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Despite the start of the green harvests, food insecurity persists in agricultural areas

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Niger
  • August 2022
Despite the start of the green harvests, food insecurity persists in agricultural areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • After an erratic start to the rainy season in June 2022, the resumption of rainfall in July allowed sowing to be carried out in all agricultural and pastoral areas a little earlier this year than in 2021. Labor demand is normal in the regions of Dosso, Maradi, Zinder, and Tahoua, ensuring a 29 percent higher daily income this year than in 2021. Crops are in the seed formation stage currently, yet sowing did not take place in 94 villages in the Tillabéry region and 51 villages in the Maradi region as fields were difficult to access to due to insecurity.

    • In pastoral areas, pasture conditions are gradually improving from the significant and regular rainfall that is allowing the emergence of herbaceous vegetation and the replenishing of water points. However, pasture cover is not yet sufficient to allow large livestock to graze because the herbaceous vegetation is still at a low vegetative stage. As a result, animals are fed with bush straw, agricultural residues, and food supplements.

    • Supply of food products is low in markets compared to the five-year average. Prices in agricultural markets reflect a national average of 330 FCFA per kg for millet, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2021 and 24 percent compared to the five-year average. Increases of more than 50 percent are also observed in several markets in the Tillabéry region due to the drop in supply following disruptions in flows caused by insecurity.

    • In most areas of the country, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity outcomes persist. The Diffa region and the South-West of the Maradi region are Stressed 2! (IPC Phase 2!) and the Tillabéry region and the North of Tahoua are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


    The agricultural season: According to the agroclimatic forecasts, the 2022 agricultural season is proceeding normally. Cumulative rainfall since July has been good (Figure 1), as have water levels for adequate crop development (Figure 2). However, the intensity of the rainfall in the regions of Zinder, Diffa, Tillabéry, and Maradi led to flooding, which affected a total of 81,944 people according to the update by the alert and disaster management preparation office of the General Directorate of Civil Protection on August 21, 2022. According to the report made on August 21, 2022 by the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management (MAH/GC), these floods caused 8,591 houses to collapse, 620 heads of cattle to drown, and the loss of 3,308 hectares of crops. This year, more than 350,000 people could be affected by floods according to the General Directorate of Civil Protection, which is why MAH/GC has set up an inclusive crisis unit for flood monitoring and management.

    The Office of Agricultural Statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Coordination Unit of the Early Warning System of the Office of the Prime Minister (CC/SAP), WFP, FAO, and FEWS NET conducted a mid-term evaluation of the agricultural season in the first dekad of August 2021. The results confirmed the delay in the onset of the agricultural season due to dry periods between May and June. Rainfall resumed with normal quantities and with regularity in July and August. This improvement in rainfall has enabled good crop growth and a significant improvement in water levels needed for adequate crop development, with the exception of the departments of Mayahi and Dakoro in the Maradi region (Figures 1 and 2).

    However, insecurity in the region of Maradi, Tillabéry, Abala, Banibangou, and Ouallam has prevented agricultural households from planting due to displacement and the abandonment of fields during the current agricultural season. In the Maradi region, 24 percent of villages in Guidan Roumdji department are without seeds and 14 percent in Madarounfa department. In the Tillabéry region, 12 percent of the villages in Abala are without seeds, 8 percent in Banibangou, 15 percent in Ouallam, 14 percent in Téra, and 6 percent in Torodi.

    This agricultural season offers agricultural employment opportunities for poor households that do weeding labor, paid at 2,000 FCFA per day compared to 1,550 FCFA per day in 2021. Other income-generating activities such as the sale of wood are paid at 500 FCFA per bundle compared to 700 FCFA in 2021 given current weak demand due to the use of gas. The sale of straw is also an income-generating activity for poor households who earn 1,300 FCFA per bundle of straw compared to 900 FCFA in 2021 given the current reduction in supply. According to forecasts for the rainy season ending around September 30, 2022, agricultural production is expected to be average to good in 90 to 94 percent of areas in the regions of Maradi, Zinder, Dosso, and Tahoua and in 80 percent of areas in the regions of Tillabéry and Diffa.

    Pasture conditions and animal production: As a result of the July and August rains, there was a gradual reconstitution of pastures and replenishing of water points. New grasses are becoming more and more available, but animal feed, especially for cattle, is also provided by bush straw, crop residues, and rice straw along the river as well as foliage from some woody plants. The gradual reconstitution of pastures has also allowed herders to continuously reduce feed supplements consisting of wheat bran and cottonseed meal purchased in markets at prices 50 percent above those of last year and the five-year average. Surface water levels, which differ from one area to another, are providing animals with water. In August, body conditions of animals improved significantly compared to May and June, which favors a resumption in the production of dairy products, in turn increasing income for pastoralists. There is also an increase in the market value of animals, which makes terms of trade favorable for pastoralists who have access to them. In July 2022, the sale of a goat traded for 106 kg of millet, compared to 117 kg in July 2021 and 107 kg compared to the five-year average.

    Situation of agricultural markets: The availability of staple foods is down in almost all reference markets due to the drop in cross-border flows following several unfavorable factors. Notably among them are insecurity at the borders, the direct and indirect effects of the Ukrainian-Russian crisis, the restrictive measures taken by the government of Burkina Faso to stop the flow of staple food, and the low availability of food products in the sub-region due to the drop in production last year. However, market supplies are gradually improving as a result of surplus producers and large traders destocking given the promising pace of the rainy season and sales at moderate prices by the government. Prices of the most consumed grains (millet and maize) are above average, something that is usually seen during the lean season. Significant price increases of more than 50 percent have been observed following a sharp drop in supply in markets, especially those located in conflict zones.

    Security situation: From January to July 2022, 158 terrorist attacks were recorded compared to 130 attacks in 2021 and 158 attacks in 2020 during the same period. These attacks caused fatalities of 192 people compared to 558 people in 2021 and 292 people in 2020 during the same period. At the end of July 2022, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was estimated at 334,138, an increase of 26 percent compared to the total number estimated at the end of December 2021. The most significant increase in the number of IDPs is noted in the region of Tillabéry, from 99,873 people at the end of December 2021 to 156,107 people at the end of July 2022—an increase of 56 percent in 7 months. The Tillabery region has become the most affected area by terrorist acts by non-state armed groups.

    Food assistance: As part of the support plan for food insecure populations and the humanitarian response plan implementation, the government, WFP, and NGOs provided assistance in June and July to approximately 3 million people with a daily ration. This ration was made up of cereals, oil, and salt, or cash—40,000 FCFA equivalent to 2,100 Kcal per person, representing 70 percent of the estimated food needs for beneficiaries. The Tillabéry and North Tahoua regions are not sufficiently covered by humanitarian assistance. In these areas, access to populations is very limited due to both civil insecurity and the security measures put in place by the government, such as requiring a state of security emergency be established and the obligation of military escort for missions in the zones.

    Current food insecurity shows Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in most livelihood zones of the country and Stressed 2! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in the Diffa region and in the southwestern areas of the Maradi region. Food insecurity persists in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the Tillabéry region, due to the impacts of civil insecurity and the low level of humanitarian assistance coverage, and in the North of Tahoua, following the disruption of markets and rising food prices.


    Figure 1


    Figure 2

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 3

    Figure 2.

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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