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Overall crop and pasture production expected to be average to above-average

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Niger
  • October 2014 - March 2015
Overall crop and pasture production expected to be average to above-average

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Key Messages
    • Good rainfall accumulation and distribution from late July to late September 2014 combined with a generally calm crop pest situation will lead to average to above-average cereal and pasture production during the main growing season.

    • From December 2014 to March 2015, the availability of irrigated crops will help strengthen and diversify food access and consumption for households currently consuming their own cereal stocks. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity conditions will prevail in October and continue through March 2015 in most parts of the country.

    • However, with poor households earning less income from labor and livestock sales, the department of Nguigmi (Diffa) will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from October 2014 through March 2015, despite cash-for-work programs planned for and funded by the government. Beginning in March, agropastoral areas of Ouallam and pastoral areas of Tchintabaraden will also experience Stress (IPC Phase 2) as poor households face difficulties meeting their non-food needs.


    National Overview
    Current situation

    Continued regular rainfall through late September 2014 provided enough water to allow crops to reach maturity. Harvests of all rainfed cereal and cash crops are ongoing, with yields generally expected to be above average. This will be the case everywhere except for certain departments in the regions of Tillabéri, Zinder, and Diffa, where the combined effects of the delayed start and abrupt end to the rains in early September prevented crops from reaching maturity.

    According to the estimates of the joint FEWS NET/USGS/Agrhymet mission conducted in September 2014, all the conditions are in place to project above-average crop production in the regions of Tahoua and Maradi and average to above-average production in Zinder. The same estimates predict average to above-average yields of cash crops, particularly cowpeas, sesame, and groundnuts.

    In addition to normal rainfall and a phytosanitary situation characterized by low levels of pressure from pests, the growing season was also relatively unaffected by flooding. Reported cases of flooding affected approximately 68,000 people and 2,817 hectares of cropland, down from 166,000 people and 6,872 hectares of cropland in 2013. Flooding during 2010 and 2012, the two years with the most rainfall during the last five years, affected 300,000 and 600,000 people, respectively.

    Given all of these favorable factors, gross production of millet, sorghum, and rain-fed rice is estimated at more than 5.3 million metric tons and approximately 2.5 million metric tons for cowpeas, groundnuts, and sesame. This total gross production is 20 percent higher than both last year and the average for the last five growing seasons.

    The current pastoral situation is generally typical in terms of pasture regenration and the replenishment of watering holes. In most pastoral zones (Dakoro, Tanout, Abalak, and Gouré), pasture production is estimated to be above average. Animals are currently being watered at watering holes, which are still available and whose current water levels indicate they will likely dry up at the normal period. Pasture regeneration is expected to be below average to average in certain regions, though, particularly in the pastoral areas of Tchintabaraden (Tassara area), Ouallam (Banibangou), Téra (Bankilaré), and Nguigmi.

    Farming and agropastoral households will meet their current consumption needs through newly-harvested crops. With three years in a row of average to above-average crop production and a good harvest outlook, household food stocks will be sufficient to meet their food needs for six to eight months (compared to an average of five to seven months), especially with the availability of horticultural crops beginning in December 2014. With this year's estimated crop production and leftover cereal stocks, apparent availability could be around 250 to 300 kilograms per person for the year.

    Newly-harvested cereal and cash crops will constitute the majority of crops found on the markets and will follow traditional domestic trade routes. Local supply levels will be average to above average in October 2014, particularly for cowpeas, which are primarily sold to cover social spending. The average national prices of the primary cereals consumed were between 219 and 232 FCA in September 2014, with millet and sorghum prices 15 percent lower and maize prices 23 percent lower than at the same time last year. However, prices have begun to reflect normal seasonal trends.

    Pastoral households are consuming food bought with income from livestock sales, ensuring normal food consumption levels. With Tabaski and year-end holiday celebrations, demand for livestock will be high during the months of October, November, and December, and prices and terms of trade will be at or above the five-year average. This situation will translate into the usual reconstitution of household cereal stocks with income from livestock sales.

    Cereal and cash crop sales are currently the primary sources of income for farming and agropastoral households and are generating normal levels of income. The need for farm labor for ongoing harvests is providing local employment opportunities. However, given good crop production levels, the local labor supply is lower than the demand. Less available labor will translate into 2014 prices that are 50 percent higher than in 2013, or the equivalent of 6 kilograms of millet earned a day compared to 2.5 to 3 kilograms of millet earned a day during the same period last year, given the drop in cereal prices. Despite good pasture production, demand for straw will remain normal given widespread fattening practices. The average sale price of a bundle of straw is 500 to 750 CFA, the same price as last year.

    The provisional results of the July 2014 national child nutrition survey indicated a global acute malnutrition rate of 14.8 percent, up from the five-year average of 13.2 percent, and a severe acute malnutrition rate of 2.7 percent, up from the five-year average of 2.3 percent. The biggest rises in global acute malnutrition were recorded in the regions of Tahoua and Niamey, up 23 and 28 percent, respectively, from average rates. The biggest rises in severe acute malnutrition rates were recorded in the regions of Maradi (59 percent above average), Tillabéri, and Agadez (both 24 percent above average). However, acute malnutrition rates could fall throughout the country with the improvement in household food access in October.

    Assumptions

    The most likely food security scenario for the period from October 2014 through March 2015 described below was established based on the following underlying assumptions with respect to trends in nationwide conditions:

    • In October-December, there should be adequate market supplies of crops from producers and traders, who will have access to local and imported products from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Mali. Trade flows in the southeastern part of the country will be slowed by the effects of the conflict with Boko Haram.
    • In December, receding water levels and the opening of cereal fields (which are generally off-season sites), combined with good water and input availability, will result in the normal performance of the dry horticultural season, which usually accounts for 30 percent of annual production. The level of locally produced crops is therefore expected to rise from December 2014 to March 2015.
    • Good water availability will favor sustained demand for local labor and higher wage rates throughout the period from December through March. Demand and prices for cereal harvesting labor and maintaining and harvesting rain-fed and irrigated dry season crops will be normal from October through March with good water conditions expected to result in good production levels.
    • Migration and remittance income will be normal from November-December through March. The economic and political situations in traditional destination countries will be normal, with the exception of northeastern Nigeria and Libya, which will attract less migrant labor due to the sociopolitical crises in both countries.
    • On the whole, pastoral resources will remain average until March 2015. Based on the outlook for a normal rainy season, there will be an adequate supply of surface water for the watering of livestock from October through March and an abundant supply of pasture in pastoral zones.
    • Cereal prices will remain in line with seasonal trends and the five-year average in October-December but will rise slightly in January-March, as usual, with the normal functioning of domestic and cross-border cereal flows everywhere except for the far eastern part of the country due to the effects of the conflict with Boko Haram.
    • Animal prices will rise as usual from October-December 2014 until January-March 2015 with better livestock body conditions than during the last few months and high consumer demand. Terms of trade for livestock/cereals will be above average in October-December due to high demand surrounding the holidays but will return to normal in January-March 2015.
    • From December to March, producers' organizations and government structures will take advantage of good crop production to reconstitute their reserve stocks to an optimal level and maintain sufficient quantities of food available to meet consumer demand.
    • The government assistance plan for the outlook period will be carried out in December-March in the form of cash for work programs but will be delayed due to funding problems.
    • Given food security conditions, the nutritional situation is expected to follow normal seasonal trends from October through March.
    Most likely food security outcomes

    With average to above-average crop production expected in the country's main growing regions, food availability and access will be ensured throughout the post-harvest period by households' own cereal stocks. The availability of local products combined with the expected yields in cereal importing countries (primarily Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Benin) suggest that cross-border trade flows will function normally, strengthening domestic trade flows. This situation will translate into satisfactory market supply levels. Cereal prices will be in line with the seasonal average in October-December and will rise in January-March with pressure on demand for reconstituting government food security stocks and trader, pastoral household, and deficit household stocks. During this period, households will earn typical seasonal incomes. Typical levels of food access will therefore be observed in most parts of the country from October through March, resulting in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity conditions.

    However, there will be localized difficulties, primarily in the agropastoral area of Ouallam (Tillabéri region) and pastoral areas of Nguigmi and Tchintabaraden, where some poor households will experience difficulties meeting their food needs due to crop and livestock production deficits and the deterioration of economic opportunities. Livelihood protection deficits will be observed in October-March in pastoral areas of Nguigmi and beginning in March in the agropastoral area of Ouallam and the pastoral area of Tchintabaraden, even though households there will be able to meet their minimum food needs. Thus, from October through March, pastoral areas of Nguigmi will remain under Stress (IPC Phase 2), while agropastoral areas of Ouallam and pastoral areas of Tchintabaraden will become Stressed (IPC Phase 2) beginning in March.

     

    For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, October 2014

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, October 2014

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Source:

    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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