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Crisis levels of acute food insecurity expected locally at the peak of the lean season

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Niger
  • June 2014
Crisis levels of acute food insecurity expected locally at the peak of the lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Following a longer than usual period for household purchase and at cereal prices higher than normal, poor households in some farming and agropastoral areas will be unable to meet their nonfood needs from June through August 2014. From July through August, this situation will translate to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes and even Crisis (IPC Phase 3) conditions in a minority of zones.
    • Due to the effects of high cereal prices, pastoral households will continue to have less available income to meet all of their nonfood needs in June. Poor households, particularly in pastoral areas in the Diffa, Tahoua, Tillabéri, and Zinder regions, are still experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes.
    • In general, seasonal forecasts are predicting average rainfall. Assuming these forecasts continue to hold, the food security situation in the coming months will be marked by increased cereal supplies on markets and improved pastoral conditions, but cereal prices will remain above average.

    Current Situation

    Following strong to moderate rainfall in certain locations, the growing season is gradually starting in most farming and agropastoral areas of the country. As of June 10, 2014, 40 percent of farming villages had successfully planted crops, compared to 20 percent on average and at the same time in 2013. Assuming favorable rainfall conditions continue, planting completion rates will be higher and earlier than usual if poor farmers receive emergency assistance in the form of seeds early enough.

    Transhumant livestock herds which had migrated to the south and to neighboring countries are beginning to return to the north, which still lacks sufficient pasture. With the arrival of these transhumant herds and the presence of sedentary animal herds, pressure on limited pasture and watering areas has reached a peak as pastoralists and their animals experience their most critical period of the year.

    On markets, livestock prices are generally in line with the average and in some cases are even above average. However, prices on markets in the regions of Diffa (Nguigmi, Diffa, and Mainé Soroa), Zinder (Gouré), and Tahoua (Tahoua) are below average due to disrupted demand resulting from a decrease in trade flows with Nigeria and Libya. With higher cereal prices, income from animal sales will allow pastoralists to access food but will not be sufficient to meet other basic nonfood needs. In Ouallam and Nguigmi, livestock to cereal terms of trade are also noted to be 5 to 19 percent below average.

    Cereal markets and trade flows are marked by increased demand following the return of migrant workers and transhumant livestock herds, but as well as by adequate supplies of food from Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Mali. Stable or falling prices on border markets and favorable sale prices on markets in Niger are encouraging traders to import cereals. Surplus cereal and cash crop producers with extra stocks have also begun selling in the market to raise funds for agricultural production. In addition, the availability of cereals is being boosted by food assistance operations, particularly the sale of cereals at moderate prices.

    The nutritional situation at this time of year is normally characterized by a significant increase in cases of admission of malnourished children to nutritional rehabilitation centers. From January to June 10, 2014, 273,035 cases of malnourished children were reported in these centers, compared to 315,650 cases for the same period in 2013, or a decrease of 14 percent. The nutritional situation is in line with seasonal trends and the number of cases of malnutrition reported to date is well below the pessimistic projection of 465,777 cases expected for this period.

    Updated Assumptions

    Trends in food security indicators support the projected food security outlook for the period from April through September 2014.

    Projected Outlook through September 2014

    The celebration of Ramadan, the presence of returnees from Nigeria, and the return of migrants will cause a significant increase in consumer demand. Markets will constitute the primary source for meeting consumption needs and will remain adequately supplied. In farming and agropastoral areas, despite improvements related to the satisfactory progress of the growing season, the food security situation will be dominated by continued high cereal prices, preventing poor households from meeting all of their typical nonfood expenses. Meanwhile, in July and August, incomes will be low relative to cereal prices, and even when poor households focus their incomes on food purchase, those in certain localized areas will be forced to buy and consume less food. Poor households in these farming and agropastoral areas will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes from June through August. The area of Ouallam will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the peak of the lean season from July through August.

    With promising rainfall forecasts, the pastoral situation could improve beginning in July 2014. In late July, with the expected normal onset of the rainy season and the growth of pasture in pastoral areas, the physical condition and market value of livestock should start to improve significantly. This will improve food security conditions for pastoral households, who will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

    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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