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Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity to continue through September in the northeast

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • August 2015
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity to continue through September in the northeast

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through December 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity will continue through September for worst-affected areas in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, and IDP settlement areas in Maiduguri. Continuing conflict contributes to reduced market functioning, limited seasonal incomes, and severely restricted cropping activities.

    • 2015/16 harvests in northeast Nigeria will be below-average for the third consecutive year as conflict continues to inhibit agricultural activities. New harvest stocks beginning in October will improve food availability somewhat, but Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity is still expected for worst-affected areas during the harvest period through December.

    • Below-average rainfall accumulation early in the rainy season has been followed by average to above-average accumulation in recent weeks across much of the country. The bimodal south, however, has seen continued, below-average rainfall, which contributed to delaying second season planting.

    • Outside of the northeast, the rest of the country is expected to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least December. Although localized, below-average production is expected in some areas, harvests will be able to meet household needs through at least December.

    Current Situation

    Conflict-affected northeast Nigeria

    Boko Haram conflict continues, with Borno, eastern Yobe, and northern Adamawa worst impacted. While a large number of IDP returns were observed in May, June, and July for the main agriculture season, ongoing attacks in the northeast contribute to continued displacement and re-displacement. Additionally, in July and August more than 15,000 refugees in Cameroon had been or were in the process of being repatriated back to Nigeria. Maiduguri in Borno State still hosts the largest population of displaced households, but less than 10 percent have access to camps.

    The Multinational Joint Task Force continues to intensify operations in the Lake Chad region. In addition to causing a great number of casualties and widespread displacement, the continuing conflict keeps households from engaging in their normal livelihoods. For the third consecutive year, cultivated area is well below normal as households either have left the homestead, or are limiting their exposure to the conflict by not working in their fields. FEWS NET field informants in conflict-affected areas of the northeast have indicated that participation in cropping activities this main season is significantly below average in affected areas as the insurgent attacks persist in rural areas where production usually occurs. Furthermore, limited availability and access to inputs (fertilizer and improved seeds) is limiting productivity.

    Recently, the insurgency has intensified attacks on markets. In Yobe State, the military has recommended limiting the market activity in four major markets (Damaturu, Babangida, Kukareta and Ngelzarma) in an effort to curb likely planned attacks by the insurgents, which is resulting in decreased market availability of staple foods in these and neighboring markets.

    Cereal prices on Monday market in Maiduguri in Borno State declined in July relative to previous months, whereas would typically be increasing through September. Cereal prices on Monday market were also below last year’s prices, likely owing to a marginal increase in trade flows to Maiduguri in July. In Maiduguri, cereal prices still do, however, remain higher than what is observed on neighboring markets in Dawanau and Gombe. In Mubi in Adamwa State, the sale price for millet rose to NGN81/kg in July, compared to NGN47/kg in Potiskum, NGN56/kg in Damaturu, and NGN44/kg in Biu. The high sale price in Mubi is expected to be a result of increased demand due to the large number of IDP returns to Mubi and neighboring areas.

    Humanitarian access in the northeast continues to improve. Several organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, are supporting IDPs, host communities, and resident households with rations and vouchers. The greatest access for humanitarian organizations remains in urban areas, though, with access to rural, resident households still largely limited.


    The end of the first season in the bimodal south was characterized by below-average rainfall accumulation, particularly in July.  The early green harvests of yams, maize and other vegetables, which is underway, is expected to be below average. Planting of cassava, maize, and cowpea for the second season was slightly delayed until mid-August. In the north central region, typical levels of rainfall accumulation returned in mid-July/early August in most areas. The prolonged dry spells resulted in late planting, particularly in Niger, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Plateau States. The early green harvest of maize, yams, vegetables, melon seeds and groundnuts has been below average, particularly in Niger state.

    The beginning of the rainy season in the north of the country was also seen erratic with below-average accumulation. Early planted millet, a major staple in the region, had to be replanted in many areas after the establishment of the season in July. Average to above-average rainfall accumulation since mid-July has contributed to good cropping conditions in the north in recent weeks.

    Staple food stocks of major cereals are above-average across most markets. Favorable production from two consecutive good seasons and below-average institutional and commercial demand are contributing to good market availability. Early green harvests in southern and central regions, though below-average, are also contributing to good market supply in most areas. July prices for staple cereals stabilized or declined on most markets monitored. The price of millet declined by 7 and 32 percent on Kaura and Dawanau markets, respectively in July compared to June. Millet prices are also down compared to last year by 32 and 25 percent on Kaura and Dawanau markets, respectively.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation is in line with the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for July to December 2015. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the July to December 2015 Food Security Outlook.

    Projected Outlook through December 2015

    Rural, resident households affected by conflict and displaced households in the northeast continue to face difficulty accessing food as household food stocks have were exhausted much earlier than normal, and reduced market activity in the face of limited seasonal incomes restricts market purchase. During the peak of the lean season, worst-affected areas of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, as well as IDP settlement areas in greater Maiduguri, will continue to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through September. With the increased availability of staple foods and economic activity beginning in October with the main harvest, household food availability and access is expected to increase somewhat. The highest phase of acute food insecurity in the northeast is expected to be Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between October and December 2015, as worst-affected households smooth their consumption due to significantly below-average main season harvests. With school planned to resume in September in Maiduguri, many IDPs currently sheltered in schools may be at risk of needing to relocate.

    The rest of Nigeria is expected to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least December 2015. Although localized, below-average production is expected in many areas, harvests beginning in October will be enough to sufficiently supply markets, which are already well supplied, and carry households through at least December 2015.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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