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Country Briefs

  Niger

Reference Date: 17-November-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Adequate rains facilitated crop development in most regions; an average harvest expected following last year’s bumper crop

  2. Coarse grain prices declined steeply but remained at levels above those a year earlier

  3. Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed, including for Nigerian and Malian refugees

Average harvest expected for 2016 cropping season

Harvesting of the 2016 cereal crops is underway and will be completed by the end of November. The cropping season was characterized by adequate precipitation and soil water reserves in most monitored rainfall stations. As a result, preliminary estimates point to an average cereal harvest in 2016, although official production estimates are not yet available. Pastures have been regenerating countrywide, improving livestock conditions.

A bumper crop was gathered in 2015. The aggregate cereals production in 2015 was estimated at some 5.4 million tonnes about 11 percent above the 2014 output. Production of millet, the most important staple crop, increased slightly by 3 percent compared to 2014.

Coarse grain prices dropped steeply in most markets

The Niger is highly dependent on imports of coarse grains (millet, sorghum and maize) from its neighbours, Nigeria and Benin, to cover its cereal requirements. Reflecting ample supplies following the recent harvests, coarse grain prices dropped steeply in October in most markets. The steep depreciation of the Nigerian Naira also made imported products cheaper in Niger. Millet prices in the capital, Niamey, declined by about 23 percent compared to the previous month. Prices, however, remained at levels above those a year earlier after sustained increases in the past months.

Continued assistance still needed for vulnerable people, including refugees

The 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. As of August 2016, Over 114 000 people are estimated to have left Nigeria for the Diffa Region of the Niger; while an additional 60 000 Malian refugees are still living in the Niger. The refugee crisis has exacerbated an already fragile food situation. Moreover, there are more than 167 000 IDPs in the country which has been struck by successive severe food crises in recent years that resulted in the 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 the previous crises and the impact of recent years’ 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 833 000 people are estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above, according to the last analysis of the “Cadre Harmonisé” (Harmonized Framework) conducted in the country.