Food Security Outlook Update

After a late start, the growing season is benefiting from favorable conditions

August 2021

August - September 2021

October 2021 - January 2022

IPC v3.0 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 v3.0 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 v3.0 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 v3.0 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

  • The growing and pastoral season continues with favorable water and phytosanitary conditions encouraging good crop and pasture development. However, with various agricultural areas experiencing delays ranging from one to four dekads, overall average agricultural production is to be expected if the seasonal projections for short to moderate end-of-season dry spells are accurate.

  • Farming households’ stocks have depleted normally and consumer product prices at the markets are 15 to 40 percent higher compared to last year and the five-year average. This situation comes after disruptions to import frequency from the regional market following declining product availability and increased prices at source markets.  This has caused Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food security overall, which could change to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) starting in October 2021, continuing until at least January 2022 with the current favorable conditions for the growing season, which bodes well for near-average results.

  • The country — specifically in the regions of Tillabéry and Tahoua in the Liptako Gourma area, the Diffa region in the Lake Chad basin, and the southwestern part of the Maradi region — continues to experience violence from armed militias. These groups’ movements and attacks have continued despite the rains, which normally hinder movements and reduce security incidents. Thus, above-average internal population movements are observed due to insecurity additionally disrupting livelihood activities, markets, and humanitarian access.     

  • Alleviation and humanitarian response activities are underway in the country, covering households’ food needs in accessible areas, including households in the Diffa region and the southwestern area of the Maradi region, where this assistance helps maintain food insecurity at Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!). However, this humanitarian assistance is not sufficiently reaching households in the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions, and as a result most of these households are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity. 

CURRENT SITUATION

The rainy season started in May in the southern parts of the Dosso and Tillabéry regions, but the arrival stretched on to late July/early August. However, this season experienced a delay of at least one dekad in all regions, extending up to two to four dekads observed in most of the agricultural and agropastoral area.

Seasonal cumulative rainfall from the beginning of the season to the first dekad of August 2021 varied from 200 to over 400 millimeters. Although this cumulative rainfall is below the 10-year average, it ensures water needs are met for existing crops, and even presents water availability substantially exceeding water needs for crops (130 to over 150 percent), leading to overflow and flooding in wet areas.

Millet and sorghum phenology is presenting stages varying from emergence to graining for millet observed in the Gaya department (Dosso region). For sorghum, the most advanced stage is stem elongation observed in the regions of Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillabéry, and Zinder. The agricultural situation has become normal, and if the rains continue to late September 2021, average agricultural production is expected. On the other hand, if the rains stop before late September, crops sown two to four dekads late will have below-average production.

Crop pest damage is near average and very localized, including grasshopper larvae, localized damage by defoliating caterpillars to millet, sorghum, cowpeas, sesame, and moringa, fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) damage to maize and sorghum in the irrigated farmland of Djiratawa, millet damage by spittle bugs (Poophilus costalis) in the department of Magaria, and the appearance of flower pests (Dysdercus völkeri) on millet and maize in the departments of Gaya and Gouré. This phytosanitary situation is small-scale and localized and does not have a significant impact on agricultural production.

Environmental conditions are starting to be favorable for the survival and reproduction of the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) in its traditional habitat areas due to the rainfall recorded. However, the locust situation is calm, and no areas have been treated due to the desert locust.

Due to the significant rainfall recorded, overflowing waterways have caused flooding affecting 97,573 people, 6,827 homes, 2,958 hectares of crops, 1,211 small ruminants, 155 large ruminants, and 120 granaries. The regions impacted are Maradi, Zinder, Tahoua, Niamey, Dosso, and Tillabéry.

Ongoing security incidents in the regions of Tillabéry and Tahoua located in the Liptako Gourma area, in the Diffa region in the Lake Chad basin, and in the Maradi region, with terrorist group incursions in northwestern Nigeria, are causing internal population displacements in these areas impacted by insecurity. With insecurity making crop fields inaccessible and movements of people abandoning their crop fields, farmland is estimated at approximately 15 to 20 percent below average.

The rainy season remains favorable for the pastoral area, where the situation is mainly marked by pasture regrowth and a good level of water source replenishment thanks to the rainfall recorded in July-August in the pastoral area. Milk production and market value are gradually improving, resulting in higher incomes for pastoral households.

Markets are experiencing overall satisfactory but below-average product availability. The decrease is much more significant for imported cereals, in particular maize due to current restrictions in Burkina Faso and Benin, combined with weak product import flows from Nigeria.

Following export restrictions enforced by Burkina Faso and Benin, staple food prices are significantly higher compared to the same period last year and the five-year average, especially for maize, with prices exceeding other cereals. This increase varies between 15 and 40 percent at nearly all markets, in particular those in the regions of Diffa, Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Niamey, and Zinder compared to the same period last year and the five-year average. This is due to the demand from traders, consumers, certain institutions, and livestock farmers for food assistance needs, field labor, and the return of livestock farmers in the pastoral area facing below-average availability. Skyrocketing consumer product prices are also the result of increased purchase prices for products at source supply markets and high transport costs caused by extended supply routes.

Animal prices are stable for small ruminants but are declining for large livestock due to the demand for exports to Nigeria remaining low.

The health situation is marked by the prevalence of COVID-19 and the appearance of cholera in most regions according to data received from the country’s health districts. COVID-19 repercussions continue, but the infection and death rates are declining sharply and remain largely below the peak observed in late 2020 and early 2021. To date, no cases of the new Delta variant have been recorded in the country. With the favorable trend observed alongside the ongoing vaccination campaign, a calm yet volatile situation is to be expected. The health situation remains more concerning, however, due to the appearance of cholera, with positive cases and deaths recorded in most regions.

No improvements have been noted in the security situation, with security incidents persisting despite the rains and waterways that usually reduce movements and acts of terrorism by armed militia. As of late July 2021, nearly 600,000 individuals have been displaced by the crisis, 51 percent of whom are internally displaced people. Most of the internally displaced population is in the region of Tillabéry, which contains 45 percent of these people. The regions of Diffa, Tahoua, and Maradi have 35 percent, 18 percent, and 2 percent of the internally displaced people respectively.

 

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS


The assumptions of the most likely FEWS NET scenario for June 2021 to January 2022 have not changed, with the exception of the following updated assumptions.

  • Security incidents will continue, and killings are expected to continue at a higher rate than the seasonal average to October 2021 and at least until January 2022. Population displacements will also continue at a higher rate and volume than the typical situation for the same period in the regions of Tillabéry and Tahoua, as well as in the region of Diffa.

  • Given continuing demand pressure and producers’ stock depletion, prices will continue to rise with monthly increases of 5 to 10 percent in late September 2021 if imports do not arrive or are irregular due to a lack of supply at source markets in Nigeria, Benin, and Burkina Faso, or in the event of disruptions due to security issues. However, consumer product prices may decrease following the seasonal trend starting in October 2021, while remaining above average for the period.
  • The delayed start to the rains, flooding, conflicts, and disruptions to agricultural activities could cause significant drops in production in the Tillabéry, Tahoua, and Diffa regions, but production could be average overall.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MONTH JANUARY 2022

There will be a lack of household food availability in September, but sufficient market supply will continue to satisfy demand, which will decrease starting in October 2021 when household stocks will be replenished from self-production. Prices will rise above average during this scenario period, to a greater extent than typically observed. Therefore, most households will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity in August and September, and will shift to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) thanks to harvests and income opportunities from agricultural activities, predominantly harvesting.

Conflicts and insecurity will continue, maintaining food deficits for poor displaced households in the Tillabéry and northern Tahoua regions, which will experience decreased agricultural production and limited income opportunities due to the disruption of activities and above-average prices. These households will again face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through January 2022.  Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity will continue for poor displaced households in the Diffa and southern Maradi regions with food and non-food assistance.

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.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics