Food security and humanitarian implications in West Africa and the Sahel, N°73 - March - April 2016


  • Good agricultural production 2015-2016 are confirmed in the Sahel and West Africa.

  • 6.7 million people are affected by food and nutrition insecurity with 4.2 million people displaced in the Sahel and West Africa due to civil insecurity prevailing in the Lake Chad Basin, northern Mali, Libya, Central African Republic and Sudan.

  • Globally, the markets remain well supplied and are characterized by stable or lower food prices compared to the previous year and the five-year average.

  • Globally, near average to deficit rainfall is expected for most of the Gulf of Guinea in the March - May 2016 period.

The 2015-2016 agro-pastoral campaign registered good productions compared to last year (2014-2015) and the past five-year average (2010-2014) in the region, except in Chad, Guinea Bissau and Burkina Faso where a decrease was noted. However, the production does not cover all of the region's food needs and significant number of very poor households that do not depend primarily on agriculture and livestock to feed itself were unable to take advantage of the excellent agro climatic conditions in 2015. Moreover, with the arrival of the lean season and the gradual installation of the 2016-2017 agro-pastoral campaign, food insecurity remains and is exacerbated by population displacements.

Food and nutrition insecurity affects 6.7 million people in the region during the post-harvest period and these vulnerable populations might reach 9.5 million during the lean season (June - August 2016) if adequate responses are not taken to improve their level of food consumption, protect their livelihoods, and prevent and treat malnutrition.

The Lake Chad Basin which is affected by insecurity and displacements, populations are facing a situation of food and nutritional crisis (phase 3 of the Cadre Harmonisé) which requires an immediate response in the accessible areas from humanitarian actors. In Nigeria, a deterioration of households’ food consumption and livelihoods was noted in the States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. In Cameroon, in the departments of Logone and Chari, Mayo Sava and Mayo Tsanaga in the Extreme - North, almost half of internally displaced persons have a poor and borderline food consumption score.

For the next agricultural 2016-2017 season, the dates to the start of the rainy season are expected to be normal to late in the Gulf of Guinea countries and the impact to the start of the crop year needs to be followed closely. The weather forecasts for the regions of the Sahel should be available in May 2016.