Food Security Outlook

Rainfall improves after a late start to the rainy season and agricultural activities

July 2015 to December 2015
2015-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

  • The agricultural season began poorly throughout the country, significantly delaying planting, particularly for long-cycle crops such as cotton and traditional varieties of millet and sorghum. The season is characterized by below-average to average rainfall that has been poorly distributed in terms of time and space. 

  • In the northern areas of the country (communes of Tin-Akoff, Nassoumbou, and Koutougou), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity would persist if not for assistance in the area. Pastoralists are still reporting significant losses of livestock due to pasture shortages. In addition, deteriorating livestock-to-cereal terms of trade is limiting poor households' access to adequate food supplies. 

  • On the markets, staple cereal and livestock prices are following average seasonal trends, but could rise significantly if the progression of the growing season leads to doubts about its results. However, cereal availability will remain generally satisfactory thanks to above-average trader stock levels.

     

National Overview

Current situation

Planting is taking place 20 to 30 days later than usual due to the shortage and poor spatio-temporal distribution of rainfall. As of July 10, seasonal rainfall totals ranged from 0 mm in Oursi, Déou, and Tin-Akoff (in the far northern province of Oudalan) to 325 mm in Bieha (in the southern province of Sissili). In the main cotton and cereal production areas, about 50 to 75 percent of agricultural area would normally be planted by now, whereas it is currently less than 50 percent as of July 20.

In the northern areas of the country, pasture regrowth is slower than normal, extending the pastoral lean season and resulting in higher animal mortality rates than usual.

On the whole, poor households’ food security is normal, except for in the Sahel region and the surrounding areas, where the food security situation is one of Stress or Crisis, particularly in the communes of Tin-Akoff, Nassoumbou, and Koutougou. Poor households in these communes, whose incomes are at their lowest levels, are fully dependent on market purchasing.

Food supplies on the markets are generally average. Wholesale traders' and producers unions' stocks are above average, at at least 44,000 metric tonnes. In the provincial capitals, the government continues to sell maize and rice at subsidized prices.

Cereal prices are slightly higher than the previous month and the same period last year. On the whole, they remain in line with the five-year average. However, in the main maize production areas (Boucle du Mouhoun, Hauts-Bassins, Cascades, and Sud-Ouest), due to the difficult start to the season, average producer prices are 27 percent and 6 percent higher than last year and the five-year average, respectively.

Until pasture regrowth improves, the animal feed situation will remain marked by insufficient pasture resources, which have led to a more significant deterioration in animal body conditions than usual, especially in the Sahel, Nord, Centre-Nord, Plateau Central, and Centre-Sud regions. In addition to the usual outbreaks of swine fever, anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease, and Newcastle disease, the animal health situation is also marked by the appearance of highly pathogenic avian influenza in 10 regions since March, which has led government authorities to take measures to ban poultry exports to neighboring countries.

Prices for livestock, particularly cattle and small ruminants, are lower than the same period last year due to increased supplies and poor animal body conditions (at least 80 percent of animals on the markets are in poor physical condition). On the whole, prices are 5 to 25 percent lower for male goats, 5 to 10 percent lower for male sheep, and 8 percent lower for bulls than last year. However, prices remain higher than the five-year average.

In addition to livestock sales, other sources of household income are mainly gold panning (which is currently ongoing with the late start to the growing season) and sales of non-timber forest products, particularly shea kernels and locust beans, prices of which are 50 to 75 percent above the five-year average.

The country currently has 32,000 Malian refugees, more than 90 percent of whom are located in the Sahel region. These refugees receive assistance from the UN Refugee Agency and its partners.  

Assumptions     

The most likely food security scenario for the period from July through December 2015 was established based on the following assumptions:

  • Average to below-average seasonal rainfall totals: El Niño continues to negatively impact the start of the rainy season and the spatio-temporal distribution of rainfall. Updated seasonal forecasts for the period from July through September indicate average to below-average rainfall throughout the country, which could hinder the normal progression of farming activities.
  • Less land planted in cereal and cotton crops in favor of maize and cash crops: The late start to the season, especially in the southern half of the country, will result in less land being planted in long-cycle crops such as millet, sorghum, and cotton in favor of maize and other cash crops (groundnuts, sesame, and cowpeas). The current above-average price of maize for producers could motivate them to plant more land in maize for speculation purposes.
  • Average to above-average cereal availability: With households generally placing average demand on the markets to meet their needs and a favorable sub-regional market environment, market supplies will remain average until the new harvests, expected to begin in October.
  • Average to above-average cereal prices: Since the last harvests, cereal prices have remained in line with average seasonal trends. However, the speculative behavior of traders guided by a pessimistic outlook of the results of the growing season could result in prices rising above the five-year average throughout the outlook period.
  • Average to below-average farming income: The late start to farming operations and producer concerns about seasonal forecasts could result in less land being planted in crops, which would lead to lower demand for farm labor and decreased income.
  • Average income from gold panning and non-timber forest products: With average availability of non-timber forest products and gold prices close to the five-year average, households are expected to generate average income from these activities.

Most likely food security outcomes

Except for in the northern areas of the country, the lean season will remain normal for most poor households, who will continue to develop the usual strategies for accessing food and income until the green harvesting of maize, early millet, and groundnuts begins in September. Throughout the outlook period, poor households will therefore have normal consumption while protecting their livelihoods and will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity

 

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.

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.

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