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Sahel and West Africa Food Security Outlook - October 2012 through March 2013


Above-average harvests, with high prices persisting


  • Total cereal production by Sahelian and West African countries for the 2012/2013 growing season is estimated at 57,318,000 metric tons. Even without data for Burkina Faso, this puts production up by 13 percent from last year and 18 percent from the five-year average.

  • However, prices remain high and, in many cases, are both above-average and up from 2011, particularly for millet. This could undermine the food security of poor agropastoral households beginning in June and pastoral households by March (the beginning of the lean season in pastoral areas), for which millet is an essential dietary staple.

  • The region-wide improvement in food availability is bolstering food security, currently classified in IPC Phase 1: Minimal food insecurity. The increasingly large availability of off-season crops in the Sahel and crops from the second growing season in bimodal coastal areas should keep food insecurity at minimal levels through March of next year. However, at least 20 percent of the population of flood-stricken areas and certain household groups in poor market-dependent agropastoral and pastoral areas in IPC Phase 2 (stressed) will require well-targeted assistance programs to build their resilience and prevent any further deterioration in their food security situation.

  • With the end of the rainy season in the Sahel, there is no longer any major threat to crops from the 2012 growing season from desert locusts. However, the reported swarms of locusts in Niger, Chad, Mali, and Mauritania will require continuing monitoring and treatment to prevent a locust infestation of North Africa and to protect the 2013/14 season.