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Seasonal income-generating activities such as market gardening, brick-making, and fishing are going as usual and providing average income-earning opportunities for poor households. Most of these households are able to meet their basic needs and will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least May 2018.
For the third consecutive year, pasture deficits, concentrated mainly in Nguigmi (Diffa), Abalak (Tahoua), and Aderbisnet (Agadez), are estimated at over 12 million metric tons of dry matter. The result will be an earlier and tougher than usual lean season for pastoral populations (beginning in February/March rather than in March/April). This could affect the incomes of pastoral households and create Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions by March 2018.
In spite of the large availability of crops from recent harvests, a strong demand for the rebuilding of institutional stocks and trader inventories is keeping prices high. Prices for livestock are still below the five-year average, although prices on certain markets reportedly shot up by more than 80 percent in October and are continuing to rise, improving terms of trade and food access.
Humanitarian assistance has been keeping food insecurity in the Diffa region at Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) levels, without which conditions are expected to deteriorate into a Crisis (IPC Phase 3) situation between January and May 2018 with major sources of food and income disrupted by civil security problems. The current Crisis (IPC Phase 3) situation in the irrigated pepper-growing zone is expected to last at least through May 2018.
The continued presence of permanent and semi-permanent ponds in December is helping market garden crops (melons, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, etc.) currently in the harvesting stage. This is strengthening food availability and dietary diversity and giving households access to average levels of wage income from farm labor (1,500 to 2,000 francs per person per day). Poor households are also capitalizing on the availability of surface water to manufacture an average of 200 to 250 bricks per day selling for 35 to 50 francs per brick for use in building homes. It is also bolstering normal fishing activities, whose catches serve as a source of protein for the household diet. Other seasonal activities such as petty trade, craft trades, and the sale of milk, straw, and fuelwood are going as usual and generating normal levels of income.
Pasture levels in pastoral areas are below-average for the third consecutive year. However, the pasture deficit has not yet significantly affected either the physical condition or the market value of livestock.
Current harvests are strengthening food availability at the household level and on local markets. Prices were generally stable between October and November, though high demand drove maize and millet prices up by 41 percent and 19 percent, respectively, in Maradi. Millet prices in Diffa and Nguigmi, maize prices in Diffa and Maradi, and sorghum prices in Diffa are still more than 30 percent above-average and last year’s levels with the slowdown in trade due to the conflict and the exchange rate for the Naira, which are impeding imports of these crops from Nigeria. Livestock exports to Nigeria have recently picked up with the improvement in the exchange rate for the Nigerian currency. Prices for bulls in Tamaské (Tahoua) and prices for male goats in Tanout (Zinder) reportedly shot up by more than 80 percent between October and November, which is improving terms of trade for pastoralists and giving them better food access.
The relative lull in the security crisis created by Boko Haram is allowing for seasonal activities to slowly pick up and for the pursuit of humanitarian operations helping to ease the vulnerability of poor and displaced households, though income levels are still well below-average due to the ongoing conflict in this area. According to the Regional Refugee and Civil Registry Office (Direction Régionale des Refugies et de l’Etat Civil), there are still 250,000 displaced persons in that region. The disruptions to local livelihoods in the pepper-growing zone and, in particular, the reduction in income from pepper crops, is creating a Crisis (IPC Phase 3) situation in that area.
The assumptions underlying FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period from October 2017 through May 2018 have not changed.
Food security conditions should continue to foster acceptable levels of food consumption and dietary diversity and help promote normal livelihood activities in most areas, enabling most households to meet their basic needs and experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least May 2018.
The effects of the pasture deficit, estimated at over 10,941,003 metric tons of dry matter by Livestock agencies, will be felt by February/March rather than March/April, in the form of a longer and tougher than usual lean season for pastoral populations. Thus, food security conditions in pastoral areas will be problematic as of March, with animals losing weight and market value, particularly in transhumant pastoral areas of the Tahoua, Zinder, Agadez, and Maradi regions. This will translate into the sale of larger numbers of animals in order to purchase enough cereal for household consumption and cover necessary livestock maintenance costs. The food security situation of poor households could start to deteriorate by March 2018, putting them in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase of food insecurity.
Even with the provision of humanitarian assistance, the civil conflict will significantly affect major sources of food and income for poor displaced households in the Diffa region, preventing them from maintaining adequate food access without resorting to crisis strategies. Poor pastoral households and households dependent on pepper production will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity through at least May 2018, reflected in their recourse to strategies such as begging and mass sales of breeding animals.
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.