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Food Insecurity Remains Minimal as Main Harvest Peaks

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • November 2012
Food Insecurity Remains Minimal as Main Harvest Peaks

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through March 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The ongoing main harvest has replenished food stocks across the country. Staple food prices at most markets have been either stable or declining compared to last month, which has improved household food access. Most poor households in Nigeria will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity levels through March 2013. 

    • Conflict relating to Boko Haram persists in the extreme northeast, negatively affecting crop production, trade, and markets. Food stocks from the current harvests will deplete earlier than normal and high prices there will reduce food access. Between January and March 2013, at least 20 percent of the population in Borno and Yobe states will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of food insecurity.  

    • Widespread flooding from July to October displaced over 2.8 million people and damaged about 1.9 million hectares of cropland. The displaced are returning to their homes and only 387,153 people remain in shelters. Despite crop damage, food flows from the country's surplus production areas will lessen acute food insecurity in flood-affected areas.

    Current Situation
    • A recent joint flood assessment by the Food Security Theme Group and the Emergency Preparedness and Response Working Group (FSTG-EPRWG) found that about 1.9 million hectares of major staple crops (rice, maize, cassava, yam, and sorghum) - totaling about 12 million tons - have been destroyed in the 14 states most impacted by the floods. These states are mostly located in southern Nigeria along the Benue and Niger Rivers' floodplains. While the total area cultivated this year is still unknown, this level of crop damage would be equivalent to about 12 percent of the area harvested in these crops in 2010.
    • The main harvest is currently underway, replenishing food stocks across the country. Nigeria's food surplus production zones are generally less prone to flooding and have not been significantly impacted by this season's floods. As a result, national food production levels from the current harvests are expected to be about average.
    • Due to the ongoing harvests, markets are well-supplied and staple food prices are stable or declining. For example, maize prices in mid-November ranged between NGN4,200 - 6,000/100kg on Gujungu (Jigawa state) and Saminaka (Kaduna state) markets. This is 15 to 17 percent lower than prices in August, and is increased household food access. In localized, flood-affected areas, high trader speculation, temporarily low market food supply, and increased transportation costs, due to persisting fuel scarcity, have caused staple food prices to temporarily increase.
    • This season's floods also displaced about 2.8 million people. According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), most of these internally displaced people (IDPs) have now returned to their homes and only 387,153 people are still staying in shelters. The government, corporate organizations, development partners, and NGOs have intensified their efforts to mitigate the impact of the floods on vulnerable households. Short-term measures, such as food assistance, medication, water and sanitation, are currently underway. For example, the government has announced that it will provide funds, as well as 40,000 tons of food staples from strategic reserves, to flood victims.  In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture is expected to provide flood-affected populations with early maturing seeds, fertilizer, and technical assistance to improve the potential of dry season activities (farming and fishing), which will start in December. This, along with high water levels in rivers, will cause these activities to be above-normal.
    • The Boko Haram conflict in Borno and Yobe states continues and has caused population displacement, below-average crop production, restricted trade flows, and higher food prices compared to other areas of the country. On Maiduguri market in Borno state, cereal prices ranged between NGN 6,800 - 7,200/100kg in mid-November, which is 35 percent higher than the five-year average and 12 percent higher than the price last year at this time. Households displaced by the Boko Haram conflicts in Borno and Yobe states are with relatives and friends and are dependent on limited food assistance.
    • Most households throughout the country are currently consuming their own production from the main harvest. In deficit production areas, food will be available and accessible to poor households due to food flows from surplus production and declining food prices. Over 80 percent of households in all areas of the country, including states affected by the floods, currently face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity levels. 

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of October 2012 to March 2013. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the most recent Food Security Outlook.

    Projected Outlook through March 2013
    • Given that household food stocks from the current harvest are expected to be below-average in conflict-affected areas of Borno and Yobe states, households in these areas will become dependent on the market earlier than normal. This, coupled with increasing food prices during the second half of the scenario period, will reduce food access. Between January and March 2013, at least 20 percent of the population living in Borno and Yobe states is expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity.
    • Due to replenished household food stocks from the ongoing harvests, food flows from surplus to deficit production areas, flood-affected households returning home, and above-average levels of dry season activities starting in December, households in all other regions of the country are expected to be able to meet both essential food and non-food needs without needing to engage in atypical coping strategies during the entire scenario period. Households in these areas will likely face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through March 2013.
    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    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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