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Food availability is at an average level in Niger despite pockets of low production in locations in the agricultural areas of Maradi, Zinder and Tahoua. Field preparation, irrigated farming maintenance work and remittances are ensuring coverage of food requirements for the majority of households. As such, acute food insecurity conditions are deemed Minimal (IPC Phase 1) until September 2018 for most households.
The premature deterioration of livestock conditions following the fodder deficit is having a negative impact on livestock production and the income of pastoral households. The poorest households have resorted to increased migration, sale of livestock, borrowing and laboring to increase their income and maintain their food consumption levels. Consequently, the majority of these households will continue to experience Stressed food insecurity (IPC Phase 2) until September 2018.
Markets are well stocked because of the usual supply of domestic and imported goods, apart from in the Diffa region, due to the ongoing civil unrest. However, the price of foodstuffs has risen moderately compared with March 2017 and the five-year average. This seasonal price increase and the drop in purchasing power are reflected by a Stressed food insecurity situation (IPC Phase 2), which poor agricultural and agropastoral households will have to contend with from June 2018 onwards.
The ongoing conflict in the Diffa region, coupled with limited opportunities for trade, disrupted livelihoods, limited access to humanitarian assistance and a constant influx of displaced persons, refugees and returning refugees, will continue to cause acute food insecurity at Crisis level (IPC Phase 3) until at least September 2018.
Overall cereal production levels are average, and, combined with regular supplies from the regional market (Benin, Mali and Burkina Faso), this is making for a satisfactory level of food availability nationwide. Furthermore, income-generating activities such as market gardening, seasonal migration, self-employment (sale of hay, firewood and coal) and clearing work are continuing as normal and enable poor households to maintain access to staple foods.
However, food security conditions are still precarious for some poor households in agricultural and agropastoral areas that have experienced production deficits. The majority of these households are unable to meet their non-food needs because their stocks are exhausted, income from the sale of agricultural produce has dropped and their purchasing power is weak.
The pastoral situation is still marked by the unusual depletion of fodder stocks for the third consecutive year, which led to a premature lean season starting in February rather than March. This is causing an elevated livestock supply on the local markets and a strong concentration in the receiving areas, with the various forms of conflict that this can entail. Compounding the issue is the weak naira exchange rate, which does not favor the transfer of livestock to Nigeria, the main target market. Terms of trade are below the seasonal average and do not enable households to fully meet their basic needs.
The supply of agricultural produce is at a seasonal low on the local markets with the withdrawal of producers from the market, which is leaving room for traders. However, market supply remains regular because of market garden crops and continuing imports from the regional market (Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali). Moreover, demand has stabilized in the agricultural area with institutional procurement from producers coming to an end, while it is gradually increasing in pastoral areas and in poor households in agropastoral areas due to the seasonal depletion of their stocks. Prices have increased moderately compared with March 2017 and the five-year average, with a more than 20 percent increase for maize in Diffa and millet in Filingué owing to high demand.
The food and nutritional situation remains precarious for the 250,000 displaced persons because of the ongoing civil conflict in the Diffa region. The presence of these displaced persons is putting additional pressure on sources of food and income, and on stock levels for host populations. Despite efforts to resume economic activities, purchasing power is significantly below average and consumption deficits persist in poor households.
The projected FEWS NET scenario assumptions for the February through September 2018 period have not significantly changed.
The impacts of the Minimal food insecurity phase (IPC Phase 1) will continue until at least September 2018 in the agricultural and agropastoral areas of Maradi, Tahoua, Zinder and the southern reaches of Tillabéry. However, in some pockets of agricultural and agropastoral areas, due to food difficulties and limited income-generating opportunities, coupled with the rise in the price of basic necessities, most households will only be able to meet their food and non-food needs thanks to the regular sale of products subsidized by the government’s social safety net. Poor households located in pastoral areas will have adequate levels of food consumption due to improved pastoral conditions from July to September 2018. Most of these households will experience Minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) over this period.
The pressure on resources created by the displaced population is continuing to affect host household stocks in the pepper-growing area of the Diffa region, causing a consumption deficit and a Crisis level of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3). The impact of this Crisis will continue to be felt by most households until at least September 2018, owing to the ongoing security problems.
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.