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Stressed food insecurity related to conflict and unseasonable dryness persists in affected areas

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • November 2013
Stressed food insecurity related to conflict and unseasonable dryness persists in affected areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through March 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Conflict in the northeast continues to disrupt markets and impact household farming and livelihood activities. This is slightly tempered between November and December by the combined impacts of the ongoing harvest and slight decline in food prices when households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity. However, between January and March, households will revert to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity.

    • The main harvest has been impacted by the prolonged dryness in central and southwest zones, where affected areas are taking in below-average harvests. Households that are still recovering from the effects of last year’s floods, particularly in Niger state, will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through December.

    • The rest of the country has benefited from a favorable growing season, with national cereal and tuber production forecasts at 24.24 and 91 million tons, respectively. Most households not affected by the aforementioned conflict or dryness will also experience normal livelihood activities through Spring, and will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through March 2014.

    Current Situation

    Main harvest: The main harvest for cereals, tubers and legumes is underway and is expected to be average in most areas. However, in areas affected by conflict (the northeast), flooding (Zamfara and Bauchi states) and dry spells (Niger, Kwara and southwestern states), harvests will be below average.  Preliminary results from the annual production survey coordinated in late August  by the National Agricultural Research Liaison Services (NAERLRS) indicates a slight increase in production this year relative to 2012, a year devastated by flooding. Total estimated output for millet, sorghum, maize, and rice (major staples for the north) is about 24.24 million tons in 2013, an increase of 20 percent over last year. Yam and cassava, the most important staples in the south, are estimated at 91 million tons , an increase of 14 percent compared to last year. Over all, national cereal and tuber production for 2013 is forecast 10 and 7 percent higher, respectively, relative to the five-year average.

    Atypicall Dryness: Persistent dryness during the rainy season has been severe in parts of central and southwestern states, reducing harvest prospects for the year. Many households affected by the dryness this year, particularly in Niger state, are still attempting to recover from residual effects from flooding last year. Household stocks in Niger state through December are severly reduced due to the low production as well as the current repayment of debts taken on last year.

    In the southwest, the sowing of cassava, yam and maize for the second cropping season was delayed one month until September due to erratic rainfall which persisted through mid-November. This delay in planting is expected to negatively impact maize and yam harvests in January 2014. A recent field assessment in Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Lagos states in mid-November revealed that the production prospect for maize, yam, rice and cocoyam will be slightly below average. However households in the southwest are expected to temper production deficits of the second cropping season due to average early green harvests of yam and maize that were less affected by the dry spell, and because of the wider variety of typical income earning activities in the south. Additionally, the impact of the production deficits in the southwest due to localized dryness will likely not have a significant impact on the overall national production prospects due to above average production in northern parts of the country.  

    Civil insecurity: Conflict in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states is persisting, with attacks by insurgents, particularly in rural areas, leading to reduced farming activities and increased population displacements. According to UNHCR about 10,000 Nigerian refugees are in Cameroun, Chad and Niger as of late October. Following the first six months of emergency rule, the government extended the state of emergency from November 12th for another six months.

    In addition to conflict in the northeast of the country, instances of inter-communal conflicts in Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba states, and cattle rustling and farmer/pastoralist conflicts are persisting in northwest areas.

    Food prices: Prices continue to decline seasonably on most monitored markets as the main harvests of millet, maize, groundnut, cowpea and tuber intensified in surplus areas across the country. On Dawanau market in Kano state, cereal prices for maize (NGN5000/100kg) and sorghum (NGN6,000/100kg) in October declined by nine and three percent, respectively, relative to September. The price for millet on the same market has begun increasing a month earlier than expected, however, selling at NGN7,500/100kg in October, 15 percent higher than September’s price after decreasing since July. This is attributable to increased demand from both Nigerien and domestic traders. Similar price trend are observed on other markets within the surplus production zone. Similarly, yam prices have remained stable since July on Mile 12 market, Lagos, when the early green harvest begun.

    In October, cereal prices remain higher than 2012 and average prices, mainly due to below average carryover stocks following the 2012 floods. Food prices are higher in conflict prone areas such as Maiduguri, the epicenter of the Boko Haram conflict in the northeast, where millet, the major staple in the area sales for NGN9,600/100kg in October. Similarly, maize a major food substitute in the area, increased by two percent, and now sells for NGN10,900/100kg, on the same market.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation is in line with the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for October 2013 to March 2014. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the October 2013 to March 2014 Food Security Outlook.

    Projected Outlook Through March 2014

    Though the main harvest is concluding in December/January, limited household food stocks and livelihoods activities for households experiencing persistent conflict in the northeast and prolonged dryness in Niger state  is leading households to sacrifice non-food needs in order to marginally meet their basic food consumption needs. These households are facing  Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through December. Between January and March, households in Niger state will benefit from the late harvest of sorghum, millet, and rice and declining food prices, while engaging in typical off season activities, improving their livelihoods and food access, allowing them to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. Poor households affected by conflict in Borno and Yobe states will further rely on atypical sales of productive assets, such as livestock, farmland, and farm tools, struggling to meet their basic food consumption need and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity between January and March 2014. The rest of the country will access food normally following the average harvest this year and maintain normal livelihoods, experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through March 2014.


    Figure 1


    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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