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Country Briefs

  Niger

Reference Date: 18-June-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Planting of 2018 cereal crops started on time in main farming areas under favourable conditions

  2. Average cereal harvest gathered in 2017

  3. Prices of coarse grains lower compared to 2017 due to increased supply

  4. Continued assistance needed, including for refugees

Planting of 2018 cereal crop started under favourable conditions

Planting of the 2018 coarse grain crops (millet and sorghum), to be harvested from September, started on time in May in the main production zones (Maradi, Dosso, Zinder, Tillabery, Tahoua regions) of the country and is expected to continue until July. The agricultural season is progressing normally, with the seasonal accumulation of rainfall since mid-May 2018 resulting in favourable moisture conditions for planting and crop development. In the pastoral areas of Northern Maradi and Zinder and in Tahoua, the rainy season is expected to start normally in July, although some scattered rains in May and early June favoured the localized germination and emergence of grasses providing pasture for small ruminants.

Average harvest gathered in 2017

The 2017 agro-pastoral season was characterized by an early installation of rain in the third dekad of April. Although average to above average in terms of quantity, rainfall throughout the season remained poorly distributed. Long dry spells aborted or delayed plantings in July in Maradi, Zinder and Tahoua regions, while strong winds uprooted young millet plants in June in Tahoua Region resulting in re-planting in June-July. Overall, the national cereal production was estimated at 5.8 million tonnes. The production was 11 percent up from the average and 7 percent up from last season’s good output. Production of millet was up from 10 percent, while sorghum output decreased by 6 percent compared to 2016.

The country fodder balance sheet is short of more than 10 million tonnes of dry matter, corresponding to about 40 percent of the total animal feed needs for livestock. Although almost all regions have been negatively impacted, the situation is most critical in Tahoua. The situation will likely persist until the end of July when the pasture situation is expected to improve with the progress of the rainy season.

Imports fulfill about 10 percent of the national cereal domestic utilization. Rice, for human consumption, accounts for about 70 percent of the total cereal import. Despite a slight increase in total domestic production compared to the previous year, import requirements for the 2017/18 (November/October) marketing year are expected to increase slightly compared to the previous year and will remain almost 20 percent above the average.

Prices of coarse grains remain lower than last year in most markets

Prices of coarse grains remained higher in April in some markets, mainly due to the increased food demand for the Ramadan festive period and seasonal pastoralists’ purchases. However, prices were lower than one year earlier due to adequate imports from neighbouring countries, including Nigeria.

Despite improvements in security situation, continued assistance needed

In Tahoua and Tillabery regions, the civil insecurity persists with repeated terrorist attacks and internal population displacement. In Diffa Region, the situation has worsen since early June 2018 with new attacks on security personnel and civilian populations. Civil insecurity continues to hamper the movement of people and goods, opportunities of trade, the economic recovery and limit the access to humanitarian action.

According to the March 2018 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 787 000 people are estimated to be in need of food assistance from March to May 2018, with a significant increase from 301 000 people from October to December 2017. This number is expected to increase further at 803 000 people during the June to August period if no mitigation actions are taken.

According to the Regional Bureau of Civil Status, Migration and Refugee Affairs, as of October 2017, the country was hosting slightly over 250 000 displaced persons of which about 130 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are living in camps in Diffa Region. The number of IDPs has nearly remained unchanged for more than one year. These populations remain heavily depend on humanitarian assistance to meet their most basic needs.

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