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Country Briefs

  Niger

Reference Date: 23-March-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Adequate rains in 2016 facilitated crop development in most regions; bumper crop gathered for second consecutive year

  2. Coarse grain prices increased in recent months and remained above their year earlier levels

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

Bumper crop harvested in 2016

Harvesting of the 2016 cereal crops was completed in November 2016. The cropping season was characterized by adequate precipitation and soil water reserves in most monitored rainfall stations. As a result, preliminary estimates put the aggregate 2016 cereal output at about 5.9 million tonnes, 9 percent above the 2015 bumper levels and about 25 percent above the five-year average. Production of millet, the most important staple crop, increased by 16 percent compared to 2015. 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.

Coarse grain prices increased recently 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 and November in most markets. The steep depreciation of the Nigerian Naira also made imported products cheaper in Niger. However, millet prices were on the increase since December 2016 and in February they were over 29 percent above their year-earlier levels. Prices reached high levels following the sharp increases in mid-2016 when seasonal trends were exacerbated by concerns about crop performance in some areas due to unfavourable weather. The strong demand from institutional bodies for the replenishment of their stocks have also put pressure on cereal prices in recent 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. As of February 2017, Over 119 000 people are estimated to have left Nigeria for the Diffa Region of the Niger; while an additional 61 000 Malian refugees are still living in the Niger. The refugee crisis has exacerbated an already fragile food situation. Moreover, there are more than 121 000 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. About 327 000 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.