Reference Date: 16-January-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production affected in 2013 by irregular rains and civil insecurity in the northern part of the country.
Humanitarian assistance is still needed despite the improved civil security situation
Agricultural production hampered by civil strife
Harvesting of millet and sorghum, the major coarse grains produced in the country, was completed in November, while rice harvesting is almost complete.
Agriculture has been seriously damaged in recent months in parts of the country due to the civil strife. Labour shortages due to population displacements, lack of agricultural support services in the northern half, fragmentation of the markets and other difficulties related to civil security have had serious negative impact on agricultural production and food markets. These problems have been exacerbated in 2013 by erratic rains and extended dry spells throughout the growing season, which caused a reduction in planted area and affected yields.
A joint CILSS/FAO/FewsNet/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission that visited the country recently, estimated 2013 aggregate cereals production at some 5.5 million tonnes (including off-season crop harvest forecasts), about 18 percent lower than the 2012 output and 8 percent below the average of the previous five years. The drop in cereal production was driven mostly by a steep contraction in coarse grains output. Production of millet, the most important staple, has declined by 30 percent. By contrast, 2013 rice production was similar to previous year’s level.
Continued assistance is still needed for vulnerable people
The recent civil strife has led to a significant population displacement and disruptions in commodity movement and cross-border trade, leading to mixed food price trends. Cereal prices skyrocketed last year in the northern part of the country but remained mostly stable in the South. Rice prices have been following a downward trend for several months, which may affect rice producers’ income and food security. Moreover, the lingering effects of the 2012 food crisis combined with the disruptions caused by the recent civil strife have had very adverse, longer-term impact on household assets and savings, notably in the northern part of the country. Several segments of the population will still need food and nonfood assistance to restore their livelihoods and enable them to have better access to food.
The joint CILSS/FAO/FewsNet/WFP Assessment Mission considers it a matter of urgency to improve household purchasing power and access to food by supporting off-season cropping and other income-generating activities. Support also needs to be given to the marketing of rice through local purchases, where possible, and the replenishment of national food security stocks.