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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 07-October-2022


  1. Cereal production in 2022 affected by floods, pests and conflicts

  2. Cereal import requirements not likely to be met in 2021/22 marketing year

  3. Prices of coarse grains followed mixed trends and were higher year on year

  4. Food insecurity at unprecedented levels in 2022

Cereal production in 2022 affected by floods, pests and conflicts

Harvesting of the 2022 main season cereal crops is ongoing and it is expected to be concluded in November. The rainy season had a timely start in June, enhancing planting activities. Between July and September, however, an erratic distribution of rains led to below‑average vegetation conditions in western regions of Tillaberi and Dosso, and eastern region of Diffa. Torrential rains resulted in severe flooding events, mostly in August and September, that caused localized crop losses, the disruption of agricultural livelihoods and damages to food stocks. Persisting armed conflicts, mostly concentrated in western Liptako‑Gourma Region and in eastern Lake Chad Bassin, hampered agricultural activities and restricted farmers’ access to the fields, limiting the extent of the planted area with cereal crops. In addition, reports from the country indicate that about 48 000 hectares of crops were affected by pest attacks, mostly grasshoppers.

In order to boost crop production and support agricultural livelihoods, which have been undermined by poor cereal harvests in 2021 and by high international prices of energy and agricultural inputs, the government has implemented an emergency plan between November 2021 and March 2022 and a support plan for the vulnerable households for the remainder of 2022. This includes the distribution of improved seeds and agrochemicals at subsidized prices.

The national cereal production in 2022 is preliminarily forecast at 4.7 million tonnes, above the reduced output harvested in 2021, reflecting the beneficial effects of abundant rains in large cropping areas and the distribution by the government of fertilizers and pesticides. At this level, however, production is about 10 percent below the five‑year average, due to localized production shortfalls caused by floods, pest infestations and conflicts.

Unfavourable weather conditions have also led to below‑average forecasts of forage production in large pastoral areas of the country, which, together with worsening insecurity and conflicts, is likely to affect livestock body conditions and production.

Cereal import requirements not likely to be met in 2021/22 marketing year

The country relies on imports, mostly of rice, to meet its domestic cereal requirements. In the 2021/22 marketing year (November/October), cereal import requirements are estimated at 735 000 tonnes, about 20 percent above the previous year and over 30 percent above the five‑year average, mostly due to the sharp production shortfall of coarse grains in 2021.

However, the country is not likely to meet the entire import requirements due to limited crossborder trade flows, underpinned by lingering logistical bottlenecks related to the COVID‑19 pandemic, poor security conditions and export bans of grains and cereal products in neighbouring countries, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Algeria.

Prices of coarse grains followed mixed trends and were higher year on year

Prices of locally produced millet and sorghum were stable in August in most markets, while they increased for a second consecutive month in Tillaberi and Niamey. On average, prices of coarse grains were 10 percent above their year‑earlier levels. In Tillaberi, however, prices were up to 40 percent higher, reflecting below‑average availabilities stemming from the reduced cereal output in 2021 as well as conflict‑related market disruptions.

Acute food insecurity at unprecedented levels in 2022

According to the March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis, about 4.4 million people were estimated to face acute food insecurity (CH Phase 3 [Crisis] and above) and in need of humanitarian assistance during the June‑August 2022 period, including 425 000 people in CH Phase 4 (Emergency) this figure is well above the 2.3 million people estimated to be acute food insecure during the same period in 2021. This is the highest number on record since the start of the CH analysis in 2014 and the first time that two departments in the conflict‑affected Tillaberi Region are classified in Phase 4 (Emergency). The sharp increase in acute food insecurity levels reflects worsening violence and conflicts, reduced cereal outputs in 2021 and high food prices.

Persisting conflict and insecurity, mostly concentrated in Liptako Gourma Region, Lake chad Basin and central parts bordering Nigeria, continued to hamper the delivery of humanitarian assistance and caused large population displacements. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as of August 2022, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was estimated at about 350 000, mostly located in the regions of Diffa, Tahoua and Tillaberi. The country also hosts about 295 000 refugees, mainly from Nigeria and Mali.

Despite the ongoing cereal harvests, which are likely to improve food availability, high levels of acute food insecurity are expected to persist in the second half of 2022. Food availability and access are likely to remain limited by conflict‑related market disruptions and high food prices, exacerbated by the unfolding effects of the war in Ukraine on international trade and commodity prices. In addition, according to national authorities, floods have affected, as of late September 2022, nearly 250 000 people, mostly in the Maradi Region, increasing the risk of a deterioration of food insecurity. Weather forecasts indicate that abundant rains are expected until the end of October in southwestern parts of the country, increasing the likelihood of more floods. New CH estimates of the number of people facing acute food insecurity in the last quarter of 2022 are expected to be released next November by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).

In order to support the food security conditions of the most vulnerable households, including those affected by the poor agricultural outputs in 2021 and by floods since June 2022, and to prevent further increases in food prices, the government has delivered food aid and sold cereals at subsidized prices between February and September.

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