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Crisis acute food insecurity continues in the northeast as conflict persist

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • February 2014
Crisis acute food insecurity continues in the northeast as conflict persist

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Boko Haram related conflict in the northeast continues to disrupt markets and livelihoods, and increase population displacements. Below average crop harvests, limited income earning opportunities, and high market prices are exacerbating the food access problem as poor households in Borno and Yobe states experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity and in Adamawa state Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through June.
    • The late harvest of long cycle crops in January has assisted in ameliorating food security outcomes for poor households in Niger state, worst affected by erratic and below-average rainfall during the 2013 rainy season. Late cycle crop production was also below-average, however, and poor households will again face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between April and June as they see an early start to their lean season.

    Current Situation

    Market and household foodstocks: The main harvest 2013/14 concluded in January and, according to preliminary assessments, cereal production increased by 20 percent over last year. Similarly, yam and cassava production also increased by 14 percent compared to last year. Overall, national cereal and tuber production for the current season is 10 and 7 percent higher, respectively, relative to the five-year average. Market stocks and trade flows are adequate even in areas affected by the localized flooding and dry spells and trade flows from surplus to deficit production areas are maintaining food prices below preharvest levels. The exception, however is for Boko Haram conflict areas in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

    Civil insecurity: Intense conflict in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states continued in February, particularly in Borno state, the epicenter of the Boko Haram related conflict. According to reports from the Nigerian Red Cross Society in Maiduguri and the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency, population displacements continue throughout the region. According to the UNHCR people continue to flee the region to neighboring Niger, Cameroon and Chad as well. Conflict in the region also continues to contribute to disrupting livelihoods and trade flows. The area suffered significantly below-average production in the 2013/14 cropping season and off-season income-generating activities will be similarly limited through the next cropping season. Market prices for key staples in Borno state are already upwards of 30 percent above the five-year average.

    Dry season activities: Dry season activities are underway across the country and farmers engage in cultivation and even harvests of some crops, such as tomatoes, pepper, and onion, depending on the area. Currently, more area than usual is under cultivation in Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara states as more farmers engaged in dry season farming. This can be attributed largely to government incentives through the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). Harvest from the dry seaon will be average to above average in most areas.

    Food prices and demand: Traders and institutional purchases are underway at typical levels as they are restocking millet, maize, sorghum and cowpea. Most of these purchases are still on rural markets by both traders and industry. Consequently, cereal prices have increased typically relative to the beginning of the harvest. On Dawanau market in Kano state, maize, and sorghum prices increased by 25 and 3 percent, respectively, in January, relative to December. Similar price trends are observed on other markets within the surplus cereal production areas. However, millet prices are relatively stable on Illela, Mai’adua, Dawanu, Damassak and Dandume markets, compared to previous months. Prices for all staple cereals are still generally higher than last year and the five year average, though. With yam and gari prices also both higher than last year and the five-year average, agricultural households, except in deficit production areas, continue to benefit from favorable sale prices.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation is in line with the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for January to June 2014. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the January to June 2014 Food Security Outlook.

    Projected Outlook through June 2014

    Land preparation and dry season activities continue, increasing income earning opportunities in most areas, and contributing to their ability to access food normally, with most households experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through June. Exceptions are households affected by the persistent conflict in the northeast and those in the west affected by erratic and below-average rainfall during the rainy season. Beginning in April, poor households in Niger state, worst affected by the prolonged dry spells, will deplete their food stocks earlier than usual by 2 to 3 months and will need to resort to market purchase to access food. These households will depend more on elevated levels of casual labor and animal sales, as well as limit their non-food expenditures as they face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between April and June. Poor households in the conflict affected northeast will continue to rely on atypical and irreversible coping strategies in attempts to meet their basic food consumption needs, as Borno and Yobe states face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity and Adamawa state faces Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between now and June 2014.

    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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