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Adequate household food stocks lead to stable food security conditions

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Guinea
  • April 2016
Adequate household food stocks lead to stable food security conditions

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through September 2016
  • Key Messages
    • National rice harvests are complete and households currently have stocks of rice in addition to average stocks of millet, sorghum, maize, and fonio. Markets are well stocked and prices are relatively stable. Sales of market garden crops on local markets are generating average levels of income. As usual, the flow of food trade between prefectures and with neighboring countries is picking up, except for trade with Liberia. As a result, all areas of the country are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

    • The resurgence of the Ebola Virus Disease in the Koropara subprefecture in N’Zérékoré prefecture, which claimed eight lives, is presently under control. It will not have a major impact on crop production but could disrupt cross-border trade, particularly with Liberia, whose border with Guinea remains closed. This could lead to reduced income for traders exporting livestock and market garden produce to Liberia. 

    • Certain very poor households whose livelihoods were disrupted by the Ebola crisis and who are still contending with the stigma surrounding the Ebola outbreak will be unable to adequately meet their food and nonfood needs to rebuild livelihoods. These households could be facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity conditions during the lean season (between June and the beginning of September) which, this year, happens to coincide with the seasonal rise in food prices driven by the month-long observance of Ramadan. However, their numbers will not reach the 20 percent threshold in any area.

    Current Situation


    Farming conditions: Land-clearing work for the planting of hillside crops has started in most prefectures across the country. Most prefectures in the country’s forest zone and in certain other parts of the country are seeing earlier-than-usual rains. These early rains will continue as rainfall conditions gradually normalize over the next few months, marking the start of farming activities across the country. Land preparation work is already underway in certain parts of the forest zone, where farmers are waiting for more regular rainfall activity to begin planting crops. As has generally been the case in the past five years, the government and its partners are in the process of making arrangements for the provision of farmers with inputs and other farm implements.

    Pastoral conditions: As in 2015, pastoral conditions are stable and the animal health situation is under control. The physical condition of livestock and pastures will start to improve as of June when there will begin to be heavier and more substantial rainfall activity.

    Farm labor: The re-establishment of paid and mutual assistance work groups broken up during the Ebola crisis will help better organize crop production. These work groups will be back in place by the beginning of the growing season in May and June 2016. However, in addition to the usual seasonal labor migration to mining areas, a number of youths are currently leaving the countryside, attracted by better economic opportunities in large cities. This rural exodus in recent years is steadily driving up the cost of labor, which has doubled over the last few years. The growing scarcity of labor in rural areas is negatively affecting crop production. For now, the daily wage rate has not gone up much since last month.

    Household stocks of crops: Household consumption needs are currently being met by available food stocks consisting mostly of rice in Lower Guinea and the country’s forest zone. In addition to rice stocks, certain households in Upper Guinea also have stocks of maize, sorghum, and millet. Household food stocks in Middle Guinea consist of maize and fonio. As usual, most households have one and a half to two months’ worth of food supplies, after which they will be market-dependent. In addition, the majority of Guinean households currently have enough dried cassava to meet their consumption needs for the month-long observance of Ramadan.

    Status of the new Ebola outbreak: In response to the resurgence of Ebola Virus Disease in Koropara subprefecture in N’Zérékoré prefecture since March 16, 2016 claiming eight lives, the government and its partners have taken steps to contain the spread of the disease, focusing on awareness-raising, a semi-quarantine of the target area, vaccinations, and food. The disease is currently under control and will not have a major effect on any socioeconomic activities. However, the closure of the country’s border with Liberia as a result of the new outbreak could disrupt cross-border trade, particularly exports of livestock and market garden produce to Liberia. This could mean less income for exporters and traders despite the continuing but smaller flow of informal trade with that country.

    Markets and prices: Most markets across Guinea currently have adequate supplies of cereals and tubers (dried cassava), and market prices are stable. Local varieties of rice are selling for between 4500 and 5000 GNF/kg, with imported rice selling for an average of 4000 GNF/kg. There are still rather large variations in prices from one prefecture to another. Crop prices in all stages of the distribution chain could rise during the observance of Ramadan beginning in early June 2016, driven by a strong consumer demand, which could make it difficult for poor households to maintain their food access during this period when household food stocks are gradually depleted (between June and September).

    Current food security situation: The food security situation is stable. Households currently have adequate supplies of crops (cereals, tubers, and oilseeds) to meet their food needs. The stable market prices of crops on well-supplied markets are also helping households maintain their food access on local markets. Thus, all parts of the country are reportedly experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected the assumptions used in developing FEWS NET’s most likely food security scenario for April through September 2016, except that there will likely continue to be some new cases of Ebola Virus Disease in isolated areas. However, the government and its partners are deploying the necessary resources to control and maintain the situation.

    Projected Outlook Through September 2016

    The reportedly good harvests by most households for the 2015/2016 growing season point to marketable surpluses resulting in good market supplies, enabling households to meet their food needs and keeping food insecurity at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels through September 2016.

    The month of Ramadan runs from the beginning of June to the beginning of July. This year, it coincides with the height of the lean season when food stocks are starting to be depleted. Very poor households could face problems related to high market prices of crops such as maize, fonio, dried cassava, and fruits and vegetables, which are in especially high demand during this time. Certain households still contending with the effects of the stigma surrounding the Ebola outbreak while attempting to rebuild their livelihoods disrupted by the Ebola crisis could be face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity conditions, forcing them to resort to atypical coping strategies between July and September 2016. However, the number of such households will be limited and will not reach the 20 percent threshold in any area.

    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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