West Africa Food Security Outlook January 2014 to June 2014
2014 needs higher than last year in light of localize production deficits and conflict
The largest expected food security needs through the remainder of the 2014 consumption year, ending in September, are expected in Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and the Central African Republic. The increase in needs this year compared to last year is due to a combination of conflict (Nigeria, CAR) and production deficits in localized agropastoral areas of the Sahel (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Chad).
Preliminary assessments of the 2013/14 harvest indicate that regional production has been average to above average in West Africa. Localized areas did, however, experience moderate to significant production deficits, due to a poor rainfall distribution, particularly in the southern Sahel. Pasture and water availability for livestock is expected to be average for much of the region. However, as with crop production, localized areas of pasture and surface water deficits exist in the same areas described above. Pastoral households in affected areas will face early transhumance and/or deteriorating animal body conditions, which will ultimately limit their livestock incomes and purchasing power at local markets.
Staple food prices are seasonably low, but are expected to begin increasing in April after off-season crop harvests are complete. Prices in the eastern commercial basin (Niger, Benin, Nigeria, and Chad) are expected to be significantly higher than average (particularly for millet and maize), making market purchase more difficult, especially for pastoral households and those that experienced production shortfalls.
Conflict has lead to increased acute food insecurity in the CAR and northeast Nigeria. In both countries, this conflict has disrupted typical livelihood activities, contributed to below-average incomes, displaced households, and limited market access. Households in these areas, particularly the poor and IDPs, will face food consumptions gaps or will only meet food needs through negative coping strategies.
Between April and June, food security is likely to deteriorate. Localized parts of southern Mauritania and eastern Chad, where crop production was especially poor, will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In northern Mali and portions of Mauritania, the peak pastoral lean season will bring Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security. Assuming a normal start to main season rains in June, outcomes will likely improve in pastoral areas during the July-September period, though areas facing Stress and Crisis will likely expand in agropastoral and agricultural areas of the region.