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Food availability in most households remains sufficient to meet food consumption needs. Normal income levels from seasonal activities such as irrigated crop production, land preparation work, and short-term seasonal labor migration are enabling farming households affected by production shortfalls to maintain access to basic commodities. Thus, most areas of the country will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through September 2016.
Market supplies of basic commodities are adequate, and market prices are generally below-average given the continued normal flow of domestic and cross-border trade in locally grown cereal crops, except in the Diffa region. These price trends in April could extend through the end of May, when prices could experience normal seasonal rises between June and September driven by growing consumer demand.
Pasture availability is a mere 30 percent of the seasonal average, which is creating hefty expenses for maintaining animal herds in spite of pastoralists’ reduced incomes due to decreasing livestock prices following the recent devaluation of the Nigerian naira. Certain pastoral areas will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity at least through July, the end of the pastoral lean season, when Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity will evolve.
Poor and displaced households in the Diffa region in areas around Lake Chad and the Komadougou River have food consumption gaps due to the effects of the conflict on the local economy and the resulting below-average sources of food and income. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity will persist in these areas at least through September 2016.
The food security situation across the country is benefiting from the above-average cereal production and the regular flow of supplies imported from Nigeria, fueled by the recent depreciation of the naira versus the CFA franc. This food availability is helping to meet market demand and the food consumption needs of most farming households.
In April, market supplies of locally grown food crops such as millet, sorghum, and maize were regular. In general, this good cereal availability has been stabilizing household demand on local markets and, for the most part, cereal prices were stable between February and March. This price stability could continue through May/June, when slight price increase could occur in line with normal seasonal trends due to growing household demand on markets as a result of the normal depletion of household food stocks or to meet needs for the observance of Ramadan. In general, prices are slightly to well below the five-year average, which is helping to facilitate staple food access for poor households. However, the continued below-average flow of cross-border trade in the Diffa region due to the civil conflict created by the Boko Haram insurgency is limiting the food access of poor households in that area and heightening their dependence on humanitarian assistance.
Seasonal irrigated farming is creating jobs for farm labor and self-employment activities such as the sale of hay, firewood, and charcoal are ensuring the affordability of food products for poor households. These activities are generating normal income levels that are allowing households to meet their basic needs and maintain their staple food access.
No major improvement in grazing and watering conditions for livestock have occurred in spite of the scattered rainfall activity reported in pastoral areas this past month. Pasture availability is a mere 30 percent of the seasonal average and feed supplements for livestock on local markets are more expensive than usual. Moreover, prices for male sheep and bulls in Maradi declined by more than 30 percent in March due to weak local demand given the poor pastoral conditions for livestock and the recent naira devaluation in Nigeria, which is acting as a disincentive for exporting to Nigeria. This decline in livestock prices is preventing poor households from earning normal incomes and maintaining their food access, causing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity in agropastoral and pastoral areas.
The security situation in the Diffa region is characterized by ongoing civil conflict created by the Boko Haram insurgency with sporadic attacks on or incursions into neighboring villages. This situation continues to maintain 150,000 to 200,000 displaced people in camps or with host households. Most of these households are receiving food assistance from the government and its partners, reflecting the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity in this region.
FEWS NET’s assumptions used in establishing the most likely scenario for April through September have not changed.
The supply of locally-grown cereal crops and regular market supplies could remain stable as long as the depreciated value of the Nigerian naira versus the CFA franc continues to promote an influx of trade from Nigeria into Niger. However, market demand could increase between June and September 2016, fueled by procurements for rebuilding institutional food stocks, household market purchases due to the gradual seasonal depletion of their food stocks, and consumer demand for the observance of Ramadan. Thus, prices could experience seasonal rises, which should remain near the five-year average. Localized agropastoral areas could face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity at least through July.
In August, pastoral conditions should improve with the new pasture growth and rising levels of rivers and streams during the rainy season. This should strengthen the physical conditions of livestock, boost terms of trade for livestock/cereals, and promote milk production and sales. Pastoral households will likely earn average incomes enabling them to meet their food and nonfood needs and eventually experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.
However, poor displaced households and households affected by the conflict in the Diffa region in areas around Lake Chad and the Komadougou River will be unable to protect their livelihoods due to the below-average food and income sources in these areas. Households in certain areas could resort to negative coping strategies such as reducing the quantity and quality of their food intake and neglecting nonfood spending. Thus, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity will persist in these areas at least through September 2016.
This Food Security Outlook Update provides an 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 over the next six months. Learn more here.