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Return to seasonally normal food security conditions except in conflict zones

  • Food Security Outlook
  • West Africa
  • July - December 2014
Return to seasonally normal food security conditions except in conflict zones

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  • Key Messages
  • Outlook by Country
  • Events That Could Change The Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • Prolonged dryness between June and early July caused significant planting failures and prolonged the lean season in pastoral areas of the Sahel, particularly in Chad, Niger, Mauritania, and Senegal. However, rainfall has returned to normal since the middle of July, contributing to good crop and pasture growth and development. 

    • Continuing disruptions of household livelihoods by civil insecurity problems and this year’s premature depletion of food stocks due to last year’s poor harvests will maintain food insecurity in many parts of the Sahel at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels through the end of September, particularly in Mauritania, Niger, northeastern Nigeria, Chad, and the Central African Republic.

    • With the full recovery of pasture in August and the upcoming harvests beginning in October, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity will give way to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity, and at most, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes in very localized areas of Mauritania and Niger. 

    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity will persist in northeastern Nigeria and the Central African Republic through December due to the effects of the conflict in these areas on household livelihoods and crop production. Poor households affected by the conflicts in both countries, or a total of approximately 1.5 million people, will require food assistance, even during the normal harvest and post-harvest period (October through December).

    • Markets supply across the region will continue to be adequate, except in conflict areas, which will keep prices stable between August and September. Prices are generally expected to come down with the start of harvests in October. 


    Outlook by Country
    Burkina Faso
    • The poor spatial-temporal distribution of rainfall in the northern part of the country is prolonging the lean season for pastoral populations and raising concerns among farmers still waiting to plant their fields. Seasonal forecasts for this area for July through September are predicting below-average to average cumulative rainfall.
    • The cultivation season is progressing relatively normally in the rest of the country, where cumulative rainfall totals for July through September are expected to be average to below-average. Households are experiencing a typical lean season marked by above-average trader inventories and staple food prices near the five-year average.
    • Poor households in northern agropastoral areas of the Sahelian region will face livelihood protection deficits between July and September due to their weakened purchasing power with the deterioration in terms of trade for livestock to cereals. Thus, food security outcomes for these households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September.

    To learn more, see the complete July through December 2014 Food Security Outlook for Burkina Faso.

    Chad
    • The food security situation for poor households in Bahr El Ghazel (BEG) and Wadi Fira is a continuing source of concern. Household food stocks from market purchases are inadequate due to the extremely limited sources of income in these areas. Despite ongoing food assistance programs, households will be unable to meet their food needs between now and the upcoming October harvests and will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!).
    • The distribution of rainfall in June in the Sudanian zone was worse than usual. This delayed crop planting activities and required the localized replanting of crops, particularly in Mayo Kebbi, Tandjilé, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental, Moyen Chari, and Mandoul.
    • The July rains in the Sahelian zone triggered crop planting activities in villages across the area. In addition, these rains filled seasonal lakes and ponds used as animal watering holes, providing pastoralists with water for their livestock and, before long, a good supply of pasture. This will improve the physical condition of the emaciated animals in certain areas, along with milk availability, pastoral incomes, and food access for local households.
    • With upcoming harvests of early crops, the seasonal decline in cereal prices, and the improvement in pastoral conditions, there will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity in nearly all parts of the country between October and December.

    To learn more, see the complete July through December 2014 Food Security Outlook for Chad.

    Mali
    • Distributions of food rations to 1,900,000 recipients under the government’s National Response Plan backstopped by the humanitarian community should prevent a further escalation in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) levels of acute food insecurity in the Timbuktu, Gao, and Kidal regions, the Dogon Plateau area of Bandiagara, and the Western Sahel between July and September.
    • The rainy season began 1-2 weeks earlier than usual in May, which supported planting activities in both southern and northern farming areas, affording average food and income-generating opportunities for poor households. Cumulative seasonal rainfall totals for this season are expected to be average to below average.
    • The May-June rains helped spur new pasture growth, allowing for the normal start-up of herd movements by transhumant livestock to seasonal grazing areas. However, the unusual deterioration in the condition of certain rangelands due to the biomass deficit created by last year’s low rainfall, particularly in the Western Sahel and northern areas, prolonged the lean season in pastoral areas through the end of July, affecting normal milk production levels and the normal physical condition of livestock.
    • By October, good terms of trade for livestock/cereals, the availability of milk and dairy products for pastoral households, and harvests of crops by agropastoral households will improve food consumption, which should return to normal seasonal levels. There will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity in all parts of the country between October and December.

    To learn more, see the complete July through December 2014 Food Security Outlook for Mali.

    Mauritania
    • Poor households in western rainfed farming areas (northern Guidimakha) and southwestern agropastoral areas (northern and eastern Gorgol) will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). They are facing an especially difficult lean season and are having problems meeting their basic food needs due to their heavy market dependence and extremely low seasonal incomes.
    • Poor households in the west of the Rainfed Cultivation Zone (in northern Guidimakha) and southwestern areas of the Agropastoral Zone (in northern and eastern Gorgol) are still in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). With their heavy market dependency and extremely low seasonal incomes, they are facing an especially harsh lean season and are having difficulty meeting their basic food needs.
    • The growing flow of cereal from Mali, the jump-starting of farming activities in late July, and the improvement in pastoral conditions should strengthen the food security situation of poor households between August and September, with the exception of households in western areas of the Agropastoral zone, which will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
    • There will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity  in all livelihood zones after the end of September, except in certain pastoral and flood-recession farming areas in which conditions will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In fact, food security conditions in pastoral areas and the Senegal River Valley will be slower to improve due to their dependence on flood recession crops.
    • As of the end of September, there will be Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) in all livelihood zones with the exception of certain pastoral and flood-recession farming areas, where conditions will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). This improvement in food security conditions will take more time in pastoral areas and the Senegal River Valley due to their dependence on flood recession crops.

    To learn more, see the complete July through December 2014 Food Security Outlook for Mauritania.

    Niger
    • Poor pasture conditions and shortages of water prolonged the lean season in pastoral areas, which normally ends in July, through the month of August. This has undermined major livelihoods activities such as the production and sale of animal products (milk, cheese, and butter) which, as a result, will be weaker than usual compared with the same time of year. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity in July could fall to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in August and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from September through December if the above-average rainfall levels observed in late July continue through late September 2014.
    • In agricultural and agropastoral zones, household food security remains on the whole Stressed (IPC Phase 2), but has been kept from deteriorating further by government food distributions and humanitarian assistance. However, if funding for the national assistance plan remains low, food insecurity could reach Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels in localized areas between now and September.
    • Rainfall forecasts are calling for average rainfall activity in all of the Sahel countries, including Niger. However, there is also a high probability of longer dry spells during the crop reproductive phase, which could lead to reduced crop production levels in late-planted areas.

    To learn more, see the complete July through December 2014 Food Security Outlook for Niger.

    Nigeria
    • Renewed conflict in Borno and Yobe States is limiting household food access and maintaining Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity. Access to households whose livelihoods and markets are significantly impacted by the conflict remains limited for government and other humanitarian organizations.
    • Households in southern Borno and Yobe States, northeastern Adamawa State, and the Lake Chad region are those most affected by the conflict. Production prospects for households in these areas are poor for the ongoing, main cultivation season. The area is expected to continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) even in the postharvest period through December.
    • Households in northern Borno and Yobe States are expected to face fewer impacts to their cropping season, but harvests will still be significantly below average. The arrival of the new harvest in October is expected to improve household food access as they experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through December.
    • The main cultivation season is progressing typically throughout most of the rest of the country. Seasonal forecasts call for typical levels of rainfall through the rest of the season. The main harvest, which will begin in October for much of the country, is expected to be at least average.

    To learn more, see the complete July through December 201 4 Food Security Outlook for Nigeria.

    Remote Monitoring Countries1

    Central African Republic

    • Poor food availability, below-normal seasonal incomes, and weak household purchasing power are contributing to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity in areas worst affected by the conflict (Ouham, Ouham Pende, and Nana Mambere).
    • Some households, particularly IDPs, in conflict zones may have significantly below-average to no harvests this year. The effects of conflict on their crop production and incomes, as well as on humanitarian access, will continue to limit food access for these households. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity will continue through December, despite it being the typical harvest period.
    • Beginning in July, the consumption of freshly harvested crops will improve food security in areas less affected by the conflict (ex. Sangha and Basse Kotto). However, many households in these areas will still experience below-average incomes due to the disrupted economy. As a result, these households will continue to have difficulties meeting their essential nonfood expenditures and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity through December.

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

    Guinea
    • Agro-climatic conditions since the start of the 2014/15 season have been generally good and remain favorable for crop development. This is supporting the pursuit of normal agricultural activities and labor opportunities for poor households.
    • Good food availability from previous harvests and the normal, seasonal evolution of prices are in line with a normal lean season and are facilitating access to food for poor households, despite increased demand in July during the month of Ramadan.
    • Early harvests in September will improve food availability for households, who will benefit from the sale of green harvest of groundnuts and maize, from which they will derive substantial income. The continuation of Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity will be maintained through December 2014.

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

    Liberia
    • Despite the ongoing lean season across Liberia, most poor households are currently able to meet essential food and non-food needs through normal livelihood strategies, supported by continued good progress of the cropping season. Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) is expected through December 2014.
    • Although the seasonal forecasts have reported to be near to below average seasonal rainfall, the evolution of the agricultural season so far has not affected the functioning of markets. Currently, rice prices generally have remained relatively stable from May to June, which will help maintain typical food access for poor households through December.

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

    Senegal
    • Large portions of the country, particularly western and central areas, reported rainfall deficits during the month of June. As a result, agricultural activities, primarily crop planting activities, were slightly delayed compared to normal.
    • Despite food assistance efforts and stable to declining prices of broken rice, poor households in northern and central regions will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes between now and September due to the negative effects of 2013/14 crop production shortfalls, poor pastoral conditions, and groundnut marketing difficulties on household food and income sources.
    • By September, the availability of freshly harvested green crops and farm labor income will improve household food access. Poor households will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity during the harvest and post-harvest period (September to December).

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

    Sierra Leone
    • Average to above-average cumulative rainfall since April is supporting good crop development and the prospect of at least an average harvest.
    • Agricultural labor opportunities (weeding, harvesting), local labor, sale of charcoal, and petty trade are normal and providing income for market-dependent households during the May-to-July lean season.
    • No significant anomalies of concern are present or expected to affect food security in Sierra Leone between July and December 2014. As a result, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity will be expected through at least December.

    To learn more, see the complete July 2014 Remote Monitoring Update for Sierra Leone

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

     

     


    Events That Could Change The Outlook

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

    Area

    Event

    Impact on food security outcomes

    Sahel

    Premature end of the rainy season in early September, preventing the maturation of pasture and crops

    • Earlier than usual market purchasing by September/October, with  traders speculation, heavy demand exceeding supply, and unusually steep price increases curtailing the food access of poor households
    • Unusual movements by pastoral populations and animals
    • Atypical reduction in food consumption
    • Rise in acute malnutrition prevalence

    Sahel

    Large-scale locust infestation

    • Mass destruction of pastures and crops
    • Hoarding by crop-producing households and traders and premature rise in market prices
    • Lack of harvests and extended lean season in affected areas
    • Atypical reduction in food consumption

    Northern Mali, Northeastern Nigeria, Central African Republic, and border areas

    Escalation of ongoing conflicts and growing numbers of IDPs

    • Increased disruption of local markets
    • Food shortages and atypically high food prices
    • Limited food access for poor households, refugees, and IDPs
    • Increasing food assistance needs for IDPs and refugees

     

    Figures

    Figure 1

    Source:

    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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