Food Security Outlook Update

Conflict is keeping affected zones in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) despite current harvests

December 2019

December 2019 - January 2020

La zone de Tillabéri est en phase 3 alors que DIffa est en phase 2 grâce à l'assistance. Le reste du pays est en phase 1 avec quelques poches de la zone pastorale en phase 2.

February - May 2020

La zone de Tillabéri est en phase 3 alors que DIffa est en phase 2 grâce à l'assistance. Le reste du pays est en phase 1 avec quelques poches de la zone pastorale en phase 2.

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

  • Apart from localized areas where food availability is declining as a result of pest attacks, floods and dry spells, household food availability is satisfactory. Overall, food insecurity is Minimal (IPC Phase 1), thanks to average agricultural production and producer stocks which are estimated to be at an average level.

  • In pastoral zones, fodder deficits and limited animal mobility due to conflict are causing problems in accessing pasture. Income from the sale of animals is decreasing and is not providing households with sufficient resources to cover their non-food needs. As a result, these households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

  • Under the combined effect of cereal and fodder deficits, decline in income sources, and increased need due to the presence of displaced persons, food insecurity is in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the conflict zones of Tillabéry and is Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) in the Diffa region.

CURRENT SITUATION

Food availability is satisfactory for most households thanks to average agricultural production and an average level of carryover stocks for producers. Compared to the five-year average, production has increased by 12 percent for cowpea, 17 percent for groundnut, 22 percent for sorrel and 54 percent for sesame. Conditions therefore remain favorable for agricultural and agropastoral households which, in addition to the cash crops they sell for income, have marketable cereal surpluses.

Although the food situation remains satisfactory for most households throughout the country, there are still causes for concern in areas experiencing cereal deficits, particularly in the Tillabéry, Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder regions. This adverse situation is largely caused by rainfall irregularities, pest attacks and floods, resulting in a gradual dwindling of cereal stocks and an early reliance on markets, where prices are relatively stable.

In the pastoral zone, food conditions are marked by a gradual decline in financial resources as a result of high expenditure due to the fodder deficit, which is estimated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to exceed 11 million tons of dry matter. The limited access to pasture areas due to conflict is deteriorating pastoral conditions and household livelihoods in this zone. Purchases of cereals, as part of stock replenishment for livestock farming households, is resulting in increased expenditure due to unfavorable changes in the terms of trade for animals/cereals.

There is a regular supply of agricultural products to markets, even markets in conflict areas where supply is continuing through alternative trade channels. The supply is coming from local traders and producers in zones with good agricultural production. 

Market demand in agricultural and agropastoral zones is mainly commercial, though there is also demand from households facing deficits, as well as from livestock farmers. Monthly fluctuations in the price of millet indicate some stability, but show increases of 15–30 percent compared with the previous month in the markets of Gaya (Dosso), Tchadoua and Guidan Roumdji (Maradi), Galmi (Tahoua) and Matameye (Zinder), due to demand from livestock and agricultural households with deficits. Compared with the previous year and the five-year average, prices are generally stable, although some markets show a reduction of 15–30 percent.

In terms of livestock markets, this is the peak period of supply by livestock farmers to finance their food purchases. More livestock are being sent to market than usual due to the significant fodder deficit which is resulting in strategic destocking. Livestock prices are generally stable compared with the previous year, though they are down by 20–40 percent compared with the average, especially where the supply is highest.

In the Diffa region, the border conflict with Nigeria and the heavy floods on irrigated pepper and rice crops have reduced livelihoods and food availability of approximately 300,000 people, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those affected by floods. In pastoral areas, drought has led to a sharp decline in the availability of pasture, which has significantly reduced the purchasing power of livestock farming households. Food assistance financed under the government’s humanitarian and social response plan is covering approximately 80 percent of food needs of displaced and affected populations, thus keeping their situation at a Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) level.

In the north of the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions and in the southwest of the Maradi region, food conditions are marked by inadequate food availability as a result of the conflict, which has reduced the amount of land sown, as well as climate events, which have prevented existing crops from properly completing their growing cycles. In addition to the negative impact on agricultural production, the conflict has further weakened food availability and consumption through the forced displacement of people into host households. Security measures and the risk of security incidents are restricting travel in the zone, including movement by humanitarian actors to distribute food assistance. Community solidarity norms require host households to share their food consumption with displaced persons. As a result, the quantities consumed in households comprising locals and displaced persons are significantly reduced and are becoming insufficient to meet the daily food needs of such households. Despite agricultural labor and sales of wood and straw to increase financial and food resources, a large proportion of food consumption needs is not covered. This is causing households comprising host families and IDPs to experience moderate deficits in food consumption, representing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity.

Agricultural and agropastoral households are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity. However, poor households with a production deficit and some households in pastoral zones are having difficulty acquiring basic non-food items and are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity.

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2020

In most agricultural and agropastoral zones of the country, food products from irrigated crops, together with cereal stocks and migrant worker remittances, will cover food and non-food needs. At the national level, food insecurity will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1), at least until May 2020. However, a small number of poor households in the deficit and flooded zones of southern Tillabéry, Tahoua, Zinder and Maradi will see their cereal stock depleted as early as March 2020. These households will rely on the market and the sale of labor for food, though this will not be sufficient to meet daily needs. A small number of households in these zones will therefore be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between March and May 2020.

Low fodder availability in February and March 2020 and disruption of livestock markets due to conflict and closure of the border with Nigeria will lead some pastoral zones to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Poor populations in the pastoral bands of Nguigmi, Tanout and Abalak, which have accumulated fodder deficits over two to three years, will sell most of their remaining livestock and will not be able to buy the amount of food products needed between March and May 2020. A relatively small number of pastoral households in these zones will therefore be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between March and May 2020.

In the Diffa region, conflicts are expected to persist, as are the effects of floods on livelihoods. However, security conditions in the region are allowing food aid to be distributed to displaced and affected persons, which will keep food insecurity at Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) levels. In the Tillabéry region, however, populations affected by the security crisis will experience insufficient food availability, due to the cereal deficit and sharing of available food with IDPs. Food consumption will remain in deficit, especially in the absence of food aid, and will lead to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity in northern Tillabéry for poor people hosting IDPs. 

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.
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