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Continuing acute food insecurity expected in the Tillabéri, Zinder, and Diffa Regions

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Niger
  • June 2015
Continuing acute food insecurity expected in the Tillabéri, Zinder, and Diffa Regions

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Seasonal rainfall forecasting models are still producing mixed results. However, should the likelihood of average to below-average rainfall be confirmed, poor farming and pastoral households will have limited food access, with prices likely to rise sharply in July/August.

    • Food security conditions in pastoral areas of Tillabéri, Tahoua, and Zinder are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The normalization of rainfall conditions in late June/July would leave fewer areas of food insecure households in pastoral areas between July and September 2015.

    • Given the premature depletion of their food stocks and currently high cereal prices for their incomes, poor households in farming areas of southeastern Zinder and agropastoral areas of north-central Tillabéri will be unable to fully meet their food needs, which will create Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions between July and September.

    • The continued disruption of marketing routes by the conflicts in Libya and Nigeria for livestock in Nguigmi department is maintaining the food insecurity of poor households at Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels, which will likely continue through September 2015.


    Current Situation

    As of the first dekad of June 2015, approximately 25 percent of farming villages had planted crops, compared with 40 percent at the same time last year, 20 percent in 2013, and an average of 21 percent. Current growing season conditions are consistent with forecasts for the 2015 rainy season issued by Niger’s National Weather Service in May 2015 predicting a late start for the monsoon season in most farming areas of Niger.

    Market traders are not yet anticipating any problems threatening the growing season, with markets functioning normally and well-stocked with imported cereals from neighboring countries (Niger, Benin, and Burkina Faso). The continuation of government-operated subsidized sales programs in different parts of the country is bolstering market supplies. Demand is still in line with normal seasonal trends and, as usual, is from households in areas with crop production deficits and pastoral households.

    In general, food prices on most markets in May 2015 were more or less stable compared to previous months and approximately 5 to 15 percent below 2014 and the five-year average. However, there were small rises in prices of around 8 to 10 percent on the Ouallam and Abalak markets.

    The average domestic price of livestock for May 2015 was 15 to 30 percent above the five-year average, driven by demand from Nigerian and local traders. Pastures are still in near-average condition, except in the pastoral departments of Abalak and Tchintabaraden where pasture resources have been depleted earlier than usual. In general, livestock are in acceptable physical shape, though the condition of some animals in areas with few subsidized sales outlets for animal feed and depleted pastures such as Mangaizé/Ouallam is reportedly deteriorating.

    The critical conditions in the pastoral zone of Nguigmi since the beginning of May due to the pasture deficit and large concentrations of animals from the Lake Chad area conflict have visibly improved with the programs mounted by the government and its partners supplying the area with approximately 2,000 metric tons of wheat bran and feed cakes.

    Terms of trade for male goats/millet are in favor of pastoral households, running 5 to 20 percent above-average on most markets across the country. However, terms of trade in Diffa , where the conflict in northern Nigeria has disrupted business on local markets, are weakening the purchasing power of pastoral households. Thus, May 2015 prices for male goats on the Nguigmi market bought pastoralists only 83 kg of millet compared with 107 kg in May 2014, or approximately 21 percent less millet.

    Sales of straw and firewood and wage labor are helping to increase the food access of poor households. Proceeds from the sale of firewood and wage income from farm labor in the agropastoral livelihood zone in Ouallam, for example, are down by more than 10 percent due to low demand with the growing season not yet established in that area. However, sales of straw are generating 15 to 20 percent more income than at the same time last year, which is in high demand with pasture resources depleted earlier than last year when, at this time, there were good levels of grass cover in nearly all parts of the area providing better access to pasture for livestock.


    Updated Assumptions

    Trends in food security indicators support the projected food security outlook for April through September 2015, except in the Diffa area where new waves of population displacements could create a larger food-insecure population.


    Projected Outlook through September 2015

    In general, there will be a normal rise in consumer demand for cereals for the observance of Ramadan and the performance of farm work, as well as for livestock for the celebration of Tabaski. Pastoral households will benefit from good terms of trade for livestock/cereals. The definitive start of the growing season in pastoral areas in July will improve the market value of animal products and keep food insecurity in many pastoral areas at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels between July and September 2015.

    In the agricultural and agropastoral zones, the agricultural season is picking up for labor supplying households, which will create a shortage of labor and drive up its cost. This will benefit poor households, which will benefit from increased incomes. However, high consumer demand will translate into increases in cereal prices sharply outstripping rises in wage rates for farm labor. Thus, poor households in 2014 deficit production areas of Ouallam and Goure will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity in July, August, and September 2015.

    There will be some return migration in the southern part of the Diffa area, but it will not significantly affect the total number of displaced persons who, along with poor local households, will continue to rely on food assistance, which should enable them to meet their food needs through September 2015. There will be continuing damage to livelihoods in the north, where poor households will have food consumption and livelihood protection deficits through September and, thus, will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity.

    Seasonal forecasts are still mixed. However, should the pessimistic outlook for the rainy season prove true, there could be sudden, sharp rises in market prices for cereals due to speculation by traders expecting large shortfalls in crop production. These rises in prices could limit the ability of households to meet their food needs through September.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Source:

    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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