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Populations from newly accessible areas continue to arrive in northeast Nigeria

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • August 2018
Populations from newly accessible areas continue to arrive in northeast Nigeria

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Key Messages
    • Households worst affected by conflict in parts of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states continue to depend on humanitarian assistance and are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3!), while populations in hard to reach areas with limited livelihood activities and poorly functioning markets are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Others have restricted access to food and are reliant on high levels of coping as they remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    • Military operation “Last Hold” targeting the Boko Haram insurgents continues in the northeast with substantial population movements registered in the area. During the first week of August over 6,400 population movements were recorded in Borno and Adamawa states based on IOM Emergency Tracking Matrix. Food security outcomes in areas of the northeast that remain inaccessible are likely similar or worse than in adjoining accessible areas already experiencing severe outcomes.

    • Across much of the rest of Nigeria, household and market food stocks continue to deplete normally during the peak of the lean season. Most poor households are accessing food through market purchase, early green harvests, wild foods and agricultural and non-agricultural labor. Staple food prices are lower than last year but remain above average. Much of the country outside of the northeast remains in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    • The growing season is evolving favorably with normal crop growth and development in most areas across the country. Early green harvest of yam, maize, groundnut and potatoes is underway depending on the area. Staple prices remain elevated during the peak of the lean season, particularly in northeastern markets due to the insurgency.

    Current Situation

    The IOM-DTM Emergency Tracking Tools conducted between August 1 – 7 2018 recorded a total of 6,494 population movements, including 5,317 arrivals and 1,177 departures across Borno and Adamawa states. In Borno state, over 800 people relocated mainly from Guzamala LGA due to the ongoing military operations in the area. Similarly, 928, 827, and 532 people arrived in Bama, Monguno and Gwoza local governments, respectively, within the period. Other 366 and 360 people relocated to Dikwa and Nganzai local governments in Borno state, respectively. In Adamawa state over 790 people arrived in Mayo-Belwa LGA due to the farmers/herdsmen conflict in the area. Similarly, 275 and 59 displaced persons arrived from Cameroon and Niger respectively within the same period.

    The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced persons (NCFRMI) indicated a continued influx of refugees and that there are 34,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria as at August 14, 2018. These refugees are in Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Benue and Taraba states.

    Counter-insurgency operation “Last Hold” is still underway in the northeast. Affected populations are moving to local government headquarters and other urban and semi urban areas. This is also exacerbated by the ongoing farmer/pastoralist conflict in the central states. Adamawa state is still impacted by both insurgency and herders’ conflict, resulting in continued population displacement and loss of livelihood assets.

    According to the Nutrition in Emergencies Working Group April/May northeast Nigeria nutrition survey the GAM prevalence at the state-level remains indicative of an ongoing food security crisis: Adamawa - 8.2 (6.6-10.0 95% C.I.); Borno - 10.1 (8.7 – 11.7 95% C.I.) and Yobe - 12.2 (10.7-13.8 95% C.I.). However, as reported by IOM, nutrition screening data from sector partners indicates highly concerning levels of acute malnutrition for those coming from inaccessible areas.

    The farmer/pastoralist conflict persists in central states, including Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, and Adamawa, as well as in Zamfara state in the northwest. In Zamfara state several LGAs are affected including Maradun, Zurmi, Birnin Magaji, Shinkafi, Maru, Tsafe, Bungudu and part of Gusau local governments. Several populations have been displaced in about 20 affected communities, deserted across the affected LGAs, though some are returning due to security operations in affected areas. 

    The growing season is progressing favorably across most of the country. Major activities include weeding, and pesticide and fertilizer application. Similarly, early green harvests of maize, millet, groundnut, yams and cassava are also underway, depending on the area. Normal growth and development of the various crops is occurring in most areas. However, flooding, dry spells and pest infestations in localized areas are also recorded at normal levels. In mid-August the Nigeria Hydrological Services have confirmed that flooding has occurred in 25 states across the country leading to population displacement and damage to houses, infrastructure, livestock and farmlands in affected areas.

    Poor households are engaged in normal income earning opportunities such as agricultural labor, sale of livestock, and construction work. Seasonal labor migration, petty trade and sale of early green harvest such as maize, yams and potatoes are additional income sources for the poor households.

    In late July 2018, the Nigeria center for Disease Control (NCDC) recorded a total of 18,205 suspected cholera cases (CFR: 1.30%) from 17 States (Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Borno, Ebonyi, FCT, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Yobe and Zamfara) and 127 LGAs since the beginning of 2018. Between 23 and 29 July, 154 new suspected cases were reported from five states – Adamawa (5), Borno (20), Katsina (1), Yobe (9) and Zamfara (119). Bauchi state recorded the highest number of cholera cases with 9,331 and Zamfara has 2,129 cases, while Adamawa and Borno have 1,727 and 1,591 cases, respectively within the period.

    There is a typical seasonal reduction in both market supplies and household stocks of staple food commodities due to the ongoing lean season. Similarly, household market demand has increased, impacting market prices for food commodities. This is, however, slightly tempered by the early green harvest of maize, yams, groundnut and potatoes. Staple cereal prices remain above average, though lower than the previous year’s levels in most markets monitored, with the exception of markets in the northeast. Staple food prices remain higher in the northeast of Nigeria relative to neighboring markets due to the persisting conflict in the area.

    The price of locally milled rice increased by about 7, 5 and 6 percent in Giwa, Gombe and Saminaka, respectively relative to previous months. Similarly, imported rice price increased by between 16 and 143 percent across Biu, Potiskum, Dawanau, Maiduguri, and Mubi markets, respectively within the same period. Compared to the previous year, rice prices increased by about 133 and 57 percent in Maiduguri and Potiskum markets in the northeast of Nigeria. Similarly, the price of white maize increased by about 73 and 123 percent, respectively, in the same markets, within the same period.

    Market and trade routes in the northeast of Nigeria remain disrupted, restricting trade flows and activities. This is further exacerbated by route disruptions during the ongoing rainfall season and sporadic attacks by the insurgents. Intermittent closure of markets by the security personnel continue in the northeast to reduce volatile attacks and casualties from insurgents’ attack.

    Food assistance distribution by humanitarian actors increased between May and June by 41, 23 and 5 percent in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, respectively during the prolonged lean season in the northeast of Nigeria. Food assistance in Adamawa state is only available for 42,823 persons in Madagali, Michika and Hong LGAs despite the increasing IDP population across the state. The IOM-DTM assessment in June reported over 178,000 IDPs in Adamawa state with increasing number due to the combined impacts of the persisting conflict and farmer/herder clashes across the state. The food security sector is only about half funded in early August out of the total amount of $435.1 million for the 2018 HRP.

    Updated Assumptions

    The assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the June 2018 - January 2019 Food Security Outlook remain unchanged.


    The favorable growing season across most of the country have led to increased access to wild food and pastoral resources. This will persist through the end of the season in October. More households will increasingly get access to wild foods and agricultural labor work to access food and most households outside the northeast are able to access food normally as they face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through the lean season period ending in September. The main harvest in October is expected to be average to above average in most areas and households will consume own food through at least January 2019 and continue to face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes. However, many households in areas affected by the herder/pastoralist conflict in the central and north western parts of the country will have difficulty accessing food during the lean season period and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcome through September. Households affected by the farmer/pastoralists conflict have been displaced and are engaged in below average crop production, and are mainly relying on petty trade, labor, market purchase and wild food consumption to access food during the lean season period when staple prices remain elevated. During the harvest period starting in October households in this area will consume own food and will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least January 2019. Exceptions are households displaced before the onset of the growing season by the farmer/pastoralists conflict in Benue state, who will have limited harvests and will continue to depend on community assistance as they continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through January 2019.

    The persisting Boko Haram conflict continues to substantially impact households’ livelihoods in the northeast of Nigeria. Despite the main season harvest in October, due to restricted access to land for most households in the northeast, harvests will be substantially below average for most households that are able to cultivate. Households in most parts of Yobe and southern Adamawa and southern Borno states less affected by the Boko Haram conflict will depend on limited own production, market purchase, petty trade and sale of firewood/charcoal to earn income and access food in October 2018 through the early part of 2019. These households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity. Households in southern Yobe, western Borno and northern Adamawa who have lost their livelihoods and have limited income earning opportunities will resort to intense labor work, limited community assistance, and begging to access income and food during harvest beginning in October 2018. Others will atypically migrate to neighboring areas to earn income. Consequently, most households in the area will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until at least January 2019.  Coupled with uncertainty of funding for the continues humanitarian assistance between October 2018 and January 2019 households mainly in Borno state that are currently dependent on humanitarian assistance and are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) in August will likely face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity in the absence of humanitarian assistance. Significant areas within the northeast remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors, and outcomes are likely similar or worse than in adjoining accessible areas. Additionally, there is continued concern that in a worst-case scenario displaced population, who are often centered in urban areas, could become cutoff due to flooding and/or a shift in conflict, leading to more extreme outcomes.

    Figures Projected food security outcomes for the northeast, August to September 2018 - Yobe and Adamawa are in phase 2, most of Borno

    Figure 1

    Projected food security outcomes for the northeast, August to September 2018

    Source: FEWS NET

    Projected food security outcomes for the northeast, October 2018 to January 2019 - Yobe and Adamawa are in phase 2, most of B

    Figure 2

    Projected food security outcomes for the northeast, October 2018 to January 2019

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Trade route and market functioning map, August 2018 - Markets close to the lake Chad have minimal or no activity. T

    Figure 3

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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