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2014 needs higher than last year in light of localize production deficits and conflict

  • Food Security Outlook
  • West Africa
  • January - June 2014
2014 needs higher than last year in light of localize production deficits and conflict

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  • Key Messages
  • Outlook by country
  • Events that might change the outlook
  • Key Messages
    • The largest expected food security needs through the remainder of the 2014 consumption year, ending in September, are expected in Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and the Central African Republic. The increase in needs this year compared to last year is due to a combination of conflict (Nigeria, CAR) and production deficits in localized agropastoral areas of the Sahel (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Chad).
    • Preliminary assessments of the 2013/14 harvest indicate that regional production has been average to above average in West Africa. Localized areas did, however, experience moderate to significant production deficits, due to a poor rainfall distribution, particularly in the southern Sahel.
    • Pasture and water availability for livestock is expected to be average for much of the region. However, as with crop production, localized areas of pasture and surface water deficits exist in the same areas described above. Pastoral households in affected areas will face early transhumance and/or deteriorating animal body conditions, which will ultimately limit their livestock incomes and purchasing power at local markets.
    • Staple food prices are seasonably low, but are expected to begin increasing in April after off-season crop harvests are complete. Prices in the eastern commercial basin (Niger, Benin, Nigeria, and Chad) are expected to be significantly higher than average (particularly for millet and maize), making market purchase more difficult, especially for pastoral households and those that experienced production shortfalls.
    • Conflict has lead to increased acute food insecurity in the CAR and northeast Nigeria. In both countries, this conflict has disrupted typical livelihood activities, contributed to below-average incomes, displaced households, and limited market access. Households in these areas, particularly the poor and IDPs, will face food consumptions gaps or will only meet food needs through negative coping strategies.
    • Between April and June, food security is likely to deteriorate. Localized parts of southern Mauritania and eastern Chad, where crop production was especially poor, will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In northern Mali and portions of Mauritania, the peak pastoral lean season will bring Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security. Assuming a normal start to main season rains in June, outcomes will likely improve in pastoral areas during the July-September period, though areas facing Stress and Crisis will likely expand in agropastoral and agricultural areas of the region.

    Outlook by country

    Burkina Faso

    • In most regions of the country, very poor and poor households are expected to access higher than normal incomes from the sale of cash crops, including cowpea, groundnut and garden produce, whose prices are above the five year average due to increased demand. Household cereal stocks are normal and market access is good. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected for the entire country through March 2014.
    • Very poor and poor households in and around the Sahel are suffering below-average productivity from the 2013/2014 agricultural season. They will depend more heavily than usual on market purchase and will be forced to sell more animals than normal to buy food. Between April and June, these households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    To learn more, see the complete January to June 2014 Food Security Outlook for Burkina Faso.


    • Due to rainfall anomalies, 2013/14 cereal production in Wadi Fira and Barh-El-Ghazel was approximately 50 percent below average. These production deficits, along with poor pastoral conditions and atypically large food price increases, will reduce food access over the coming months.
    • Currently, poor households in both areas are only minimally meeting their food consumption needs and are facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity. However, between April and the start of the next harvests in October, food security outcomes will deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels with consumption gaps expected.
    • In localized areas of Hadjer Lamis, northern Guerra, and northern Batha, below-average cumulative rainfall totals during the 2013 rainy season caused an earlier than normal drying of forage and temporary watering holes, and early transhumant movements. Poor livestock body conditions are also causing unfavorable livestock-to-cereal terms of trade and below-average milk availability. Affected pastoral households will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity between January and October.
    • In the Sudanian zone, 2013/14 crop production was 35 percent above average and household incomes from other sources are currently normal. Poor households will continue to access food without any major difficulties through the end of the consumption year (October 2014) and will be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

    To learn more, see the complete January to June 2014 Food Security Outlook for Chad.


    • Cereal production in Mali this year experienced a 9 percent decline compared to the average. Areas affected by the most severe production shortfalls include northern agropastoral areas, the western Sahel, and the Dogon Plateau.
    • In northern regions, the security situation has improved, allowing for economic recovery and the return of displaced populations and refugees. Incomes for poor households have improved compared to previous months.
    • The gradual arrival of new crops onto local markets and improving mobility following improved security conditions are ensuring adequate market supplies across the country. Grain prices are generally below 2013 levels and near or slightly above the average. This is improving food access for poor households.
    • In the Dogon Plateau, the western Sahel, and agropastoral areas of the north, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity is expected for more than 20 percent of the population due to a significant drop in agricultural production and the lingering effects of conflict in northern areas. In worst-affected areas, small pockets of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) are also anticipated but will not make up more than 20 percent of the population in any livelihood zone.

    To learn more, see the complete January to June 2014 Food Security Outlook for Mali.


    • Pest infestation of off-season flood recession crops in the Senegal River valley and in the agropastoral zone is severely reducing the cropping potential for households. Following the poor distribution of rains in this area in 2013, this zone has already experienced below-average rainfed crop production.
    • For much of the rainfed cultivation and agropastoral zones, poor households will continue to depend on food purchases through June due to below-average crop production. Seasonal incomes for these households will not be enough to completely offset production losses, and households will face difficulty meeting their essential non-food needs. These areas will be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity between January and June.
    • Households in the north of Guidimaka suffered the largest production losses and difficulties in earning income. In this area, households will likely face consumption gaps and will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity between April and June.
    • In the rest of the country, levels of acute food insecurity remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) due to a typical availability of household stocks and access to seasonal revenues.

    To learn more, see the complete January to June 2014 Food Security Outlook for Mauritania.


    • Localized production deficits occurred in parts of the agropastoral zone in Tillabéri, Tahoua and Zinder this year. As a result, poor households have resorted to market purchase much earlier than normal to meet their consumption needs. Significantly higher than normal market prices will make purchases difficult for these households, who will forego some of their necessary non-food needs in order to meet their basic food needs. These households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between January and June.
    • The effects of significantly high market prices will also impact pastoral households in parts of Zinder and Diffa, where pasture availability is below average. Even with increased livestock sales, these households will not be able to meet all of their basic non-food needs, and will also experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between January and June.
    • Within the agropastoral and pastoral zones indicated above, some very poor households experiencing more extreme production deficits will struggle to meet basic food needs between now and June, despite their efforts to increase income and limit non-food expenditures. These households will experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity between April and June, though because these households make up less than 20 percent of these areas’ populations, the zones will remain classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
    • Despite localized acute food insecurity in Niger, most of the country is able to provide for their essential food and non-food needs without reverting to irreversible coping strategies, and will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between January and June.

    To learn more, see the complete January to June 2014 Food Security Outlook for Niger.


    • The country’s main harvest has concluded, increasing food availability and access. In general, the harvest was favorable due to a lack of major shocks (e.g. flooding, pest infestation, and drought) and increased access to inputs. Consequently, most of the population will be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity between January and June.
    • The Boko Haram conflict in the northeast is persisting. Substantial populations have been displaced in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, limiting farming, marketing, and income-generating activities. Crop production was below average in these areas. Households in Borno and Yobe states are worst affected and are projected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between January and June.
    • Households in localized areas of the north central and southwestern parts of the country were affected by flooding and dry spells, which resulted in a below-average harvest. By April, poor households will be reliant on market purchases at high prices to access food. They will resort to the sale of additional livestock animals, increased casual labor, and migration. Households in Niger state are most affected and are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through June.

    To learn more, see the complete January to June 2014 Food Security Outlook for Nigeria.

    Countries monitored remotely1

    Central African Republic

    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity, including food consumption deficits, are expected between now and the end of the outlook period (June) for at least 20 percent of the population in Bangui and in northwest and west central areas.
    • As of January 16, 2014, OCHA estimated that 902,000 IDPs (20 percent of the total population) were present in the CAR, including 478,000 people newly displaced in Bangui since December 5, 2013. Recent assessments indicate that these households are currently employing extreme coping strategies, such as skipping meals or selling assets to access food.  
    • For poor households who have not been displaced, food stocks are depleting earlier than normal this year due to a poor 2013/14 harvest and problems with theft. As a result, the next lean season will be one to two months early and more difficult than usual. In addition, the early exhaustion of food stocks is expected to cause seed shortages during the next planting season.
    • Many humanitarian agencies are currently providing assistance in CAR, particularly to displaced populations in Bangui and Bossangoa. However, these organizations report that ongoing insecurity continues to disrupt their supply pipelines for food aid and hamper distribution efforts.

    To learn more, see the complete January 2014 Remote Monitoring Update for the Central African Republic.


    • An above-average rainfed crop harvest, the start of off-season crop harvests, stable food prices and normal household incomes will allow households to meet food needs without difficulty during the 2013/14 consumption year.

    To learn more, see the complete January 2014 Remote Monitoring Update for Guinea.


    • Nationally, 2013/14 rice production levels are estimated to be 7 percent below the five-year average, primarily due to below-average production in southern counties. However, ongoing imports from international markets will maintain normal market supply and food prices on local markets are expected to remain stable. Remaining Ivorian refugees will continue to require assistance.

    To learn more, see the complete January 2014 Remote Monitoring Update for Liberia.


    • At a national level, crop production was about 17 percent lower than average this year. Poor households in areas of the north and southeast will be most affected and are likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from April onward.

    To learn more, see the complete January 2014 Remote Monitoring Update for Senegal.

    Sierra Leone

    • Household food stocks are good as a result of the above-average harvest of staple food crops during the 2013/2014 main cropping season. Poor households will earn normal revenues from typical income-generating activities through June 2014. This situation will allow them to maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least June 2014.

    To learn more, see the complete January 2014 Remote Monitoring Update Sierra Leone.


    1 With remote monitoring, an analyst typically works from a nearby regional office, relying on a network of partners for data. Compared to countries above, where FEWS NET has a local office, reporting on remote monitoring countries may offer less detail.

    Events that might change the outlook

    Table 1: Possible events over the next six months that could change the most-likely scenario



    Impact on food security outcomes

    Eastern Basin: Niger, Sahelian Chad, Northern Nigeria, Benin

    Atypically high institutional demand for cereals, especially between April and June

    • Unusually large price increases weaken food access for poor households
    • Increase in acute malnutrition rates

    Eastern and central basins: Niger, Nigeria, Sahelian Chad, Benin, and Burkina Faso

    Lower than expected cereal stocks in the eastern basin, particularly in Nigeria

    • Atypically large price increases weaken food access for poor households
    • Increase in acute malnutrition rates

    Chad, Niger, Northern Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso

    A late start of the 2014 rainy season delays cropping activities and extends the pastoral lean season

    • Retention of trader stocks causes poor market supply. This will result in large price increases in the central and eastern basins, weakening food access for poor households
    • Below average seasonal revenues beginning in May for agriculture laborers

    Pastoral areas experiencing deficits in Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso

    A significantly early start of the 2014 rainy season that forces pastoralists to begin migration north early, limiting access to pasture in southern areas

    • Inadequate grazing conditions leads to:
    • Deteriorating livestock body conditions
    • Excessive or atypical livestock mortality
    • Below-average livestock-cereal terms of trade
    • Poor access for pastoral households to livestock products and staple foods

    Northern Mali, northeast Nigeria, Central African Republic, and bordering areas

    Aggravation of current conflicts with an increase in the number of displaced persons

    • Increased disruptions to local markets
    • Food scarcity and atypically high food prices  
    • Difficult access to food for poor households, refugees, and IDPs
    • Increased assistance needs for IDPs and refugees



    Figure 1


    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.

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