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Generally average to below average main cereal and legume harvest expected

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • September 2013
Generally average to below average main cereal and legume harvest expected

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Conflict in the northeast of the country continues to impact food security outcomes for many Nigerians.  Due to above-average food prices and the residual impact of conflict on livelihoods, poor households in the northeast will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity through September and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity following the below average October harvest expected in areas experiencing conflict.

    • Livelihoods recovery among poor households affected by flooding in 2012, particularly along the floodplains of major rivers in the country, is slow and affected households remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in September.  Food access and availability will increase with the start of the main harvest in October, although production is expected to be below average in several areas impacted again by flood this season.

    • Rain deficits over much of the country this season will likely result in an average to below average main harvest, particularly in parts of central and northern zones.  Households not impacted by Boko Haram conflict are expected to meet food needs with their own stocks through at least December, resulting in a change to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between October and December.

    Current Situation

    Civil insecurity: Boko Haram related conflict, particularly in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, is continuing in the northeast of the country following recent insurgent attacks, leading to further destruction of property and displacement, more recently in rural areas as well.  However, some improvement in economic activity has been observed, including: relaxed curfew hours, increasing market and commercial activities, and greater availability of seasonal income earning opportunities. Unrelated communal conflicts are also persisting in Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba states, and incidents of cattle rustling and farmer/pastoralist conflicts are reported in northwest areas.

    Flooding: Seasonal flooding has led to significant population displacement, damage to infrastructure, and loss of productive assets, reducing further the harvest prospects, although not to the extent that was seen last year.  According to the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) the flooding across 21 states between April and late August has displaced 7,924 people and 2,217 farmlands were destroyed.  NEMA is providing the flood affected communities with temporary food and non-food assistance.  This year’s near average level of seasonal flooding is not expected to greatly impact national crop production figures.

    Early green harvest: The ongoing, seasonally average early green harvest of cereals, legumes, and tubers across the country is gradually increasing household food stocks and market supply, increasing poor households’ resilience and facilitating recovery from the lean season, which is ending in the north.  There is improved food availability, diversity, and access in mid‐September for much of the country.

    Main harvest: The harvest is progressing inline with the normal seasonal calendar for early maize, millet, and legumes.  Late millet, maize, and cowpeas will be harvested during October/November.  Sorghum, which is currently at booting to vegetative stage, will be harvested later in December/January.  Harvest levels for these crops across much of the country are expected to be average based on the observed advanced growth stages and the seasonal forecast, which calls for a normal to late end of the rainy season as indicated by major meteorological agencies (AGRHYMET, NIMET and NOAA).  However, in parts of the northern and southwest zones local cereal harvests are likely to be below average where there has been flooding, conflict and prolonged dry spells.  Despite below average national production, most household stocks are expected to provide households (except those facing conflict in the northeast) with their basic food needs between October and December, although after the new year market purchase will become a primary food source two to three months earlier than normal for some due to  projected shortfalls. 

    Food prices: Following seasonal trends, crop prices in most monitored markets have decreased since July as the new harvests of early maturing millet, cowpeas and early green harvests of maize, potatoes and leafy vegetables increase. As is expected for yams, those prices in Lagos remained stable in August compared to July.  Current cereal and tuber prices still remain higher than 2012 and average prices, though, mainly due to below average carryover stocks following the 2012 floods.  The Illela market is an exception, where the prices for millet and sorghum increased by 11 and 17 percent, respectively, relative to July of this year, with increased demand in the area coming from Niger.

    Updated Assumptions

    Current information from the northeast indicates the continuation of the Boko Haram conflict and its more recent spread into rural areas of Borno and Yobe states has led to overall lower than originally expected production prospects for the area. FEWS NET is now assuming this season’s main harvest activities in the northeast will not completely cover poor household food access in Boko Haram conflict impacted areas through the outlook period until December 2013 as was originally expected.

    Additionally, given prolonged, below-average rainfall levels this season, FEWS NET is now assuming that crops, including maize, millet and rice in parts of Sokoto, Kwara, Zamfara, Kogi, Oyo, Osun, and Niger states will not fully recover even if rainfall levels improve, and production levels in northcentral and northwestern Nigeria will be below average. Crop production will, however, be sufficient enough to carry poor households through the outlook period until December 2013, but household stocks for many are expected to deplete earlier than normal for the consumption year.

    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    Households worst affected by conflict in Borno and Yobe states will rely on atypical sales of productive assets, such as livestock, farmland, and farm tools, to marginally meet food needs and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September.  With the main harvest coming in October, household food stocks and livelihoods will improve somewhat, but households will continue to rely on coping strategies as they move into Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between October and December.  However, the improved food security outcomes in Borno and Yobe states will be short-lived due to below average production and poor households especially will likely be forced to revert to coping strategies in 2014 to marginally meet food needs.  Households, particularly along the floodplains of the Benue and Niger rivers, are currently resorting to increased indebtedness and intense labor work to meet their basic needs and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the main harvest in October.  However, these households, as well as households in the rest of the country outside of the northeast, are expected to benefit from a generally productive harvest season, a decline in food prices, and an increase in diversity and access of food without major difficulty, thus facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity for the rest of the outlook period until December.

    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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