Burkina Faso + 8 more

West Africa: Humanitarian situation report 03 Apr 2008

Situation Report
Originally published



- Lowering or cutting taxes on food product tariffs

- Burkina Faso : The centre of the country faces food insecurity

- Mauritania: A serious food crisis predicted

- Guinea Bissau: Cereal stocks are dwindling

- Togo: Food security of flood affected households threatened

- Niger: Food insecurity on the rise

- Senegal: The government grants US$24 million to rural populations

- Ghana: 15 Liberians refugees repatriated

- Security situation worsens in northern Mali

- CERF allocates over US$2 million to Niger and Burkina Faso

- The West Africa CAP funded at 30%


1.1 Food security and nutrition

Reduction of taxes on food products - Cilss

Experts of the inter-state committee for the fight against drought in Sahel (CILSS) have recommended the nine member states which are Burkina Faso, Chad, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal to reduce taxes on food products. During the regional consultation on food and nutrition situation in Sahel and West Africa held from 17 to 21 March in Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, representatives from CILSS and ECOWAS member states and partners reviewed the agricultural situation in the sub-region. Revised provisional gross cereal production for 2007/2008 for all countries of the Sahel and West Africa with the exception of Liberia figures at 48 066 000 tonnes as against 49 121 000 tonnes in 2006/2007. However, this production is unevenly distributed in and between the countries and depicts major deficits in Senegal, Cape-Verde, the Gambia and the extreme North of Nigeria and Ghana.

However, based on the opinion of the market stakeholders, the large scale producers of Nigeria and the wholesale traders in Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria are keeping huge stocks which once released could significantly improve the levels of supplies to the markets. In addition, current prices have varied according to the products and the zones. Thus, there are three major zones of evolution in the Sahel and in West Africa:

- In the East, (Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Benin), the situation is characterized by a significant deficit in cereals in the North of Nigeria and a strong demand from the agro-food industries. Cereals prices are undergoing a remarkable rise which has started affecting the access to food particularly in Niger and in Nigeria;

- In the Central zone, (Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Togo and Ivory Coast), prices are evolving normally with respect to dry cereals but there are significant increases with respect to rice owing mainly to the international context;

- In the West, (Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Cape-Verde), we are witnessing a moderate rise in the price of dry cereals and sharp increases in the prices of imported commodities. In these countries, that are more dependent on the import of rice and wheat, the supply and access difficulties are already threatening the food security of the poorest households.

Currently, the food security conditions are on the whole satisfactory in the Central zone of the sub-region. However, they remain a cause for concern in certain zones in Niger, the Gambia and the extreme North of Nigeria, in the North-East of Guinea Bissau, in the South-East of Mauritania, in Senegal, Cape-Verde and in the urban centers as well as the structurally deficit zones. In other zones in certain countries, the food security conditions remain fragile owing to civil insecurity.

Concerning the nutritional situation in the Sahel and in West Africa, it is already depicting some worrying tendencies which should lend credence to the need for a reinforcement of the nutritional actions. Consequently, it is important to improve the access of the vulnerable populations to diversified foods in the short, medium and long terms.

The food and nutrition situation can further deteriorate in the coming months if the functioning of the markets and access to food products are not improved. A generalized rise in prices and difficulties in cereal supplies are to be feared particularly during the lean period. This risk is as real as the institutional stocks (national food security stocks, intervention stocks) and community stocks although relatively bigger but will not be sufficient to meet all of the needs.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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