General context and trends
Food security indicators in the Sahel have improved since the 2012 crisis due to good rains and harvests. Total cereal production of the 2012/2013 growing season in the Sahel increased by 16 per cent compared to 2011/2012. Market supplies have also improved since the end of the harvest leading to significant price decline. However, price levels remain higher than the five year average in some areas of Niger and Nigeria, as well as in Mali and the sahelian area of Burkina Faso. In addition, the impact of last year’s crisis, including the depletion of public and private stocks and the effects of negative coping mechanisms, continue to affect 10.3 million people who will be food insecure in 2013. The nutritional situation also remains a concern with global acute malnutrition exceeding the critical threshold of 15 per cent in some parts of Niger, Senegal, Chad, Nigeria and Mauritania. Some 1.4 million children are at risk of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and over 3.5 million will suffer from Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM). It is expected that throughout the year, a combination of life-saving and longer-term needs will need to be addressed.
In January and February, some 900,000 people benefited each month from unconditional targeted food distributions, including 291,000 Malians. The number of people involved in asset creation activities more than doubled from January to February, while the number of people who received their food ration through cash/voucher based transfers more than tripled. Over 111,000 children suffering from SAM and almost 380,000 children suffering from MAM were admitted in nutrition and health centers. In addition, “WASH in nutrition” indicators improved compared to last year with 19 per cent of nutrition centers delivering the WASH minimum package, compared to 10 per cent in 2012. In the field of agriculture, assistance is focusing on the off-season vegetable production from October 2012 to May 2013 and support to livestock. However, with the main agricultural season approaching in May, renewed commitment of donors is needed to assist vulnerable households to produce their own food and protect their scarce resources. Funds should be received by April 2013 to ensure procurement of improved quality seeds and fertilizers by May-June. As of 19 April, only five per cent of the $135 million requested by FAO to support 6 million people had been received. Underfunding is also hampering WASH activities with only four per cent of the $112 million requirement allocated so far.