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Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

Conflict in the Lake Chad region continues to impact livelihood activities and food access

February 2016 to September 2016

February - May 2016

Nigeria February 2016 Food Security Projections for February to May

June - September 2016

Nigeria February 2016 Food Security Projections for June to September

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
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

  • The value of the Nigerian naira has depreciated by more than 30 percent between December 2015 and February 2016 due primarily to reductions in oil sector revenues in 2015. This depreciation will reduce Nigeria’s purchasing power for imported products, such as rice, wheat, and manufactured goods from international markets and livestock and cash crops from the Sahel. 

  • Agricultural households in most parts of the country are consuming their own food production and are engaging in income-generating activities, such as dry-season agriculture, land preparations, cash crop sales, and migration. Pastoralists and agro-pastoralists are also selling livestock to earn income and access food normally through market purchases. Between February and September, these households will continue to have seasonally normal food consumption and will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

  • Boko Haram conflict continues to negatively affect livelihood activities in the Lake Chad region. Affected households have had consecutive years of substantially below-average harvests, restricted income levels, and reduced food access. Poor households in these areas will continue to have difficulties meeting their minimal food needs through September 2016 and will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity, depending on the zone. 

National Overview

Current Situation
Civil insecurity:
  • Northeastern Nigeria: The Boko Haram-related conflict in the northeast is persisting, though at reduced levels compared to previous months (Figure 1). The most recent round of the IOM/NEMA displacement tracking matrix revealed that the estimated IDP population fell from 2.2 million in October 2015 to slightly above 2.1 million in December 2015. This is mainly attributed to the return of some IDPs to their homes, particularly in Adamawa state. Communal conflict in the central states of Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba also continues with about 13 percent of the total displacement captured by IOM/NEMA in December 2015 resulting from communal conflict. About 92 percent of IDPs in Nigeria surveyed by IOM/NEMA were identified are residing in host communities, while the rest resided in formal camps. 
Livelihoods:
  • Off-season agriculture: Farming activities are proceeding normally with ongoing, average to above-average harvests of early planted crops (ex. onions, tomatoes, peppers and sugarcane) in many areas and an expected on-time main dry-season harvest beginning in April/May. This year, subsidized fertilizer distributions that usually occur through the growth enhancement scheme of the federal government did not take place and support from the state governments was limited and late. However, other government input support in the form of fertilizer, seeds, and credit for off-season rice and wheat is still boosting production. In northeast Nigeria, however, the conflict continues to limit agricultural activities. Recent FEWS NET assessments to Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and information from FEWS NET monitors indicate that poor households remaining in areas highly affected by conflict are unable to participate fully in dry season activities. This is contributing to below-average dry season harvests and a decrease in seasonal incomes.
  • Main season agriculture: Households, particularly in the bimodal zone of southern Nigeria, are engaged in normal levels of land preparations for the upcoming season. These activities mostly use family labor although better-off families are also hiring some laborers at normal levels.  
  • Livestock, poultry, and fishing: Pastoral resources and livestock body conditions generally remain within normal levels, and transhumant movements of pastoralists towards southern Nigeria have begun on time. Livestock prices are generally above the average and last year’s levels, resulting in favorable incomes for pastoralists. However, the outbreak of avian influenza across the country is expanding, negatively impacting the poultry sector. As of February 17th, the avian influenza had spread to 24 states and FCT-Abuja, leading to the depopulation of over 2.9 million birds and destruction of over 380,000 eggs. As a result, many poor households engage as unskilled labor in the poultry industry have lost their jobs. Fishing in lowland areas is underway with average to above-average catches, depending on the area.
Markets and trade:
  • Currency depreciation: Currently, the Nigerian naira is depreciating against other foreign currencies (ex. US dollar and FCFA), on the parallel market due to a fall in international crude oil prices and the government’s declining foreign reserve. For example, the naira, which sold for about NGN196/$ in January 2015 depreciated to NGN290/$ in January 2016. A similar trend has also been observed for the naira to FCFA exchange rate at informal cross border markets during the same time period. This currency depreciation will reduce Nigeria’s purchasing power for imported products, such as rice, wheat, and manufactured goods from international markets and livestock and cash crops from the Sahel.
  • Food prices: Driven by the effects of the currency depreciation, cereal food prices have increased atypically in both surplus and deficit production areas across the country. For example, white maize prices in January increased by 22, 28, 17, and 10 percent compared to the previous month on Giwa, Dawanau, Maiduguri, and Mubi markets, respectively, in surplus production areas and by five percent on Ibadan market, an urban consumer market. Similar price trends have also been observed on most monitored markets and for most commodities across the country. Staple food prices are also generally above last year’s levels. 
  • Market functioning in the northeast: Many markets continue to function at below-average levels in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states due to the effects of civil insecurity. While major markets in urban areas are open and have enough supplies to meet household demand, many others (ex. Baga, Banki, Damasak, Gamboru, Maiduguri livestock, Monguno and Ngala markets in Borno state, Babangida, Buniyadi, Damaturu, Geidam, Goniri, Gujba and Mbarero in Yobe state, and Madagali market in Adamawa state) are either not functioning or formally closed on market days, in most cases due to orders by the military. 
  • Prices in the northeast: Staple food and livestock trade flows have been negatively impacted by the conflict. Additionally, market stocks have been further limited by localized below-average harvests, particularly in Borno state where recent production estimates suggest that for sorghum, millet and rice production was down 82, 55 and 67 percent, respectively, compared to the 5-year average. This is leading to prices that are relatively higher than neighboring areas and above last year’s levels. For example, the retail price of brown sorghum in Maiduguri was 76.3 NGN/kg, which was 34 percent higher than sorghum prices in Kano, Nigeria and 26 percent above the three-year average.
Food security outcomes in the northeast:
  • Recent FEWS NET rapid assessment: In December 2015, FEWS NET conducted a rapid food security assessment of 24 villages in three separate local governments (Askira Uba, Chibok, and Michika) in Borno and Adamawa states sequel to a September 2015 assessment. During this round, FEWS NET conducted 598 household surveys and collected 774 MUAC measurements of children aged 6 months to 59 months old. Key findings from the survey were: 
    • Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS): More than 60 percent of the households had an HDDS in the range 5 to 12 (Figure 4). These results are similar to those found in FEWS NET’s September 2015 rapid food security assessment.
    • Household Hunger Score (HHS): Eighty percent of households had an HHS of 0 to 1 (little to no hunger) while less than 1 percent had an HHS of 4 to 6 (severe hunger) (Figure 5).  This represents an improvement compared to results collected in September 2015 when 1 percent had an HHS of 4 to 6 and 40 percent had an HHS of 2 to 3.
    • Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM): Amongst 774 screened children aged 6 – 59 months of age, 648 (84 percent) had a normal mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurement of greater than 12.5 cm, 115 (15 percent) had a MUAC measurement of 11.5 to 12.4 cm (consistent with moderate acute malnutrition) and 11 (1 percent) had a MUAC measure of less than 11.5 cm (consistent with severe acute malnutrition) (Figure 6). This screening data suggests an improvement in global acute malnutrition in these areas compared to in September 2015 when FEWS NET’s rapid food security assessment found that 32.4 percent of screened children had a MUAC measurement of less than 12.5 cm.

Assumptions

The most likely scenario for the February to September 2016 period is based on the following national level assumptions:

Agro-climatology:
  • Rainfall: The rainy season will begin normally across the country (February/March in the bimodal zone, May/June in the central states, and June/July in the north). Based on seasonal forecasts by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), FEWS NET assumes that cumulative rainfall totals will be below average in the bimodal area and average to above average in other parts of the country (Figure 7)
  • 2016 agricultural season: The planting of major staples including cereals and legumes will begin typically as the rains become established in each region. The growing season will progress as usual with early green harvests of maize and yams in the bimodal zone and groundnut and potatoes in the central states beginning in May and August, respectively. The main harvests will start in September/October and are expected to be average in most areas, except for conflict-affected areas of the northeast.
  • Flooding: Average level of flooding along major floodplains will occur across the country, peaking between July and September. This will lead to normal levels of population displacements and damage to infrastructure and crops.
Livelihoods:
  • Conflict in the northeast, central, and northwestern areas (Boko Haram, communal, cattle rustling): Boko Haram related conflict in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states will continue to decline during the second quarter of the year as the military intensifies its operations and recovers more areas. As a result, some IDPs will return to their homes. Communal conflict in the central states, such as Kaduna, Nasarawa, Taraba, Benue and Plateau, will intensify during the growing season as grazing lands becomes more restricted. In the northwest and central states, cattle rustlers will continue to restrict the movement of pastoralists and limit access to pastoral resources.
  • Dry season activities: Harvests and fish catch will be average to above average between April and June, except for areas worst affected by the Boko Haram conflict, particularly along the Komadugu-Yobe River and Lake Chad, due to restricted access to land and the bodies of water.
  • Labor work: Labor opportunities will continue to increase throughout the dry season and will peak between April and June when dry season harvests and main season land preparations and planting activities begin. With the exception of the northeast, labor wages will be average.
  • Transhumant movements: Migrant pastoral movements from neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon will be below average as pastoralists avoid the Boko Haram conflict, cattle rustling and communal conflicts. Internally, pastoralists will move southwards at slightly above-normal levels to avoid cattle rustling and conflict in the north and central states.  
  • Livestock conditions: Similar to a typical year, livestock body conditions will remain good until the start of the pastoral lean season in April and will then decline seasonally until the start of the rainy season. The rains will replenish pastoral resources and improve livestock body conditions between July and September.  
  • Poultry industry: Poultry production will continue to be below average as the avian influenza outbreak continues to spread. More people will engage in poultry production in the months prior to Ramadan (June/July) and Tabaski (September), increasing market demand for maize during these time periods.
  • Lean season: In most areas, the lean season will be normal (July to September in the north, May to August in the south). However, in Borno state and localized areas of Adamawa and Yobe, below-average 2015/16 harvests will cause most households to resort to market purchases three to four months earlier than usual. In these areas, the lean season will begin early in March/April and will be more difficult than usual.
Market and Trade:
  • Exchange rate: The value of the Nigerian naira compared to other foreign currencies, including both the CFA and USD, will continue to depreciate between now and the end of the scenario period in September. The depreciation will lead to 1) a decline in importation levels of rice and substitution towards local rice consumption and 2) increased prices for food commodities at most markets.
  • Cross-border trade: Cross-border trade in the Lake Chad region will remain below average and at informal levels only. Imports from Benin will also be below average due to the depreciating value of the naira.
  • Internal trade flows: Food flow will follow normal seasonal trends, except in the northeast as conflict-related detours persist.
  • Institutional purchases: Purchases in February/March are expected to be below average due to reduced government revenues generated through crude oil sales (Figure 8). 
  • Food prices: Staple food prices are expected to rise atypically to levels that are above last year’s levels and the five-year average by September 2016, due to the effects of the depreciating naira on local markets. From one month to another, cereal prices will continue to rise until May/June when dry season harvests and the release of food stocks by traders in preparation for the next season will cause marginal price declines. Between July and September, prices will increase again due to reduced stock levels and atypically high demand relating to the lean season and Ramadan.
  • Livestock supply, demand, prices: Livestock prices will likely be above last year’s levels due to the unfavorable naira to FCFA exchange rate. During the scenario period, prices will decline until the start of the rainy season when improved pastoral conditions will lead to better livestock body conditions and favorable prices. Livestock prices will peak during the month of September due to Tabaski.

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Outside of conflict-prone areas, households will continue to have access to normal income levels through petty trade, cash crop sales, and labor work relating to both dry-season harvests and main season activities (land preparation, planting, and weeding activities). Additionally, improved pastoral resources and livestock body conditions after the start of the rainy season will contribute to favorable livestock prices and incomes during the second half of the scenario period, particularly during the Tabaski holidays. Therefore, most poor households are expected to have relatively normal food access despite rising food prices and seasonally typical food consumption. Thus, most areas will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between February and September 2016.

In northeastern Nigeria, the persisting Boko Haram conflict continues to limit food production, income-generating opportunities, market activities, food flows, and humanitarian assistance into the region. Below-average 2015 production in many areas, along with atypically high food prices, particularly between July and September, will continue to limit food availability and access for many poor households. Though conflict levels are expected to decline during the April to September period, improving trade flows and incomes slightly during the growing season, this will not completely offset the negative impacts that conflict has already had on household food and income sources during the 2015/16 consumption year. As a result, poor households in worst-affected areas of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states will be unable to sufficiently cover their basic food needs through market purchases, community support, indebtedness, and wild food consumption and will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity between February and September 2016. Households in other areas of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States where conflict-related disruptions to livelihoods and markets have been less severe will remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.

 

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

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 eight 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.

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