- Despite the above-average cereal production across much of West Africa during the 2007/08 agricultural season, localized production deficits and above-normal price increases in some areas clearly signal early increases in food insecurity.
This will likely cause a more difficult lean season and an increased need for assistance, especially for poor households in northern Nigeria, southeastern and northwestern Niger, and in urban and periurban areas, FEWS NET reported.
Persistent above-average staple food prices in Niger, Nigeria, and Mauritania, rising fuel costs across the region, and civil insecurity in Chad, Niger, and Mali are also likely to exacerbate food insecurity among populations in these areas.
The number of food insecure people in West Africa is expected to increase until at least the next harvest in October 2008. But the increase depends on several factors, including the respond of local governments and the international donors.
Joint markets and food security assesments in West Africa's eastern, central and western zones in February and March indicate that cereal prices remain average or below in Mali and Burkina Faso, due in part to government restrictions on grain exports.
While rising international grain prices are particularly affecting poor households in urban and periurban areas of import dependent countries such as Mauritania, localized poor production, industrial demand, and trader speculation pushed cereal prices in many markets in northern Nigeria above average.
So many problems, including insecurity have caused cereal prices hikes in eastern and northwestern Niger and some markets in Chat.
The whole region experienced increases in prices of maize and rice are because of below]normal local production and high international market prices.
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