Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

Although assistance provision is increasing, extreme levels of food insecurity persist in the northeast

February 2017 to September 2017

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

  • Although there has been an increase in humanitarian assistance provision in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States in recent months, a large portion of the population remains in need of food assistance and other basic services driven primarily by ongoing insecurity and displacement. Worst-affected accessible LGAs are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity with an increased risk of high levels of acute malnutrition and excess mortality. Less accessible areas, likely experiencing similar or worse conditions to neighboring, accessible areas, face an increased risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in 2017.

  • The inflation rate continued to increase to 18.72 percent (year to year) in January 2017, following the persistent depreciation of the naira since mid-2016. Prices of local and imported staples, including rice, millet, maize, and sorghum, will remain significantly above-average, limiting purchasing power through the lean season. Vulnerable households in the Lake Chad region will be worst affected, with poor, market-dependent households across the country also facing food access constraints.

  • Most agricultural households outside the northeast brought in above-average 2016 harvests, are consuming their own food stocks, and have normal access to income opportunities and markets. Some market dependent, poor households will face difficulty meeting needs in the lean season as their food stocks diminish due to high food prices. Most areas of the country will continue to face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, although some northern and central areas will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the lean season, from June to September.

National Overview

Current Situation

Off-season livelihood activities are progressing normally in almost all areas of Nigeria outside of the northeast. Off-season farming along major floodplains are underway at above-average levels, as both high food prices and government support for dry season activities have led many households to newly engage in or expand these activities. Government support is being expanded through the Anchor Borrowers’ program which has provided subsidized loan access to over 60,000 farmers, particularly targeting rice production across Kebbi, Cross River, Anambra, Niger, Ebonyi and Sokoto states and wheat production for 2,0000 farmers in Jigawa state. Eleven other states may participate in the program this season pending funding, including Kano, Kogi, Nasarawa, Taraba, Kwara, Plateau, Kaduna, Benue, Adamawa, Zamfara and Delta.

The recent main season harvest for most staples and areas across the country is average to above-average (FEWS NET Regional Supply Outlook). Though, the annual crop survey was not conducted this year, major indicators during the growing season such as rainfall distribution and level, labor supply, input availability, and funding were favorable. Traders and farmers additionally reported increased area planted and production across the country due to historically high prices for agricultural commodities. Below-average production was seen in conflict affected areas of northeast Nigeria as well as some localized areas that experienced flooding and communal conflict during the main 2016 season. Those households affected by flooding during the growing season had below-average harvests and remain market dependent, impeding their recovery due to high food prices and reduced purchasing power. Food supplies on most markets across the country remain high and demand is also elevated, both domestically towards the northeast for humanitarian procurement and across the border as the naira’s continued depreciation drives regional demand for Nigerian goods. Market supply will decline normally as traders, companies, humanitarian actors and government drive demand from January to March. Humanitarian procurements have been focused on staples such as maize, sorghum and cowpea, while malting, poultry and food processing companies procure sorghum and maize, respectively. Additionally rice and other staple food imports are down, putting further demand pressure on local goods and further driving up prices.

Household stocks are at average to above-average levels across the country due to favorable main season harvests. Trader stocks are below-average, however, due to elevated prices, which limit the traders’ capacity to procure normally. A recent joint regional market assessment by FEWS NET/CILSS/WFP/Government corroborated reports that trader stocks across most markets are below-average due to their diminished purchasing power and limited access to funds, subsequently limiting their ability to procure enough commodities to replenish warehouses. Households that usually engage in trade activities, particularly in Kano, Kebbi and Jigawa states have reduced income while farmers in these areas are selling their stocks to earn income. Households affected by reduced trade activities and where food stocks are diminished will likely experience an earlier and more severe lean season.

Staple prices remain significantly elevated as compared to both one and five year levels due mostly to depreciation related inflation (Figure 2 and 3). The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased to 18.72 percent (year-on-year) in January 2017 and remains at an eleven year high. The rise in the index was mainly caused by increase in prices of food items including cereals, vegetables, and tubers. Inflation is being driven by the value of the naira also continuing to decline relative to other foreign currencies such as the USD and FCFA. The naira depreciated a further 8 percent against the US dollar from December 2016 to January 2017. This trend has continued since the end of 2015 and continue to cause persistent reduced household purchasing power, increased prices of imported commodities, a shift in consumption patterns towards local foods staple, and significantly elevated staple food prices across the country (Figure 2).

Despite the favorable harvests for major staples across the country, food prices still remain significantly above-average due to the continued depreciation of the naira. Maize prices only declined marginally by about one to three percent in the post-harvest period between November and December on markets in Giwa, Dandume and Damaturu, which are surplus production areas, and increased on Saminaka market where low prices usually prevail during this period. These prices are mainly driven by depreciation as well as high maize demand from the poultry industry during the holiday season. Local rice prices increased by 4 percent on Gombe market and by 15 percent on Bodija market, in southern part of the country. Millet and sorghum prices are also following similar trends across most markets in the country. For cash crops, groundnut price increased by between 5 and 23 percent, while price of cowpea decreased across the markets by about 9 to 23 percent within the same period. Gari and yam price remain largely stable across most markets, though price increases were noted in Dandume and Biu by 12 and 9 percent, respectively. Generally, December 2016 staple food prices remain higher when compared to last year and average prices for 2 or 5 years by between 70 and 200 percent depending on market.

The farmer/pastoralist conflict in central states of Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Taraba, and Niger as well as in localized areas in the southeast of Nigeria persists as a result of a prolonged inter-tribal conflict between pastoral Fulani’s and the indigenous tribes in the area. Attacks related to the conflict have led to loss of lives, property damage including razed houses and population displacement in affected areas. Recent attacks in Kaduna State (Zangon-Kataf) led to a curfew being declared and in Taraba State significant population displacement occurred. Over 50,000 IDPs in Taraba and Bauchi States are displaced due to communal conflict according to the IOM DTM round XIV report. Taraba, Nasarawa, and Plateau States remain worst affected by communal conflict with high displacement levels, market disruptions, and property loss. Cattle rustling in Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara have significantly reduced pastoral incomes and food sources. Although conflict and rustling levels remain similar to previous years, the effects are now being compounded by reduced purchasing power which inhibits recovery and coping.

Northeastern Nigeria

The Boko Haram related conflict in the Lake Chad region continues, contributing directly to loss of life, disrupting livelihood activities, displacing large populations, and inflicting damage to infrastructure and property. In December, the multinational joint task force (MNJTF) dislodged the insurgents from their major stronghold in the Sambisa Forest. Although this was an important victory for government forces, immediate impacts included increased insecurity and attacks along the paths of fleeing insurgents, while sporadic attacks on soft targets in the area continue. Concentrated military operations continue in the Sambisa area as well as other Boko Haram strongholds, which are exacerbating the level of population displacement in affected communities. The DTM-Emergency Tracking System released in February indicated influx of IDPs to various locations including significant population influx into Monguno and Pulka due to military operations. IDP populations increased by about seven percent between December and early February in the northeast, with the total IDP population reaching 1.89 million.

Since December, MNJTF victories have allowed several areas to become accessible, although with often continuing security restrictions, including Damasak in Mobbar LGA; Baga, Cross-Kauwa and Kukawa in Kukawa LGA; parts of Gubio, Nganzai, Magumeri LGAs; and Rann in Kala Balge LGA.  Humanitarian actors are scaling up their activities to reach liberated populations in these areas whom are in dire need of assistance although, sporadic attacks by insurgents and continued military operations still limit assistance delivery and market functioning (Figure 6). Although harvest levels improved from the previous three years, production remained significantly below the pre-conflict average and prices remain significantly elevated (Figure 3). Thus, substantial populations in need are yet to be reached by the humanitarian actors in newly accessible and inaccessible areas, particularly in north and east Borno, east Yobe and north Adamawa states.

Populations likely remain in inaccessible rural areas of Damboa, Gwoza, Bama, Dikwa, Kala Balge, Mafa, Marte, Ngala, Monguno, Kukawa, Abadam, Mobbar, Guzamala, Nganzai, and Gubio LGAs of Borno State as well as Gujba, Gulani and Geidam LGAs in Yobe State and in Madagali LGA in Adamawa State (Figure 4). These populations tend to be mostly the elderly, children and women under the influence of insurgents and are cut off from assistance and livelihood opportunities. Some recently liberated populations in IDP centers and LGA headquarters indicate that there has been some participation in main season harvests, though at significantly below-average levels and often with the understanding that food will be given to insurgents. Although limited harvests may be providing some relief at this moment in areas where harvests were possible, food sources remain limited, there is no access to health services, water sources are likely contaminated, movement remains restricted and insecurity from both insurgents and on-going military operations continue to raise the possibility that inaccessible populations are facing extreme levels of food insecurity.

Western Yobe, central and southern Adamawa, and southern Borno states have seen improved conditions as conflict levels have decreased and rates of IDP returns have increased. The total number of returnees is exceeding one million according to Round XIV of the IOM DTM, with majority going back to homesteads in these areas. Returnees and residents saw increased level of harvest during the recent growing season, when production was higher than the previous year, but below the pre-conflict period due to some continued restrictions on crops planted including major staple cereals. Dry season activities are also underway and there is improved market functioning, route access and income opportunities, although all still remain at below-average levels. Humanitarian actors have scaled up their activities, reaching more households and also starting to shift focus to livelihood recovery. Consequently, households have some food stocks, there are functioning markets to meet household demands, and livelihoods are gradually being rebuilt, particularly in areas with livelihood assistance programs.

Limited food stocks will be depleted earlier than normal, although will be complimented with the dry season harvests, and most households will likely resort to market purchases earlier than usual. For these areas, there is limited new nutritional data, although the results from the UNICEF led Nutrition and Food Security surveillance in the northeast of Nigeria conducted between October and November 2016 likely continue to reflect post-harvest nutrition outcomes. In both northern and southern Adamawa as well as the southern Borno clusters, GAM levels measured by weight for height z-scores (WHZ) were below 10 percent. In Yobe State, all three domains showed elevated WHZ GAM levels between 10 and 15 percent, still below the WHO critical threshold, but in the serious range.

Assumptions

The most likely scenario for the February to September 2017 period is based on the following national-level assumptions:

Seasonal progress: The onset of the rainy season is expected to begin normally in the bimodal zone of the southern areas during February/March and in the central states during March/May. In the far northern areas the rain will likely be established in June/July as usual. Precipitation is expected to be within normal range across the country and will peak normally between July and September. The end-of-season is also predicted to be normal during October in the north and late November to early December in the south.

Main 2017 cultivation and early green Harvests: With the normal onset of the rainy season in most areas across the country, the growing season and crop development is expected to progress normally and the main harvest is expected to begin normally in October. Harvests will likely be average to above-average in most areas with the exception of areas affected by the conflict in the northeast and areas affected by flooding and prolonged dry spells, where harvests will be below average. Early green harvest of yams and maize in the south, groundnut and potatoes in the central states will begin normally and harvest will likely be average to above average in most areas.

Dry season activities: Dry season production will likely be average to above-average. There will be increased government support to farmers, which will provide funding and access to inputs (improved seeds and fertilizer) to farmers in Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Southern Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi states. This will lead to increased dry season harvest, particularly for rice and wheat. Fish catch will be normal in most areas. Households in the northeast affected by the conflict will likely attempt to engage in off-season activities to access income and food, though at below normal levels.

Naira depreciation: The depreciation of the naira relative to other foreign currencies is expected to continue throughout the scenario period as government revenue and foreign reserves are not expected to recover. Although international oil prices are increasing, oil production will continue to be affected by Niger Delta conflict and significant recovery in export revenues are not expected in the scenario period. The government is expected to continue to prop up the naira through currency control measures, restricting access to foreign currencies and imports while import restrictions as well as declining purchasing power will reduce the volume of trade activities for most importers. Foreign currency limits will also likely put more pressure on the naira leading to further depreciation, particularly during times of the year when demand for foreign currency is usually high, including for livestock imports and international travel during Ramadan in June and Tabaski in August/September.

Food prices: Despite the above-average 2016 main harvest season, staple food prices remain elevated across most markets, with higher prices in deficit production areas particularly in the northeast. From February through May food price increases will persist but not rise as sharply relative to the lean season period given that market and household stock levels will remain high. Prices will slowly increase throughout the period as cereal demand from traders, poultry farmers and food processors to replenish their warehouses from February to March period and during Ramadan and Tabaski, in June and September, respectively. Staple food prices will peak during the normal lean season period between July and September when most households have depleted their stocks. Restriction on rice import will persist, leading to below-average market stocks and elevated prices. Similarly, price of local rice and other substitutes will remain elevated as households will continue to shift their consumption patterns towards local substitutes.

Labor wages, supply, and demand: Labor demand will likely increase and wages will be slightly above average during dry season agricultural activities which are expected to be above-average. Similar trends will continue during the main agricultural season as elevated staple food prices drive increases in areas planted and number of people engaged in cultivation. Labor demand will thus increase across the country for main season activities around land preparation, planting, weeding, fertilizer application, and will peak during harvests from late September to early October across the country. Wages will be normal to above-average levels due to increased demand and depreciation of the naira. The demand for unskilled labor including for construction and trade activities will be slightly below-average due to decline in purchasing power of most households although demand for loading and off-loading activities will be average to above average due to high prices of such commodities. These trends will generally prevail across the country with the exception in the northeast, where labor supply will remain above-average as displaced and returnee households affected by the insurgency will look for more casual labor work to earn income and access food. Demand for labor will remain limited as livelihood activities recover, supply of labor will remain high and wages will be below-average.

Import and stock levels: Although agricultural production increased in 2016/17, Nigeria remains heavily dependent on imports from regional and international markets to meet food needs, a trend that is expected to persist in the scenario period. Furthermore, the depreciation of the naira against regional currencies (such as the XOF) has led to high regional export demand which may result in below normal stock levels in Nigeria during the 2017 lean season.

Boko Haram conflict and displacement: Boko Haram related conflict in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the northeast is expected to continue to decline throughout the scenario period, particularly in Adamawa and Yobe states. During this period many IDPs will return to their homesteads, while others will return to their LGA headquarters only due to limited access. As more areas become accessible, humanitarian assistance will be able to reach more populations in need. Reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced households will intensify. There may be an additional influx of returned refugees from Niger, Chad and Cameroon, into the region, particularly towards Maiduguri.

Communal Conflict: As the growing season peaks during June to September, the farmer/pastoralists resource based conflict in the central states including Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, and Taraba as well as those in the southern areas will persist. There are limited measures been taken by government to address both grazing land access as well as the continued influx of pastoralists from the neighboring countries during the growing season. In the same vain, cattle rustling activities in the northwest and central states will continue to restrict the movement of pastoralists in the region at normal levels.

Transhumant movements and pastoral livelihoods: Livestock movement across the country will be restricted due to the conflict in the northeast, cattle rustling activities, and farmer/pastoralist conflict in several localized areas. Livestock movement to the southern part of the country will be above average as pastoralists evade conflict prone areas in the northern areas. Regional livestock movement towards Nigeria from neighboring countries will also remain limited due to the persisting conflict. Pasture and water resources will deplete earlier than normal, particularly in the southern areas as the vast grazing land in the central states such as in Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, and Taraba states will be inaccessible due to farmer/pastoralists conflict. Pastoral resources will improve normally as the rainy season begins across the country starting from March to September.

Flooding: Rainfall will peak as usual during July to September across the country resulting in normal level of flooding along floodplains of major rivers. Dams collapse and releases from localized dams and other dams across the border will cause further floods resulting in damages to infrastructures, farmlands and displacement of populations across the country at normal levels.

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

During the scenario period, most households in the country will access food through their own-food stocks as harvests conclude, dry season activities replenish stocks, and normal reliance on wild foods persist. Households will be able to use normal livelihood strategies including cash crop sales, casual labor work, livestock sales, consumption of their own stocks and market purchase to access income and food normally. As such, most areas across the country will be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity from February to September 2017, except for conflict affected states in the northeast. Between June and September some households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to the persisting communal conflict (Taraba, Nasarawa and Plateau), cattle rustling activities (Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara) as well as the reduced trade opportunities and purchasing power (Kano, Kebbi and Jigawa). Households affected by communal conflict and cattle rustling have experienced below-average harvests and restricted market access and below-average livestock sales. These households will be unable to afford some essential non-food items, particularly as purchasing power remains limited in the face of historically high prices. Similarly, households that usually engage in trade activities have limited labor opportunities and reduced incomes with some farmers in these areas selling their food stocks to earn income. Many of these households in Kano, Kebbi and Jigawa will resort to market purchasing during the lean season at high food prices.

Much of northeastern Nigeria will remain in at least Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September 2017 as conflict continues to severely restrict food availability and access for millions. Worst-affected accessible LGAs are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity with an increased risk of high levels of acute malnutrition and excess mortality. Less accessible areas, likely experiencing similar or worse conditions to neighboring, accessible areas, face an increased risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in 2017. Households in areas of the northeast less affected by the conflict, in parts of western Yobe, southern Borno, central and southern Adamawa states who are able to minimally have own food during the recent harvest will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through May. However, during the lean season period, most households in the area will resort to market for food at significantly elevated prices, constraining food access, resulting in food consumption gaps and face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity through September.

 

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About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming six months. Learn more 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.