West Africa Food Security Outlook (March – September 2016)

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I am Brenda Lazarus, food securityanalyst for the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET.

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This presentation summarizes the food securityoutlook through September 2016 for the 11 countries that FEWS NET monitors in West Africa.

Before we start, a bit of background on our analysis.

FEWS NET does projections of food security outcomes using a methodology called scenariodevelopment.

Three times a year, our specialists conductan eight-step process to analyze a range of information and data, and develop scenariosthat look eight months into the future.

In Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Mali,Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, this analysis is the basis of trimestral FoodSecurity Outlook reports and monthly updates.

The Central African Republic and Senegal arecovered remotely by analysts in neighboring countries.

The bimonthly remote monitoringreport focuses on anomalies.

On the maps, a colored outline of the country indicatesthe highest level of food insecurity anticipated in areas of concern.

In all FEWS NET countries, we describe acute food insecurity using the Integrated FoodSecurity Phase Classification, or IPC 2.


This five-phase scale is used by analystsand humanitarian assistance agencies around the world including the Cadre Harmonisé inWest Africa.

As we discuss classifications, please keepin mind that when an area reaches Phases 3, 4, or 5—Crisis, Emergency, or Famine—urgenthumanitarian assistance is required.

FEWS NET uses an exclamation point on itsmaps to highlight areas where humanitarian assistance is helping to lower the phase classification.

First, let’s look at the seasonal calendar for Sahelian areas of West Africa, where mostareas of concern are located.

The red box highlights the current analysis period, Marchto September.

Pastoralists will soon begin migrating theirlivestock from southern to northern areas as agricultural activities begin in southernareas.

The pastoral lean season generally beginsin April, and pastoral conditions improve for livestock during the rainy season, whichgenerally begins in June.

The Sahelian rainy season generally beginsin June and continues until October.

Off-season agricultural activities are ongoing.

The main agricultural planting season begins in mid-May and continues through the outlookperiod.

Households’ food stocks are generally depleted in June as the agricultural leanseason begins.

This lean season generally persists until the main harvest is underwayin mid-August and for some households the lean season continues through September.

A summary of the outlook.

The majority of areas will be in Minimal (IPCPhase 1) due to average to above-average crop production, favorable food prices and livestock-to-cerealterms of trade, and normal livelihood activities.

Exceptions are certain pastoral and/or agropastoralareas of the Sahelian countries; conflict-affected areas of Central African Republic and theLake Chad region; and Sierra Leone where Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomesare expected.

Technically appropriate and well-targeted emergency assistance is requiredin some areas to protect food consumption and livelihoods.

In Nigeria, the value of the Naira depreciated by more than 30% between December and Februarywith further depreciation expected.

This will likely result in atypically high food pricesin Nigeria, as well as livestock and cash crop market anomalies in neighboring countries.

Finally, FEWS NET offices are now open in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Full-timestaff on the ground in these countries will improve our capacity to provide evidence-basedanalysis on food security and to collaborate with partners at international institutions,non-governmental organizations and the government in each country.

Here’s more information on the drivers of acute food insecurity…HARVESTS: Average to Above-average Cereal Production in Most Countries is the primarydriver of Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity across the region.

As this graphicshows, maize and rice production across West Africa’s Sahel is at historically high levels.

Only Ghana and Chad have seen declines in production.


As a result of the above-average production, prices across most of the region are stable,as these graphs show.

However, macroeconomic issues in Ghana andNigeria, where the value of these countries’ currencies have depreciated sharply, havedriven prices significantly above average.


Continued Conflict in Nigeria andresidual impacts of ongoing insecurity in Central African Republic are also drivingacute food insecurity outcomes.

Hundreds of conflict events, including violence directedat civilians as indicated on this map, have occurred across West Africa and are disruptingmarkets and livelihoods and preventing the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Here are more details on a few specific countries.

The ongoing conflict in northeast Nigeriahas caused thousands of deaths and has disrupted the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.

It has also disrupted markets and reduced cross-border trade.

In some towns, marketshave been closed altogether.

Prices in conflict areas are higher than in neighboring areasas well.

Due to the conflict, approximately 3 millionpeople in the three northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe are expected to faceCrisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity through September.

While the conflict in the northeast continues to be the primary driver of acute food insecurityin Nigeria, the value of the naira has declined by 30 percent against the US dollar betweenDecember and February and will drive market anomalies with implications for neighboringcountries as well.

As you can see in this graph, the governmentobtains roughly two-thirds of its revenues from the oil industry.

As the price of oilhas dropped – the yellow line, oil revenue as a proportion of the government’s budgethas also dropped.

This, in turn, has led to significant decline in the value of the naira.

We’ve plotted the value of the naira against the US dollar in this graphic.

The depreciation of the naira has broad implications for Nigeria’s and the region’s economy.

Already, prices of maize in Nigeria, as illustrated here, have increased significantly due torising costs of imports and increased demand for locally produced cereals.

Additional demandfrom neighboring countries has also driven the prices higher.

The naira’s lower value is expected to discourage imports of livestock and cash crops from neighboringcountries, which could mean lower incomes for pastoral and agricultural households inthose countries.

In Chad, significant populations are expectedto face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity through September.

Poorly distributed rainfall and a late start to the rainy season led to a 9 percent declinein harvests at the national level.

But the impacts were not evenly distributed: In threeSahelian regions, production declined by more than 20 percent – and in three others, indicatedhere, the decline was greater than 50 percent.

The decline in production in the Sahelianbelt and the insecurity, displacement, and trade disruptions in the Lac Region have ledto higher cereal prices and an earlier start to the lean season.

Ongoing residual insecurity and its impacts in the Central African Republic are drivingacute food insecurity.

Currently, close to 450,000 people (roughly 10% of the population)are internally displaced due to insecurity, which has also led to significant disruptionsto market functioning and livelihoods.

Crop production is roughly half what it wasbefore the crisis began.

Significant numbers of people have been displacedacross the country, although the Southwest, Central, and Northwest regions are most impacted.

This map shows populations by residency in the country.

Each pie graph shows the proportionof people never displaced, in purple; recently returned, in green; in IDP camps, in blue;and, those in host families in red.

Before closing, a reminder to check the reportson our website for more detail.

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Thank you for listening.

Our next video briefing is scheduled for July.

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