RPCA restricted meeting 2020
RPCA restricted meeting
On 02/04/20 - Virtual event
As the Covid-19 outbreak disrupts travel and meetings around the world, the RPCA held this year’s restricted meeting as a videoconference in order to share crucial information on the food and nutrition situation in the region. More than 200 participants connected from various sites in Abuja, Accra, Bamako, Niamey, Ouagadougou, Rome, Paris and many other places. The videoconference focused on the agricultural, food and nutrition situation, validation of the Cadre harmonisé results as well as implementation of national response plans. Members also took stock of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the food and nutrition situation in the region. RPCA members call upon all stakeholders to act immediately to provide rapid support to some 17 million people facing a food and nutrition crisis as well as 50 million people, currently “stressed”, who risk falling into the “crisis” phase by June-August 2020. Urgent support must be provided to countries in the implementation of national response plans.
Cereal production of the 2019-20 agricultural campaign is estimated at 74 million tonnes, slightly up by 0.4% and 12%, compared to last year’s production and the five-year average respectively. However, some countries are reporting large decreases in production compared to the average production of the last five years: Cabo Verde (-80%), The Gambia (-47%), Sierra Leone (-15%) and Niger (-6%). Root and tuber production is estimated at 190 million tonnes, up by 16% compared to the five-year average.
The pastoral situation is difficult, marked by significant fodder shortages in Mauritania and Senegal, as well as in parts of Mali and Niger. Moreover, due to the security crisis, cross‑border transhumance and access to pastures are reduced and risk being reduced further due to restrictions on movement related to Covid-19.
Food markets remain well supplied, although there is already an upward trend in prices since the beginning of the year. This increase could accelerate, if Covid-19-related movement restrictions are maintained and if populations decide to build up stocks.
Food and nutrition situation
Some 11.4 million people are estimated to be in immediate need of assistance (phases 3-5) in March-May 2020 in the 13 countries analysed in the Sahel and West Africa region, including 5.1 million in Nigeria, 1.6 million in Niger and 1.6 million in Burkina Faso. The food and nutrition situation remains difficult in conflict-affected areas such as the Lake Chad basin, the Liptako-Gourma region as well as in northern and northwestern Nigeria.
By June-August 2020, 17 million people (6.2%) are projected to be in a crisis situation or worse, including 1.2 million in an emergency situation (phase 4), if appropriate measures are not taken in the short term. This is more than double the number of people usually affected in an average year. This deterioration is mainly due to the security situation. The security crisis and the Covid-19 health crisis could tip over 50 million additional people (currently “stressed” – phase 2) into a food and nutrition crisis.
Acute malnutrition persists throughout the region and affects nearly 2.5 million children aged under 5 years of age in the Sahel. Poor nutritional practices, a lack of preventive action, closure of health centres and no standard treatment services for severe malnutrition are among the main causes.
These findings are based on the national analyses that took place in March 2020 using the Cadre harmonisé guidebook 2.0. The work was co-ordinated by CILSS with the participation of technical partners (ACF, EC-JRC, FAO, FEWS NET, IFRC, IPC/GSU, OXFAM, Save the Children, SWAC/OECD, Unicef and WFP).
Focus on Nigeria
According to the Cadre harmonisé national analysis, validated on 12 March 2020 in Abuja, Nigeria, some 5.1 million people are estimated to be in immediate need of assistance (phases 3-5) in March-May 2020, including 1.4 million in Borno State, 1 million in Yobe State and 0.5 million in Adamawa State. The number of food insecure people has increased by 1.1 million people since October-December 2019. This situation is likely to worsen, mainly due to insecurity. By June-August 2020, 7.1 million people are projected to be in a crisis situation or worse. Key stakeholders in Nigeria recommended formulating targeted response plans for vulnerable populations on the basis of the Cadre harmonisé analysis results. They called for the rapid and co-ordinated deployment of food and humanitarian assistance in areas with limited humanitarian access, including military operations to open up access to vulnerable populations. Conducted by CILSS, the Government of Nigeria as well as technical and financial partners, the analysis covers 16 out of 36 federal states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT): Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.
Impacts of Covid-19
Measures to curb the spread of the virus (closure of non-essential trade, closure or restriction of markets, mobility restrictions, etc.) might lead to supply chain disruptions, significant loss of income, and severe deterioration of livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations. RPCA members decided to set up monitoring and evaluation tools to assess the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on food and nutrition security in urban and rural areas.
Risks related to Covid-19:
- A collapse of food crop production during the current agro-pastoral campaign and a lack of food availability due to difficulties in accessing key production resources (inputs, credit and agricultural advice, etc.) and also due to the disruption of value chains (collection, processing and distribution);
- Increased dependence on non-African imports due to a collapse in local food systems; sudden price increases in imported food products due to major disruptions in the international market similar to during the 2008 crisis;
- Higher unemployment, loss of income and purchasing power for households, especially those in the informal economy, who will be hit hard due to movement restrictions and market closures.
It is urgent to plan ahead and design strategies to revive and revitalise agri-food systems, including non-agricultural segments (processing, collection, distribution), in rural and urban areas. In order to support these efforts, RPCA members intend to launch as soon as possible actions to strengthen the resilience of food systems to shocks (environmental, security, health), with a view to optimising their contribution to economic growth and job creation.
National response plans 2020
Six countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Cabo Verde, Mali, Niger and Senegal) have already prepared response plans for 2020 with a total amount of over CFA francs 400 billion (EUR 61 million). It It is urgent to implement and adjust these plans. Implementation will prove challenging given the serious budgetary difficulties of States and mobilisation of external resources. RPCA members urge States, with the support of their partners, to:
- Prioritise and accelerate response implementation for populations in crisis and emergency situations, including the prevention of acute malnutrition among children under 5 years of age;
- Update the 2020 food crisis response plans, taking into account the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic;
- Plan ahead and set up contingency plans for the desert locust threat;
- Take proactive monitoring and assistance measures for the 50 million people “under stress” who risk falling into a crisis due to the cumulative effects of Covid-19 and the security crisis.
They also draw the attention of States and inter‑governmental organisations (IGOs) to the urgent need for specific measures to address the economic shocks in certain countries. Sierra Leone is particularly affected. For the first time, 1.3 million people will face food and nutrition insecurity between now and the lean season.