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Harvests ease food insecurity levels but remain high in conflict zones

  • Key Message Update
  • West Africa
  • October 2023
Harvests ease food insecurity levels but remain high in conflict zones

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The 2023/24 harvests were estimated by PREGEC in September to be near average at 73 to 80 million tonnes. These harvests are estimated to be average in Mali, average to below average in Burkina Faso, and below-average in Niger and Nigeria, due to the combination of dry spells in June/July and September, reductions in sown areas due to insecurity/armed conflict, and high agricultural input costs, particularly in Nigeria. 
    • Harvests continue in the Sudano-Sahelian zone, improving local food supplies. The availability of surface water and pasture is typical and supporting livestock feed. However, forage production is expected to be below average in certain regions of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Chad due to the poor distribution of rainfall.
    • Cereal prices remained stable or increased between August and September in the Sahel during the lean season. Niger experienced another month of sharp price increases against a backdrop of reduced imported cereals due to ECOWAS sanctions. Eastern Chad also experienced price increases due to growing demand caused by the influx of Sudanese refugees. Some seasonal price declines were recorded with the first harvests, particularly in the coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea. Nevertheless, annual inflation in Nigeria continued to accelerate due to the removal of fuel subsidies and the depreciation of the naira. Looking ahead, despite seasonal price declines linked to harvests, current prices above the five-year average will persist given expected production shortfalls, sustained demand, trade disruptions, and security and socio-economic challenges in the region.
    • The majority of areas will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes until January 2024, with some areas Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In the insecure regions of Diffa and the extreme south of Maradi in Niger, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes, which prevailed until July 2023, are evolving into Crisis (IPC Phase 3), as funding shortfalls for response plans following the suspension of development aid have delayed food assistance operations until January. Areas facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to persistent insecurity/armed conflict and deteriorating livelihoods (the provinces of Seno, Gnagna, Gourma, Kompienga, Bam, Sanmatenga, Yatenga, Sourou, Mouhoun, Namentenga, and Tapoa in Burkina Faso, the Lac region, Kenem, Bahr El Gazal, Tibesti, Wadifira, Logone, ortheast Guera, east Ouaddai, and parts of Ennedi and Sila in Chad, South Timbuktu, northeast, east, and southeast Mopti in Mali, Far North region of Cameroon, and northeast, northwest, and part of north-central Nigeria) will improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between October and January 2024 due to new harvests; however, Sanmatenga, Séno, Loroum, and Northern Yatenga in Burkina Faso, Lac, Wadifira, and Ouaddai in Chad, the southern strip of Ansongo, and Ménaka in Mali, will have Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist until January 2024. In Niger, the Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes that prevailed in July in the north and west of the Tillaberi Region and in the north of Tahoua will persist until January 2024. In light of the heavy sanctions imposed on Niger following the coup d'état, this level of food insecurity could extend to many other populations or even worsen, particularly for those displaced and/or residing in conflict zones and dependent on assistance.
    • Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are recorded in the provinces of Yagha and Oudalan in Burkina Faso, and in inaccessible local government areas in the northeastern states of Nigeria. Households are likely to have reduced food stocks and limited access to markets and humanitarian aid, and food insecurity will persist until January 2024 in Burkina Faso. In the communes of Djibo and Arbinda in Burkina Faso, which have been under blockade for around two years, shortages of foodstuffs on the market and the absence of assistance are driving households to beg and forage beyond the safety radius at the risk of their lives. Acute food insecurity Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes persist, as poor households have lost their livelihoods over the long term. Extreme and prolonged consumption deficits are exposing some people to Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

    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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