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Boko Haram conflict continues to lead to population displacements in the northeast

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • March 2014
Boko Haram conflict continues to lead to population displacements in the northeast

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Boko Haram related conflict in the northeast escalates, disrupting markets and livelihoods, and is increasing population displacements. Limited humanitarian assistance, trade and market activities and income earning opportunities, exacerbated by below average crop production have reduced food access by poor households in Borno and Yobe states where households face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity and in Adamawa state Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.
    • Poor households in Niger state are experiencing significantly high market prices for key staples. As households begin to deplete their own production stocks earlier than normal in April, high market prices will contribute to restricting access as poor households in the area minimize their essential non-food expenditures and face Stressed (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity.
    • Dry season harvests have began in most areas and will peak in April, increasing income and food access. These harvests are expected to be generally above-average. Coupled with the ongoing land preparation activities across the country, most poor household incomes remain at least average, helping them maintain regular food access.

    Current Situation

    Civil insecurity: The escalated violence from the Boko Haram conflict continues in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states as more families, particularly in rural areas, are displaced from their homes. This is confirmed by reports from the Nigerian Red Cross Society and the National Emergency Management Agency in Maiduguri. The Nigerian military has intensified surveillance and patrol activities in response to recent attacks in the northeast. Market and trade activities continue to be limited and food availability and access by poor households remains restricted. As the conflict continues, access for humanitarian assistance is limited.

    Dry season and land preparation activities: Households are still engaged in off season irrigated agriculture and fishing activities and will be through April. Federal government assistance for dry season farming activities for 2014 increased more than 50 percent from last year giving farmers increased access to inputs, such as seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation. Farmers have increased their cultivation for rice, maize, vegetables and wheat relative to previous years. Harvest for the early planted crops is underway and output will generally be average to above average for the season,increasing food stocks and income.

    Hosueholds in southern Nigeria have been engaged in land clearing activities in preparation for the planting which begins in March, increasing local labor demand. Similarly, land preparation activities have also begun in northern areas, though not yet as intensely as in the south as rains in northern parts of the country will not begin until May/June .

    Staple food prices: FEWS NET participated in a joint CILSS/ FAO market assessment for northern Nigeria in mid-February. Results from the assessment indicate that while prices for maize, millet and sorghum (key staples) remain above the five-year average, they have begun to descend below prices seen at the same time last year on Sokoto, Gusau, Jibia, Dawanau and Mai’Adua markets. Significantly above-average staple prices that had continued since last year are largely attributable to widespread flooding across the country during the 2012/13 cropping season that resulted in below-average harvests. On Minna market, in Niger state where households experienced significantly below-average production this year, prices for maize, millet and tubers still remain above last years levels, though sorghum prices are comparable to last year’s levels.

    Gari prices also continue to decline relative to same time last year, remaining stable relative to previous months. However, yam prices continue to increase compared to previous months and are above last year’s levels, which is at least partially attributable to low household and market stocks due to the impact of dry spells on production during the 2013 rainy season. Both prices of yam and gari are higher than the five year average on Lagos and Bodija markets, respectively.

    Market and household stocks: Markets remain well supplied in mid-March. The generally average to above-average harvest in 2013 in surplus cereal production areas led to good trader stocks this year. According to the traders associations at the markets visited in surplus cereal production areas during the joint CILSS/FAO/FEWS NET assessment, current stocks are 20 percent or more above last year’s levels at the same time. Cereal stocks level on Dawanau markets, however, are slightly lower than previous year, though the decrease is thought to be in response to the expected decrease in market demand at Dawanau market.

    Market demand: The recent joint CILSS/FAO/FEWS NET market assessment found that staple food demand is below last year’s levels as household stocks are higher this year (household production in 2012/13 was impacted by severe flooding in many areas). It was noted, however, that demand on Mai’Adua market, a cross border market with Niger, is significantly higher than last year with most of the demand coming from Niger. Due to below-average production in Nigeria last year due to flooding, trade to Niger was limited.

    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

    Dry season harvests have began and land preparation activities for the upcoming planting season continue, increasing income opportunities and food access for most households in the country. However, households in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states impacted by the Boko Haram conflict, as well as households in Niger state affected by erratic and below-average rainfall during the 2013 rainy season face difficulty in meeting their food needs. Beginning in April, poor households in Niger state will deplete their household food stocks two to three months earlier than usual, intensifying their market purchase this year more than typical following their significantly below-average harvest. These households will seek more labor oppourtunities and increase their animal sales as well as limit their non-food expenditures as they face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity beinning in April. Poor households in the conflict affected northeast will continue to rely on atypical and unsustainable coping strategies, including atypical sales of livelihood assets and labor migration, or begin to face food consumption gaps, as Borno and Yobe states continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity since January 2014 and Adamawa state continues to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.

    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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