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Acute food insecurity continues in conflict prone areas of the northeast

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • June 2014
Acute food insecurity continues in conflict prone areas of the northeast

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Boko Haram conflict in the northeast continues to lead to increasing population displacements and disruptions in market and trade flows into the region. Typical cultivation activities in the region are also negatively impacted at this, the beginning of the main cultivation season. Poor households in Borno and Yobe States continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity and Adamawa State is Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through September.
    • Poor households in Niger State continue to face an early lean season period as they are yet to recover from the below average 2013/14 main harvest. Their relatively high dependency on market purchase is slightly tempered by atypically stable prices compared to previous months and early green harvests, though, this is unable to completely off-set their increased need for purchase, and they will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through September.
    • The growing season is evolving normally in many areas across the country. The short dry spells in north central areas have limited impacts on crop development, though localized crop replanting is occurring in some affected areas. The early onset of the growing season in many areas across the country, particularly in the south, resulted in good early green harvests, increased wild food and market stock availability, and reduced prices for most staple foods.

    Current Situation

    Civil insecurity: Civil insecurity in the northeast related to Boko Haram conflict remains a concern for households in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. Attacks also continue to expand to other parts of the country, with recent attacks attributed to Boko Haram in Abuja, Kano, and Gombe, among other areas. The cultivation season, which is underway across the country, is disrupted in the affected areas as households are kept from their typical cultivation activities due to their concerns for security. Market and trade activities are limited as trade flows continue to be restricted, resulting in high food prices and contributing to reduced food access. Significant populations are displaced and affected households are residing with relations and friends, predominantly in Gombe and Bauchi states, or fleeing to neighboring Niger, Chad or Cameroon. The government’s declaration of the state of emergency was extended in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa on April 15th and will last at least for the next six months.

    Growing season progress: The cultivation season is progressing typically thoughout the rest of the country. In the south farmers are engaged in weeding, fertilizer application and harvest of early maize, cassava and yam. This has contributed to bringing staple food prices down and lead to increased food access during the ongoing May to July lean season in the south. In central areas, most farmers are engaged in planting and weeding. However, in localized areas, the rainfall was erratic during May and early June, resulting in prolonged dry spells, leading to replanting of sorghum and maize in some areas, particularly in Niger and Gombe States. In northern areas land preparation and sowing is ongoing, as well as weeding in localized areas, for millet, sorghum and groundnut as is generally expected for this time of year.

    Market stocks: Due in large part to the generally above average 2013/2014 main harvest across the country, most markets are well supplied. Traders and commercial farmers have also begun to release their stocks as the current growing season begins normally. Harvest of early green maize and tubers has begun normally, increasing market food stocks. However, in the northeast, the Boko Haram related conflict continues to disrupt trade flows, restricting trade to the region where local production has been significantly below-average.

    Staple food prices: Prices for major staple cereals (maize, millet and sorghum) on most markets continue to decline relative to previous months on most monitored markets. They are also down compared to last year, a year when atypically high staple food prices resulted from below-average harvests caused by widespread flooding. The decline in staple food prices in surplus cereal production areas in the north is likely attributable to increased market stocks from dry season production and traders and farmers releasing their stocks due to the apparent good start of season. Staple cereal food prices remained above average on Monday market, in Maiduguri the epicenter of the Boko Haram conflict.

    Despite the early lean season in Niger State, average cereal stocks are seen on Minna market, where a second year of significantly below-average harvests has brought poor households to market purchase much earlier than normal and for a longer period than typical. Despite the atypical market demand, prices are relatively stable in mid June relative to May with the rather good cereal availability on markets.

    Updated Assumptions

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

    Projected Outlook through September 2014

    Declining staple food prices on most markets across the country, agriculture related labor income during the ongoing growing season, and the early green harvest of yam, maize and potatoes are expected to provide typical access to food for most households across the country as they remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through September. In Niger State, poor households affected by dry spells last year and resulting below-average main harvests from the previous season are market dependent earlier than usual and will continue to face difficulty in meeting their basic food needs through September. They will resort to increased animal and craft sales and indebtedness to offset their increased market purchase needs, and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between June and September. Households affected by the Boko Haram conflict in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States will continue to only minimally meet their food needs or begin to see food consumption gaps. Poor households in Borno and Yobe States will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity as Adamawa State continues to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through September.

    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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