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Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes are expected in the north due to conflict and high food prices

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • April 2022
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes are expected in the north due to conflict and high food prices

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The Borno state government closed seven IDP camps within Maiduguri, resettling over 103,000 people in 2021 to their homesteads or other urban areas. To earn some income, resettled IDPs are engaged in livelihood activities such as petty trade, fishing, and dry season cultivation. These households are mainly dependent on markets for food with low purchasing power, driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. These outcomes are present and expected to persist across much of the northeast as purchasing power will most likely be low through at least September. Households worst affected by conflict, remaining in inaccessible areas have significantly constrained market access and are mainly reliant on wild and bartering, face large food consumption gaps, and are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). 

    • Macroeconomic conditions have remained variable for the past few months. High global energy prices will likely drive a slight recovery in the macroeconomy through at least September 2022. The NGN exchange rates are low relative to foreign currencies, and annual inflation was somewhat stable. Fuel shortages and associated price increases are driving high transportation costs. Furthermore, the high transportation costs coupled with the high global food prices related to the Ukraine crisis, food prices remain significantly above average and generally increasing. In some northern markets, as dry harvest is ongoing, moderate declines in food prices have been observed; however, they are likely to be short-term, with prices remaining significantly above average. 

    • Conflict in northwest and northcentral states continues to significantly disrupt livelihood activities, including the ongoing dry season harvest for many households. Similarly, land preparation and other main season farming activities remain limited following conflict across the north. Households engage in limited income-earning activities such as petty trade and firewood sales to generate income. Although, earned income is insufficient for households to meet their needs as food prices are very high. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing amongst most displaced households who rely on markets for food with minimal income-generating opportunities. Displaced households worst affected by conflict are likely experiencing Emergency (IPC Phase 4). 


    Overall, conflict-related incidence and fatalities across the country have increased in the first quarter of 2022 relative to the last quarter of 2021 (Figure 1). The conflict trend continues to increase in the Northwest and Northcentral states while remaining somewhat calm and improving in the Northeast. In the Northeast, while conflict is at lower levels, the number of fatalities have significantly increased, demonstrating a growing capability of armed actors to carry out more deadly 

    attacks.  Conflict in the first quarter of 2022 continues to be concentrated in Niger, Kebbi, Kaduna, Benue, Zamfara, Plateau, Katsina, and Sokoto states. Additionally, conflict in southern Nigeria has also increased in early 2022.

    Across northern Nigeria, according to IOM, as of December, over 3.1 million people remain displaced, with most of the counted displaced population in the Northeast. Although, since December it is likely displacement has increased, notably in northwest and northcentral states. Between December 27 and April 10, IOM found over 77,300 people were displaced across the northwest and northcentral states. The Borno State government closed seven IDP camps within the greater Maiduguri area in 2021, with over 103,000 IDPs returning to their place of origin or adjacent larger towns. According to the Borno state emergency management agency, 500 households were repatriated from Niger to Abadam LGA in Borno State in early April, and 680 households were resettled into Gwoza LGA. 

    Macroeconomic conditions have been variable in recent months, especially with the onset of the Ukraine crisis. Annual inflation was stable between February and March, remaining around 15 percent. According to the Central Bank, the foreign reserve decreased for the fifth consecutive month since its last gain in October 2021 to 39,550 million USD in March 2022 from 39,860 million USD in February 2022, representing about a four percent decline. The NGN has continued to depreciate further and currently selling for about 580 NGN/USD on the parallel market relative to about 470 NGN/USD in the last few months. The official NGN exchange rate has remained stable since last year, selling slightly above 400 NGN/USD. The NGN continues to depreciate on the parallel market due to high foreign exchange demand.  

    Since early February, the petrol and diesel supply across the country remains constrained, attributable to supply gaps due to adulterated petrol from the service providers. Since February, petrol and diesel supplies remain limited across the country, where motorists have to queue for several hours. As a result, fuel prices have substantially increased. Between February and April, diesel prices per liter increased by over 140 percent, further increasing transportation costs. Fuel prices are even higher on the parallel market. Furthermore, most industries are dependent on diesel to power their plants. Due to the collapse of the national power grid, the power supply is inconsistently disrupting some business activities.

    While Nigeria is a major food producer in West Africa, Nigeria also significantly relies on food imports. In 2020, wheat was the third most imported good, with about 14 percent of the wheat imports in 2021 from Russia, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Currently, imported wheat and other food and non-food goods prices are high due to the overall inflationary pressures on the market and rises in global food prices. On April 23, four land borders, Idiroko, Jibia, Kamba, and Ikom, reopened for trade activities. Land borders were initially closed in August 2019 to curb insecurity and boost local rice production. While formal rice imports are completely banned, imports continue informally. International and domestic rice can be found on the markets. Overall, domestic rice is cheaper than international rice, with poor households purchasing domestic rice. 

    Despite moderate increases in market food supply due to the ongoing dry season harvest, the price of most staple foods continued their upward trend across most monitored markets due to high fuel prices and continued inflationary pressures on the markets. Prices remain significantly above last year and the five-year average. Due to increased market supplies and relatively lower demand, staple prices declined in some surplus-producing areas as households started consuming the dry season harvest. Some households sell their own food stocks to purchase agricultural inputs, which is also slightly increasing market supply. The early to typical start of the rainfall in northern parts of Nigeria, the main production area, coupled with the government encouraging maize and rice production, reduced market speculations helping to decrease market prices in some northern areas.

    The rainy season started normally around February/March in southern areas and is established as typical in the central states with average rainfall. Households are planting maize and cassava normally in southern areas, while land preparation is underway in the central states. Land preparation activities in conflict-affected central and northern areas are at lower-than-normal levels. The rainfall season has not been fully established across all northern areas, especially extreme northern areas of the country, leading to some typical delays in land preparation activities. 

    Nigeria is a net importer of fertilizer and chemicals to produce fertilizer, predominately coming from Russia. While fertilizer use is not high among poor and displaced households, it is important in central and northern parts of the country where large farms are present, and fertilizer use is higher among better-off households. The high prices of fertilizer are limiting its use and could have implications for 2022 production.

    Humanitarian assistance is ongoing, predominately to populations in the Northeast in displacement camps. About 1.2 million people received humanitarian food assistance across Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states in February. Over 1.0 million beneficiaries are in Borno state, similar to assistance delivery levels in January. In addition, the government is providing cash and food assistance to displaced populations through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). The reduced number of food assistance beneficiaries is mainly due to funding constraints. The restriction by the Borno state government to ban humanitarian assistance to newly relocated IDPs remains enforced. According to IOM, about 41 percent and 31 percent of the IDPs living in camps and 31 percent of the IDPs in host communities have access to humanitarian assistance in the Northwest and Northcentral areas.

    Despite the closure of IDP camps in Borno state, many households remain in camps, heavily reliant on limited humanitarian assistance, and are facing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!). Displaced households face constrained income-earning opportunities, while some rely solely on little support from friends and relatives for food. Some households returning to their area of origin are facing restricted access to income and food due to inadequate stocks, limited income, and market disruptions. As a result, this is driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes across most areas. Households in difficult-to-access areas are heavily reliant on wild food consumption and bartering to access food and are facing wide food consumption gaps. These households are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).


    The assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the Nigeria Food Security Outlook for February to September 2022 remain unchanged except for the following:

    • Macroeconomic conditions are expected to improve slowly through September, primarily driven by the anticipated steady increase in crude oil production and prices. This is corroborated by the revised projection of 3.4 percent economic growth in 2022 by the IMF from the previous forecast of 2.7 percent.
    • Staple food prices are expected to increase through at least August, remaining significantly above average and potentially increasing to levels higher than previously anticipated due to the Ukraine Crisis. The decline in some food prices in northern markets is expected to be temporary, and prices are expected to return to their increasing trend in April/May, continuing through at least August. Prices are anticipated to be higher in conflict-affected areas. The government will likely intervene in the market by releasing food from the strategic reserves to cushion the impact of high food prices.
    • Given the escalating crisis in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia, there is the potential for prolonged disruption to global fertilizer exports and rising prices. Fertilizer prices will likely increase across the country above what was anticipated through at least September. Furthermore, prices of other agricultural inputs will likely continue to increase, constraining access for poor households. This is likely to result in some declines in area planted and yields. There is potential for lower-than-average production for the 2022 main season.  
    • Humanitarian actors are likely to face constraints accessing food for distribution due to high food prices, particularly in northern areas. There is the potential that this will decrease the ability of humanitarians to respond to ongoing crises. The government has about 90,000 tons of staple foods in stock to provide emergency support across the country for the remaining consumption period.


    Overall, poor households who are market reliant are expected to face some increased difficulty accessing food due to increased food prices. There will likely be some increases in the populations facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes; however, it is not expected to be significant.

    Households affected by banditry, kidnapping, and communal conflict in the Northwest and Northcentral states will remain displaced and unable to engage in normal livelihood activities as conflict continues. Displaced households in worst-conflict affected areas are likely to face difficulty accessing food and income, given their limited income-earning opportunities and low purchasing power. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in parts of the Northwest and Northcentral states. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to expand across some of these areas as market reliance increases during the June to September period, which coincides with the peak of the lean season. Some households with limited income-earning opportunities and limited or no food stocks are likely to continue to consume mainly wild foods and are expected to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

    Households less affected by conflict in Northeastern states, who are able to engage in normal livelihood activities, though at below-average levels and have market access, are facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September. Households with limited income-earning opportunities and who are unable to engage in normal income-earning activities will likely face food consumption gaps during the lean season when food prices are at their highest levels and will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Most conflict-affected households in relatively accessible areas of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states who remain displaced and are within major urban areas with limited access to humanitarian assistance have limited purchasing power. They will most likely face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least September. In these areas, some households will likely face Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

    Households worst affected by the conflict in the Northeast and who remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors, mainly in parts of Borno state who are not able to cultivate, and have restricted access to markets and livelihood activities, will continue to face wide food consumption gaps with elevated levels of acute malnutrition. These households are mainly dependent on wild food consumption, limited bartering, and begging to access some food. Thus, they will be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).  


    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: ACLED

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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