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ABOUT THIS REPORT
FEWS NET Food Security Outlook Updates in September 2018 have an extended outlook beyond the standard projection period. The end of this report includes a discussion of most-likely outcomes through the end of the next lean season for this country. Reporting for this country may follow a non-standard schedule in the coming months. Check back regularly for new analysis, subscribe for report updates, or follow us on social media.
Ongoing agricultural activities are dominated by harvesting cereal and other food products, generating income for the majority of households in the agricultural and agropastoral areas of Niger. As food is available without putting pressure on livelihoods or relying on food assistance, acute food insecurity is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) for the majority of households.
Conditions in pastoral areas are benefiting from a good water supply and well-established forage and fodder. The animals have come out of a long lean season in good physical condition and with good milk yields. Household food consumption is sufficient and improved market values will protect livestock revenue.
The agriculture and livestock markets have regained their usual capacity thanks to an increase in products from domestic and external producers. Prices of agricultural commodities are on a seasonal downward trend, which contributes to improved food access for households that raise and sell livestock.
The security crisis in Mali and resulting conflict limits access to economic opportunities for people living in the northern areas of Tillabéry and Tahoua. Internal displacement is increasing in these areas. Households with limited food access are becoming increasingly dependent on food assistance to protect their livelihoods and fulfill their food consumption needs.
The security crisis in the region of Diffa following the Boko Haram conflict significantly reduces income generation potential, food sources and access to humanitarian aid for certain populations. The food insecurity phase which affects the majority of the population continues at Crisis level (IPC Phase 3).
Seasonal precipitation was more or less regular in all regions (Figure 1). The rainfall conditions are conducive to good crop development (Figure 2). This does not apply to the southern part of Tahoua, located north of Dosso and east of Tillabéry, as crops are still under water stress.
The results of national monitoring of the agricultural growing season, conducted by the Institute of Statistics for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, indicate that 59 percent of millet crops are in the advanced stages of maturity, of which 31 percent have already reached maturity. Based on this rainfall trend, the Institute of Statistics for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock estimates that 5,040,331 tonnes of millet and sorghum will be produced, compared to the average of 5,211,329 tonnes. Production estimates for cowpea, peanut, sorrel, sesame, Bambara groundnut and yellow nutsedge cash crops are 2,700,000 tonnes, compared to an average of 2,400,000 tonnes. Heavy rainfall in the regions of Maradi and Zinder caused flooding damage which destroyed an estimated 8,271 hectares of crops, according to the Ministry of Humanitarian Action.
The rainfall conditions allow good vegetative pasture development and refill water points in pastoral areas. Despite delayed rainfall and limited vegetation cover in certain parts of the pastoral area, animals are recovering well and in good physical condition. Livestock production has made a strong recovery and milk and dairy products are available on the markets.
Market supply is at a normal level. Local actors, particularly producers, take their local supply of cereals and cash crops from the new harvest to the markets. Supply and demand on the livestock markets is normal and there is a demand for animal feed cereals. The decrease in pressure on domestic consumption due to the ongoing harvests is stabilizing demand. The gradual decline of this demand contributes to more stable food product prices, in line with the normal seasonal trend.
The management of malnutrition cases within the nutritional context indicates a downward trend since the peak in June 2018 when 31,000 severe cases were recorded, compared to 28,755 severe cases in August 2018. There were 37,000 severe cases in August 2017 and 48,000 severe cases in August 2016. However, cases of moderate malnutrition almost doubled between June 2018 and August 2018, rising from 10,715 cases to 20,626 cases. Nevertheless, the number of moderate cases recorded in August this year is significantly lower than the number of cases recorded in August over the past five years, which ranges from 33,412 cases to 47,344 cases.
The effect of the conflicts in North east Nigeria and Mali continue to threaten livelihoods and limit internal and external trade flows, mainly in the Diffa, Tillabéry and Tahoua regions where these conflicts have also led to humanitarian issues.
In May and June 2018, the State and its partners provided food assistance comprising of free food distribution, sales of low-cost food or livestock feed, cash/food-for-work and therapeutic feeding rations to more than 1,300,000 people.
The most likely FEWS NET scenario for the period June 2018 to January 2019 has not changed significantly.
Projected results through January 2019
For most of the country, cereal harvests, cash crops and animal products are important food and income sources. This allows agricultural, agropastoral and pastoral populations to meet their food and non-food needs without resorting to negative coping strategies. There will be Minimal insecurity (IPC Phase 1). People in North Tillabéry and Tahoua face reduced access to their livelihoods and a decline of local economic opportunities due to their preventive displacement. Their needs will be met through targeted assistance. These areas are Under pressure (IPC Phase 2), with a minority of people who have difficulty accessing assistance and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
In the Diffa region, there is continued conflict with Boko Haram which impacts livelihoods and trade with Nigeria. There is still a dependency on humanitarian aid but its coverage is declining due to funding cuts and the difficulty of reaching certain displaced persons who are isolated in remote areas due to security issues. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity in the region prevails largely among poor populations, displaced persons, returned refugees and refugees.
Projected results to the end of the next lean season (until September 2019)
Food availability will be supplemented by off-season agricultural production and production in January to March 2019. This will provide important nutritional and financial resources for households in agricultural, agropastoral and pastoral areas. Food insecurity for the people living in these areas will be Minimal (Phase 1 of the IPC) during the post-harvest period. In April to September 2019, cereal stocks and forage resources will be depleted and food product prices will follow seasonal trends. Poor households will receive food assistance but will be unable to meet their non-food expenses. Some poor households in agricultural and agropastoral areas may experience a Stressed level of food insecurity (IPC Phase 2) during this period.
In the northern parts of the regions of Tillabéry and Tahoua, a Stressed level of food insecurity will be the norm, but with food assistance it will be possible to maintain the situation at this level from February to September 2019. Small numbers of people without access to aid will experience Crisis food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) throughout this period. In the Diffa region, livelihoods and marketing channels with neighboring areas will continue to be significantly affected by the conflict. As a result of the long duration of the conflict, aid will become insufficient for vulnerable people and their needs. The situation in this region will be dominated by Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity, which will affect mainly poor displaced people and people outside humanitarian access from February to September 2019.
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.