Skip to main content

Emergency in Nigeria to remain greatest food security concern through January 2017

  • Food Security Outlook
  • West Africa
  • July 2016 - January 2017
Emergency in Nigeria to remain greatest food security concern through January 2017

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Outlook by Country
  • Events that could Change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • Recent food security assessments, though not statistically representative, suggest Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Famine (IPC Phase 5) outcomes are possible and could continue through January 2017 in the most conflict-affected and least accessible pockets of Nigeria. In addition, a “nutrition emergency” has been declared in Borno State by the Nigerian Ministry of Health and Information. Improved humanitarian access and a signfiicant increase in assistance is needed in order to save lives in these areas. 

    • Elsewhere in the region, rainfall has been evenly distributed and above to above average in quantity, except in far western areas of the Sahel, particularly western Mauritania and in Senegal. Conditions are generally favorable for the development of crops and pasture. The pastoral lean season is coming to an end in most pastoral areas and the increase in agricultural activities are creating income-earning opportunities for poor households. 

    • Market supply remains normal in the region as agricultural households and traders release stocks on the market in light of promising seasonal progress and normal cross-border trade. However, insecurity and conflict continues to disrupt market functioning in northern Mali and around Lake Chad. In addition, the depreciation of the Naira has caused a sharp increase in cereal prices in Nigeria and is disrupting trade flows between Nigeria and other Sahelian countries. 

    • Food security conditions are generally positive and allowing normal seasonal access to food and income in most agricultural and agropastoral areas. Poor households are currently able to access sufficient food and income from normal livelihood strategies to allow a continuation of Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes in most of the region from now through the harvests and until at least January 2017.  

    • However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) continues in localized areas of agropastoral Chad that had poor production, and Stress (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will continue in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Niger, and Chad until the end of the lean season in September, when harvests will improve acute food insecurity to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) starting in October. 

    • In the Ebola-affected countries, conditions remain favorable for the continuation of Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes through January 2017. In Sierra Leone, however, Stress (IPC Phase 2) will continue through September and will only improve in localized areas starting in October in areas where poor purchasing power is limiting households’ ability to meet their non-food needs. 

    Outlook by Country
    Burkina Faso            
    • Seasonal forecasts show a high likelihood of the rains getting off to a timely start and predict average to above-average levels of cumulative rainfall, which point to a good 2016 growing season. Therefore, most farming households should be able to stabilize their livelihoods and maintain normal food access. This would guarantee Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity for the next seven months.
    • The promising harvest outlook and good levels of market supplies will help promote normal trends in food prices, which should be close to the five-year average. In addition, there should be normal levels of income from different types of labor and livestock sales, helping to give households regular food access during the lean season between June and September.
    • Duly funded and scheduled humanitarian assistance and government assistance in the far northern reaches of the country, with close to 29,000 Malian refugees and 26,500 very poor residents, will help ease hardships for these populations during the lean season, until the upcoming harvests beginning in October.

    To learn more, see the June 2016 to January 2017 Food Security Outlook for Burkina Faso.

    • The 2016 rainy season is well-established in all prefectures across throughout the country. Cumulative rainfall totals as of the second dekad of June show a large to moderate excess. Crop planting is expected to have to a near-normal start in all parts of the country with average to below-average rainfall, which suggest average crop production and average incomes from farming activities for the 2016/2017 growing season.
    • In spite of the approaching lean season (June through September) and the rises in prices during the month of Ramadan (June), markets will continue to be well-stocked with staple foods and prices will be relatively stable, allowing food availability and food access for most households. The successful rebuilding of livelihoods since the end of the Ebola crisis will limit its residual effects.
    • The recent incidents of Ebola are finally under control, allowing for a normal resumption of crop-producing activities and crop trade on both domestic and cross-border markets. This will enable households to produce normal yields of crops, supply markets, and generate income. Thus, there will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity in all parts of the country at least through January 2017.

    To learn more, see the June 2016 to January 2017 Food Security Outlook for Guinea.

    • The 2016 rainy season in the Sudanian zone began the middle of April, a month earlier than usual, which improved food consumption and shortened the lean season for pastoral households. Cumulative rainfall totals as of the second dekad of June show a large to moderate excess in practically all parts of this zone, allowing for early crop planting and raising expectations for average to above-average crop yields. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity in the Sudanian zone will continue through January 2017.
    • Reduced incomes from local livelihoods and cereal stock depletion in the Lac region due to security issues widened the food consumption gaps as the peak of the lean season approaches. These security problems are restricting access to land for the current growing season. High cereal prices are restricting food access. The entire region is in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), where it will stay through the month of October, when expected humanitarian assistance will contain food insecurity at Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) levels.
    • The scarcity of pasture lands is steadily eroding the physical conditions of animals in the Hadjer Lamis, Barh El Gazel, Kanem, Batha, and Wadi Fira regions. The situation is becoming critical, with reports of a number of animal deaths in areas with virtually no watering holes. Thus, the agropastoral zone will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September, when conditions will improve with the growth of fresh pasture and the increased demand for livestock for the religious holidays. 

    To learn more, see the June 2016 to January 2017 Food Security Outlook for Chad.

    • Seasonally normal food access and livelihoods will enable most households to maintain typical food consumption patterns between June 2016 and January 2017, in line with Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.
    • Off-season harvests of palm nuts, cassava, plantains, pineapples and local vegetables are ongoing though they typically decrease between June and September. However, during this time period, food consumption will continue to be seasonally normal due to rice imports and sufficient cassava products (ex. gari, fufu) on local markets.
    • Main season 2016/17 crops (upland rice, cassava, corn, peanuts beans, etc.) are growing normally, despite irregular rainfall over Liberia in April and May. Meanwhile, work related to swampland clearing for rice cultivation in July/August and the rehabilitation of tree crops (cocoa, coffee, rubber and palm) are providing poor households with daily labor contracts at seasonally normal levels. Main rice harvests are expected to be average and start on-time in August and September.
    • Along coastal areas, fish availability and incomes are currently below average due to atypically rough seas. Similarly, some rubber tappers have recently lost their jobs as local rubber production scaled down due to low international prices. For affected populations, these shocks are expected to negatively impact household purchasing power and food consumption, though households are still expected to meet minimum food requirements. A small number, making up less than 20 percent of the total population in affected zones, will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.

    To learn more, see the June 2016 to January 2017 Food Security Outlook for Liberia.

    • The seasonal forecasts for average to above-average levels of rainfall (ECMWF, NOAA, IRI) and multifaceted assistance from the government and its partners bode well for an overall above-average volume of cereal production. This will help give households average food access, and they therefore should experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity as of October.
    • There will be adequate market supplies between June and September in spite of security incidents disrupting trade flows to certain areas in the northern and central reaches of the country from time to time. Below-average cereal prices and above-average terms of trade for livestock/cereals are helping to give households average food access.
    • Approximately 800,000 people across the country, 70 percent of whom are concentrated in northern areas of the country, will receive food assistance from the government and its partners between June and November 2016. Areas affected by the crisis will also be targeted for farm input assistance, herd building assistance, and support for economic activities, which will limit recourse to negative coping strategies.
    • Poor households in the Lake Faguibine area and the Gourma area of Timbuktu and Gao are having difficulty properly meeting their food and nonfood needs with the general decline in income as a result of the security crisis and the production shortfall in 2015. Their recourse to atypical coping strategies will put them in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase of food insecurity between June and September.

    To learn more, see the June 2016 to January 2017 Food Security Outlook for Mali.

    • The near-average levels of annual crop production, still adequate pastoral conditions, good market supplies with relatively stable prices except for rice, favorable terms of trade driven by steadily rising livestock prices, and functioning government assistance programs will keep food insecurity in most parts of the country at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels through at least January 2017.
    • The combined effects of reduced cross-border trade in coarse grains and rice, the decline in hot off-season crop production, the repayment of debts, and the pressure on livelihoods in certain pockets of the western portion of the agropastoral zone will keep poor households in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity through September. With the shortfall in flood-recession crop production, households in southeastern Inchiri dependent on these crops are expected to remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity through September in spite of the gold rush.
    • The steady rise in livestock prices, the price stability on retail markets, the average levels of crop production from a normal rainy season, the improvement in pastoral activities (new animal births and milk production) with the growth of new green pasture, and the average levels of income from farm labor should bring food insecurity in all parts of the country down to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels between October and January 2017.

    To learn more, see the June 2016 to January 2017 Food Security Outlook for Mauritania.

    • The growing season is characterized by average to above-average rainfall and good planting rates in the country's main farming areas. With average to above-average food security conditions, acute food insecurity will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through at least January 2017.
    • However, feeding supplies for livestock are still poor in pastoral areas, including in the region of Agadez. There is nearly no pasture or water available. The persistent effects of a prolonged lean season, which began earlier than usual this year, will keep poor pastoral households in a situation of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through August 2016, after which the rainy season will improve pastoral conditions.
    • Market supplies remain average to above average, except in the region of Diffa, which is suffering from the conflict with Boko Haram. Despite the gradual increase in demand during the lean season, staple food prices are below the five-year average and could remain at those levels through January 2017 thanks to sufficient food availability on the markets and inflows of cereals from Nigeria with the depreciation of the Nigerian Naira.
    • Due to persistent insecurity related to the conflict with Boko Haram, which continues to disrupt the main livelihoods and seasonal income in the region of Diffa, food access remains limited for a large number of resident and displaced households. The effects on the food security of households in the region indicate a situation of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stress (IPC Phase 2!), which will persist through the outlook period (June 2016-January 2017).

    To learn more, see the June 2016 to January 2017 Food Security Outlook for Niger.

    • Conflict in Northeast Nigeria has left a significant portion of the population without access to adequate food, water, and health services. A “nutrition emergency” has been declared in Borno State by the Nigerian Ministry of Health and information from recent rapid assessments, although limited and not statistically representative, also raises the possibility that a Famine (IPC Phase 5) could be occurring in the worst affected and less accessible pockets of the state.
    • The Boko Haram conflict and atypically high staple food prices have substantially restricted food access for most households across large areas in the Lake Chad region. Diminishing community and humanitarian support, below average harvest stocks and restricted income earning opportunities will continue to limit food access in this region. Consequently, affected households will continue to have difficulties meeting their minimal food needs and will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity, depending on the zone, through January 2017. Several LGAs with proportionally high IDP populations are expected to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity.
    • The recent decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to float the naira against the US dollar will likely lead to further depreciation of the naira. The inflation rate increased from 13.7 percent to 15.6 percent between April and May. Consequently, prices of local and imported staples such as rice, millet, maize and sorghum will continue to rise beyond normal levels, limiting purchasing power and food access through the lean season period until harvests in October.
    • Most households outside of the Northeast are engaging in normal income-generating activities, early green harvests as well as livestock and cash crop sales. Some market dependent poor households are unable to meet non-food needs as their food stocks diminish due to the depreciating naira, high food prices, flooding along major floodplains and low purchasing power. Most households will continue to face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, although some poor households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through the end of the lean season.

    To learn more, see the June 2016 to January 2017 Food Security Outlook for Nigeria.

    Sierra Leone
    • The below-average 2015/16 off-season and main harvests in most parts of the country continues to negatively affect both household and market stock levels. Prices are rising to above-average levels as the May to August lean season begins, limiting food access and availability for poor households. From June to September, almost all districts will remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity. 
    • Due to normal climatic conditions and the lifting of most EVD related restrictions, the main season harvest of major staples including rice, cassava, and vegetables is expected to be at near average levels. This harvest, as well as improved market functioning, will allow most households to have improved food access and availability. Most areas will improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity from September to January.
    • Kailahun and Port Loko Districts were two of the hardest hit by the EVD crisis, experiencing complete quarantines and market shut downs in many chiefdoms in 2015. Low production and trade opportunities last season were more severe in these Districts and economic recovery has been slow. In Port Loko, the economy also suffered from two large mine operations shutting down. These districts will remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity through at least January 2017.

    To learn more, see the June 2016 to January 2017 Food Security Outlook for Sierra Leone


    Remote Monitoring Countries[1]

    Central African Republic
    • The good levels of rainfall between April 1st and June 20th, 2016 are promoting the normal progress of land preparation, crop planting, and crop maintenance activities. This is creating more job opportunities for poor households. However, crop production across the country could remain below the pre-conflict average for yet another year due to residual effects of the insecurity.
    • Pastoral conditions are gradually improving with the normal start of the rainy season spurring the recovery of pastures and the replenishment of watering holes. However, income levels from the sale of livestock and animal products are below-average due to the reduced size of livestock herds as a result of the conflict. This is keeping the food insecurity of poor pastoral households at troubling levels.
    • According to OCHA estimates in May 2016, there were 415,256 IDPs in Bangui and the southwestern, central, and northwestern prefectures. Poor resident households in these areas depleted their food reserves in March and, like displaced households, have very limited purchasing power. Thus, these households are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and will remain in this stage throughout the outlook period (June 2016 through January 2017).

    To learn more, see the June 2016 Remote Monitoring Report for the Central African Republic.

    • There are still adequate market supplies of cereals across the country, as the lean season gets underway due to above-average cereal production in 2015. Prices for broken rice, the main cereal consumed by Senegalese households, are still close to or below the five-year average across the country, which is allowing households to have average food access.
    • The June harvests of off-season rice crops should be on par with or above the five-year average due to the large volume of farm input assistance from the government. This will improve the availability of rice and create better food and income-generating opportunities for poor households in the Senegal River Valley from farm labor and the sale of crops.
    • The growing season has begun in the Southern part of the country despite the rains starting two weeks late. Farm households will benefit from a large supply of government assistance in the form of farm inputs and equipment. The expected average to above-average levels of crop production in October 2016 will enable most households to continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1 IPC) food insecurity between October and January 2017.
    • Poor households in Matam, Kanel, Raneyrou, Linguère, and Louga departments are contending with an earlier than usual lean season because of the early depletion of their food stocks after the poor 2015/16 harvests. They are resorting to atypical coping strategies such as loans to improve their market access and thus, are currently in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase of food insecurity and will remain there through the month of September.

    To learn more, see the June 2016 Remote Monitoring Report for Senegal.

    [1] With remote monitoring, an analyst typically works from a nearby regional office, relying on a network of partners for data. Compared to the previous series of countries in which FEWS NET has a local office, reports on remote monitoring countries may offer less detail.  

    Events that could Change the Outlook

    Table 1: Possible events over the next six months that could change the most likely scenario 



    Impact sur les conditions de la sécurité alimentaire

    Sahelian countries

    Prolonged dry spells in the middle of the season, and/or an early end of the rainy season.

    • Significant decreases in yields and harvests
    • Atyipcal increase in prices during the harvest
    • Atypical household migration

    Sahelian and northern coastal countries

    Locust outbreak

    • Destruction of crops and pasture
    • Reduced labor demand and income-earning opportunities
    • Atypical price increases during the harvest
    • Atypical household migration
    • Atypical migration of livestock

    Northern Mali, northeast Nigeria, Central African Republic, neighboring countries

    Increase in civil insecurity

    • Increase in the number of IDPs and refugees in neighboring countries
    • Closure of borders between neighboring countries
    • Interruption to trade flows, weak supply on local markets
    • Major deterioration of household livelihoods and food and nutrition security
    • Difficult or non-existent humanitarian access
    • Increase in malnutrition and mortality

    Northern Mali, northeast Nigeria, Central African Republic, neighboring countries

    Improvement in security conditions and impacts of humanitarian assistance

    • Settlement of displaced populations
    • Improved access to public health services
    • Improved market functioning
    • Improved access to staple foods
    • Improved nutrition outcomes

    Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    Return of the Ebola outbreak/outbreaks in new areas

    • Quarantine of affected areas
    • Disruption to functioning of local markets
    • Local disruption of the seasonal calendar
    • Reduction in labor available for agricultural work

    Sahel and Nigeria

    Significant depreciation of the Naira

    • Decreased demand for livestock
    • Decreased prices for livestock
    • Weak market functioning and decreased prices for cash crops (cowpeas, groundnut, sesame, etc.)
    • Reduction in purchasing power for pastoral and agricultural households in the Sahel
    • Reduction in purchasing power in Nigeria
    • Deterioration in the quality of the household diet in Nigeria
    • Increased malnutrition in Nigeria

    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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top