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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 17-October-2022


  1. Acute food insecurity at unprecedented levels for 1.84 million people in 2022

  2. Conflicts, constrained access to fertilizers and floods affected cereal production in 2022

  3. Cereal imports in 2021/22 marketing year forecast above average

  4. Prices of cereals followed mixed trends and were higher year‑on‑year

Acute food insecurity at unprecedented levels for 1.84 million people in 2022

According to the March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis, about 1.84 million people were estimated to face acute food insecurity (CH Phase 3 [Crisis] and above) during the June‑August 2022 period, including about 156 000 people in CH Phase 4 (Emergency). This is the highest number on record and well above the 1.3 million people estimated to be acute food insecure during the same period in 2021.

The sharp increase in acute food insecurity levels mainly reflects weather shocks, reduced cereal production in 2021, high food prices and worsening security conditions in central and northern parts of the country. The increasing number of violent incidents has highly constrained the delivery of humanitarian assistance and has resulted in large population displacements. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as of July 2022, nearly 400 000 people were internally displaced. In addition, the country hosts approximately 56 000 refugees, mostly from the Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

Despite the ongoing cereal harvests, high levels of acute food insecurity are likely to persist in the remainder of 2022. Food availability and access are likely to remain limited by poor security conditions and high food and energy prices. Regional sanctions on the country imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which were enforced during the first half of 2022, are expected to have an impact on the national economy, resulting in a negative Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2022. This is likely to erode the purchasing power of the most vulnerable households, further constraining their access to food. According the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), floods have affected, as of late September 2022, over 40 000 people, mostly in southern and central regions, increasing the risk of a deterioration of food security conditions. Forecasts indicate above‑average rainfall amounts in southwestern parts of the country until the end of October, increasing the likelihood of additional floods. An ongoing Assessment on the Food Security and Nutrition Situation (ENSAN) will support the CH estimation on the number of people facing acute food insecurity during the last quarter of 2022. The results of the assessment are expected to be released next November by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).

Conflicts, constrained access to fertilizers and floods affected cereal production in 2022

Harvesting of the 2022 main season coarse grains and paddy crops is underway and is due to conclude in the first months of 2023. Adequate rains at the start of the rainy season in late May and June supported land preparation and sowing of early planted crops. In parts of southern, central and western regions, below‑average rainfall amounts between July and early August caused some delays to planting of late crops. Abundant rains through September mitigated rainfall deficits and supported crop development across most of the country, but also resulted in localized flooding that caused some crop losses, the disruption of agricultural livelihoods and destruction of productive assets.

Worsening conflicts in 2022, mostly concentrated in central and northern parts, hampered agricultural activities, caused population displacements and restricted farmers’ access to fields, limiting the extent of planted area with cereal crops. In addition, according to a recent subregional assessment conducted by FAO, the World Food Programme (WFP), ECOWAS and CILSS, the availability of fertilizers during the early stages of the cropping season was extremely low in the country. The reduced availability and high prices of fertilizers led to severe access constraints, curbing yield expectations of coarse grains and paddy crops.

Production of coarse grains, mostly maize and millet, and paddy is expected at average to below‑average levels in 2022, reflecting the adverse impact on yields of the low application of fertilizers and floods as well as a reduction of the planted area caused by poor security conditions.

Cereal imports in 2021/22 marketing year forecast above average

The country relies on imports, mostly of rice and wheat, to meet its domestic cereal requirements. In the previous five years, cereal imports, mostly rice and wheat, were estimated on average at 540 000 tonnes. In the 2021/22 marketing year (November/October), cereal import requirements are estimated at about 610 000 tonnes, slightly above the previous year’s level and over 10 percent above the previous five‑year average. This increase mostly reflects significantly higher year‑on‑year imports of rice, forecast at 400 000 tonnes, underpinned by the country’s need to bolster availabilities following the sharp decline in rice production in the 2021 cropping season.

Prices of cereals followed mixed trends and were higher year‑on‑year

Prices of locally produced sorghum and millet followed mixed trends in August and September, reflecting the downward pressure of the ongoing harvests on markets in southern and western parts, while they continued to increase in markets in central and northern areas that are severely affected by conflicts. However, prices of coarse grains were up to 120 percent higher than one year before, mostly supported by conflict‑related market disruptions and below‑average supplies. Prices of rice generally increased in 2022, with strong gains between June and September, reflecting low market supplies. As of September 2022, prices of rice were up to 25 percent above their year‑earlier levels. Below‑average cereal production prospects in 2022, disrupted trade flows and increasing prices of energy and food associated to the war in Ukraine also weighed on coarse grains and rice prices.

In order to mitigate the price increases and secure market availabilities, a ban on cereal exports was introduced in December 2021 ( FPMA Food Policies ).

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