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GIEWS Country Brief: Niger 11-January-2019

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Food Security Snapshot

  • Above-average cereal harvest gathered in 2018
  • Imports will slightly increase despite above-average production
  • Prices of coarse grains declining following seasonal trends
  • Continued assistance needed for vulnerable populations

Above-average cereal output gathered in 2018

Harvesting of major crops, including millet, sorghum and rice (paddy), has almost completed in January. Overall, the 2018 national cereal production is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes. The production is 12 percent above the average and similar to 2017’s output.

The pastoral situation is overall satisfactory as the fodder balance sheet shows a surplus of about 3.3 million tonnes dry matter after four years of deficits. In fact, the available feed (real) in 2018 is fixed at 30 million tonnes of dry matter and it exceeds the national livestock feed requirements that are estimated at 26.7 million tonnes. However, reports from the field indicate a loss of 438 872 tonnes of dry matter due to the burning in November 2018 of 253 175.40 hectares in Tahoua and Diffa regions. In 2018, movements and concentrations of animals followed normal patterns. The animal health situation is generally stable, with no major disease outbreaks recorded, contributing to the satisfactory livestock body conditions and improved market value.

Slightly increasing import requirements in 2018

Imports fulfill about 10 percent of the national cereal domestic utilization. Rice, for human consumption, accounts for about 70 percent of the total cereal imports. Despite the similar level of total domestic production compared to the previous year, import requirements for the 2018/19 (November/October) marketing year are expected to increase slightly compared to the previous year as traders aim to maintain their stocks to an optimum level.

Declining cereal prices in most markets

Market supply is globally satisfactory except in Diffa, Tahoua and Tillabery regions due to persisting civil conflict and the state of emergency. Food prices were declining in November 2018 compared to the previous month as a result of the ongoing harvests and regular internal and external trade flows. In most markets, prices of coarse grains were lower than a year earlier and the five-year average.

Continued assistance needed for food insecure populations

Insecurity continues to result in population displacement, disruption of market activities and seasonal livelihoods in Diffa Region following the Boko Haram conflict and in Tillabery and Tahoua regions due to the presence of armed groups. The insecurity and the effects of the state of emergency will continue to hinder the movement of people and goods and access to some markets and areas with high pastoral production potential. This may result in food and nutritional difficulties for poor and very poor households. According to the Regional Bureau of Civil Status, Migration and Refugee Affairs, as of November 2018, about 300 000 people were displaced, of which about 104 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were living in camps in Diffa and 51 900 IDPs in Tahoua and Tillabery regions. These populations remain heavily dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their most basic needs.

According to the November 2018 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 604 000 people were estimated to be in need of food assistance from October to December 2018, doubling the caseload of one year earlier. This number is expected to increase further to over 1.2 million people during the lean season (June to August 2019) if no mitigation actions are taken.