Increased violence in bordering regions with Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria, and intercommunal conflict have caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the Niger along with higher levels of food insecurity and malnutrition.
Poor distribution of rains, delayed rains and absence of rains, depending on the area, have resulted in an 11.3-million tonne fodder deficit, significantly disrupting the livelihoods of pastoral households, which are already affected by restricted access to traditional grazing grounds in neighbouring countries due to increased insecurity.
Disruptions to rainfall (drought and floods) along with caterpillar attacks have also affected the outcome of the 2019/20 agricultural campaign, with a 12-percent drop in cereal production compared with 2018/19.
The impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the related restrictive measures put in place in response to the pandemic have further exacerbated the vulnerability of rural and urban households.
In the context of the pandemic, it is crucial to support vulnerable farmers in the preparation of off-season and irrigated crop production activities, as well as in terms of food processing and conservation, marketing and to reduce food production losses.
Planned response by July 2020
40 000 households (280 000 people) targeted
Provide 30 000 vulnerable pastoral households with 4 500 tonnes of livestock feed (in kind or through voucher schemes)
Provide 10 000 vulnerable farming households with 150 tonnes of seed for rainfed crop production (in kind or through voucher schemes), technical training and unconditional cash transfers (cash+)
33 000 households (231 000 people) to be assisted with funding received
- Procurement of 2 045 tonnes of livestock feed, and 387 tonnes of cowpea, millet and sorghum seed for rainfed crop production to be distributed to vulnerable households and supply of 375 tonnes of animal feed through vouchers - Support to the Early Warning System for the identification of vulnerable areas in the Niger based on the latest Cadre Harmonisé analysis
Challenges facing food security and agriculture
Increased insecurity and intercommunal conflict in the Niger have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities linked to the effects of natural disasters, epidemic diseases, plant pests and structural issues, causing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the country. In addition, the arrival of nearly 218 400 refugees fleeing violence in Nigeria and Mali are increasing pressure on local populations’ already limited resources.
Tensions between farmers and herders persist, leading to the displacement of thousands of people both within the Niger, particularly in the Diffa and southeastern regions, and to neighbouring countries.
These factors have hampered agricultural and pastoral activities. Poor to medium harvests have been registered for millet and sorghum production in 2019 in certain areas due to limited and erratic distribution of rainfall.
In addition, as the rest of the world, the Niger is facing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the first cases were registered in the country, rural populations as well as farmers in the Niger’s urban and peri-urban areas are experiencing a critical situation. The effects of the pandemic and of the restrictive measures adopted to stop the spread of the virus have exacerbated the vulnerability of small-scale producers.
Based on the latest Cadre Harmonisé analysis (March 2020), a joint technical committee, including the National Mechanism for the Prevention and Management of Disasters and Food Crises and Non-governmental Organizations, has carried out an evaluation (April 2020) to assess the increased number of people projected to be food insecure taking into account the impact of COVID-19. Results indicated that up to 5.6 million people would be food insecure during the lean season (June – August 2020), of whom 4.4 million people in rural areas and 1.2 million in urban areas. Of the total estimate, more than 2.7 million people would face severe acute food insecurity during the upcoming lean season if adequate assistance is not provided.