A severe food and nutrition crisis is currently unfolding in Niger. This is the result of a series of complex andinterrelated shocks, specifically: i) significant cereal production deficits due to drought and pest infestation in Niger and the Sahel region; ii) an early and steady rise in cereal prices; iii) poor livestock-to-cereals terms of trade, linked to pasture degradation; and iv) the loss of economic opportunities and the displacement of households linked to insecurity in the Sahel region. The situation of children is of particular concern, as the high prevalence of acute malnutrition - that approaches critical levels during the lean season even during normal years - is at risk of deteriorating rapidly.
Niger has a population of approximately 13 million inhabitants and was ranked 174 out of 177 countries by UNDP’s Human Development Index in 2008.
Some 59.5 percent of the population is living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the engine of Niger’s weak economy, with 82 percent of the population relying on farming....