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With national cereal production estimated at 5,856,530 metric tons, which puts it up by nine percent from last year and 24 percent above the five-year average, there is adequate nationwide food availability to meet consumption needs. As a result, most farming households have normal cereal stocks, facilitating their food access and strengthening their income from the sale of surplus crops.
There will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity in most areas of the country through at least May 2017. Household food consumption includes a variety of foodstuffs, including off-season crops, which are also generating average levels of income for farmers growing these crops. However, the premature depletion of on-farm food stocks with the cereal deficits in farming areas of Maradi (Dakoro and Mayahi) will create Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions as of March 2017.
Pastoral conditions are marked by a pasture deficit estimated at 12,235 881 metric tons of dry matter by the Ministry of Livestock-Raising. The physical condition and market value of livestock are expected to deteriorate sooner than usual, with the resulting shortage of income to meet nonfood needs creating Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions as of March 2017 in transhumant pastoral areas of the Tahoua, Zinder, Agadez, and Maradi regions.
The food security situation in the Diffa region is marked by Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) food insecurity mitigated by humanitarian assistance and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions driven by the continued disruption of markets and livelihood activities such as fishing and the sale of pepper crops and livestock. With its persistent security problems, this region is expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) conditions as of February 2017 without the extension of humanitarian assistance.
Official figures released by the government of Niger projects cereal production for 2016‐2017 at 5,856,530 metric tons, which puts it up by nine percent from 2015 and 24 percent above the five-year average. Millet (the main staple food crop) and cowpea (the main cash crop) production are above the five-year average by 20 percent and 22 percent, respectively. This good crop performance is a result of the normal extension of rainfall activity through the end of September in all parts of the country and the average success of pest control measures. This will enable households to replenish their food stocks and make them less dependent on market purchases for their staple food supplies, as is normally the case this time of year. Continuing harvests of rainfed rice crops, watermelons, other flood recession crops, and certain types of vegetables (lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, etc.) in crop-producing areas are strengthening food availability and possibilities for diversifying household diets and sources of income. Government assistance in the form of equipment and farm inputs and the good level of the water table will help promote average if not above-average levels of off-season crop production.
This year’s pastoral conditions are marked by a 12,235,881 metric ton dry matter deficit. In addition, pastoral populations have below-average incomes due to the low demand for livestock exports to Nigeria (their main destination) with the steady devaluation of the Nigerian naira, which prevented them from commanding good prices for their animals during the celebration of Tabaski. The premature depletion of available pasture supplies as of March is expected to create added expenses for the feeding of livestock and to meet household food consumption needs. Livestock prices continued to trend downwards throughout the month of November, putting prices for cattle down by more than 40 percent compared with the same time last year in Matameye, Soubdou, Tanout (Zinder), Maradi, and Sabon Machi (Maradi) and compared with the average in Nguigmi (Diffa), Maradi, and Soubdou. November prices for small ruminants were also reportedly more than 40 percent below-average in Nguigmi (Diffa), Mokko, Tanda (Dosso), the municipality of Maradi, Tanout, Soubdou, and Koundoumawa (Zinder) in the case of male sheep and in Mokko (Dosso), Dakoro (Maradi), Tamaske (Tahoua), Tanout, and Soubdou (Zinder) in the case of male goats.
There is a regular adequate flow of market supplies with the shipments of fresh crops to major markets. Current prices for cereal crops are down from November in line with normal seasonal trends, but are still close to if not slightly above seasonal averages in areas such as Mayahi and Dakoro (Maradi) with production deficits, where there will be an atypical market demand. In spite of the continued market disruptions, shipments of fresh crops are keeping prices in the Diffa region more or less in line with seasonal norms.
There is a continuing security crisis created by Boko Haram in the Diffa region, where there were still close to 250,000 displaced persons as of December. In addition, there are continuing disruptions to the main sources of income for poor nondisplaced local populations, including maize and pepper production, fishing activities in the Lake Chad area and the Komadougou Yobe River, transhumant movements to Libya, and livestock sales in Nigeria.
The assumptions used by FEWS NET as basis for establishing the most likely scenario for the period from October 2016 through May 2017 have not changed.
Ongoing seasonal economic activities involving the production and marketing of off-season crops and farm labor will continue through March/April, providing good opportunities for poor households to earn normal incomes. This will improve household access to staple foods. Thus, most areas will continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least May 2017.
The pasture and cereal deficits in transhumant pastoral areas of the Tahoua, Zinder, Agadez, and Maradi regions and farming areas of Maradi (Dakoro and Mayahi) engendered by the negative effects of climatic anomalies will prematurely weaken the physical condition of livestock and deplete the food stocks of poor households by the month of March. These households will have insufficient income to meet their nonfood needs and, thus, will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions as of March 2017.
There will be continued market disruptions in the Diffa region and major livelihood activities such as fishing, the sale of pepper crops and livestock, and migration to Nigeria and Libya will continue to generate below-average levels of income. The Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) levels of food insecurity held in check by scheduled humanitarian assistance and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions will escalate to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity, respectively, without continued humanitarian assistance.
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.