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Growing numbers of areas facing Stressed levels of acute food insecurity

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Niger
  • February 2014
Growing numbers of areas facing Stressed levels of acute food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Acute food insecurity in certain agropastoral and pastoral areas of the Tillabéri, Tahoua, Zinder, and Diffa regions is currently classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). Many households are foregoing nonfood expenditures in order to meet their food needs and some of those households are also depend on humanitarian assistance to continue to meet those needs.
    • High market prices will increase the number of areas in the above-mentioned regions where the majority of households will be reliant on food assistance to continue to meet their food needs between April and June of this year. Certain households in these areas could face food consumption deficits even with food assistance, particularly between May and June.
    • The gradual stabilization of domestic and cross-border trade flows is helping to ensure adequate market supplies, but staple food prices on most markets are still high, with the exception of maize prices, which are near the five-year average.

    Current Situation

    Findings from the joint CILSS/FEWS NET/FAO/WFP/National Government market and food security assessment mission show markets functioning normally, with adequate supplies ensured by good local availability and the stabilization of cross-border trade flows. Market inventories consist of domestically grown crops and a near-normal volume of imports. However, except for supplies of locally grown maize from the Lake Chad area, the Diffa region is dependent on more distant trade flows for imports of other crops from Nigeria. Exports of cash crops have also picked up, except in the Diffa region. This is stabilizing the incomes of households in non-production deficit areas from cash crop sales.

    Demand for and exports of livestock have recovered to near-average levels. Both demand and exports are up from last year when trading was disrupted by the conflict in northeastern Nigeria and low decreased trade with exporters. New livestock markets close to the country’s border with Nigeria and the use of alternative trade channels have helped normalize demand and livestock sales, with important positive effects on livestock prices and household incomes. With the shortage of pasture, crop residues are being used as animal feed. The mass use of these supplemental animal feeds has driven the prices of straw and other crop residues 70 to 80 percent above-average.

    Analysis of household cereal access based during the joint market assessment mission in February of this year showed that 15 to 20 percent of crop-producing households still had remaining cereal stocks as of this February, compared with an average of 20 to 35 percent, though most households are purchasing cereals on local markets to meet their food needs.

    Livestock are an important source of food access, particularly for pastoral households, which were able to buy 150 to 159 kg of millet with the proceeds from the sale of a male goat in January of this year, which is approximately 15 to 21 percent above the average of 131 kg. Local cash crop production is another household source of food, and the 37 to 64 percent above-average selling prices for these crops are significantly helping to improve household food access. The grain equivalent of 100 kg of these crops (cowpeas, peanuts, sesame, etc.) in February of this year is 130 to 150 kg of millet, which is above the average for that time of year.

    Cereal prices are still above the five-year average by 8 to 43 percent in the case of millet, 8 to 31 percent in the case of maize, and 11 to 27 percent in the case of sorghum. The highest prices compared with seasonal averages are on Diffa, Zinder, Maradi, and Agadez markets, where there is strong consumer or export demand. While terms of trade are currently in favor of sellers for cash crops and livestock, grain prices are expected to remain above-average over the coming months, when households will be increasingly dependent on market purchases to meet their needs.

    Household food security conditions in February of this year remain stable, but a sizeable number of households in certain parts of Ouallam, Tahoua, Matameye, Magaria, Mirriah, and N’Guigmi departments (areas marked with an exclamation point “!” on the “Near Term” map) are dependent on social safety net and food assistance programs, including  cash and food-for-work programs, to meet their food needs. Households in these areas affected by crop production shortfalls have below-average incomes from livestock-raising activities with which to meet their food needs and are beginning market purchase to meet their food needs sooner than usual.

    Updated Assumptions

    Trends in food security indicators support the projected food security outlook for the period from January through June 2014.

    Projected Outlook through June 2014

    In March/April there will continue to be adequate market supplies, which is especially important with the expected above-normal market demand driven by institutional purchase and needs for seeds for planting in May/June. Prices will stay above-average throughout the outlook period but, in general, there will be Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1). However, very poor and poor households in agropastoral and pastoral areas of N’Guigmi, Ouallam, Tahoua, and, eventually, Matameye, Diffa, Mainé Soroa, Mirriah, and Magaria departments will be dependent on planned food assistance programs to meet their food needs and will face Stressed food security outcomes (IPC Phase 2!) between March and June of this year. While well above 80 percent of households in these areas will not experience any food consumption deficits, a small minority of households especially hard hit by crop production shortfalls will be unable to meet all their basic food needs even with food assistance, exposing them to Crisis acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3).

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 2

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Millet prices in January 2014 compared with the five-year average for January

    Figure 2

    Millet prices in January 2014 compared with the five-year average for January

    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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