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Persistent insecurity and rising prices keep food insecurity levels high in conflict zones

  • Key Message Update
  • West Africa
  • January 2024
Persistent insecurity and rising prices keep food insecurity levels high in conflict zones

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The season continues as normal in Sahelian countries. Average to below-average harvests of market garden produce continue to supply markets and bolster access to food. However, access to cultivation sites and agricultural inputs remains limited for households in areas affected by insecurity and conflict in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
    • The security crisis persists in the Sahel and continues to lead to population movements, although returns of displaced people are increasingly being recorded in some places. In November 2023, 3,021,024 displaced people were registered in the central Sahel and Liptako-Gourma, 70 percent of them in Burkina Faso. In the Lake Chad basin, 5,990,879 displaced people were registered, 75 percent of them in Nigeria (IOM). Livelihoods, market-related activities, trade, transhumance movements, and access to basic social services have been severely disrupted in these areas.
    • Cereal prices in Sahelian countries were generally stable or falling between November and December 2023, reflecting a seasonal reduction in post-harvest demand and an increase in supply. However, atypical price rises were noted in areas of insecurity and deficit. Despite mixed trends compared with the previous year, prices generally remained above the five-year average due to factors such as below-average supplies, increased demand, higher transaction costs, insecurity, and trade restrictions—including sanctions against Niger by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). What's more, in Nigeria, annual inflation reached a near-30-year peak of 28.9 percent in December 2023, propelled by the depreciation of the naira and rising fuel prices. Meanwhile, in the coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea, imported rice prices remained high due to global restrictions and transport costs. Despite seasonal variations, prices currently above the five-year average in the region will persist through the lean season.
    • The majority of areas are likely to continue experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes until May 2024, with some facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Due to persistent insecurity, armed conflict, and deteriorating livelihoods, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are currently affecting the Kossi, Sourou, Yatenga, Séno, Komondjari, Gourma, Kompienga, Sanmatenga, and northern Bam and Namentenga provinces in Burkina Faso, the Ménaka region and the south of Gao in Mali, the Diffa region, the north of Tahoua, the north, west, and south of the Tillaberi region, and the south of Maradi in Niger, the northwest and southwest regions in Cameroon, the provinces of Lac, Kenem, Barh El Gazel, Tibesti, Ennedi West, Ennedi East, Wadifira, eastern Ouaddaï, and western Sila in Chad, and LGAs in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Yobe, Borno states, and the far north of Adamawa state in Nigeria. These outcomes are expected to persist throughout the scenario period, extending from February to May to Tapoa province in the eastern region and the whole of Bam province in Burkina Faso, the north and west of the Far North region in Cameroon, the provinces of Borkou, the whole of Ouaddaï and Sila, and the eastern part of Guera in Chad, as well as in several other LGAs in the states of Sokoto, Niger, Plateau, and Borno in Nigeria.
    • Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes currently observed in the provinces of Lorum, Soum, and Yagha in Burkina Faso and in the inaccessible LGAs of northeastern Nigeria (Abadam, Guzamala, Marte, Bama) will persist until May, due to limited household food stocks and limited access to markets and humanitarian aid. From February onward, this level of food insecurity will extend to the Oudalan province, currently in Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!), and the Séno province in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso. As for the Djibo commune in Burkina Faso, which has been under blockade for almost two years, FEWS NET considers that the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) remains a real possibility, as conflict, financial, and logistical factors are leading to an even greater-than-expected reduction in already minimal household food sources.  

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. West Africa Key Message Update January 2024: Persistent insecurity and rising prices keep food insecurity levels high in conflict zones, 2024.

    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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