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Food insecurity, that remains a concern in conflict areas, could affect more households as a result of COVID-19 restrictions

  • Key Message Update
  • West Africa
  • April 2020
Food insecurity, that remains a concern in conflict areas, could affect more households as a result of COVID-19 restrictions

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Poor pasture conditions in western Mauritania and northern Senegal, due to below average rainfall during the 2019 season, for the third consecutive year, is putting heavy pressure on resources in western Mali by Mauritanian herds. In Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger, feed expenditures for livestock are increasing significantly. This situation, in addition to insecurity and looting, is leading to increased livestock sales by households in northern Burkina Faso. For the 2020/21 season, NOAA’s seasonal forecasts for the June to August period from early April indicate above average cumulative rainfall in most of the Sahel and below average rainfall in many parts of the Gulf of Guinea.

    • In the Liptako-Gourma region, IDPs due to insecurity and armed conflict, remain largely deprived of their livelihoods and continue to depend on humanitarian assistance. Many will be unable to produce crops again this year due to lack of access to their land. Limited access by humanitarians to certain areas such as northern Burkina Faso, western Niger, and parts of northeastern Nigeria, undermines assistance to those populations.

    • Despite the expansion of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the region, market supply remained stable at above average levels with large carryover stocks from the 2019 harvest. The numerous government measures to close air and land borders (not including food goods), social distancing, and quarantine, though have disrupted market activities and flows. Slight monthly price increases are observed as a result in urban areas due to the seasonal drop in stocks and consumers’ panic buying related to COVID-19. With the beginning of Ramadan at the end of April, more significant price increases could be observed, particularly on fresh local products, for which demand will be higher. This regional report is based on March country reports. For a more detailed analysis of the impacts of COVID-19, please consult the updated April country reports.

    • Poor urban and peri-urban households that depend on daily labor, petty trade in closed markets, or involvement in the local fresh produce supply chain, will experience a slight drop in income. These declines would be greater if movement restrictions persist over time. Also, markets that were disrupted in the Great Lake Chad basin, the Tibesti region and the Liptako-Gourma region could become more pronounced as market flows slow and price levels increase.

    • Most of the region will remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) until September 2020 or in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for some. However, the persistence of insecurity and armed conflict in the region will continue to worsen household food security conditions. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will prevail until September in:  the Tillabéry region in Niger; the Centre-North, and Sahel regions, and the provinces of Loroum, Komondjari, and Gnagna in Burkina Faso; the Western Sahel, and Liptako Gourma in Mali; eastern CAR; and the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. Households in north-eastern Nigeria affected by the Boko Haram conflict continue to depend on humanitarian assistance for access to food and remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) particularly in Borno State and secondarily Yobe State. In adjacent areas that remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors, the food situation would be similar or worse.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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