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The growing season continues, with favorable rainfall conditions in July-August helping to promote good crop growth and development. These conditions, combined with favorable levels of household food stocks and regular import flows from regional markets given the depreciation of the Nigerian naira, will keep acute food insecurity at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcome levels through at least January 2017.
Good market supplies continue as a result of the favorable exchange rate for the naira and CFA franc, which is contributing to a smooth flow of cereal trade from Nigeria to Niger, except in the Diffa region due to the Boko Haram security crisis. In general, cereal prices were stable between July and August and are close to the seasonal average.
There is still a shortage of pasture for livestock in parts of Abalak and Ingal pastoral areas due to continuing sand storms and excessive rainfall delaying the growth of new grass cover. This is putting poor pastoral households in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity. By September, the recovery of pastures could contribute to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity in these areas.
The disruption of markets and major food and income sources in the Diffa region by the Boko Haram conflict will keep food insecurity at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) through at least January 2017, particularly in remote areas.
With the good rainfall conditions since the month of April (Figure 1), cumulative rainfall totals at the end of July were above the ten-year average, particularly in western and central areas of the country. This intensive rainfall activity has been creating flooding problems since June-July, particularly in the Agadez region, affecting 47 villages and 2066 households in the municipalities of Ingall, Dabaga, Tchirozerine, Agadez, Iferouane, Gougaram, and Aderbissinat.
In general, crops planted in farming and agropastoral areas are progressing normally. However, there are reports of delayed crop growth in isolated localized areas of Zinder, Tillabéri, Maradi, and Dosso regions due to the excessive rainfall in these areas. The current good agro-climatic conditions for cereal and cash crops are raising expectations for average to above-average harvests of these crops. Poor households are taking advantage of the income-generating opportunities afforded by ongoing farming activities to maintain access to staple foods.
In general, with the rainfall activity in July-August in pastoral areas, pastoral conditions are recovering with improved pastures and good water levels in animal watering holes. Milk production and the market value of livestock are gradually recovering, which is improving the incomes of pastoral households. However, the vegetation condition in the Abalak area is mediocre, where violent sand storms have killed any new plant growth and limited food supplies for animals in this localized area. Local households are still spending more than usual on animal feed and food supplies for household consumption but have been unable to meet their secondary needs in August.
There are regular, adequate market supplies since farmers and large-scale traders are selling off their inventories in the face of promising rainy season conditions and subsidized government sales. In general, prices were stable between July and August and are below the five-year average. However, millet prices are reportedly a moderate 20 percent above the five-year average given the purchases of returning transhumant pastoralists in Bakin Birdji (in the Zinder region), Ouallam (in the Tillabéri region), and Zinder in July 2016.
There were still 250,000 displaced persons in August due to the ongoing Boko Haram security crisis in the Diffa region, where poor local populations are contending with disruptions in major local income sources such as maize and pepper production and fishing activities in the Lake Chad area and along the Komadougou Yobe River.
The assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for June 2016 through January 2017 have not changed.
The good progress of the 2016/2017 growing season in farming and agropastoral areas and the favorable seasonal outlook are raising expectations for good yields of cereal and cash crops, which are scheduled to reach maturity by the beginning of October 2016 and serve as major food and income sources. The food security situation will be marked by Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least January 2017, though certain households in flood-prone areas will be facing crop production deficits and extra expenses for the rebuilding of their livelihood assets.
Despite the increasingly widespread improvements in pastoral conditions, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will continue through the end of August in small pockets of the Abalak and Ingal pastoral areas, where the recovery of pastures and the good physical livestock conditions will eventually produce Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through January 2017.
The ongoing Boko Haram conflict in the Diffa region will continue to disrupt maize and pepper production, fishing activities, local wage labor, and short-term seasonal labor migration. This area will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) conditions with food consumption gaps and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity, maintained by humanitarian assistance, through at least January 2017.
Figure 1: Cumulative rainfall (RFE) anomalies for the period April 1st to July 30th compared with the 2006-2015 average
Source: FEWS NET/USGS
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.