FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Localized deficits despite above‑average production harvested in 2019
Above ‑ average imports expected in 2019/20 marketing year
Prices of coarse grains stable except in conflict areas
Food insecurity rising in early 2020 as conflicts impinge food access for most vulnerable households
Above‑average harvest gathered in 2019, except in conflict‑affected zones
Seasonal dry weather conditions are prevailing in most areas of the country and planting of the 2020 crops is expected to begin in April‑May with the normal onset of the rains.
Harvesting of the 2019 crops finalized in December 2019, while harvesting of off‑season rice and sorghum is underway and will be completed by end‑April. The national cereal production in 2019 is estimated at 5 million tonnes, 12 percent above the average of the last five years and slightly below the previous year’s output. Millet and sorghum recorded the major year on year production declines. Despite above‑average production at the national level, many areas experienced production declines due the late onset of the rains, pockets of drought during September, the extended rainfall through end‑October that caused excessive moisture conditions for grains to dry and some attacks by birds on crops in the eastern region.
In pastoral areas, insufficient rains in September 2019 affected pastures leading to a significant forage deficit, estimated at about 5.6 million tonnes of dry matter. The most affected reions were Hauts Bassins, Sahel, Centre West and East, where livestock body conditions are expected to gradually deteriorate with the start of the pastoral lean season in March 2020 and animal/cereals terms of trade for pastoralists are expected to worsen.
Imports of cereals in 2019/20 forecast above average
Despite the 2019 above‑average production, import requirements for the 2019/20 marketing year (November/October) are forecast at an above‑average level of 750 000 tonnes as local traders are aiming to replenish their stocks.
Prices of coarse grains generally stable, but down from year‑earlier
Most agricultural markets are well supplied following the commercialization of the newly harvested crops and the relatively high level of carryover stocks.
Prices of millet and sorghum remained broadly unchanged in February 2020 and down from a year earlier on account of good domestic availabilities. Similarly, prices of imported rice remained relatively stable due to the regular supply from the internationnal markets. By contrast, in conflict‑affected areas of the provinces of Soum, Sanmatenga, Yagha, Gnagna and Komandjoari, persisting civil insecurity continued to hamper market activities and to keep food prices at relatively high levels.
Although most livestock markets are well supplied, livestock trade is negatively impacted by persistent insecurity and weak export demand towards the Nigerian markets. Domestic livestock prices in February 2020 were generally stable, but below last year’s level. The terms of trade for livestock/cereals are generally favourable to pastoralists because of the stable cereal prices. However, in the coming months, the market value of the animals is expected to moderately decrease as their body conditions are likely to deteriorate.
Food insecurity on rising in early 2020 as conflicts impinge food access for most vulnerable households
Food security conditions worsened significantly in 2019, particularly in the Sahel and North Central regions. The main causes of the deterioration have been some localized crop production declines in 2019 and persistent civil insecurity, associated with renewed attacks, robberies, banditry and inter‑community clashes. As of February 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) identified over 779 000 people that have been displaced in the communes of Djibo, Arbinda and Kelbo (Soum Province) and Barsalogho (Sanmatenga Province). In addition, about 26 000 refugees, mostly from Mali, are still residing in the Sahel Region. Most displaced households are heavily dependent on humanitarian assistance.
According to the March 2020 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 1.6 million people are estimated to need external food assistance in March‑May 2020, about four times more than the corresponding period in 2019. This figure is expected to increase to 2.1 million during the lean season between June and August 2020 if no mitigation actions are taken. This situation is fundamentally due to a large food consumption deficit, limited households’ coping mechanisms and low levels of food assistance.
COVID-19 and measures adopted by the Government
In view of the evolving COVID‑19 situation, the Government has decreed a total lockdown and a curfew from 21 March to 20 April 2020. In response to the COVID‑19, the Government decided to provide free health care services for sick people and to implement actions to guarantee the supply of basic foodstuffs, while ensuring price controls. The most important markets in Ouagadougou and surrounding municipalities have been closed and are not expected to open before 20 April. Official restrictions on population movements, combined with heightened levels of fear, have led to a significant reduction of income‑earning opportunities. Field reports indicate cases of hoarding in several local markets.