WFP raises alarm at unseasonal food price increase in drought-hit Niger

By World Food Program (WFP)

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 13, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- WFP Niger Country Director, Denise Brown

“Unusually high food prices are affecting needy people who are facing growing difficulties as they struggle to feed themselves and their children. I am deeply worried about the food situation deteriorating in the coming months and we cannot sit back and wait for the worst to come.”

• Niger is in the immediate post-harvest period, a time when more cereals are available on the market and normally there would be a subsequent drop in prices. However, this is not the case this year. The average millet price has increased by 37 percent compared to the same time last year (November 2010).

• The Government of Niger has identified up to 750,000 people as severely food insecure, in the regions of Tahoua, Tillabéri, Diffa and some areas of Zinder. This number is expected to rise to as high as one million in early 2012, as the country moves towards the lean season in March – April.

• WFP aims to provide food assistance to some 3.3 million people over the coming year, with a budget of US$163 million.