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Continuing conflicts in border regions hinders the agricultural season's productivity

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Niger
  • June 2023 - January 2024
Continuing conflicts in border regions hinders the agricultural season's productivity

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Areas of Concern Agropastoral livelihood zone (NE04) in the Ouallam district
  • Most likely food security outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian assistance
  • Key Messages
    • Conflict-affected areas of Niger in the extreme south-east, north-west and south-central regions face acute food insecurity Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stress! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes throughout the lean season and harvest in 2023. The ongoing security crisis continues to impede households in their regular agricultural and pastoral production endeavours, while also disrupting market operations and trade flows in these regions. Therefore, the prices of basic food are steadily escalating. Overall, the need for food assistance will peak between July and September 2023. During this period, the impacts of security and economic factors on livelihoods are expected to be further exacerbated by potential flooding, as indicated by seasonal forecasts projecting average to surplus rainfall. The areas and populations of greatest concern are those of the Tillabéry, Tahoua, Diffa and Maradi regions. However, food assistance is currently sufficient

    • Persistent conflict and insecurity continue to manifest through sporadic attacks and subsequent population displacements. While the overall security situation is relatively stable, the Tillabéry region continues to experience significant security tension, as evidenced by the estimated theft of approximately 100,000 cattle between 2020 and 2022, according to the regional livestock directorate. The loss of these animals in agropastoral and pastoral regions results in a substantial decline in income, as well as reduced access to milk and meat for herder households.

    • The rainy season got off to a good start, with good rainfall enabling planting in farming villages. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, more than 40 percent of farming villages were able to sow in early June 2023, exceeding the proportion for 2022 and the average for the same period. Between 55 and 75 percent of villages in the Dosso and Zinder regions were able to sow. Nevertheless, the pastoral zone continues to face unfavorable rainfall conditions, resulting in a severe scarcity of pasture and water resources. These lingering effects of an extended pastoral lean season, which started early this year, will keep poor pastoral households in acute food insecurity Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes until early July, even in areas not affected by the conflict. Pastoral conditions will only see improvement after the rainy season.

    • Across the country, market supplies are currently below the normal levels, primarily due to depleted stocks and disruptions in cross-border flows caused by insecurity and the restrictions imposed by Mali and Burkina Faso. This drop in the food supply on the markets, combined with the gradual increase in demand during the lean season, is keeping prices above the five-year average, which will keep most areas in acute food insecurity Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. This trend is expected to persist until the end of September, after which it will transition into the seasonal downtrend as market availability improves and demand stabilizes with the arrival of new harvests starting from October.

    National Overview

    Current situation

    Agricultural situation: Niger's agricultural season is currently benefiting from cumulative rainfall of between 60 and 100 millimeters recorded between April and early June 2023 in the country's main agricultural zones (Figure 1). Nevertheless, the overall rainfall total is below the average recorded between 1991 and 2020, except for the central and extreme eastern regions of the country, where seasonal totals are above average.


    Figure 1

    Rainfall accumulation from the first ten days of April to the first ten days of June 2023
    NE Cumul pluviométriques avril-juin 2023

    Source: USGS

    As a result of the rainfall, 5,571 of the 13,450 farming villages monitored by the Department of Agricultural Statistics had sown millet by 10 June 2023, representing 41% of the total, compared with 15% in 2022 and 33% of the five-year average for the same period (Figure 2). The highest seed coverage rates are 44%, 55% and 72% respectively in the Maradi, Dosso and Zinder regions, compared with 14%, 37% and 6% respectively in 2022 over the same period.

    Figure 2

    Change in seedling coverage rate on 10 June 2023
    Taux de couverture des semis

    Source: Direction de la statistique de l’agriculture

    Pastoral situation: the season has not gotten off to a significant start in pastoral areas. The limited rainfall recorded resulted in minimal and localized germination of herbaceous plants. Overall, livestock feed in the pastoral zone consists mainly of natural pasture – bush straw, perennial herbaceous plants and fodder trees that are regenerating well. The animals primarily rely on underground watering points, such as cemented wells and boreholes, for their water supply. In addition, due to the recorded rainfall, several surface water points, including permanent and semi-permanent ponds, have emerged in the agro-pastoral zone, serving as water sources. With the rainy season still in its early stages, the animals are still on the move, where pasture and water conditions are favorable for the animals' good body condition.

    Markets and prices: on the cereals markets, supply remains below average for all products due to the depletion of farmers' stocks, particularly in conflict/insecurity zones. In addition, the borders of Burkina Faso and Mali continue to be closed, significantly disrupting the flow of commodities. Demand for food products is down from last year's level overall, because of the improved production during the last season, but up on average due to the ever-increasing need for consumption and food assistance in areas hosting displaced persons. Average national prices for millet and maize are up by 10% and 6% respectively compared to the same time last year, due to increased demand on the markets at the start of the rainy season, but sorghum prices are down by 10%. The increases are 14%, 10% and 8% respectively for maize, sorghum and millet compared with the five-year average. Particularly in the markets of the Agadez, Diffa, Maradi, Tillabéry and Zinder regions, the increases vary between 15 and 20 per cent due to the continued disruption of food product flows from certain source countries, instances of road harassment and the rise in transport costs following the increase in hydrocarbon prices.

    Livestock markets: the supply of animals, particularly small ruminants, is generally satisfactory. However, it remains below the five-year average on most markets due to the reduction in supply from the Diffa, Tahoua and Tillabéry regions as a result of the continuing civil unrest. Demand for bucks and bulls is unchanged from the average but up slightly for sheep due to preparations for the Tabaski holiday.

    Average animal prices remained almost constant for almost all categories compared to the same period last year. However, they showed significant increases of 21, 17 and 13 per cent respectively for rams, bucks and bulls compared to the average of the last five years, due to the reduction in supply compared to the five-year average.

    Sources of food and income: despite favorable agricultural production last year, cereal stocks are depleted for poor households due to various deductions, including repayments of loans in both kind and cash obtained from better-off households and other cereal traders. As a result, markets are the main source of food supplies.

    Poor households' sources of income, such as the sale of straw and firewood, yield higher-than-average earnings due to the heightened demand for straw caused by challenging pastoral conditions, and the scarcity of firewood resulting from the prevailing insecurity in certain harvesting areas. Agricultural labor is also one of the greatest sources of seasonal income for poor households. It generates income comparable to the average of 1,500 to 2,000 CFA francs per day for sowing and ploughing. Poor households also earn income from handicrafts and small-scale trading, which they carry out throughout the year. The terms of trade are estimated at 118 kg of millet per buck in May 2023, compared with 109 kg in May 2022 and 110 kg on average, given the generally acceptable body conditions of the animals. However, bull prices on the Agadez Commune, Bakin Birdji and Tchadoua markets were down by between 12% and 19% compared with the same period last year. Small ruminants fell by between 40 and 16% in Abalak, Ayorou, Bakin Birdji, Béla, Rive droite, Téra, Tourakou and Tchintabaraden, compared with the average for the last five years. The decline in all these figures can be attributed, firstly, to the decrease in demand, especially from Nigeria, as a result of the ongoing depreciation of the Naira. Secondly, it is due to the reduction in livestock exports to coastal countries through the Burkina Faso corridor, primarily caused by the persistent civil unrest.

    The security situation: overall, security incidents have moved up and down, peaking in 2022, unlike the number of casualties, which peaked in 2021 (Figure 3).

    Figure 3

    Year-on-year national figures for security incidents and casualties
    Les incidents sécuritaires

    Source: ACLED

    Attacks by armed terrorist groups against civilians, security forces and self-defense militias reported from September 2022 to April 2023 increased in the regions of Tillabéry and Tahoua by 108 per cent year-on-year, but the number of deaths associated with these attacks decreased by 48 per cent, according to ACLED. These attacks are increasingly taking the form of violent extremism involving looting, cattle theft, kidnapping and targeted assassinations. At the beginning of May 2023, attacks by armed terrorist groups against civilians forced the displacement of at least 13,000 people from Dessa and Kandadji (Tillabéri department, Tillabéri region). By April, 361,593 internally displaced persons (IDPs) had been reported across Niger, representing a four per cent decrease on January, but already a six per cent increase on the 2022 IDP total, according to OCHA (Figure 4). In the Diffa region, the Nigerien armed forces have launched a series of military operations since March 2023 which have significantly reduced the terrorist activities of armed groups.

    Figure 4

    National figures for the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs)
    le nombre des personnes déplacées internes

    Source: OCHA

    Nutritional situation: despite the generally average availability of food in the country, the number of cases of illness (malaria, diarrhea) has increased with the onset of the rainy season, affecting the nutritional situation of infants and young children. In addition to agricultural deficits in conflict zones, the reduction in the number of health facilities limits access to care and to activities to prevent and treat malnutrition, while making already vulnerable populations (children under five, pregnant and breast-feeding women) more vulnerable to acute malnutrition.

    Current Food Security Outcomes

    With food security conditions marked by significantly higher than average food prices and average seasonal incomes, poor households, including those in pastoral areas, cannot meet their food consumption needs without engaging in stress strategies. The results thus indicate that overall food insecurity will be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in June 2023, affecting the majority of households. In these areas, small proportions of poor household face food consumption deficits and are in acute food insecurity Crisis (IPC Phase 3) because they are physically unable to collect and sell straw and wood or supply agricultural labor.

    In addition to these unfavorable factors and conditions, poor host and displaced populations in the regions of Tillabéry, North Tahoua, Diffa and South-West Maradi are facing the effects of conflict and civil insecurity on their food consumption and livelihoods. Significant deficits in food consumption and major disruptions to their livelihoods have led to acute food insecurity Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. However, the populations of the Diffa and Maradi regions, who regularly receive sufficient food assistance due to good security coverage of the areas by the defense and security forces, are facing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2! ) outcomes.

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    calendrier saisonnier

    Source: FEWS NET


    The most likely scenario for food security from June 2023 to January 2024 is based on the following fundamental assumptions, in relation to changes in the national context:

    The security situation: In perspective, attacks by armed terrorist groups in the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions to continue at current levels until the end of 2023, with a similar number of security incidents reported, but with fewer deaths overall than in previous years. Attacks will follow the typical seasonal patterns observed in the past, with an initial increase leading up to the peak of the rainy season in 2023. However, thereafter, there will likely be a relative decrease in attacks due to the limitations on movements caused by flooding. Continued sporadic militant attacks in the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions are expected to lead to population displacement, while attacks in neighboring Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria will result in continued flows of refugees into Niger.

    In the Diffa region, violence is expected to continue at current levels until the end of 2023, with attacks by armed terrorist groups in the Diffa and Bosso departments. However, levels of violence are expected to remain well below those seen in 2019-2020 as a result of the increased presence of defense and security forces in areas affected by terrorist activity.

    In the Maradi region, security incidents involving armed terrorist groups are expected to continue at higher than seasonal levels. After an increase at the end of the 2022 rainy season, incidents are expected to rise in the second half of 2023 in line with seasonal trends and due to an increase in attacks in the neighboring states of Sokoto and Kaduna in Nigeria. IDPs from insecure areas to more secure areas are likely to increase as a result of these attacks.

    The rainy season and agricultural production: according to initial forecasts, the cumulative rainfall for July, August and September will be average to above average in the agro-pastoral belt of Niger. An early to normal start to the rainy season is also forecast across the country, except for the Diffa region where the start is expected to be normal to early, and a late to normal end to the season in Niger. Medium to long dry spells are expected at the start of the season in mid to late June across the entire agricultural zone, with the exception of the Diffa region and the Gaya department, where normal to long dry spells are forecast. Normal to long dry spells are expected throughout the country towards the end of the season, which could affect yields, especially for cereal crops. In view of the overall normal to surplus rainfall expected in the Sahel-Sudan strip, the long to medium duration of dry spells, and the surplus run-off from rivers, there is a risk of flooding and drought, with impacts on the population's assets and health in all regions, but particularly in Tillabéry, Diffa, Dosso and Agadez. However, cereal and cash crops as well as pastures will benefit from good water conditions for their vegetative development, favoring agricultural and biomass production comparable to the five-year average. However, in the zones of Tillabéry, Diffa and North Tahoua, the difficulties of access to crop fields due to insecurity will lead to a reduction in the area planted.

    Pastoral production, transhumance and livestock body condition: the difficult feeding conditions of livestock herds linked to last year's fodder deficit have been alleviated by the early migration of herds in the southern agricultural and agro-pastoral strip of the country and by the purchase of livestock feed sold at moderate prices by the government and its partners from March to June 2023. This has helped to keep the herds in good body condition. The pastoral lean season is ending, and conditions are set to improve from the end of July until December 2023 and January 2024, with the prospect of an average to surplus rainy season. The conditions will then be right for normal transhumance departures during December 2023 and January 2024.

    Market gardening and flood-recession crops: water availability will be more guaranteed for dry-season agricultural production thanks to favorable rainfall forecasts, which will enable the groundwater to be properly replenished between October 2023 and January 2024. This dry-season agricultural season will provide opportunities for poor households to earn average incomes, but these incomes will be insufficient to cover their food needs because of the very high food prices.

    Institutional purchases and food assistance: monthly purchases for an increased target population will be carried out from October 2023 to January 2024 to replenish humanitarian intervention stocks to a minimum of 80,000 to 100,000 tonnes. These government food reserves will be mobilized to assist populations and mitigate their persistent insecurity and the effects of extreme weather conditions, to alleviate food security problems.

    Labor and migration: the start of the season, its progress and its end are considered normal and will offer opportunities for agricultural employment. The sustained demand for agricultural labor for sowing, weeding, maintenance and harvesting will ensure that poor households have incomes at least equal to the average for the last five years. Keeping animals and selling wood and straw will also be sources of income for poor households, also at the same level as the five-year average. In addition, sales of craft products will boost the purchasing power of poor households and enable them to meet their food and non-food needs.

    Seasonal migrants are back with higher incomes than last year, which was characterized by the combined effects of restrictions on the movement of people and lockdowns linked to COVID 19.

    Food product flows: food product flows are not operating as usual due to a combination of unfavorable factors. One of the factors contributing to the fall in local flows is the low level of stocks, a large part of which is being used to repay loans in kind and in cash to meet the shortfall in food supplies in 2021-2022. There has also been a sharp drop in regional and sub-regional flows of cereal products (millet, sorghum, maize) as a result of local conflicts (in Liptako Gourma and the Lake Chad Basin) and the closure of the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali. Added to all this is the continuing disruption to international flows, which will continue to reduce the availability of imported products on the international market (imported rice, wheat, wheat flour, oil, pasta) following the effects of the war in Ukraine. A further reduction in cross-border flows from Nigeria to Niger will be seen in connection with the lifting of fuel subsidies by the new Nigerian authorities.

    Market supply: the supply of dry cereals on rural and urban markets will remain low and below average due to the seasonal depletion of stocks, the persistence of conflicts and export restrictions in neighboring countries. The supply of imported goods will continue to be lower than usual because of various factors affecting the international market, including disruptions, increased freight expenses, and protective actions taken by certain players in the supply chain, like Algeria, to limit re-exports. However, the supply of coarse grains could improve seasonally from October 2023 to January 2024, due to the promising outlook for the season, which will encourage traders and other commercial players to increase market supplies and to the new harvests.

    Demand for commodities: the heavy reliance on the market by poor households and those in areas that are generally in deficit will increase demand from June to September. From October 2023 to January 2024, demand will show a seasonal downward trend. In the regions affected by the conflicts-Diffa, Maradi, Tillabéry and Nord Tahoua-household dependence on the market will persist, and demand will be comparable to five-year average.

    Food prices: price levels will continue their atypical trend above the five-year average due to the various disruptions to local and cross-border supply channels. The most recent is the lifting of fuel price subsidies in Nigeria, which will drive up transport and consumer product costs. The additional pressure of institutional demand to replenish public stocks will contribute significantly to the rise in food prices.

    Livestock markets and prices: livestock markets will remain busy, and livestock prices will remain similar to those of last year, thanks to strong demand from households engaged in fattening livestock and coastal countries observing religious festivals. Demand could remain strong thanks to the end-of-year festivities in December 2023 and January 2024. Prices will remain above the five-year average from June until September 2023 due to strong local demand for Tabaski and demand for exports to Nigeria, which remains the largest destination market for animals. However, in conflict zones, the livestock markets are weakly driven by limited participation from traders and declining prices. This trend is anticipated to persist throughout the scenario period.

    Humanitarian interventions: with the persistence of conflict and insecurity in the three areas of security tension, the forced displacement of people will continue both within Niger and between Niger and other countries. Humanitarian actions that take into account the food needs of displaced persons are planned and financed at a level sufficient to cover the needs of the populations. However, their implementation will have limited geographical coverage overall because of the security crisis, which will limit access to the populations. More specifically, the volume and scope of interventions will be limited in the Tillabéry and Tahoua areas, where access to the populations will remain difficult due to terrorist attacks and the security measures taken by the government. However, they will be carried out in such a way as to cover the energy needs of the population in the regions of Diffa and Maradi, where the reinforced presence of the security forces allows access to the populations for food distribution.

    Nutritional situation: according to the results of the IPC analysis of acute malnutrition (IPC AMN) conducted in December 2022, of the 53 departments analyzed, 42 departments will be in a serious situation (Phase 3 IPC AMN) and four departments in a critical situation (Phase 4 IPC AMN) between May and July 2023. This nutritional situation will probably continue until September 2023. This is due to reduced access to food, limited access to basic social services, including nutrition programs, and the increased prevalence of water-borne diseases during the rainy season. Between October 2023 and January 2024, with improved access to food thanks to the new harvests, the availability of dairy products and the gradual reduction in the prevalence of water-borne diseases, better nutritional results will be observed in most areas.

    Most Likey Acute Food Security Outcomes

    Unfavorable food conditions, marked by food prices above the five-year seasonal average and low purchasing power among poor households, will persist. In addition to the effects of flooding caused by the current rainy season, acute food insecurity Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will be widely observed. Between three and five percent of poor households will face Crisis food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) between June and September 2023 in all agricultural and agropastoral areas of the country.

    The current difficult conditions linked to conflict and insecurity will persist in the regions of Tillabéry, Tahoua, Diffa and Maradi and will lead to a prolongation of acute food insecurity Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes for poor host and displaced households. The food assistance that will be provided to the poor populations of Diffa and Maradi will help to stabilize their food insecurity in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes.

    In pastoral areas, acute food insecurity Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will persist until the end of July. From August 2023 to January 2024, acute food insecurity Minimal (IPC Phase 1) will follow due to good rainfall prospects and an improved pastoral situation characterized by regeneration of pastures and good filling of the main water points. The good body conditions of animals will favor milk production and the market value of the animals and their terms of trade, which will benefit the herders.

    Food security conditions are set to improve from October to January 2024 as crop availability improves, making it easier to access and consume food. Most households will have access to sufficient quantities of food to cover their dietary needs and remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1). However, the effects of the floods will persist and keep some groups of poor households in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. During the same period, in the regions of Diffa, Maradi, Tillabéry and Tahoua, despite this favorable period, the livelihoods and food consumption of poor households did not improve, as conflict and insecurity continued to hamper livelihood activities, income and food. Food insecurity will then persist into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the regions of Tillabéry and North Tahoua, where people will be dependent on food assistance but will not be adequately served because of security obstacles, the presence of explosive devices on the roads and the authorities' reduction of the humanitarian security space. However, poor households in the Diffa region and south-west Maradi will have access to food assistance to cover their food needs and remain in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!).

    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most likely scenario



    Impact on food security conditions


    Excessive increase in transportation costs of goods following a rise in petroleum product prices

    This will lead to an additional rise in the price of basic products, a further reduction in the purchasing power of poor households, the majority of whom will have limited access to food throughout the scenario period. High transport costs will lead to a reduction in the quantities purchased by the government to replenish strategic stocks, the low level of which will result in a reduction in the government's public food assistance coverage. Poor households, which will be more numerous than expected, will receive less food assistance even though they are heavily dependent on it, and will therefore face a Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


    Socio-political unrest in the country

    Strikes and other demands and protests by civil society organizations are becoming more and more repetitive and could lead to prolonged strikes. The authorities will implement security measures that will hinder civil peace. These measures will have negative impacts on the food supply and prices. Acute food insecurity Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will dominate the country, while areas dependent on humanitarian assistance will move into Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


    Disruption to flows in countries in the West African sub-region

    The security situation is expected to deteriorate further, coupled with stricter measures limiting the export of food products. This will have a detrimental impact on market supplies, leading to inadequate availability to meet the escalating consumer demand. Prices will be higher than expected and purchasing power will decline, as will access to food for consumption. Poor households in all areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


    Geographical spread of conflict and insecurity

    There will be a tightening of security measures and an extension of the state of emergency that has been in force since 2015 (renewed every six months), an increase in population movements, a fall in the flow of food products and an excessive rise in consumer prices. Livelihood activities will be severely disrupted and food assistance will be severely reduced. More significant proportions of areas and people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).



    Areas of Concern Agropastoral livelihood zone (NE04) in the Ouallam district

    Agropastoral livelihood zone (NE 04) in the Ouallam district of the Tillabéry region (Figure 5)

    Figure 5

    Map of the agropastoral livelihood zone (NE04) in Ouallam department
    Zone préoccupation

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current Situation

    Security situation: The security situation remains highly volatile and unpredictable in all four communes of the Ouallam department, with reports of movements and incursions into villages by non-state armed groups despite offensive military operations. This resulted in the displacement of 10,597 people, or 1,421 households, in the area. The security situation in the department is characterized by targeted kidnappings and murders of civilians, recurrent theft of livestock, vehicle hold-ups and arson, sabotage of telephone networks, and the collection of forced tithes/zakat. However, a number of factors are contributing to a decline in large-scale attacks on military positions and patrols. The increased number of offensive patrols by the military is a deterrent for armed groups, as is the redeployment of partner forces to boost the number of troops on the ground. There have also been clashes between rival terrorist groups (JNIM-EIS), which have had difficulty in mobilizing financial resources and war material following the neutralization of several terrorist armed groups’ figures. However, an increase in the number of security incidents occurred in the department during April 2023 compared with March 2023, according to the Civil-Military Coordination (Figure 6).


    Figure 6

    Evolution of the number of security incidents in 2023 in Ouallam
    Incidences sécuritaires à Ouallam

    Source: Coordination Civilo-Militaire

    Agricultural season: The rainy season has not yet begun in the Ouallam department. As of 10 June 2023, none of the 300 farming villages in the department had planted crops. At the same time last year, 20 farming villages had carried out partial sowing, representing seven per cent of farming villages.

    Food availability: The provisional results of the department's assessment of the 2022/2023 agricultural season indicate a further fall in cereal production of 22,933 tonnes, or 76 percent of food consumption needs, due to the combined effect of the early end to the rainy season and the persistent civil unrest, which reduced the area sown or harvested by 15 to 30 percent. Added to this is the 90-95% reduction in cereal flows from Burkina Faso and Mali due to the continuing insecurity on the main roads. Further, according to the traders interviewed during the rapid assessment, the continuing war in Ukraine is causing considerable disruption (50-60%) to the flow of consumer goods (wheat flour, milk, oil, pasta and sugar) from the Maghreb via Algeria. According to the “Système d'Information sur les Marchés Agricoles” (SIMA), the April 2023 price of millet is slightly up by six per cent on the March 2023 level, but significantly up by 19 per cent on the same period last year and the five-year average. The price of sorghum remained stable in April 2023 compared with March 2023, while it showed significant increases of 18 and 27 per cent respectively compared with April 2022 and the average for the last five years. As for maize, its price remained virtually unchanged in April 2023 compared with last month and the same period last year. However, the price was 16% higher compared to the five-year average due to the 80-90% fall in carryover stocks in the area and the drop in production this year. Also, the increase in gas prices has led to higher transport costs, contributing to the rise in maize prices (Figure 7). This situation limits access to food products, particularly for poor households.

    Figure 7

    Trends in cereal prices
    Les prix des céréales de base à Ouallam

    Source: SIMA

    Livestock trade: Livestock trade remains generally weak in the department due to the 50-70% reduction in the number of Nigerian and Malian traders. This reduction is due to the continued depreciation of the Naira, the removal of the fuel subsidy in Nigeria, and the continuing civil unrest on the roads. Given the continuing civil unrest in the region, the supply of buck has fallen, leading to an increase in the current price of buck of seven and 25 per cent respectively compared with the same period last year and the average over the last five years (Figure 8).

    Figure 8

    Trends in the prices of bucks
    Prix du bouc à Ouallam

    Source: SIMB

    Sources of income: Given the highly volatile security situation, seasonal employment opportunities at local level remain very limited, with a 33% drop compared to normal. This situation drastically reduces the level of income of poor and displaced households in the area, whose main sources of income are working in agricultural lands, the sale of straw and wood, petty trade and the sale of harvested crops. Income from these activities has fallen by between 15% and 40% compared with the average, due to the increase in the number of people involved in these activities as a result of the constant influx of displaced people practicing the same activities in the area. In addition, according to data from the quick survey, migrant remittances have also fallen by 43% due to the economic situation caused by the impact of the war in Ukraine, resulting in a difficult economic situation both locally and in the host countries, Nigeria and Ghana in particular. The terms of trade for bucks/millet are estimated at 121 kg in April 2023, compared with 134 kg in April 2022 and 115 kg for the five-year average, following a 50-70% fall in the supply of animals compared with the five-year average (Figure 9).

    Figure 9

    Evolution of the terms of trade buck/millet in Ouallam
    Termes de l'échange bouc-mil à Ouallam

    Source: SIMA et SIMB

    Food assistance: The department currently has 10,597 internally displaced persons (IDPs), or 1,421 households, compared with 10,576 people in January 2023, or 1,417 households. This indicates a stable humanitarian situation in the department. Food assistance is underway in the area through targeted free distribution operations (25 kg of rice and millet, and 5 liters of vegetable oil), cash transfers of 27,000 FCFA to 45,000 FCFA/household/month for three months and cash for work of 2,300 FCFA/person/day for 45 days.

    However, according to the populations interviewed during the field visit, this assistance reaches less than 20 per cent of households in need of assistance and covers only 25 to 50 per cent of the food needs of beneficiaries in the department. Access to this area and even the delivery of assistance are difficult for humanitarian workers, constrained by government security measures and security risks, such as the use of improvised explosive devices by armed terrorist groups.


    The most likely scenario for food security from June 2023 to January 2024 is based on the following fundamental assumptions, in relation to changes in the national context:

    • The rainy season will be normal both in its onset and duration.
    • Conflicts will cause fields to be abandoned, leading to a reduction in the area planted and a 15-30% reduction in harvests. The continuing civil unrest will lead to a reduction in income from income-generating activities such as petty trade, the sale of wood/straw, off-season work and the demand for local agricultural labor. As a result, the income generated will be below the five-year average.
    • Civilian insecurity will reduce access to pastoral resources, reduce the size of herds due to theft and looting, and disrupt normal transhumance.
    • The peace agreement signed in January 2023 between members of the Zarma and Fulani communities in Banibangou (Tillabéry region) will lead to a drop in levels of inter-community violence in the Ouallam department. 
    • Weak cereal supplies on local markets, accompanied by well above-average prices, are expected due to low levels of local production, disruptions to trade flows caused by civil unrest, and restrictions on cereal exports from Burkina Faso and Mali.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    From June to September 2023, most households have food consumption deficits indicative to acute food insecurity Crisis (Phase 3 of the IPC) outcomes. In addition to the depletion of stocks during the lean period, rising food prices reduce their purchasing power for consumer goods, and they do not have sufficient access to food aid to cover their food needs. Between 15% and 30% of farmland has been abandoned, particularly in the far north of the department. There is limited access to grazing areas for animals. Some markets are closed, with restrictions on the use of motorbikes (6 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and the movement of people and trade is disrupted by threats of attack and insecurity on the roads. An Household Economy Analysis (HEA Outcomes Analysis) by FEWS NET suggests that poor households have a significant deficit in livelihood protection and are simultaneously facing a large food consumption deficit. In addition, analysis of rapid food security assessment data collected by FEWS NET indicates that poor displaced households are consuming an inadequate quantity and quality of food, consisting mainly of cereals and leafy greens.

    From October 2023 to January 2024, any improvement in acute food insecurity levels is likely to be marginal due to conflict-related disruptions to agricultural and livestock production. Agricultural production will be below average due to the reduction in the area planted as a result of the abandonment of land following the persistence of civil insecurity for many years. Food prices will remain high, preventing poor households from obtaining sufficient quantities of food. Poor households will continue to experience a shortage of food. The return to rain-fed crop production will not be observed in at least 15 per cent of cases, resulting in the loss of agricultural and pastoral land, theft and looting of animals and other productive assets. Security risks are preventing access to populations for the distribution of food assistance and no action will be taken, either internally or externally, to protect livelihoods. Overall, poor households will continue to face food consumption gaps indicative to acute food insecurity Crisis (Phase 3 of the IPC) outcomes throughout the outlook period.

    Most likely food security outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian assistance

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Niger Food Security Outlook June 2023 to January 2024: Persistent conflict in border regions hinders the agricultural season’s productivity, 2023.

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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