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High food prices limit poor households’ access to basic food

  • Key Message Update
  • Niger
  • September 2023
High food prices limit poor households’ access to basic food

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Local food prices have begun their seasonal decline but remain high compared to the five-year average for poor households, who continue to depend on markets and have below-average daily incomes from farm labor. They work more than average to earn the income needed to access sufficient food quantities to cover their consumption needs. Most poor households in agricultural and agropastoral livelihood zones are experiencing acute food insecurity Stress (IPC Phase 2). This limitation of access to food is exacerbated in the conflict-affected areas of Tillabéry, Diffa, Tahoua Nord, and Maradi Sud-ouest, where poor households face Crisis (IPC Phase 3), as they have no resources of their own to purchase food and do not benefit from regular food assistance due to the economic and trade sanctions affecting the implementation of food and humanitarian response plans.
    • The sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Niger following the coup d'état of July 26, 2023, include the suspension of economic and commercial transactions and the closure of borders, including those with Benin and Nigeria, the main source and transit countries for food, medical, and nutritional products to Niger. The impact of these sanctions is reflected in a significant decline in domestic and imported supplies and a sharp rise in food prices, especially for imported products. In anticipation of a general increase in consumer prices due to possible substitution effects, the Ministry of Economy and Finance took a decision to reduce import taxes on rice, edible oil, wheat flour, and sugar by 25 percent. Moreover, the political tension has decreased following the departure of the French ambassador and the announcement of the imminent withdrawal of French forces from Niger, giving opportunities for negotiations with ECOWAS and other development partners.
    • With overall favorable rainfall, millet and cowpea crops are maturing earlier than average, resulting in an improved food supply and a 15-20 percent decrease in food prices compared to previous months. However, delays in the start of the agricultural season, land abandonment due to insecurity, and medium to long dry spells have delayed the phenological development of crops and reduced the planted areas. This situation will lead to a reduction in agricultural production of cereals and cash crops compared to last year and the five-year average, but the reductions will be small if good rainfall conditions continue until the end of the season, i.e., in October, according to the meeting held in September 2023 by the Regional Food Crisis Prevention and Management Mechanism (PREGEC) on the agricultural outlook 2023-2024. Pasture and water conditions have improved after a delay in the onset of rains followed by periods of drought. Animal body conditions, market value, and milk production, which have also improved, could deteriorate earlier than average due to a decrease in biomass production, leading to an early depletion of available forage.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Niger Key Message Update September 2023: High food prices limit poor households’ access to basic food, 2023.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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