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Food security conditions in Diffa are a cause for concern

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Niger
  • December 2014
Food security conditions in Diffa are a cause for concern

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  • Key Messages
  • Current National Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through March 2015
  • Key Messages
    • The household food security situation in December 2014 in all livelihood zones is satisfactory, except in localized areas of the Diffa Region, where households are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • With the reported shortfalls in cereal and pasture production in Ouallam, Tchintabaraden, Abalak, and Gouré Departments, households will be unable to meet their non-food needs between January and March, and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) through the end of March 2015.

    • The combined effects of cereal deficits, reductions in household income, and growing food consumption needs with the presence of displaced persons from Nigeria will create Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food security conditions for displaced populations and host households between January and March 2015.

    Current National Situation

    The nationwide food security situation in Niger is marked by adequate staple food availability in most households, on local markets, and in cooperatives due to average overall crop production. The food security situation remains favorable for households raising livestock and growing cash crops, who are selling their products in order to buy cereals for household consumption.

    The food security situation of most households across the country is generally stable. Cereal deficits in parts of Tillabéri and Zinder regions have not yet begun to affect households’ food security. However, these unfavorable conditions triggered largely by rainfall anomalies and dry spells will gradually deplete cereal stocks and create an earlier than usual dependence on local markets where prices are relatively high.

    Food security conditions in the Nguigmi Transhumant and Nomadic Pastoral Zone are marked by progressive decline in households’ purchasing power, due to the falling prices of livestock and rise in cereal prices. The is the combined effects of a largely inadequate local food supply to meet local consumption needs and an increase in consumer demand for foodstuffs with the sudden mass influx of displaced persons from Nigeria in October and November. In agropastoral areas, particularly in Diffa department, there are already troubling conditions curtailing food access in these areas. Recently displaced households are facing a near complete livelihood protection deficit, and will fall into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity without the immediate implementation of humanitarian assistance. Poor agropastoral households with crop production deficits, particularly those hosting displaced persons, have been forced to share their small food stocks, further shortening the limited duration of these stocks. Without outside assistance, these households will be unable to secure adequate food consumption.

    In general, conditions in livestock-raising areas across the country are satisfactory. This is reflected in good grazing and watering conditions for livestock and good animal health conditions, with most livestock in their home areas and any herd movements southward still very limited. However, grazing conditions in pastoral areas of Tahoua, Zinder, and Tillabéri are marked by the poor pasture production. This is already triggering earlier-than-usual herd movements to southern grazing lands and could weaken food security conditions for pastoral households, whose financial situation is largely dependent on the state of their livestock herds and on terms of trade for their animals.

    There are regular market supplies of crops, even on markets in Diffa Region, where there are not yet any noticeable effects of the sociopolitical conflict in Nigeria on local supplies due to the existence of alternate trade routes. Crop marketing activities are increasing, with a good flow of supplies from traders and, in some cases, even from farmers in many crop-producing areas. Most market demand in farming and agropastoral areas is commercial demand from traders. In contrast, pastoral households are the main source of market demand in pastoral and agropastoral areas, where strategies involving the stockpiling of enough food for almost a full consumption year are creating strong demand. Monthly fluctuations in millet prices since the October harvest have been modest. Prices are down from last year, though moderately above the five-year average.

    After stabilizing with the end of the high-speculation period in September-October associated with the celebration of Tabaski, prices for livestock in general and small ruminants in particular are, once again, on the rise with the approaching year-end holiday season. These regular seasonal rises in livestock prices have positive impacts, particularly on the incomes of pastoral households across the country. However, prices for large animals are reportedly below average, particularly in Diffa Region where pastoralists are no longer exporting camels to Libya and there are increasingly limited exports to Nigeria.

    Updated Assumptions

    Trends in food security indicators support the projected food security outlook for October 2014 through March 2015.

    Projected Outlook through March 2015

    Irrigated food crops will reinforce cereal stocks in most farming and agropastoral areas of the country and help meet food and non-food needs. In general, the nationwide food security situation will be marked by Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity at least through the end of March 2015. Food insecurity in Ouallam, Abalak, Tchintabaraden, and Gouré Departments could escalate without the delivery of assistance designed to prevent a livelihood protection deficit.

    The slowdown in export sales of camels and other large ruminants with the conflicts in Nigeria and Libya and the low prices commanded by local sales of animals will reduce cereal purchases and consumption by pastoral households in the Nguigmi pastoral zone. In spite of the larger numbers of animals offered for sale and sold on livestock markets, poor households will have difficulty meeting their food needs and this area will remain Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) through the end of March 2015.

    The erosion of local sources of food and income, aggravated by mounting food consumption needs, with the resurgence of the armed conflict in Nigeria and resulting population movements into Niger, could continue to maintain food insecurity in the southern reaches of Diffa Region. Only the continuation of ongoing assistance programs can prevent a further escalation in the current Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity in this area between now and March 2015.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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