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Assumptions for Quarterly Food Security Analysis

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • West Africa
  • July 2014
Assumptions for Quarterly Food Security Analysis

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  • Avertissement
  • Seasonal Performance
  • Regional Trade and Price Dynamics
  • Cross-Border Conflicts and Displacement

  • Avertissement

    Afin de fournir les perspectives de sécurité alimentaire, FEWS NET prépare divers scénarios. La méthodologie permet à l’analyste de préparer une série d’hypothèses informées sur le futur et de comparer les effets qu’elles pourraient avoir. Le rapport qui suit, préparé par les analystes de FEWS NET en se basant sur les faits actuels, souligne les hypothèses au niveau de la région. Il présente aussi des hypothèses au niveau des pays, qui sont probablement plus détaillées. Prises ensemble, hypothèses régionales et nationales constituent la base de l’analyse intégrée présentée dans les Perspectives de la sécurité alimentaire qui sont mises à jour par FEWS NET. Pour en savoir plus sur le travail, clique ici.

    Les rapports sur les perspectives de la sécurité alimentaire de FEWS NET pour juillet à décembre 2014 au Sahel et en Afrique de l’Ouest sont basés sur les hypothèses régionales suivantes:

    Seasonal Performance
    • Agroclimatology: Most models are forecasting a continued warming trend in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean that will develop into light to moderate El Niño conditions throughout the summer of 2014. FEWS NET projects that these El Niño conditions will have no significant impact in West Africa during the 2014 rainy season.
    • Forecasts (NMME, IRI, and ECMWF) are predicting slightly below average rainfall totals over the central and western Sahel between July and September. These areas include a large part of Burkina Faso, as well as certain regions of Senegal, southern Mauritania, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, and Niger. Given this situation, FEWS NET projects the following:
      • In bimodal areas: The main rainy season which began on-time in March 2014 will continue normally through late July. Cumulative rainfall totals will be similar to average and rainfall distribution will be normal. In addition, the short rainy season will begin on-time in mid-August and will continue normally through November. Cumulative rainfall totals for that season will be average to slightly below average with normal rainfall distribution.
      • In the Sudano-Guinean zone: The rains that began in May will continue normally through October. Cumulative rainfall totals will be average and rainfall distribution will be normal, but with pockets of rainfall deficits in southwestern Nigeria, central Togo, and central Benin.
      • In the Sudano-Sahelian zone: The rainy season began in early May in the Sudanian zone but is expected to start later than normal across most of the Sahelian zone. Cumulative rainfall totals will be below average to average with medium to long dry spells over Burkina Faso, western and central Niger, northeastern Nigeria, southern Mauritania, and southern Senegal. Elsewhere, cumulative rainfall totals and rainfall distribution will be within the climatological average.
    • Hydrology: Given the rainfall outlook described above, FEWS NET projects normal water flows and groundwater replenishment in all agro-ecological zones. Flood levels will be typical and will not cause any above-average crop losses.
    • Desert locusts: FEWS NET projects that the risk of a locust infestation during the 2014/15 growing season in the Sahel will be very low. If such an infestation does occur, its extent and impact will be limited in terms of crop and pasture losses.
    • Outlook for harvests: Under the most likely scenario, FEWS NET anticipates that total agricultural production of all crops during all seasons will be generally average to above average in the region.
      • In bimodal areas: Tubers and cereals will be harvested on-time in July-August for the main growing season (March-July) and in December for the short season (September-December). Crop production levels will be above average for all agricultural areas due to attractive market prices and the commitment of governments, under the recommendation of ECOWAS, to invest at least 10 percent of their national budgets in agriculture.
      • In the Sudano-Guinean zone: Harvests of early crops will begin in August-September and will scale up, as usual, in November. On the whole, cash crop (cotton) and cereal production levels will be above average (given attractive market prices and the commitments of governments and partners), except in conflict areas of the Central African Republic, where they will be below average.
      • In the Sudano-Sahelian zone: Generally, cash crop (groundnut and cowpea) and cereal production levels will be average, with localized areas of below-average production in marginal agricultural areas of Mali, central and northern Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mauritania, Chad, northeastern Nigeria, and central and western Niger, due to the late start to the season and possible dry spells during the flowering period.
    • Outlook for farm labor: Given that the most likely scenario is that the start to the 2014-15 growing season will be normal, demand for farm labor on the whole will also be average. However, labor supply will be poorly distributed in time and space, which will cause demand to place variable pressure on supply and lead to average to above average labor costs, depending on the demand pressure. Costs could be above average in areas with highly intensified farming, while costs will be average in marginal agro-pastoral areas and in areas which saw a late start to the growing season.
    • Pasture: Given the cumulative rainfall forecast for the region and the expected distribution of the rains in time and space, pasture and crop residue production will be average to above average in both pastoral and agro-pastoral zones.
    • Transhumance and livestock body conditions: Livestock body conditions and milk production will follow normal trends but will see a seasonal improvement from July through December. The North-South migration of transhumant livestock herds will take place in November-December, as is usual, as long as harvests have been completed in southern farming and agro-pastoral zones.

    Regional Trade and Price Dynamics

    General trends

    • Availability and supply: FEWS NET assumes that, on the whole, cereal availability coupled with rice and wheat imports from the international market will be sufficient to meet needs until the next harvest in October. Availability will even improve in August with the arrival of 2014 tuber crops and green-harvested maize. With the projected normal development of the growing season in most areas and a generally average to above-average harvest, supplies will be sufficient to meet needs and there will be no shortages, interruptions, or tensions on markets in the region except for in conflict zones and neighboring areas.
    • Demand: Household market demand will continue to increase until its seasonally normal peak in July-August. In addition, household demand, particularly for millet, will rise atypically in late June-July during the month of Ramadan. FEWS NET anticipates that with the expected average growing season, household market demand will be low from October through December 2014, with harvests taking place everywhere except for in conflict zones and structurally‐deficit zones, where demand will remain consistent. However, institutional and commercial demand will remain at its currently low levels through September before gradually rising between October and December as the newly harvested 2014 crops arrive on the market.
    • Livestock markets: Beginning in July 2014, most livestock will be concentrated in traditional pastoral areas before gradually move toward southern markets in October, as is typical for this time of the year. Because of this migration, livestock supplies will be high in pastoral areas and low in agricultural and agro-pastoral areas until late September 2014. Supplies will then gradually increase in southern areas beginning in October before reaching a peak in December. Demand for cattle and poultry will peak in July while demand for small ruminants will peak in September-October due to the celebrations of Ramadan and Tabaski, respectively. Another seasonal peak in demand for all animals will occur in December with the end-of-the-year holidays. Given this context and the restoration of good animal grazing conditions between July and December, FEWS NET assumes that livestock prices will rise and remain well above the seasonal average. The above-average prices will be caused by increased demand due to population growth and improved economic conditions, particularly in cities, except for in areas affected by or near the conflict with Boko Haram or the conflict in the CAR.

    Breakdown by Basin

    Eastern Basin (Niger, Nigeria, Benin, and Chad)
    • Cereal trade: Trade flows will continue from wholesale markets in Nigeria (Kano, Sokoto, Funtua, etc.), Burkina Faso (Bobo, Ouagadougou), Mali (Koutiala), and Benin (Malanville) to large retail markets in Niger (Niamey, Konni/Tahoua, Maradi, and Zinder). Trade flows will be normal, driven by favorable price differentials that incentivize regular cereal transfers from wholesale to retail markets. However, trade will be nearly nonexistent between Chad and the CAR and very limited between Chad and Nigeria. Trade flows between northeastern Nigeria and southeastern Niger continue but have become longer and more expensive due to the conflict with Boko Haram.
    • Supply and demand: Demand will be atypically high in deficit areas of Chad and Niger as well as in conflict zones, where the presence of refugees constitutes additional demand despite the availability of humanitarian assistance. With the harvests of early millet and cowpea crops, household demand will decline across the Sahel and the entire Eastern Basin from September through December, while supplies will be up significantly, in line with normal seasonal trends. However, commercial demand will increase in October as traders make purchases to replenish their stocks. Similarly, institutional purchases will begin in December.
    • Cereal prices: Cereal prices will increase seasonally in July/August due to the lean season. Millet prices will be slightly above average due to average supplies and high demand during the month of Ramadan. Assuming an average growing season, prices for all cereals, particularly millet and maize, will fall in August. In conflict-affected areas in Nigeria and surrounding areas in southeastern Niger and southern Chad, prices will remain well above average through December due to increased demand from refugees and returnees and the absence of trade flows from the CAR (particularly of maize), even though prices in these areas will still generally decline in October after the end of the lean season. 
    • Livestock trade: Livestock trade will be normal between Nigeria and Niger and with other countries, such as Mali and Burkina Faso, which supply southwestern Nigeria via Niger and Benin. However, trade flows from Chad, southeastern Niger, the CAR, and northern Cameroon that pass through northeastern Nigeria will be below average given the conflict with Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and the conflict in the CAR. Livestock prices in these areas could be below average during the entire scenario period given the significant decrease in demand. Elsewhere, livestock prices will be above seasonal averages beginning in July and livestock-to-cereal terms of trade will improve significantly through at least December 2014.
    Central Basin (Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, and Mali)
    • Supply: Cereal supplies are sufficient to meet demand due to above-average trader and producer stock levels, particularly of maize, following above-average harvests in 2013 in Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire. Supplies could remain at this level through late September and improve in October with the arrival of 2014 crops, which are expected to be produced at above-average levels.
    • Cereal demand: Household demand in the Central Basin has been up on all markets since June 2014, in line with normal seasonal trends, with the depletion of household food stocks in central and western Mali and northern Burkina Faso. This demand will remain elevated through September 2014 before gradually declining from October through December 2014. Demand from the Western Basin (Mauritania and Senegal) will increase due to the attractive price differential between the two basins and lower demand compared to last year in the Eastern Basin. Institutional demand will be normal given the current above-average national security stock levels in Burkina Faso and Mali. If the growing season is average to above average in all countries in the region, as is projected by the most likely scenario, commercial demand could be below average with the anticipation of low levels of spatial and temporal arbitrage on the part of traders.
    • Cereal trade: Cereal trade between Burkina Faso and Niger will be seasonally high from June through August due to favorable price differentials and high trader stock levels, particularly for maize, a cereal for which the price is currently below average in Burkina Faso. Trade flows of maize and tubers from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to Burkina Faso could increase beginning in July-August due to an atypical drop in prices caused by the anticipation of above-average 2014 harvests in the bimodal and Sudanian zones. Trade flows from the Central Basin to the Western Basin could increase significantly from July through October 2014 with increased demand in Senegal and Mauritania during Ramadan and low cereal prices in Burkina Faso and southern Mali.
    • Cereal prices: Maize prices will remain relatively stable and at below-average levels, with a slight peak in July, given above-average trader stocks in the basin and the normal progression of the growing season. However, millet and sorghum prices will remain above average through July following increased demand during the month of Ramadan. However, prices for these food commodities will still be lower than their 2013 levels. Prices for all cereals will decline seasonally from September through December assuming an average to above-average agricultural season.
    Western Basin (Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania)
    • Cereal trade: Cereal flows between Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal will be up due to low production levels in Mauritania and Senegal last year. Trade flows of millet and sorghum from Mali towards both Senegal and Mauritania will also increase significantly because of increased demand during the month of Ramadan. However, these flows will decline back to normal levels with the harvest of 2014/2015 crops beginning in October.
    • Cereal prices: Cereal prices in these countries will increase from June through August. While prices will remain above average, they could stabilize beginning in August if the 2014 growing season gets off to a good start in the Central and Western Basins. Cereal prices will then begin to decline in October and will reach seasonal averages in the Western Basin by December. Record levels of rice imports by Mauritania and Senegal and price fixing measures by the Senegalese government will keep prices of rice and locally produced cereals (sorghum, etc.) stable during the scenario period.
    Coastal States (Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea Conakry)
    • Livestock trade: Livestock trade from the Central Basin (Burkina Faso, Mali) to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire will increase as usual with the approach of Ramadan. However, trade flows to Ghana will be below average given unfavorable variations in the Cedi/FCFA exchange rate, which will cause prices of livestock from the CFA zone to rise atypically in Ghana.
    • Cereal prices: Above-average cereal production in most Coastal States and stable rice and wheat prices on the international market will keep prices at average levels.

    Cross-Border Conflicts and Displacement
    • Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria: This conflict will intensify in terms of the number of armed clashes in the affected areas. In the epicenters of the conflict in Nigeria (Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states), local populations will see their livelihoods completely depleted. FEWS NET, therefore, anticipates that food security conditions will continue to deteriorate through at least December in these three states. The number of refugees in neighboring areas of Niger, Chad, and Cameroon will continue to increase from now through December 2014, as will the number of IDPs in Nigeria.
    • Southern Libya: This conflict will also continue at its current level beyond December 2014, leading to lower remittances and camel exports for immigrant populations from Chad, Niger, and Mali.
    • Central African Republic (CAR): The magnitude of the crisis will decrease by December 2014 given progress in disarming the various militias involved in the conflict. Commercial activities could also resume during the July to December period. However, livelihoods, household purchasing power, and public services will not be restored by December. Population displacements could decline during this time period but the number of IDPs will remain at least at current levels in various host regions. The presence of IDPs and refugees will continue to negatively impact the food security conditions of local populations (through increased market demand and prices, increased competition for resources and employment, etc.), particularly in southern Chad.
    Figures Figure 1. Consolidated seasonal forecast on May 21, 2014: Projected Anomalies

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Consolidated seasonal forecast on May 21, 2014: Projected Anomalies

    Source: NMME

    Figure 2. Projected wholesale millet prices (NGN/100 KG) on the market in Kano, Nigeria through December 2014

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. Projected wholesale millet prices (NGN/100 KG) on the market in Kano, Nigeria through December 2014

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3. Projected retail price of maize (FCFA/KG) on the market in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso through December 2014

    Figure 3

    Figure 3. Projected retail price of maize (FCFA/KG) on the market in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso through December 2014

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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