Reference Date: 05-February-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Preliminary forecast for 2014 harvest points to reduced cereal production
Pastures affected by irregular rains
Cereal prices stable or declining, reflecting adequate regional supplies
Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed including for Nigerian and Malian refugees
A lower 2014 cereal production forecasted due to rainfall deficits
Harvesting of the 2014 cereal crops was completed in December. Several parts of the country witnessed erratic and below-average rains until July that resulted in replanting in some regions. Although precipitation improved significantly from the last dekad of July over the main producing areas, the erratic rains affected coarse grain yields and delayed harvesting activities in several parts of the southern producing regions, notably in Zinder, Diffa and Tillaberi. As a result, a reduced cereal harvest was forecast in 2014, although official production estimates are not yet available.
Moreover, the erratic rains caused the depletion of grazing resources and lowered water points’ level in parts of the pastoral zones of the country.
A below average crop was already gathered in 2013. The aggregate cereals production was estimated at some 4.3 million tonnes, about 19 percent lower than the 2012 output and 6 percent below the average of the previous five years. Production of millet, the most important staple crop, dropped by 19 percent compared to 2012.
Cereal prices are on the decline, reflecting ample regional supplies
Niger is highly dependent on imports of coarse grains (millet, sorghum and maize) from its neighbours Nigeria and Benin to cover its cereal requirements. In spite of the reduced harvests gathered in Niger over the last two years, cereal markets have been well supplied and prices remained mostly stable throughout 2014, reflecting good crops in most neighbouring countries and ample regional supplies. The arrival of the new 2014 harvests has put downward pressure on prices at the end of the year. Millet and sorghum prices in Niamey in January 2015 were 29 percent and 25 percent below last year’s level, respectively.
Continued assistance is still needed for vulnerable people including refugees
Niger hosts a large number of refugees, due to the continuing civil conflict in neighbouring Mali and Nigeria. The influx of refugees increased dramatically over the past few months following the deterioration of the security situation in northeastern Nigeria. Over 100 000 people are estimated to have left Nigeria for the Diffa region of Niger, as of late January 2015, while an additional 37 000 Malian refugees are still living in Niger. The refugee crisis has exacerbated an already fragile food situation. Niger has been struck by successive severe food crises in recent years that resulted in depletion of household assets and high level of indebtedness. The food security situation has remained difficult in several parts of the country, due to the lingering effects of previous crises and the impact of last year’s erratic rains on crops and pastures in some regions. Several segments of the population still need food and non-food assistance to restore their livelihoods and enable them to have better access to food. Over 682 000 people are estimated to be in Phase 3 (Crisis) and above, according to the last Cadre Harmonisé analysis conducted in the country.