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Acute food insecurity to continue in the northeast through at least September

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • May 2014
Acute food insecurity to continue in the northeast through at least September

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Boko Haram conflict in the northeast continues, increasing population displacements, limiting market and trade activities, and restricting trade flows into the region. This is exacerbated by below-average harvest stocks, further leading to reduced food access for affected households in the area through September as Borno and Yobe States experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity and Adamawa State is Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
    • Households in Niger State were most affected by dry spells during the previous cultivation season. These households have exhausted their harvest stocks two to three months earlier than normal and are relying on market purchase more than they typically would. Seasonal incomes will not be able to completely off-set the increase in market purchases, and households in Niger State will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through September.
    • The growing season has begun normally in the south and early in many areas in central and northern Nigeria. The good onset to the rainy season has contributed to reducing trader speculation. As new harvests in the south and trader stocks continue to supply markets regularly, market prices for key staples on most markets are relatively stable or even down from previous months.

    Current Situation

    Civil insecurity: Boko Haram conflict continues to limit household participation in typical livelihoods in northeastern Nigeria. Trade flows into the region also remain disrupted, contributing to atypically high food prices. Displacements internally in Nigeria and to neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon also continue. Reports from UNOCHA indicate that in mid May about 310 people were killed in Gamboru Ngala, in Borno State, near the border with Cameroon. According to a preliminary report from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Maiduguri, in mid May about 2231 people were displaced in Gamboru and are staying with neighboring communities in Nigeria and Cameroon. Attacks outside of the area under government state of emergency also continue, with recent attacks attributed to Boko Haram in both Kano and Jos.

    Land preparation/planting activities: Reports from the field and remote sensing information suggest rains are well established both in the southern and northern zones relative for this time of the year. Crop sowing and weeding for maize, cassava and yam, as well as early green harvest for early yam, cassava and maize continue in the south. In central areas, farmers are engaged in maize, yam and sorghum planting, while in northern areas farmers are engaged in land preparation and sowing as they typically would be. As is expected this time of year, these activities are contributing to agriculture labor demand and food access for poor households.

    Market stocks: Most markets are well supplied, due in general to the average to above-average main 2013/14 harvests. Traders have also begun to release more of their stocks as the 2014/15 cultivation season appears to begin normally. Harvests of cassava in the south contribute to increased market stocks as farmers look to access stems for planting, and to earn income to purchase inputs and to meet other needs. Harvest of early green yams and maize has begun normally in the south but is yet to reach urban markets. In contrast to the rest of the country, in northeast Nigeria conflict continues to disrupt trade flows, restricting trade to the region where local production was significantly below-average.

    Staple food prices: Though above the five-year average, prices for major staple cereals (maize, millet and sorghum) are relatively stable or down slightly on nearly all monitored markets, as is typical this time of year. They are also down or stable compared to last year, a year when widespread flooding and below-average harvests led to atypically high staple food prices. The decline in staple food prices is likely attributable to increased market stocks from dry season production and traders and farmers releasing their stocks in light of the apparent early onset of the rainy season. Some staple prices are increasing slightly on Saminaka market, though, as communal conflicts leading to the destruction of food stocks and trade flows in Benue State has led to increased market demand in neighboring areas.

    After remaining relatively stable since December, the price for gari, a major staple in the south, declined by more than 10 percent on Bodija market compared to March. The April price is also well below last year at the same time and the five-year average for the same market and is likely attributable to increased market supply of cassava, the raw staple used to produce gari. Yam prices on Mile 12 market in Lagos, though, still remain well above last year and average prices.

    Staple food prices on Minna market, the major market in Niger State, are increasing, though, against the seasonal norm. In mid May wholesale prices for millet, sorghum and rice were 5-10 percent higher than April prices. Demand for staple cereals on markets in Niger State is atypically high as household production in the area was most affected by localized dry spells during the previous main cultivation season. Staple food prices on Maiduguri market in Borno State, the epicenter of the Boko Haram conflict, remain significantly above-average and high relative to other markets in Nigeria. Looking at wholesale prices for white maize, for example, it sold for 33 percent more in Maiduguri compared to neighboring Kano in April.

    Cholera outbreak: The cholera outbreak that began last summer continues, with about 1,155 cholera cases, including 23 deaths, the fourth week of April reported in Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano and Plateau states as well as the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) as noted by UNOCHA in a report citing the World Health Organization. About 61 per cent of the cholera cases recorded during the period are in Bauchi state. The incidence of cholera recorded the first quarter of this year already exceeds that of all of last year.

    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

    Given that a generally typical rainy season is expected for Nigeria, land preparation and sowing activities are expected to continue typically across most of the country. Harvests and sales from dry season production and agriculture related labor incomes from the coming main season are expected to provide typical access to food for most. Households in Niger State, though, will continue to face difficulty in meeting their livelihoods protection needs through September as their below-average harvests again this last year make them more market dependent than in a typical year. Though they will resort to more intense labor participation and higher animal and petty trade sales in an effort to offset their increased market purchase needs, poor households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between May and September. Additionally, households in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States affected by the Boko Haram conflict will continue to rely on atypical sales of livelihood assets and official and informal food assistance in an attempt to meet their food needs in the face of atypical market dependency and high staple food prices. Poor households in these areas will continue to begin to face food consumption gaps as Borno and Yobe States face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity 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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