Food Security Outlook Update

Improvement in food consumption with October and November harvests of rainfed crops

December 2017

December 2017 - January 2018

February - May 2018

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Performance data for the 2017/2018 agropastoral season puts cereal production 3.2 percent above the five-year average (Source: Ministry of Production, Irrigation, and Farm Equipment/MPIEA). The good levels of household food stocks are currently enabling most poor households to meet their food needs, with the sole exception of residents of the Lac region. Accordingly, these households are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

  • The combined effects of the reportedly poor harvests in the Lake Chad area, the reduction in income from fishing activities and the sale of livestock, and the pressure from DPs and refugees on limited local resources will force certain households to reduce their food consumption. Thus, humanitarian assistance will keep these households in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) phase of food insecurity through January 2018.

  • In spite of the surplus crops from harvests across the country, as of March, cereal stocks in certain areas reporting little crop production (Batha, Kanem, Bahr-el-Ghazal (BEG), Wadi Fira, Guera, Hadjer Lamis, Mandoul, and Moyen Chari) will begin to dwindle, creating Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions. Households in the Lake Chad area will be in a Crisis (IPC Phase 3) situation, fueled by the ongoing conflicts affecting their livelihoods.

CURRENT SITUATION

 

Farming conditions: Households are beginning to replenish their food stocks from ongoing harvests of millet, sorghum, maize, and rice. 

The transplanting of sorghum (berbéré) crops is completed in all crop-producing areas. Fields of berbéré crops are currently being weeded and treated against crop pests and diseases.

Off-season market gardening activities are just getting underway with the clean-up of fields, the digging of wells, and the planting of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and lettuce in seedbeds.

Pastoral conditions: There is a large, diversified supply of pasture resources in the form of grasses, crop residues, and woody plants. This available supply of pasture could meet livestock needs through March 2018, depending on the location. On the other hand, water resources for the watering of livestock in Guera are starting to be depleted, where animals are traveling two to three kilometers farther in search of a sufficient supply of good quality drinking water.

Farm labor: Current demand for labor for harvesting and market gardening activities is down sharply from last year due to purchasing power issues. In fact, most of the work is generally being performed by family or community labor.

Household cereal stocks: Household cereal stocks are gradually being replenished with the ramping up of harvests of food crops. These stocks are at above-average levels with the reportedly good volume of crop production across the country. However, stock levels in certain Sahelian regions such as Wadi Fira, Batha, BEG, Kanem, and Lac are still lower than usual as a result of the reported cereal deficits in these areas.

Situation in the Lake Chad area: The ongoing conflict is continuing to disrupt the livelihoods of more than 127,000 DPs and refugees (Source: OCHA) and limiting trade between different regional and cross-border markets. In spite of the ongoing harvests, the slowdown in trade with Nigeria and falling prices of livestock are limiting food access by reducing income.

Markets and prices: Surpluses from harvests of rainfed crops are continuing to bolster market supplies of food crops and the flow of trade. However, the conflict with Boko Haram is still disrupting trade in the Lac region. The low household demand and good harvests of rainfed crops are keeping prices on most cereal markets below the five-year average. On the other hand, December prices for maize in Bol were reportedly slightly above the five-year average by seven percent as a result of the poor cereal harvest. The closure of the country’s border with Nigeria is continuing to affect livestock prices and creating gluts on local markets. This is driving the atypical steady downward movement in prices.

Current food security situation: Most households are currently consuming home-grown crops and there is a visible improvement in household food consumption. The demand for labor, though lower than usual in the country’s presently poor economic circumstances, is improving the situation of poor households. Accordingly, most households in all livelihood zones across the country are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, with the exception of those in the Lac region whose food security is being strained by the effects of the conflict on their livelihoods and who are being kept in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) phase of food insecurity by humanitarian assistance.

The assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for the period from October 2017 through May 2018 have not changed. 

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2018

Households in the Wadi Fira region reporting low levels of crop production will be in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase of acute food insecurity between February and May 2018.

Households in Kanem and BEG will face food security problems engendered by the depletion of household food stocks, the reduced incomes of pastoral households, and the deterioration in terms of trade for sheep/cereals with the early start of the lean season for livestock and the slowdown in exports to Nigeria. Accordingly, their food security situation will deteriorate, propelling them into the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase of food insecurity.

As of February 2018, households in the Lake Chad area will face food consumption gaps as a result of the depletion of their food stocks, market disruptions, the falling prices of livestock, and the pressure from DPs and refugees on local livelihoods. This will put them in the Crisis (IPC Phase 3) stage of acute food insecurity.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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