Special Report

Atypical increases in staple food prices likely in West Africa; limited impact on food security in most areas

May 2013

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
Concentration of displaced people – hover over maps to view food security phase classifications for camps in Nigeria.
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Summary

Context

  • Flood-related crop damage during 2012/2013 resulted in below-average crop production in Nigeria. These deficits have substantially offset production surpluses seen elsewhere in the region and have contributed to atypically low market food supply and high consumer demand within Nigeria. Boko Haram-related conflict in northern Nigeria has also reduced market activity and trade flows in affected regions, and in southeastern Niger and west central Chad. 
  • These market disruptions have had regional impact, resulting in atypical market supply and demand behavior. The marketing system currently relies less on trade flows from surplus maize and millet producing areas of Nigeria and more on atypical trade flows from Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
  • Above-average income from cash crop (cotton and cow pea) sales over the last year has also contributed to belownormal trader cereal stocks as many households focused on marketing cash crops, rather than cereals, during the postharvest period.
  • National Security Stocks held by most West Africa governments were depleted over the 2011/12 consumption and marketing year. To date, SSNs in most countries are less than 50 percent replenished due to inadequate financing and poor SSN management. These stock levels are very atypical for this late in the marketing year.

FEWS NET price projections 

  • Prices are likely to increase atypically across most of the region as market demand outpaces supply. The areas most likely to be impacted include northern Nigeria, northern Benin, southeastern Niger, and central Niger. In the most affected areas, millet and maize prices are likely to be higher than 2012 levels and the five-year average. 
  • Other parts of the region will become atypical grain and livestock source areas for structurally deficit zones of the region. As a result, prices in these areas will increase more than usual between now and August, but to a smaller degree than in the directly affected areas.

Food security impacts

  • Throughout most of West Africa, above-average household food stocks from last year's harvests and relatively good incomes from cash crop sales will enable households to offset the effects of high food prices. As a result, poor households in most of the region will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through September.  
  • In Borno and Yobe states of Nigeria - the epicenter of the Boko Haram conflict - high staple food prices, coupled with conflict-related declines in crop production, cash incomes, and market trade flows, are expected to result in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September. In other affected areas (north central and central Nigeria, west central and southwestern Chad, and southeastern Niger), Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security is expected during this same period. 

Policy Implications

  • Marketing conditions are atypical at a regional level and not well suited for a single, generalized policy response. Rather, response should be very well targeted and address very specific and localized food access and availability concerns.  

 

Please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report. 

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics