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Elevated levels of food insecurity continue in regions exposed to conflict

  • Key Message Update
  • West Africa
  • December 2015
Elevated levels of food insecurity continue in regions exposed to conflict

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The provisional 2015/16 cereal production estimates for West Africa (including Chad), developed by CILSS in November 2015, indicate that regional production was approximately 63,630,000 tons, which represents a 12 percent increase compared to the average. However, the countries of Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, and Ghana experienced declines in production of 10 percent, 8 percent, 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively. With the exception of Chad, these production shortfalls are expected to have only limited impacts of food security outcomes within these countries.  

    • Markets are sufficiently supplied and demand is weak due to the new harvests, which is maintaining prices at levels similar to average. However, price increases ranging from 14 to 42 percent have been noted locally in Benin, Togo, Chad, and Mauritania. Additionally, in Ghana, price increases have reached 80 percent due in part to the depreciation of the local currency. These prices increases could negatively impact food access and become a source for concern if they continue into the period of the year when households are most market dependent, which will start in April. 

    • Household food consumption continues to improve and diversify for the majority of households due to the good, ongoing harvests and typical livelihood strategies. As a result, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is widespread throughout the region and will continue in most areas until the end of March 2016. 

    • However, a couple of areas of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity exist locally in Niger and Mauritania due to the residuals effects of last year’s poor season and civil insecurity in eastern Niger. These Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will become more widespread throughout the region during the January and March 2016 period, spreading into parts of Chad, Niger, and Mali that had poor pastoral production in 2015. 

    • In northeastern Nigeria and neighboring areas of Niger and Chad, civil insecurity is reducing livelihoods activities and food access despite the ongoing harvests. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity will continue there until March 2016 due to the effects of below-average incomes and crop production, as well as poor market functioning. Similar food security outcomes are also expected in the Central African Republic as the resumption of conflict is reducing coverage of humanitarian assistance. 

    • In Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, the Ebola outbreak is coming to an end. With the new harvests and the normalization of economic activities, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity will be maintained through March 2016 in most areas. An exception, however, are localized areas of Sierra Leone where Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will exist due to insufficient purchasing power to allow households to cover their basic nonfood expenditures. 


    Figure 1


    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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