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Persistent attacks in the northeast continue to lead to displacement and food assistance needs

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • August 2019
Persistent attacks in the northeast continue to lead to displacement and food assistance needs

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through January 2020
  • Key Messages
    • Households worst affected by conflict in the northeast will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) until January 2020. Inaccessible and hard to reach areas are likely facing similar or worse outcomes, and there remains a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in these areas. Populations in camps, who are largely dependent on humanitarian assistance are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). Households less affected by the conflict are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • Populations displaced by armed banditry, kidnapping and the farmer/herder conflict in northwest and north central parts of Nigeria, who are not able to access their normal livelihoods, will remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September 2019.

    • Humanitarian actors continue to provide food assistance in the three northeast states, and reached 1.1 million people in June 2019, 87 percent of whom were within Borno state.

    • The planting season is progressing with favorable rainfall in most of the country, and increased funding for agricultural implements [MVW1] [CAA2] and technical support from the government. Harvests are expected to be average to above average, except in the conflict-affected areas of the northeast, northwest and north central parts of the country.

    Current Situation

    Most households are largely relying on market purchases as household food stocks are normally depleted at the peak of the lean season in August. Staple food prices continue to remain stable or are decreasing compared to last month and markets are well supplied with staple foods to meet the growing lean season demand.

    The security situation in northeast Nigeria remains volatile with recurring attacks by insurgents which continues to negatively impact farming, trade, transhumance, and other livelihood activities and limiting basic services. Humanitarian food assistance to the northeast continues to decline. For instance, between May and June 2018 over 2 million people per month were reached across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, but reduced to 1.1 million per month between May to June 2019.

    The insecurity in the northwest and central states relating to the farmer/herder conflict, banditry, kidnapping, and communal conflict also persist but is limited to localized areas. The recent UNICEF rapid humanitarian needs assessment report in July 2019 covering Sokoto and Zamfara states estimates that the total number of internally displaced persons in the two states is between 70,000 and 85,000 people (approximately 50,000 to 60,000 in Zamfara and approximately 20,000 to 25,000 in Sokoto), which is slightly higher than the IOM estimate from July 2019.  Major livelihood activities such as agricultural labor, construction, firewood sale, petty trading, etc. among households affected by the conflict in the northwestern and central states have been substantially impacted. Traders continue to evade affected areas due to fear of attacks, limiting trade flows as well as market supplies in some affected areas, despite the conflict mitigation initiative to address attacks that has been launched by the government and security officials.

    Updated Assumptions

    The assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the June 2019 – January 2020 Food Security Outlook remain unchanged.

    Projected Outlook Through January 2020

    Poor households will engage normally in petty trading and agricultural related labor work to earn income to access food. The stable or declining staple food prices in areas unaffected by conflict have favored poor households, increasing food access. Similarly, the onset of the growing season and availability of pastoral resources will lead to improved livestock body conditions and favorable prices. As a result, livestock-to-cereal terms of trade will increase food access and most poor households across the country will face no food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) through January 2020.

    However, in localized areas, households affected by farmer/pastoralist conflict, armed banditry, kidnapping, and cattle rustling in the northwest and central parts of Nigeria and who remain displaced in Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, and Adamawa states will face constraints to typical food access. In Zamfara and Katsina states, households worst affected by armed banditry and kidnapping are only able to meet their basic food needs and will be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through the end of the lean season in September 2019. Similarly, in parts of Taraba, Sokoto, Plateau, and Adamawa states, affected households who are unable to cultivate normally during the recent growing season will only be able to minimally meet their basic food needs during the lean season and will be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from August to September. In the above-mentioned areas, the expectation of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is based on the likelihood that most conflict-affected households will still have access to a minimal level of income through casual labor and that with favorable terms of trade they will be able to purchase sufficient food at markets to meet their basic needs. However, given the loss of other food and income sources, they will face difficulty meeting some basic non-food needs.

    In conflict-affected areas of the northeast, livelihoods for most households will remain heavily disrupted. Agricultural and other income-earning opportunities will remain restricted due to the direct impacts of the conflict and by the high levels of displacement. This is exacerbated by atypical market functioning and elevated staple prices. In many cases, households will remain highly dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic food needs, particularly the IDPs in Greater Maiduguri area where they are most accessible to humanitarian actors and are expected to continue facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes through September 2019. Many of the communities outside of the IDP settlements and outside of the main urban centers in the northeast will likely remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until the new harvest in October 2019, as they do not receive substantial humanitarian assistance and are using livelihood coping strategies, such as sales of productive assets, to access food. However, some LGAs that are further away from the epicenter of the conflict, particularly in Yobe state, should benefit from the harvest in October 2019 and see an improvement of their food security outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions. Worst-affected areas, where there are highest restrictions on agriculture, other livelihoods activities, access to markets, and humanitarian assistance provision, are expected to face larger food consumption gaps and they will continue to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through September 2019, including Abadam, Marte, Kukawa, Nganzai, Guzamala and Kala Balge. Areas where populations are affected by significant losses of livelihoods activities and who remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors are likely facing similar or worse food security outcomes as neighboring, accessible areas. There remains a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in these areas. Extreme levels of acute food insecurity, including Famine (IPC Phase 5), are possible in a worst-case scenario in which conflict significantly restricts humanitarian access and household movement.

    Figures Title: Nigeria seasonal calendar
Description: In the north, land preparation is from February to May. Planting is from May u

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    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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