Food security and humanitarian implications in West Africa and the Sahel, June 2012
- Overall, normal start of the growing season in the Sahel
- Locust numbers increase in Mali and Niger
- Food security situation of concern in northern Mali
- International and regional markets : increase of grain prices in Niger and Senegal and stability in Burkina Faso and Mali (south and center)
Overall, normal start of the growing season
2011-2012 off-season activities are ending. In Niger, the harvest of irrigated rice ended and is increasing food availability for rice farmers and on regional markets. In Agadez, market gardening activities slowed down due to the drying of wells and lower groundwater. Unlike previous months, a slight increase in onion prices and scarcity of vegetables are observed on markets (Afrique Verte).
Planting activities have started with the first rains (figure 1). The satellite detections indicate above average precipitation in southern Niger, the sahelian part of Chad and desert zones of the northern Sahel. Rainfall deficits are reported in Senegal, Dosso (Niger) and Gao (Mali) which suggest a delayed onset of the rainy season in those areas.
In Niger, the growing season gradually started. During the first decade of June, low rainfall totals have been observed. Low to moderate rainfall has been observed throughout the country during the second and third decade of June. These rains allowed sowing in all areas. Scattered rains have been observed in western Niger and well distributed rains have been observed in central and eastern Niger. As of June 10, partial sowing of millet had been observed in 4 831 villages and in all regions except Agadez.
In eastern Niger (from Guidan Roumji to N’Guigmi), crops are more advanced and have locally reached 40% of their development. By contrast, in western Niger (from Tillaberi to Guidan Roumji) crops are less advanced. The situation is of concern in Dosso and Tahoua. The flow of the Niger river was weak at the onset of the growing season and stronger in the middle of the month. The hydrological situation significantly improved in Niger during the third decade of June. The filling of ponds and rivers continues normally.
In Mali, the first rains were sufficient for some sowing. In most cases, activities are focused on preparing the fields and on manuring and ploughing (Afrique Verte).
In Burkina Faso, activities focused in May on soil care and conservation, and on manuring. In June, ploughing and sowing are becoming more common in areas that received the first rains.
The pastoral situation in the area is characterised by improved drinking water availibility as rains fill temporary ponds. Few herders around water points, scarcity of grazing land and deterioration of animal health have been observed. The pastoral situation is however slowly improving with the gradual regeneration of grazing land and the filling of water points in all agropastoral areas. Significant movements of transhumant herders are observed from south to north .
In Burkina Faso, despite the general poor physical health of livestock, pastoralists continue to sell them to meet their family needs. The agropastoral situation remains difficult despite the arrival of the first rains in the region (Afrique Verte).
In June, a joint assessment of the pastoral situation has been conducted by FAO, the government and the partners in Brakna, Assaba and Hodh El Gharbi (Mauritania). The assessment found that due to bad agropastoral productions, herds’ health is of concern. Livestock mortality rates are high (30 to 60 %) and herders don’t have the necessary resources to buy enough fodder and save the remaining livestock. In addition, watering and sanitary conditions remain poor for livestock. Coping strategies developed by herders have reached their limits. The assessment provided recommendations to strengthen urgent response actions.