Food insecurity at unprecedented levels in most coastal and Sahelian countries
An estimated 27.3 million people are facing acute food insecurity between March and May 2022. This number is projected to increase to an unprecedented 38.3 million between June and August 2022 if humanitarian interventions are not scaled up.
The alarming high level of food insecurity is due to localized shortfalls in cereal production in 2021, worsening conflicts, high food prices and macroeconomic challenges compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of food insecure people could increase above initial projections in the second half of 2022 as spikes in food and fuel prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, are likely to worsen access to food.
Further aggravating risk factors to food insecurity are the high prices of agricultural inputs, notably fertilizers, persisting insecurity and forecast localized unfavourable weather conditions that could have additional negative impacts on agricultural production.
A major food crisis is ongoing in West Africa and the Sahel in 2022. Food insecurity has reached an unprecedented level in the subregion, with the estimated number of food insecure people on an upward trend since 2014 and almost quadrupling between 2019 and 2022 (Figure 1), driven by severe shocks: localized shortfalls in cereal production, worsening conflicts and insecurity, reduced cross-border trade, high food prices and macroeconomic challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the number of food insecure people could increase above the initial projections as the effects of the war in Ukraine, mostly related to soaring international prices of food, fuel and fertilizers, were not factored in the latest food security analyses. Food insecurity conditions can worsen further if constrained access to fertilizers, persisting local insecurity and forecast localized unfavourable weather conditions result in lower cereal production in 2022.