are using water from rivers and streams to engage in market gardening activities. In summary, very poor and poor households currently face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

According to the findings of the September/October 2012 SMART survey, the GAM rates in this area range from 10.1 to 12.6 percent. Though above the WHO warning threshold, these levels are still similar to rates during the last three years (9.8 to 14.7 percent). With household dietary diversity still relatively normal, the area is classified in IPC Phase 1 (minimal to no food insecurity).

Assumptions

The most likely scenario is based on the following assumptions specific to this livelihood zone:

  • Seasonal transhumant migration: There will be a normal pattern of seasonal transhumant migration due to good pasture and water availability. Transhumants and their animals normally begin leaving the area in February/March and will return in July.
  • Livestock: Livestock prices, supply, and demand will follow normal seasonal trends with no unusual fluctuations. Prices will be stable between January and March and will then decline between April and July as physical conditions of livestock deteriorate.
  • Prices: Food prices will follow normal seasonal trends, stabilizing between January and March and then rising starting in April. However, prices will remain above the five-year average. In fact, procurements in crop-producing areas for the rebuilding of national food security stocks could indirectly drive price levels even higher, curtailing food access, particularly for very poor households forced to rely on market purchases starting in April.
  • Trade: There will be a normal flow of cereals from crop-producing areas of the country to this livelihood zone. In addition, normal livestock exports from this zone to coastal states and Nigeria are expected. Road work underway since last November should help facilitate trade flows.
  • Nutritional situation: Ongoing preventive programs and the good household food security situation will stabilize acute malnutrition rates.
  • Off-season farming activities: Off-season farming activities will progress normally between now and the end of April, with good water availability allowing crops to fully mature. Harvests are forecasted to be at least 30 to 50 percent above the five-year average.
  • Income-generating activities: Gold washing operations will continue to be the main source of employment for the local workforce and could generate at least 10 to 20 percent more income than usual with the proliferation of new sites and the high local price of gold.
  • Remittances: As many workers who normally migrate are drawn into local gold washing activities, seasonal migration income will be scaled back.
  • Growth of the refugee population: The military offensive in northern Mali will sharply increase the size of the country’s Malian refugee population, with refugee camps quickly reaching maximum capacity. This will boost local demand for foodstuffs, driving up prices and curtailing household food access.
  • Growth of the livestock population: The growth of the livestock population with a new influx of refugees and accompanying livestock herds will put pressure on existing pasture and water resources. This will speed up seasonal migratory movements to the southern parts of the country and could possibly weaken household livelihoods.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

The expected deterioration in food access for very poor and poor households should be mitigated by ongoing resilience-building efforts and the good performance of income-generating activities (ex. good incomes from livestock and gold washing activities due to high prices). Thus, there is no major threat to local livelihoods and the quantity and quality of household food consumption will be similar to or better than a normal year throughout the outlook period. At least 80 percent of households will continue to eat two to three normal meals a day through the end of June, and will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

Normal food access and the impact of ongoing programs for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition should help bring down or, at least, stabilize malnutrition rates. Malnutrition rates are expected to remain close to the rates observed at the beginning of the outlook period. This will keep the livelihood zone in IPC Phase 1 (minimal food insecurity) through the end of June.

Events that Might Change the Outlook

Area

Event

Impact on food security outcomes

Nationwide

Poor start of the rainy season in May/June in the West, a major cereal-producing area

Cereal hoarding by local traders would occur. Since traders are the major source of supply for retail markets at this time of the year, cereal prices in June would likely be driven upwards.

An atypically severe outbreak of meningitis and measles between January and March

This could drive up fatality rates in certain livelihood zones, particularly for children under five years of age. This could also slow if not completely halt the flow of humanitarian aid to local households, as relief workers limit their travel to affected areas out of fear of catching these diseases. This would also cause goals to reduce or stabilize acute malnutrition rates to be more difficult to achieve.

Recent floods in Nigeria reduced 2012/13 crop production in that country

This could increase exports of crops to Nigeria via Niger, particularly corn and cowpea crops, driving up domestic prices as of April.

Livelihood zones 7 and 8

Armed fighting along the border with Mali

This would displace area residents, driving them southward (to the cities of Dori and Djibo) or into the interior. This would also create food and nonfood assistance needs that would exceed the government’s response capacity as food security stocks are currently very low.  

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