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Worrying levels of food insecurity despite the gradual resumption of trade

  • Key Message Update
  • West Africa
  • August 2020
Worrying levels of food insecurity despite the gradual resumption of trade

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Except in conflict zones where access to cropland remains very limited, elsewhere agricultural activities are taking place without major hindrance thanks to good rainfall and relatively good access to inputs and labor, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Fall armyworm attacks remain limited and under control. The locust situation remains calm and the risk of a locust invasion into the Sahel from eastern Africa is diminishing. Above-average crop prospects for 2020/21 crops remain valid, but with declines in conflict areas and particularly in some northeastern, northwestern, and central states of Nigeria due to factors attributed to COVID-19, including lower capacity to purchase inputs and hire farm labor.

    • Internal and external trade is improving as a result of the continued relaxation of national and regional restrictions against COVID-19. Markets are adequately supplied at below-average levels but still sufficient to meet demand until the next harvest. However, in the Greater Lake Chad Basin, the Liptako-Gourma region, and the Tibesti region of Chad, markets remain disrupted due to insecurity. In Nigeria, supply could be hampered by the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to add maize to the list of 41 banned imports in order to increase local production and stimulate economic recovery.

    • Cereal prices remained generally stable compared to the same period last year, except in areas affected by deficits and/or supply disruptions such as Niger and Senegal and in non-XOF coastal countries where local and imported rice prices remained significantly higher on average, aggravated by currency depreciation. In Nigeria, the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency has increased the pump price per liter by 16.4 percent, which will have an additional impact on transport costs, thus leading to higher food prices. Despite the price increase observed for small ruminants in July during the Tabaski, livestock trade in general remains disrupted by movement restrictions related to COVID-19 and insecurity/conflict in some pastoral areas.

    • Most of the region will remain in Minimum (IPC Phase 1) until January 2021 and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for some, including many urban households severely affected by the COVID-19 restrictions due to the reduction in the implementation of usual livelihood activities leading to a decline in income and purchasing power. In areas affected by civil insecurity such as the center and north of the Tillabéry region, the north of Tahoua, the Diffa region and the extreme south of the Maradi region in Niger, in the provinces of Loroum, Soum and Sanmatenga in Burkina Faso, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) will remain until September thanks to planned and implemented food assistance. The same will be true for poor households in the rainfed farming zone in Mauritania, who are more exposed to the cumulative effect of an early lean season and loss of income resulting from the restrictive measures of COVID-19.

    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will prevail until September in the Barh el Gazel (BEG) and Kanem provinces of Chad due to the erosion of household productive assets and consumption deficits. The same will be true between October and January in the Central African Republic, the Liptako-Gourma region in Mali, the Lac Zone in Chad, among IDPs in northwestern and northeastern Nigeria, and in the northwestern and southwestern regions of Cameroon due to persistent conflicts with their corollary of destroying livelihoods that are being further strained in places by COVID-19 restrictions. In Burkina Faso this level of food insecurity will continue until January 2021 in the provinces of Bam, Namentenga, Séno, Oudalan, Yagha, Gnagna and Komondjari.  In Nigeria, IDPs in camps located in inaccessible areas near the Lake Chad Basin are reported to be food insecure in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) where access to food and income is very limited.

    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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