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Sahel and West Africa Food Security Update, April 2007

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Food Security Information Note 8 - Overall satisfactory 2006-2007 agricultural situation but challenges remain with regard to food security

Coverage Period: 3/16/2007 - 4/20/2007

1. An overall satisfactory food situation

The Food Crisis Prevention Network (FCPN) meeting held on 5 and 6 April 2007 provided an analytical framework of the definitive results of the 2006-07 agricultural campaign in the Sahel and West Africa.

CILSS countries' total definitive cereal production is 15 102 000 tonnes, an increase of 3% compared to the 2005-06 agricultural production campaign and 19% compared to the average over the last five years. Thus, with regard to the results of the 2005-06 campaign, production has increased in all of the countries except for Mauritania and Senegal where there production dropped by 13% and 23% respectively.

Cereal production in West African non-CILSS coastal countries indicates an overall satisfactory situation. In Benin, Guinea Conakry and Togo, total production reached, respectively: 1 095 505 tonnes, 2 117 858 tonnes and 888 984 tonnes. In Nigeria, cereal production of the 2006-07 revised campaign was 28 871 000 tonnes compared to 26 942 000 tonnes in 2005-06, with an increase of 7%.

The food situation in the Sahel remains overall satisfactory. On the markets, sufficient cereal production has instigated a drop in prices except for Mauritania and eastern Chad where prices tend to be higher. For Mauritania, this situation is due to a reorientation of market supply coming directly from cross-border Malian and Senegalese markets to Nouakchott. Thus, cereal prices have returned to the same levels as they were prior to the exceptional increases observed during the 2005 crisis. For example, in March 2007, millet prices were much lower than those of 2006 at the same time of year. The current price levels remain close to the average over the last five years. Cereal and cattle trade evolves in favour of the nomadic livestock breeders and the sale of NDjaména average size sheep enables a livestock breeder to purchase 128 kg of millet in this 2007 period as compared to 105 kg in 2006.

Looking ahead, the 2007 regional market's evolution should be comparable to that of 2006 with relatively stable prices, close to the average of the last five years, guaranteeing better access to food for the most vulnerable populations.

In conclusion, analysis of the current food situation indicates that currently no particular alert should be issued for all Sahel countries. This is particularly useful for Niger as contradictory information is often circulated announcing a situation similar to that of 2005.