- It has been suggested that Niger will now need a minimum of 120,000 tons of cereals (half rice, half millet/sorghum) to get the vulnerable and urban populations through rainy season, until harvest in late September. This will cost an estimated $146 million.
- If the rainy season and subsequent harvest is bad (i.e. anything less than above average), Niger will need even more.
- It has also been suggested that the Government of Niger has way over-stated its reserves, which if true would further exacerbate the situation and level of need.
- The Government of Nigeria is ordering 500,000 tons of rice alone to feed its people. This will certainly impact what Niger is able to import from its southern neighbor. It will also impact Niger's search on the global market which is already pretty much tapped out.
- Cost of rice is now hovering around $1,000/ton which is nearly three times the price from December 2007. Of course, this mainly effects urban wage earners as opposed to subsistence rural farmers.
- Urban residents in Niger consume between 15,000-20,000 metric tons (MT) of rice per month. With the elevated costs, average urban wage earners must now spend more than 50% of monthly salaries just to buy rice for their families!
- The current estimated rice stock in the hands of private traders in urban areas throughout Niger is less than 7,000 MT, or the equivalent of 10 days of national consumption (this quantity does not include rice already in retails stores and market stalls, nor does it include stocks that traders are reluctant to report, assuming they are waiting for the prices to reach maximum)
- During previous food crises, Niger would resort to importing cheap Asian rice to offset the food gap. This is not an option this year. It becomes particularly more strained by the recent natural disasters in Burma and China.
- All told, all signs point to a rice shortage/stoppage in Niger by the end of June.
Just so you know what the local effects are expected to be