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Food security Crisis in Diffa continues while pastoral areas start an early lean season

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Niger
  • April 2017
Food security Crisis in Diffa continues while pastoral areas start an early lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2017
  • Key Messages
    • Most farming areas of the country are reportedly experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. Average food availability and the positive effects of seasonal income from market gardening activities, farm labor, and short-team seasonal labor migration are contributing to these outcomes. Households in these areas should have access to fairly normal levels of income through at least the end of September 2017 maintaining these food security outcomes.

    • Most poor households in pastoral areas and certain agropastoral areas are currently experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity which could last through at least July due to the reduced availability of pastoral resources falling short by approximately 48 percent of livestock needs. The high cost of maintaining animal needs and declining prices of livestock will limit their cereal purchasing power. However, their situation could improve, bringing food insecurity to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) as of August 2017.

    • There will be Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity in the Diffa region through to September 2017 with the continuing security crisis in that area and its effects on the local economy and displacement. The limited access of humanitarian organizations to certain areas and the seasonal reduction in household food stocks in these areas could lead to food consumption gaps for poor households.

    Current Situation

    The normal pursuit of income-generating activities such as the growing of market garden crops, short-term seasonal labor migration, self-employment (the sale of hay, fuelwood, or charcoal), and land preparation (clearing) work for the planting of crops in farming and agropastoral areas is helping poor households maintain their food access and earn normal incomes, enabling them to meet their needs. However, certain poor households in these areas hard hit by production deficits have already depleted their food stocks and are facing a more difficult than usual lean season. For many of these households, their earnings from seasonal activities do not fully compensate for their cereal deficits. The majority of these households will be unable to meet their nonfood needs on account of their weak purchasing power.

    Pastoral conditions in most pastoral areas are atypically low with the limited availability of forage stocks with pasture production falling 48 percent short of livestock needs. The result will be an earlier, more difficult, and longer than usual lean season. There are herd movements in all directions which, in many cases, could contain livestock in good but remote grazing areas. The supply of livestock for sale on markets is high but the demand for export is low. The market value of livestock reflects the atypical decline of over 40 percent in the price of cattle in Tanda (Dosso), male sheep in Maradi and Soubdou (Zinder), and male goats in Soubdou, Tanout (Zinder) and Sabon Machi (Maradi). This is attributable to the low demand for exports to Nigeria with the steady depreciation in the value of the Nigerian naira. This is also weakening terms of trade, preventing poor households raising livestock from generating normal levels of income and maintaining their food access. However, livestock are in adequate physical shape and animal health conditions are generally stable, with no reports of any epizootic outbreaks.

    The continuing security crisis in the Diffa region is keeping the number of displaced at approximately 250,000, whose food security and nutritional situation remains concerning. Even with the resumption of certain seasonal activities such as farming, earnings from these activities are still insufficient to fully meet household food needs on account of the smaller than average areas planted in crops, the crop marketing problems created by the security situation, and the general erosion in purchasing power.

    In general, supplies of crops across the country are declining and imports from Nigeria are limited. Most supplies are from trader inventories, which happen to be low this year. In addition, with the seasonal depletion of their food stocks, there is a pressing demand for foodstuffs from food-short households on local markets. However, in general, staple food prices on most markets are still on the rise. There were reportedly large increases in prices between January and February, with millet prices up by 25 percent in Maradi, 30 percent in Filingué, and 31 percent in Abalak, driven by the high demand and low supplies on these markets. Millet prices in Zinder and Maradi were up by as much as 58 percent and 43 percent, respectively, from February 2016, with sorghum prices on these same markets also up by 45 and 38 percent, respectively. Millet prices in Maradi and sorghum prices in both Maradi and Zinder were reportedly above the five-year average by 18 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

    Updated Assumptions

    There are no major changes in the assumptions made by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for the period from February through September 2017.

    Projected Outlook through September 2017

    Market conditions will be a continuing source of concern, with cereal supplies below seasonal averages and a growing demand fueled by the seasonal depletion of food stocks and the month-long observance of Ramadan in May-June 2017. Accordingly, prices could be atypically high compared with the five-year average. Poor households in farming and agropastoral areas of the Maradi, Zinder, and Tahoua regions affected by production deficits and in pastoral areas could be facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity through at least the month of July. These households will spend more than usual to maintain a minimally adequate diet and to maintain their livestock due to the poor pastoral conditions in these areas. Their weak purchasing power will prevent them from meeting their basic nonfood needs.

    However, the positive effects of the start of the rainy season such as new pasture growth, the refilling of rivers and streams, and milk production and sales could improve conditions in pastoral areas, bringing acute food insecurity down to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels as of August 2017. This could improve the physical condition of livestock and strengthen terms of trade for livestock-cereals.

    Poor households in the Diffa region in areas around Lake Chad and along the Komadougou River impacted and displaced by the continuing security crisis and its effects on local livelihoods will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity through at least September 2017. In general, households in these areas will be unable to protect their livelihoods on account of their atypically weak purchasing power. This could give rise to negative coping strategies in certain areas such as cutbacks in the quantity and quality of food intake and the suspension of nonfood spending.

    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.

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