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The security crisis persists with kidnappings for ransom, levying of taxes on animals, and placement of improvised explosive devices. These terrorist acts are negatively affecting household food security by disrupting livelihood activities and market operations in the affected areas of the Tillabéry and Diffa regions and the northwest and southwest areas of the Tahoua and Maradi regions.
Harvests of cereals and cash crops are underway, with provisional results estimated to be higher than last year’s and the five-year average due to good rainfall during the season and generally stable plant health. Food availability and income are further strengthened by the contribution of irrigated crops from January to May 2023. However, according to the Agricultural Statistics Office, 15 percent of farming villages throughout the country will experience declines in agricultural production due to flooding, dry spells, and decreases in planted area due to insecurity and limited access to inputs, including fertilizer.
Markets have returned to normal seasonal supply trends, ensuring cereal availability for households and in markets. However, prices generally remain above the five-year average, with more significant increases in markets in conflict zones in the regions of Diffa, Tillabéry, and Tahoua.
Food assistance operations were conducted by the government and its partners in June, July, and August 2022 and covered 80 to 100 percent of the food needs of most targeted people in the Diffa and Maradi regions, according to the September 2022 Food Security Cluster assistance implementation monitoring report. However, in the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions, less than 20 percent of targeted people received assistance due to the security situation, which is limiting access to populations in need.
Poor displaced households in the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to low production related to reduced access to crop fields, lower incomes, and high prices reducing food access. Additionally, displaced households in Tillabéry and Tahoua lack access to food assistance distributions due to insecurity making these areas inaccessible. However, poor displaced households in the Diffa and Maradi regions are still experiencing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity, with food assistance provided to them monthly.
Agricultural and pastoral situation: The regular rainfall recorded in August and September 2022 favored good water conditions for crop development in most parts of the country. Therefore, despite the delayed onset of rains this year, the seasonal cumulative rainfall is average across most of the country due to the rainfall recovery observed since July 2022 (Figure 4).
There were localized pockets where heavy rainfall caused flooding, resulting in the destruction of 2,186 hectares of rainfed crops compared to 3,299 hectares in 2021. All agricultural regions were affected, but the regions that suffered losses of 500 to 1,000 hectares were Tillabéry with 953 hectares, Dosso with 659 hectares, and Zinder with 561 hectares. The Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Risk Management (MAH/GC) estimates the number of people affected by the recent floods at 248,371, compared to 151,641 people in 2021. The most affected regions are Maradi with 77,691 people, Zinder with 77,261 people, Diffa with 29,149 people, Tillabéry with 25,664 people, and Dosso with 24,536 people.
Rainfed crop harvests are underway for cereals and cash crops, with overall average projections compared to the 2017-2021 period. These projections are not good for certain departments in the Tillabéry region, which have experienced significant decreases in agricultural production due to the cumulative effects of dry spells, flooding, and insecurity.
The pastoral area also benefited from favorable rainfall, which allowed for the development of fodder plants. Thanks to the regular rainfall recorded from July to September 2022, fodder production is considered average to good in most agricultural, agropastoral, pastoral landlocked, and forest areas, where the biomass density is 1,000 to 3,000 kilograms of dry matter per hectare, according to estimates made with the SARRAH model of the Agriculture, Hydrology, and Meteorology Research Center (AGRHYMET). However, the late onset of rains and dry spells did not allow for good development of fodder plants in the pastoral strip in the departments of Tassara, Tillia, Tchintabaraden, and Abalak in the Tahoua region; Iferouāne, Arlit, Ingall, and Aderbissenat in the Agadez region; and Abala, Banibangou, Ouallam, and Ayorou in the Tillabéry region, where low to mediocre forage production is estimated.
Animals are currently more concentrated in the pastoral area and on the plateaus of large pastoral areas in the agricultural area. They take advantage of the pastoral resources available in the pastoral area before beginning their transhumance to the southern agricultural area and to bordering countries. Watering takes place mainly at surface water sources, which are sufficiently filled. Animals’ physical condition is currently average in all regions of the country thanks to fodder and water availability and stable health following the vaccination campaign conducted at the beginning of the rainy season.
Markets and prices: The supply of agricultural products is gradually increasing in most markets due to the availability of new crops. This supply is composed of 30-70 percent dry cereals and 10-30 percent cash crops (groundnuts and cowpeas). Local farmers provide 30-70 percent of the millet and 10-30 percent of the cash crops. Overall, supply is up compared to the same period last year, but down compared to the five-year average, especially in the markets in the Tillabéry region, due to the combined effect of the delayed start of the rainy season and the dry spells that have marked this growing season. The supply of imported cereals such as maize and sorghum is low because it is limited to flows from Nigeria and Benin following the halt in the flow from Burkina Faso after its border was closed. Demand for cereals consists of purchases by local traders and households. Demand for cash crops comes largely from local and foreign traders. Prices for maize, millet, and sorghum increased slightly by 7, 4, and 3 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year. These average prices also represent significant increases of 21, 16, and 12 percent for millet, maize, and sorghum, respectively, compared to the average for the past five years. Increases vary between 20 and 40 percent on the Tillabéry markets. Like dry cereals, cowpea prices are also significantly higher than the five-year average, by 22 percent.
Household livelihoods: Household livelihoods are characterized by normal access to income earned through agricultural harvest labor; the sale of recently harvested cash crops (cowpeas); and the sale of small ruminants, straw, and firewood. These incomes are average to higher due to average local demand and terms of trade estimated at 104 grams of millet for a goat in September 2022, compared to 102 kilograms in September 2021 and 105 kilograms for the five-year average.
Conflict and insecurity: Security problems persist in the country due to terrorist group activity and their continual attacks on the civilian population. According to data published by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), acts of violence committed by terrorist groups have decreased compared to 2020 and 2021 thanks to the defense and security forces that are increasingly controlling the situation. However, the number of victims is still on the rise (Figure 6). According to the results of the household survey conducted in September 2022 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), these security incidents caused population displacement totaling about 390,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), over 70 percent of whom are in the regions of Diffa (120,673 IDPs) and Tillabéry (156,107 IDPs). The remainder are in the Tahoua and Maradi regions, which are the other two regions affected by conflict and insecurity.
Food assistance: The implementation of the food assistance plan for vulnerable populations has been delayed in its funding and initiation. This has resulted in an estimated food needs coverage rate of 22 percent in June 2022 and 53 percent in July 2022. From June to July 2022, food assistance (consisting of 100 kilograms of cereals or unconditional cash of 40,000 CFA francs per month, per household of seven people) covered 80 to 100 percent of food needs, estimated at 2,100 kilocalories per person per day, for most poor and displaced people in the Diffa and Maradi regions. However, in the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions, assistance provided covered less than 20 percent of food needs and reached approximately 16 to 30 percent of those in need in June and July 2022.
Current food security outcomes
Cereal availability at the household level is generally good in the country. Markets are adequately supplied with local products and imports from neighboring countries (particularly Nigeria and Benin), but purchase prices are higher than the seasonal average. This availability and the income obtained from agricultural labor, the sale of animals, remittances sent by migrants, and the sale of cash crops enable poor households to ensure sufficient food consumption. However, the loss of goods and equipment due to floods will result in additional non-food expenditures that seasonal income will not fully cover.
In areas where the decline in agricultural production is accompanied by high food prices, food access is low for poor households who also have insufficient income for non-food expenses such as health care and children’s school fees. In these areas, most poor households face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity. In areas affected by conflict and insecurity, livelihoods are disrupted, and food access is only ensured by food assistance, which is only sufficient in the regions of Diffa and Maradi, where households manage to meet their needs and remain in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity. In the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions, poor households suffer from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity because, in addition to the disruption of livelihoods, conflict and insecurity limit access to host areas for those in need.
The most likely scenario for food security from October 2022 to May 2023 is based on the following fundamental assumptions, in relation to the changing national context:
Security situation: As usual, security incidents perpetrated by terrorist groups have decreased due to the rainy season. With the end of the rainy season and the drying up of waterways, which are natural impediments to the groups’ movements, terrorist groups’ attacks on the population and the regular army will resume in December 2022 and persist on a scale similar to that of previous years. Insecurity could even worsen with new modus operandi marked by kidnappings with ransom demands and the levying of taxes on households’ productive assets.
Market garden crops and flood recession crops: Irrigated crop production will proceed normally thanks to support provided by the government and its partners and in view of the large amounts of rainfall recorded, which will allow for good replenishment of the water table and water availability for irrigating market garden crops and flood recession crops. Harvests of tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, watermelons, onions, and irrigated rice will be good and will provide household income from January to May 2023. Household and market availability is also expected to contribute to household food access and diversity.
Pastoral production, transhumance, and livestock physical conditions: Animal feeding and watering will be normal from October 2022 to January 2023 and will help relieve livestock-raising households of the expenses associated with the increase in livestock feed prices coupled with the rise in food prices. This situation will promote income and food opportunities in the pastoral area with improvements in animals’ physical conditions, milk production, and livestock market value and terms of trade from October 2022 to January 2023. Between February and May 2023, fodder stocks will dwindle, and water sources will dry up. Feeding animals will require expenditure for feed supplements, whose prices will be above the five-year average.
Institutional purchases: With assistance needs having become enormous this year due to conflicts and the cereal and fodder deficit, institutional stocks and those of humanitarian partners mobilized for assistance to vulnerable populations are exhausted. As there are vulnerable populations to assist each year, purchasing will take place in October, November, and December 2022 and January 2023 to replenish humanitarian assistance stocks. Amounts purchased will be at least equal to the average, i.e., 80,000 to 100,000 tons.
Labor, migration, and remittances: Because of the effects of COVID-19, as well as conflicts and insecurity, local employment and migratory labor opportunities are reduced compared to normal conditions. However, as COVID-19 infections drop and agricultural and pastoral conditions improve, local and migratory employment opportunities will become normal. Incomes and remittances will improve over last year’s levels from January to May 2023. Animal herding and the sale of wood and straw will also be sources of income for poor households, with incomes that could be at the average level.
Flows: Local flows will be more efficient than last year, but will not be typical, due to a combination of factors. In addition to good national agricultural production and the resulting availability of marketable local products, there will be an improvement in local flows, but regional, subregional, and international flows of cereal products (millet, sorghum, and maize) will be limited because of local conflicts (in Liptako-Gourma and the Lake Chad Basin) and the war in Ukraine. Additionally, the dysfunction of international flows will persist, causing a drop in imported products on the international market (imported rice, wheat, wheat flour, oil, and pasta) due to the war in Ukraine. As the war continues, the availability of imported products from this source will continue to decrease.
Supply: The supply of imported products on the international market will remain below average due to ongoing disruptions in source countries and protectionist measures taken by transit countries in the supply chain, such as Algeria.
Food demand: Demand is expected to increase gradually as poor households and those in typically deficit areas turn to markets. Households in the conflict-affected regions of Diffa, Tillabéry, and North Tahoua will continue to rely on markets, resulting in demand comparable to the average of the past three to five years.
Food prices: Prices have remained high and will continue their atypical upward trend. They will remain above the five-year average due to the generalized dysfunction of supply channels. The increased price of diesel fuel will result in an additional increase in truck transportation prices, which will impact consumer prices.
Livestock markets and prices: Livestock markets will remain busy and livestock prices will be higher than last year but lower than average due to strong demand from fattening households and coastal countries for religious holidays from October to December 2023, and the low display from February to May 2023 until the transhumance departure will cause prices and terms of trade to rise again in January-May 2023.
Humanitarian interventions: Humanitarian actions will be planned and financed, but their implementation will have little geographical coverage overall because of the Ukrainian crisis, which is attracting more attention from humanitarian actors. More specifically, the volume and scope of interventions will be limited in the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions where access to populations in need will remain a challenge due to terrorist attacks and security measures taken by the government. They will, however, be conducted in such a way as to cover the energy needs of needy populations in the conflict-affected regions of Diffa and Maradi.
Nutritional situation: The results of the various nutritional surveys conducted over the past five years during the period from August to October showed a prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) of more than 10, indicating a serious deterioration of the nutritional situation according to the WHO classification. Conflicts and the effects of terrorist attacks continue to limit people’s access to services in the affected areas. Additionally, intense rainfall and localized flooding have worsened sanitation conditions and put populations at greater risk of cholera and malaria outbreaks, which could increase between October and January 2022. Food availability from new harvests and the diversity of market gardening and livestock products, harvests from poor host households, and IDP incomes will not be sufficient for adequate food consumption. Overall, a gradual deterioration in the nutritional situation could be observed throughout the scenario period, reaching the critical levels typical of the lean season in April/May 2023.
Most likely food security outcomes
From October 2022 to January 2023, the cereal, cash, and off-season crops harvested in October/November 2022 will ensure household food availability and provide them with agricultural employment and income opportunities — poor households included — in agricultural and agropastoral livelihood zones as well as in irrigated crop areas. Animals will benefit from crop residues and good water availability, which will improve their physical condition, milk productivity, and sale prices. However, the impact of floods on homes will cause additional expenses for the reconstruction of collapsed houses. Civil insecurity will limit livelihood activities in affected areas as well as reduce access to some areas for food assistance. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity will be observed at this time among most households in agricultural, agropastoral, pastoral, and irrigated crop livelihood zones, but will reach Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) in the conflict-affected regions of Diffa and Maradi, which will be accessible for food assistance covering the food needs of most poor households. The regions of Tillabéry and Tahoua, where security incidents will reduce access to populations for food assistance distribution, will experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity outcomes.
From February to May 2023, cereal stocks will be depleted, and food prices will be high in relation to the five-year average and purchasing power, as income from agricultural jobs on off-season crop sites and migrant remittances will not be sufficient to meet food and non-food expenses. Animals will enter their lean season and will lose weight and market value, resulting in lower income from the sale of animals and animal products. Attacks will increase and continue to disrupt livelihood activities while making some areas inaccessible for food assistance distribution. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will dominate the country. In the Diffa and Maradi regions, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will be maintained with food assistance, including 100 kg of cereal (millet or sorghum) per household of 7 people. This assistance will cover 82 percent of daily food needs (estimated at 2,100 kilocalories per person per day) of more than 80 percent of poor displaced households in these two regions. However, food insecurity will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the regions of Tillabéry and Tahoua, where food assistance will not be sufficient to cover the food needs of the poor and displaced populations.
Events that could change the scenario
Table 1. Possible events in the coming months that could change the most likely scenario.
Impact on food security conditions
Excessive increase in the price of transporting goods because of increased petroleum product prices
This will result in an additional increase in commodity prices and a further reduction in the purchasing power of poor households, most of which will face limited access to food, especially in February to May 2023 when stocks will be exhausted. High transportation costs will lead to a reduction in the quantities purchased for food assistance, which will cover a small portion of food needs and a reduced number of people in need. Poor households will shift from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3), with less than 20 percent in the worst phase.
Socio-political unrest in the country
Security measures taken by the authorities will impede the movement of people and goods, which will contribute to higher commodity prices and reduce food access for poor households. These security measures may lead to border closures and disrupt the flow of food from neighboring countries to supply markets and replenish stocks for food assistance. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will prevail in the country, with assistance-dependent areas worsening into crisis outcomes.
Decline in agricultural production in the countries of the West African sub-region
Countries will take measures to restrict the outflow of food products, and the availability of supplies for the markets will be insufficient facing increased consumption demand in March, April, and May 2023. Prices will be at higher levels than expected and purchasing power will be reduced, as will access to food for consumption. Poor households in all areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
Resurgence of epidemics, including COVID-19
Health measures, including restricting access to certain locations and places, particularly service centers and markets, will return. This will lead to a decrease in income opportunities, which will cause decreased purchasing power and food access for poor households, including those in urban areas. Food insecurity will worsen from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in urban areas to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in rural areas.
Geographic spread of conflict and insecurity
Security measures will tighten, the state of emergency security will extend further, population movements will increase, food product flows will decrease, and consumer prices will rise excessively. Livelihood activities will be severely disrupted and food assistance, on which larger-than-expected proportions will depend, will decrease in quantity and geographic coverage. More significant proportions of areas and people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from February to May 2022.
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Source: USGS/FEWS NET
Source: FEWS NET
Source: FEWS NET
Source: FEWS NET
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.