Presence Country
Food Security Outlook Update

Large food security Emergency to persist in northeast Nigeria even in the post-harvest period

September 2016

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Impacts of conflict in northeast Nigeria continue to leave a significant portion of the population with very limited access to food, water, and health services as active fighting between Boko Haram and the Multinational Joint Taskforce continues. Although data remains limited, information from recently liberated populations suggest that possible Famine (IPC Phase 5) acute food insecurity could be occurring in the worst affected and less accessible pockets of the state. 

  • Populations in several recently accessible Local Government Area (LGA) centers in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States (Figure 2) remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity – recent information from these areas show larger gaps in basic food needs and suggest high levels of acute malnutrition. While there has been some improvement in food assistance delivery, market functioning and government services in these LGAs, there are still security risks and limited opportunities for both IDPs and returnees. 

  • The Nigerian Naira (NGN) has depreciated by more than 40 percent since early- 2016, a trend that persisted in August when the national inflation rate increased to 17.6 percent from 17.1 percent in July. This followed the decision by the Central Bank to allow the exchange rate to float beginning in June. Depreciation has led to a significant increase in food prices which has diminished purchasing power for households across the country.

  • Rivers across the country have been at above-average water levels for the time of year and NEMA, NIMET and NIHSA have issued flood alerts in lowland areas along the Benue and Niger rivers and in major tributaries in the Delta region. There have been some reports of fatalities, destruction of infrastructure, damage to farmlands and displacement of populations in affected areas across the country. 

CURRENT SITUATION

National Overview

Boko Haram related conflict in northeast Nigeria has left a significant portion of the population with very limited access to food, water, and health services. Roughly 1 million people remain displaced in Maiduguri and Jere alone, with another 450,000 displaced elsewhere in the state (IOM DTM, August). Military operations continue in North and Central Borno, southeastern Yobe and Northern Adamawa States. Although data remains limited and exact populations in these areas are difficult to estimate, food security and nutrition reports from recently liberated areas continue to suggest extreme levels of food insecurity for displaced and trapped populations. Larger populations in less-affected areas of the northeast also face difficulty meeting their basic food needs as the protracted conflict has limited participation in agricultural livelihoods and food access remains constrained by high market prices for key staples.  

The rainy season is forecast to end as usual during October in the northern areas and in December in the southern areas. The main harvests will begin in October across the country and are expected to be average in most areas. Millet, maize, groundnut and tuber harvests are already underway in some areas, which is increasing food availability and access across the country. Some localized areas where flooding, conflict, pest infestation and dry spells have occurred will have below-average production.

River levels are at above-average levels for this time of year in localized areas along the major floodplains of rivers Niger and Benue and their tributaries. Flooding, however, remains at typical levels with some population displacement as well as damaged infrastructure, houses, farmland and livestock in affected areas. Harvest levels in some localized areas will be negatively affected by flooding. A flood response plan developed by NEMA and partners anticipates that floods may impact 14 states and 34 LGAs across the country with an estimated five million people facing some impact by the end of the season.

Resource based farmer/pastoralist conflict persists, mainly in the central states of Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, and Plateau. Pastoralists are avoiding the widely available pasture land within these areas for fear of attack. Farmer/pastoralist conflict is also expanding towards the southern areas as pastoralists avoid the central states. Similarly, the cattle rustling activities in the northwestern part of the country, in Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, and Kaduna are still occurring largely as a result of conflict in the Northeast as affected farmers try to rebuild herds and find new lands.                                                

Depreciation of the naira, which has been driven mostly by declining international oil prices, continues despite the central bank’s decision to float the currency in June. The gap between parallel market and official market rates continues to decrease as the rates are expected to stabilize in the long term, however the economy continues to contract as it moved toward recession in August. Crude oil pipeline bombings by the Niger Delta militants also persist, leading to further reductions in government oil revenue. The annual inflation rate has slightly increased to 17.6 percent in August as compared to 17.1 percent the previous month. These factors have negatively impacted household purchasing power and has continued to limit food access for market dependent households, despite markets being well stocked throughout the lean season.

Staple food prices in areas outside of the northeast are slightly declining relative to previous months due to new harvests of maize, millet, legumes and tubers. These harvests are increasing market and household stocks, reducing market dependence for food and causing prices to seasonally decline. Although food prices will continue to decline as the harvest peaks in October and November, prices remain elevated as the Naira continues to depreciate. Food and fuel prices remain highly elevated compared to one month, one year and five year averages across the country. Sorghum, millet and maize prices remain 155, 129, 97 percent higher, respectively, from July 2015 to July 2016 in Kano where Nigeria’s largest market is.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.