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Food security and humanitarian implications in West Africa and the Sahel, N°71 - December 2015 - January 2016

Situation Report
Originally published
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Key Points

  • Confirmation of satisfactory levels of agro-pastoral production in West Africa and the Sahel: 12 percent increase in cereal production compared with the average over the past five years.

  • Confirmation of a 12 percent decrease in cereal production in Chad.

  • The security situation in the Lake Chad Basin, which continues to have a negative impact on displaced and host populations, deserves particular attention.

  • Increased domestic supply is pushing down cereal prices.

The main 2015-2016 agricultural season is over and cereal production is estimated to be 12 percent higher than the five-year average and 5 percent higher than in 2014-2015 for the West African region and the Sahel. This is positive for the entire region; however, the dry spells and early end to rains in Chad, northern Benin, Togo and Ghana have caused grain production to decline in these countries. The effects of this fall in production could lead to price increases in the markets in affected areas.

Despite good production forecasts, the food and nutrition situation of the most vulnerable people in the region could deteriorate during the next lean season (June to August 2016) owing to the deterioration of their livelihoods, the early depletion of their stocks, localized increases in food prices and deteriorating terms of trade. In addition, a growing number of the poorest households does not always depend on agriculture and livestock for food and access to income and was not able to profit from good agricultural production.

The agricultural off-season has started in the region and could help fill production deficits from the main agricultural season.