1 16 May 2022. ISSN 2707-1766 . GIEWS Special Alert No. 349. West Africa - Sahel Food insecurity at unprecedented levels in most coastal and Sahelian countries Highlights An estimated million people are facing acute food insecurity between March and May 2022. This number is projected to increase to an unprecedented 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.
2 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. Figure 1: Trend of food insecure population between June to August, from Overview 2014 to 2022, in millions Figure 1: West Africa - Trend of food insecure A major food crisis is ongoing in West Africa and population between June and August the Sahel1 in 2022.
3 Food insecurity has reached an (2014 2022, millions). 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 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022.
4 Fertilizers, were not factored in the latest food security Stressed (Phase 2) Crisis or Worse (Phases 3, 4 and 5). analyses. Food insecurity conditions can worsen further if constrained access to fertilizers, persisting local Source: Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control insecurity and forecast localized unfavourable weather in the Sahel (CILSS), 2022. conditions result in lower cereal production in 2022. 1. The following 17 countries constitute the regional space of West Africa and the Sahel contained in this report: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chad, C te d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
5 GIEWS global information and early warning system on food and agriculture GIEWS Special Alert No. 349 - West Africa -Sahel Food insecurity at unprecedented levels In addition, the intensification of conflicts and in 2022 insecurity has widely disrupted agricultural According to the March 2022 "Cadre Harmonis (CH)" livelihoods and markets at the national and regional analysis, in West Africa and the Sahel between March level. The number of violent incidents increased and May 2022 about million people2 are estimated throughout 2021 and continued to rise in the first to face acute food insecurity (CH Phase 3 [Crisis] and quarter of 2022, particularly in the central Sahel and above), including million facing CH Phase 4 the Lake Chad Basin (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, (Emergency).)
6 In the upcoming lean season, between the Niger and Nigeria), but also in northern parts June and August 2022, if humanitarian measures of coastal countries, particularly Benin, Togo and and responses are not scaled up, about million C te d'Ivoire. The widespread upsurge of violence people are projected to face acute food insecurity, has caused large-scale displacements, forcing many the highest level on record since the start of the rural households to abandon their crops in the CH analysis in 2014 and about 40 percent higher fields. According to the United Nations Office for the compared to the same period in 2021 (Figure 1).
7 The Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of projected figure includes about million people March 2022, about 6 million people were internally facing CH Phase 4 (Emergency). The highest incidence displaced in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, the Niger of food insecurity is projected in the major hotspots and Nigeria, compared to million estimated in of the subregion: Nigeria ( million), the Niger early 2021, while million people sought shelter ( million), Burkina Faso ( million), Chad as refugees across the subregion. ( million) and Mali ( million). A significant deterioration of food insecurity in 2022 is projected Access to pastoral resources and availability of also in Sierra Leone ( million), Guinea ( million) fodder across the Sahel have also been affected and Benin (830 150).
8 By insecurity and the poor weather conditions, resulting in reduced livestock production and an Main drivers of the 2022 food crisis early start of the pastoral lean season in 2022. This has caused abnormal transhumance movements, Weather- and conflict-induced production shortfalls with consequent overexploitation of accessible A key factor underpinning the current food insecurity grazing areas and increasing tensions between levels is the shortfall in 2021 cereal production, farmers and herders. mostly concentrated in the Sahel, which reduced food supplies in 2022. While the 2021 cereal Overall, the reduced agricultural production production was favourable in most coastal countries, resulted in an early depletion of cereal stocks with outputs in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, of rural households and below-average market Sierra Leone and Togo, officially estimated at supplies in 2022, while lowering income-earning average to above-average levels, cereal harvests in opportunities, adding pressure on food prices and northern parts of Nigeria, the main producer of the pushing a large number of households to resort to subregion.
9 And in a number of Sahelian countries crisis or emergency coping strategies. were officially estimated at below-average levels. Several weather shocks in 2021, including frequent Macroeconomic challenges and high food prices dry spells and floods, hampered cereal production in Macroeconomic challenges, including currency Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, where outputs were depreciation in countries outside of the Communaut . up to 10 percent below the average. The unfavourable Financi re Africaine (CFA) zone and high inflation weather conditions significantly affected rainfed rates, have aggravated the food insecurity situation, coarse grain crops in Mauritania and the Niger particularly in coastal countries.
10 A significant resulting in outputs 30 and 40 percent below the depreciation of the national currencies in Ghana, average, respectively. In Cabo Verde, severe drought Sierra Leone and Nigeria in 2021 and early 2022, conditions for the fifth consecutive year resulted in partly driven by large trade deficits and foreign marginal levels of cereal production in 2021. exchange shortages, has added support to inflation. 2. These figures do not include food security estimations for Cameroon, which also implements the CH analysis. 2. GIEWS Special Alert No. 349 - West Africa - Sahel In these three countries, the annual inflation rate was 60 percent higher on a yearly basis, while in Chad, between 16 and 18 percent in March 2022, while it the Niger and Senegal they were over 20 percent reached 8 percent in Cabo Verde and 12 percent in higher year on year between March and April 2022.