Executive Brief: The Sahel crisis, 14 February 2012
Food insecurity and malnutrition are recurrent and severe in the Sahel. Acute food crises occurred in 2005 and 2010. In 2012, several countries in the subregion are again at high risk. Agricultural production was sharply reduced due to late and irregular rains, and prolonged dry spells in 2011. Even though comparable to the average of the past five years, cereal production is 25 percent lower than last year. The most seriously affected countries include Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, the Niger, Senegal and Gambia, with some countries (Chad and Mauritania) experiencing a decrease in cereal production up to 50 percent as compared to the previous agricultural year, and other countries suffering serious localized cereal deficits. For the households living in affected areas, the lean season is beginning earlier than usual. A severe fodder shortage in localized areas, particularly in Chad, Mauritania and the Niger, is leading to early transhumance and changing transhumance corridors, thus also increasing the risk of tension between communities at border areas and within the countries.