West and Central Africa: WFP Regional Markets Update: March 2018
• Despite increasing estimates for regional agricultural estimates production (6% above the 2016/17 level, and 14% above the five-year-average), localized production deficits affect stocks, availability and price levels;
• Commercial stock replenishment takes twice as long as usual, since producers hold on to their reserves;
• High sorghum and millet prices (+20% in average compared to previous years) and saturated livestock markets keep terms of trade unfavorable for pastoralists;
• Livestock migration started four months earlier than usual, leading to overgrazing and tension over access to natural resources in the Sahel.
MARKET AND FOOD SECURITY TRENDS IN WEST AFRICA
The latest Cadre Harmonisé analysis in November 2017 con-cluded that 4.25 million people will require food assistance over the lean season in 2018 in Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauri-tania, Mali, Niger and Senegal. Current analyses suggest that the number of affected people in need of humanitarian assistance will likely go beyond the current lean season esti-mates. Early pasture and agricultural production deficits, high food prices combined with growing insecurity have already shown a negative impact on the food and nutrition situation in the Sahel.
To take stock of the market situation in the six countries prior to the PREGEC to be held in March, CILSS organized joint market missions in the region in February.
Assessments were carried out in partnership with local au-thorities and relevant organizations such as FAO and FEWSNET.
Preliminary results confirmed a difficult situation:
• Trade flows are resuming with Nigeria, as informal res-trictions have been lifted. Cereal imports to Niger are also supplying border markets. Nigerian demand/imports for livestock are showing a slight increase, which favours pastoralists from Niger as Nigeria repre-sents an important destination market.
• As cereal production in Burkina is sufficient but limited, the trade levels remain low. Border markets with Niger turn to Nigeria for supply.
• Areas along Malian border in Niger see many locations in emergency state with security measures limiting transportation.
• Prices for sorghum and millet remain high throughout the Sahelian belt (see Map 3&4) due to:
decrease in production in most producing countries ex-cept Senegal (see Chart 1). Maize is increasingly planted to the detriment of millet and sorghum;
decrease in yields (drought in September 2017);
low stock and stock retention by producers (traders/collectors struggle to build stocks as producers hold on to their stocks or sell at high prices);
low trade flows (for instance coming from Nigeria).
• Difficult pastoral campaign with few water points and biomas deficits, accelerating livestock concentration. (see Map 1)
In January 2018, according to the WFP VAM price data base, more than half of the markets in the central basin of the Sahel and in Mauritania are under alert classification or above accor-ding to ALPS for millet and sorghum, as prices have barely dropped after the harvest. (see Chart 2 below)
Currently, markets continue to be sufficiently supplied, but im-portant local production deficits are observed particularly in Mali. Demand is relatively low as producers use their own stocks and consume off-season products. However, cereal stocks will diminish quickly and millet/sorghum prices are already increa-sing, also according to Afrique verte (+24% in Ouagadougou, N°202, www.afriqueverte.org), and are expected to further in-crease due to a growing demand, while livestock prices remain low.