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Water conditions remain conducive to a good growing season

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Niger
  • September 2014
Water conditions remain conducive to a good growing season

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  • Key Messages
  • Current National Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • The heavy August rains in most cropping areas of Niger helped lead to good crowing conditions for cultivation of crops. As of the beginning of September, the earliest planted crops were in their last stage of development. Crop production prospects are good, assuming current conditions extend into the second half of September.

    • In general, new pasture growth is making reasonably good progress and the levels of water for herds are satisfactory in pastoral areas, helping to create better grazing and watering conditions for livestock.

    • There is little improvement in food security in certain areas where flooding problems are limiting economic opportunities for poor households and food assistance is still required to meet household consumption needs. At the very least, this group of households in the Ouallam, Mayahi, Mainé Soroa, and Diffa areas is facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity for the month of September.

    • Food security conditions in transhumant and nomadic pastoral areas of Nguigmi department (Diffa) will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between October and December, if not longer, as a result of the erosion in the market value of livestock with the low demand for exports to Libya.

    Current National Situation

    The beginning of September was marked by diminishing rainfall activity. However, with the heavy rainfall since the middle of July contributing positively to soil moisture, cereal and cash crops are still benefiting from good water conditions. Thus, the current growing season is making normal progress, with good weather conditions helping to significantly improve crop growth and development. Crops in many parts of the country are reportedly in the advanced seed-setting or maturity stages of development. The first harvests of millet and cowpeas in major crop-producing areas of Dosso, Tahoua, Tillabéri, Maradi, and Zinder beginning this month are reflecting the good outlook for this growing season. Current plant health conditions marked by scattered small-scale crop pest infestations in nearly all parts of the country should not affect nationwide crop production forecasts.

    Though conditions across the country are generally good, crop production prospects in a number of farming villages are marred by delays in the planting of crops and the slow progress of crop growth and development due to a high soil water content and soil leaching problems, aggravated by the heavy August rains. These scattered small tracts of land representing approximately 30 percent of the country’s crop-growing area are spread across the country, with the Zinder and Diffa regions reporting the largest concentration of such areas.

    The improvement in pastoral conditions is reflected in the better physical condition and higher market value of livestock. Conditions should further improve between October and December with the availability of crop residues bolstering the supply of pasture and the lucrative prices commanded by livestock as demand peaks between October and December with the celebration of Tabaski and the year-end holiday season. However, the reportedly poor conditions in Tchintabaraden (Tassara) and northern Ouallam departments and grazing enclaves invaded by unpalatable plant species will limit the contribution of these enclaves to the supply of natural forage.

    There will be normal, regular trade flows of market supplies, reinforced by expanding supplies from crop-farmers, traders, cereal banks, cereal imports from Nigeria, Benin, and Ghana through regular, official, cross-border trade, and government cereal stocks. Recent harvests have reduced demand from crop-producing households. Prices for food crops (millet, maize, and sorghum) on most markets in the central and western reaches of the country are generally 11 to 28 percent below-average and below figures for the same time last year. On the other hand, cereal prices on eastern markets in general and markets in Diffa in particular are still five to 15 percent above the five-year average due to the security problems in Nigeria, which are impeding the normal flow of market supplies. However, prices on most markets have begun to come down in line with normal seasonal trends and are already lower than at the same time last year.

    A total of 59,020 local residents are affected by the flooding problems in parts of the Tillabéri (Kollo and Filingué), Dosso (Boboye), Maradi, Tahoua, and Zinder regions. However, any large impacts on household assets and livelihoods are still localized.

    Updated Assumptions

    Trends in food security indicators support the projected food security outlook for July through December 2014.

    Projected Outlook through December 2014

    With on-farm consumption bolstered by supplies of freshly harvested crops, most cereal demand between October and December will come from pastoralists and a small group of households in isolated pockets of farming and agropastoral areas whose cereal stocks will start to be depleted by December due to the shortfalls in cereal production as a result of the late planting of crops and flooding problems. However, with the encouraging current growing-season conditions extending through the end of September, the wage incomes of cereal-short households and proceeds from livestock sales by pastoral households should suffice to meet their food and nonfood expenses. Barring a disruption in rainfall activity and in the currently good growing conditions for late-planted crops, in general, there should be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between October and December.

    However, these good conditions are not significantly helping poor households in the Nguigmi pastoral area, where the erosion in the market value of livestock with the low demand for exports to Libya is stressing local livelihoods. Thus, food security conditions will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between October and December, at least in this transhumant and nomadic pastoral area of Nguigmi.

    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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