Food Security Outlook Update

Pastoral condition are already beginning to degrade in certain areas

February 2014
2014-Q1-1-1-MR-en

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Food security conditions are deteriorating in northern Guidimakha and northeastern Gorgol, where poor annual crop production and limited seasonal remittances (of food and cash) are hitting poor households very hard. Current Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity will escalate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between April and June.

  • The failure of flood-recession crops, low seasonal supply of farm work, and the deterioration in the condition of pastures with the earlier than usual arrival of pastoralists from pastoral transhumance areas and the impromptu increase of pastoralists from northern Senegal will maintain Stressed food security outcomes (IPC Phase 2) in other parts of the rainfed cultivation, agropastoral, and Senegal River Valley livelihood zones between now and June.

Current Situation

Pastoral conditions: The condition of rangelands in agropastoral, pastoral transhumance, and Senegal River Valley livelihood zones is steadily deteriorating under the combined effects of the overgrazing due to the influx of pastoralists from the transhumance zone and northern Senegal and the brush fires sparked by stronger than usual seasonal winds. Pastoral conditions in the north of the country are still satisfactory, which is keeping animals in this region. Barring a shock to water availability, migratory movements by these animals (mainly camels) to seasonal grazing lands will keep to their normal schedule and will not get underway until April/May at the earliest.

Livestock prices: In contrast to normal seasonal trends, with pastoralists typically limiting their animal sales at this time of year, livestock markets in the river valley, the southern reaches of the agropastoral livelihood zone, and Nouakchott are flooded with animals from off-season sales by local pastoralists looking to build up household cereal stocks for their families before heading to seasonal grazing lands as well as by transhumant Senegalese pastoralists. This is driving down the prices of livestock and sharply eroding terms of trade for pastoral households selling their animals. However, this anomaly should not last much longer, as the departure of migratory herds will tighten supply and causes prices to rebound between April and July. Supplies on markets in the central and northern reaches of the agropastoral and rainfed cultivation livelihood zones are dwindling, in line with normal seasonal trends, which is keeping prices at or above levels seen the same time last year.

Flood-recession cereal crops: Flood-recession crops (walo and lowland crops) have been severely affected by crop pests (beetles and stalk borers). Thus, there has been little to no output from ongoing harvests of these crops across the country. These crops typically account for as much as 70 percent of cereal and pulse production by households in agropastoral areas.

Harvests of winter rice crops: Harvests of these crops, which are confined to the river valley area, are currently completed and farmers in most rice-producing areas are reporting lower crop yields and near-average levels of production in spite of the larger areas planted. These results, recently confirmed by the Agricultural Statistics Service, are due just as much to limited agricultural resources as they are to the effects of stressed soil and limited use of fertalizer.

Market garden crops: Market gardening activities are currently underway, concentrated mainly in the western reaches of the river valley (in Trarza and southwestern Brakna), oasis areas of Adrar and Tagant, and areas of Assaba (mostly in Kankossa department) along seasonal streams. Crop production in these areas is expected to be at least average. Long ignored by rural populations, these crops are becoming an increasingly important part of the household diet and source of household income.

Retail markets: Markets are well-stocked with staple foodstuffs (mostly imports) and prices have been relatively stable since December. Cereal imports from Mali, which have slowed somewhat since January, are keeping southern markets (in rainfed cultivation and Senegal River Valley livelihood zones) and markets in the central reaches of the country (the southern agropastoral livelihood zone) supplied with cereals, though trade with Senegal is limited to rice (locally grown and imported).

In spite of the poor harvests of rainfed and flood-recession crops, rice harvests comparable to last year’s harvests and imports of sorghum, millet, and maize from Mali have kept sorghum prices in the Senegal River Valley (on the Boghé market) stable since December. Compared to January of last year, though, the price of sorghum in this area is down by 16.5 percent. Sorghum prices in the agropastoral livelihood zone  (on the Magta Lahjar market) are 2.8 percent lower than they were in December (due to Malian imports and the small ongoing harvests), but 12.5 percent higher than in January of last year. Prices on the Adel Bagrou market in the rainfed cultivation livelihood zone are down from December by 11.9 percent, but more or less comparable to figures for January of last year.

The price of wheat in the river valley is down by five percent from last December, but up sharply from the same time last year (by 22.2 percent). Wheat prices on markets in the rainfed cultivation livelihood zone are more or less unchanged from December, but up by 6.5 percent from January of last year. Prices in the agropastoral livelihood zone are stable, but down by 6.2 percent from last January. Sales by village-level food security stocks (SAVS) and government-subsidized shops (BS) are going a long way towards stabilizing prices for wheat and sorghum, but purchasing is still difficult in areas where prices are reportedly up sharply.

 

Suppositions Mise à Jour

Trends in the food security situation in all livelihood zones are consistent with the projected outlook for the period from January through June 2014.

Projected Outlook through June 2014

Between February and March, only poor households in the central reaches of the Senegal River Valley (Boghé, Bababé, M’Bagne, and Kaédi departments), central and northern Guidimakha (northern Sélibaby department and all of Monguel department), northern and eastern Gorgol (Monguel and M’Bout departments), and northeastern Brakna (Magta Lahjar departments), where they are having difficulty meeting their essential non-food expenditures, experience Stressed levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2). This is an unusual situation as typically there would be ongoing harvests of flood-recession crops in these areas (in February/March) and pastoral conditions would still be good enough to ensure adequate levels of milk production to at least meet household consumption needs. Migrant remittances of food and cash between April and June should stabilize the situation of poor households in the above-mentioned areas currently subject to Stressed food security outcomes, except in northern Guidimakha where the lack of a normal flow of seasonal income has been limiting their access to a typical food supply since December. Their continuing market dependence (on purchasing, borrowing, and debt) for their food supplies has begun to affect their livelihoods and is expected to expose them to Crisis levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) between April and June of this year.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

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