Poor macroeconomic conditions and conflict are expected to drive food insecurity across the North
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
The combined impact of the persisting conflict and poor macroeconomic situation continue to impact households' livelihoods and food security outcomes across Northern Nigeria.
Since November across the Northwest and Northcentral parts of the country, conflict has remained high (Figure 1). Most attacks by bandits and kidnapping for ransom are concentrated in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, and Sokoto states. According to the Kaduna state government, in 2021, over 3,300 people were kidnapped, 13,700 animals stolen, and nearly 900 people injured. In January, in Niger state, over 300 communities were attacked by bandits, and 200 people were kidnapped.
Associated with the conflict in the Northwest and Northcentral states in late 2021 to curb the number of attacks, the state government-imposed restrictions limiting population movements. As of early 2022, most of the restrictions were lifted; however, recently, the Niger State government imposed a daily curfew. The curfew is in Rafi and Shiroro LGAs between 10 pm to 5 am daily. This is to curb the spread of the attacks by the rampaging bandits in the area.
Overall, despite the increased military operations in the Northeast, conflict in early 2022 remains relatively stable relative to mid to late 2021 levels with periodic attacks by non-state actors (Figure 2). The conflict result in persistent and continued displacement, disruption of livelihood activities, and fatalities. On February 5, over 100 ISWAP terrorists surrendered to the military in Damboa LGA, Borno state, with anecdotal reports indicating over 30,000 insurgents have surrendered in the northeast.
As of January, UNHCR reports nearly 3.2 million IDPs and almost 80,000 refugees are present in Nigeria. According to IOM Round 8 assessment, nearly 1.0 million people are displaced across Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, and some areas of Plateau and Zamfara states. This is an 18 percent increase in the displaced population from areas assessed during the Round 7 assessment. Benue state has the largest IDP population, with about 36 percent of the total IDPs residing in the state. There is also reporting of high concentrations of IDPs in Sokoto and Zamfara states.
In the Northeast, notably in Borno state, the government continues the process of closing IDP camps and resettling IDPs. According to IOM, as of January, over 103,000 IDPs have been relocated to various locations across Borno state from the closure of seven IDP camps, Bakassi, NYSC, MOGCOLIS, Teachers Village, Stadium Camp, Filin Ball Camp, and Farm Center. The resettled IDPs mainly reside among the host community in Jere, MMC, Gwoza, Monguno, and Kukawa LGAs. While other previously displaced IDPs relocated to various LGA headquarters to IDP camps as they were unable to resettle in their homesteads. Those who stay within camps are still accessing assistance, while with those living among the host community are not receiving aid. Returnees living among the host community only received a resettlement package to help rebuild their livelihoods.
Overall, macroeconomic conditions remain poor, although somewhat stable. Foreign reserves have only slightly fluctuated in recent months, remaining generally stable due to changes in fiscal policy, conflict, and variation in the import/export deficit. Foreign reserves remained about 14.5 percent higher in 2021 than in 2020. The stability in foreign reserves is contributing to stable annual inflation. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, annual inflation was 15.6 percent, similar to the November and December 2021 inflation rates.
The Nigerian Naira (NGN) has remained somewhat stable in recent months on the official market. In late January, the NGN was exchanged on the official market at 416 NGN/USD, which is similar to November and December 2021. The value of the NGN on the official market in January depreciated by about nine percent relative to the same time last year. The parallel market rate in January and early February, remained above the official rate, exchanging at 572 NGN/USD as of early February. On the parallel market the NGN depreciated by about 20 percent between January 2022 and January 2021. The depreciation of the NGN is attributable to increased currency demand and constrained foreign currency market supply. The Central Bank of Nigeria announced there will be no allocation of forex to the commercial banks at the end of December 2022.
Domestic petrol and fuel prices are relatively higher than usual due to low availability and high international prices despite the federal government attempting to stabilize petrol prices by maintaining fuel subsidies. Prices remain the same relative to last year as fuel subsidies continue. Petrol prices on the official market in late February are 165 NGN/liter, about 10 percent higher than the five-year average. Due to supply shortages, petrol prices are even higher on the parallel market, 200 to 300 NGN/liter. The high petrol prices are increasing transportation costs, putting further pressure on market prices.
The flow of commodities is generally normal across the country, except to and within conflict-affected areas where the flow of goods is limited. Furthermore, market functioning remains normal in most cases except conflict-affected areas of the Northeast, North-central, and Northwest, where significant market disruption remains due to persisting conflict. While the movement of goods is still not normal in the Northeast, some improvements have been observed as the government reopened trade routes (Figure 3). On February 5, the Maiduguri to Gamboru Ngala road reopened, a key cross-border trade route between Nigeria and Cameroon. Security has improved along the route connecting Dikwa and Mafa towns, with motorists no longer needing security escorts. Markets in Konduga, Marte, Kala Balge, and Kukawa LGAs in Borno state remain highly disrupted, with minimal activity. In the Northwest and North-central states, markets and routes in parts of Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina states are not fully functioning (Figure 4). Market function and the movement of goods have declined in recent months in these areas. Similarly, recent attacks on livestock markets in some places in the Southeast has disrupted the movement of goods to the market due to fear of attack by non-state actors.
Markets remain interlinked across the country, although only well supplied and able to meet the atypically high demand in some areas. Staple food prices are significantly above average, limiting household food access. Prices are well above average due to continued high inflation and transportation costs. Maize prices and most food prices are above last year and the five-year average (Figure 5). Millet prices increased by over 20 percent in January 2022 relative to the same time last year in Maiduguri, Damaturu, and Kaura markets. In Kano, Dawanau market maize and millet prices increased by over 30 percent in the last year.
Livestock market supply is slightly lower than average in most areas across the country and lower than typical livestock production in recent years associated with the conflict. Similarly, demand is also lower than average due to low household purchasing power and high livestock and meat prices relative to average. Livestock prices are lower in northern markets relative to markets in southern areas. This is mainly attributable to high transportation costs and informal taxes along the trade routes. Similarly, recent attacks on some livestock markets in part of the south disrupted market activity and reduced livestock flows to these areas, driving price increases. As a result, the typical livestock price decline in January after the price hikes during the Christmas period has yet to be observed across most markets.
Nationally, engagement in dry season agricultural activities is lower than normal, driven mainly by conflict in northern parts of the country. In the northeast, area planted and engagement in the dry season is near the five-year average and higher than last year, while in the northwest and north-central states area planted is lower than the five-year average. The season is being supported by various stakeholders, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) support for dry season wheat and rice production and the Borno state government support to 500 dry season farmers. The CBN is providing support to about 150,000 farmers for wheat production in 15 states and covering approximately 180,000 hectares of land. Similarly, the CBN and the rice farmers association are assisting one million farmers across the country. Dry season planted maize and sorghum in Ngala, Dikwa, and Kala Balge LGAs of Borno state have been destroyed by elephants, reducing the prospects of the dry season harvest in the area.
The movement of livestock from northern to southern areas is ongoing, with livestock currently moving through central states. The level of livestock movement towards the southern areas is below average as some pastoralists have moved to other areas, moved atypically early, or are not able to move due to conflict. Below average pastoralists' movements from the neighboring Niger republic are ongoing. In some areas of southern Nigeria, there are open grazing bans, which is also deterring livestock migration to these areas. Pastoralists, mainly in conflict-affected areas, have relocated to safer neighboring areas.
Despite lower-than-normal pasture, pastoral resources are readily available for the remaining livestock (Figure 6). Overall, herd sizes are lower than normal due to losses associated with conflict. Livestock body conditions are generally normal due to the availability of pasture.
Overall, income earned for poor households is below average across Nigeria, with significantly below-average income earned in conflict-affected areas. Non-agricultural labor, including construction and petty trade, remains below average alongside daily wages as conflict and poor macroeconomic conditions continue to impact economic activities. Low payment power of better and middle households has reduced labor demand for off-season activities and declines in wage rates.
Agricultural labor opportunities remain average in most areas, although lower than average in conflict-affected northern areas. Labor supply in central and southern areas is slightly above average due to labor migration from conflict-affected areas. This is driving below-average wage rates in most areas and substantially below-average wages in conflict-affected areas due to high labor supply. However, relative to the previous year, there's been a slight increase in income opportunities in the Northeast region.
Overall, international remittances are high; however, domestic remittances remain below average due to the lower purchasing power and impact of the conflict on livelihood activities. The increase follows the continuation of the Naira4dollar initiative by the apex bank, which started in March 2021, and rewards recipients with 5 NGN for every 1 USD received through formal channels.
Humanitarian actors provide assistance predominately to displacement camps in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. In December 2021, about 1.7 million people received food assistance, while 1.9 million people received food aid in November 2021. Assistance delivery between November and December declined in Adamawa and Yobe states while increasing in Borno state. A ration size equates to about 70 percent of a household's total kilocalorie daily need. Humanitarian actors are still unable to assist households in difficult to access areas across the Northeast. Information is limited on assistance delivery to other areas is likely ongoing; however, while it is likely mitigating some food consumption gaps, information is limited on the extent to which it is mitigating consumption gaps.
During the postharvest period, many households continue to consume food from their production; however, they are earning lower than average income. With the increase in conflict in some areas and disruption in livelihood activities coupled with the poor macroeconomic conditions, persisting atypical staple food prices are driving low purchasing power for poor households. Many households are facing difficulty meeting their non-food needs, with many areas currently facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.
In northwestern and north-central areas of the country, poor and displaced households in the worst conflict-affected areas are engaging in some unskilled labor, petty trading, and other income-earning activities. Additionally, some households are engaging in agricultural labor activities; however, some displaced households are not able to earn this income source. Due to high food prices and limited income, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing. It is expected that in the worst conflict-affected areas of Kukawa, Abadam, Guzamala, Gubio, and Magumeri LGAs, households are facing wide food consumption gaps and elevated acute malnutrition levels and are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).
Households in camps within the Northeast are predominately reliant on humanitarian assistance to meet their food needs, facing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes. In southern areas of Borno, southern Adamawa, and central Yobe states less impacted by conflict, households are engaged in near-normal production and income-earning activities. Most areas face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Displaced households in garrison towns living among the host community and poor households are depending on the end of their food stocks from the harvest and market purchases for food, with below-average purchasing power. They are likely facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Due to the prolonged impact of persistent conflict, limited access to humanitarian assistance, and restricted levels of crop cultivation, some households are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in the Northeast. These areas continue to be inaccessible to humanitarians. Most households in these areas are likely predominately reliant on wild foods and bartering as their food stocks are probably exhausted at this point.
According to the Cadre Harmonise Task Force on Inaccessible Areas, January Bulletin, the newly arrived population from inaccessible areas in January is experiencing large food consumption deficits and concerning levels of acute malnutrition. Areas that continue to be inaccessible to humanitarians, households are likely predominately reliant on wild foods and bartering with little to no food stocks. The levels of acute malnutrition among new arrivals from inaccessible areas is Critical (Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) levels equal to or greater than 20 percent), with no significant change compared to previous reporting periods. In January, the overall proxy GAM rates were 20.9 percent, and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) was at 7.0 percent. LGAs, where ‘Critical' levels of acute malnutrition have been reported, include Bama, Damboa, and
Kukawa. The high levels of acute malnutrition during the postharvest period are likely indicative of severe food insecurity, poor water and sanitation access, and poor health conditions, which are key underlying causes of acute malnutrition. Due to the prolonged impact of persistent conflict, limited access to humanitarian assistance, and restricted level of crop cultivation, households face extreme difficulty accessing food. As a result, some areas, including Abadam, Guzamala, Kukawa, Gubio, and Magumeri, are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in the Northeast.
The most likely scenario for February to September 2022 is based on the following national-level assumptions:
- Macroeconomic conditions are expected to improve slowly through September 2022, primarily driven by the anticipated steady increase in crude oil production and prices, following OPEC+'s decision to increase production by 400,000 b/d beginning in February. This is further corroborated by the African Development Bank's projection of 2.9 percent economic growth for 2022. However, this projection might be constrained by any fall in oil prices due to weakness in demand or rapid increase in production, insecurity, or political instability. Although an improvement in foreign reserve is likely, the NGN will likely continue to depreciate as the ban on forex (FX) sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators by the CBN continues, and demand for FX remains higher than market supply.
- Fuel price is expected to remain stable locally through at least September. Despite the call to remove fuel subsidy by the International Monetary Fund and other agencies, including the private sector, the federal government on January 24 suspended its plan to remove subsidy by July 2022.
- Rainfall is expected to start normally in February/March in southern areas and May in northern areas of the country. Rainfall between March and May in bimodal southern Nigeria is expected to be below average, and June to August in the central and northern areas of the country is likely to be below average.
- Main season farming activities, including agricultural labor opportunities, across the country, will remain below average due to persisting conflict and lower than normal purchasing power, limiting access to inputs. Areas worst affected by conflict are expected to have significantly lower than average cropping levels. Despite government support towards the main planting season, including the provision of inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, and seeds, area planted particularly in the northwest will likely be below last year and average. In the Northeast, area planted is expected to be slightly higher than the five-year average due to the slight decline in conflict and resettlement of displaced households during main season cultivation.
- The main season harvest will start normally in late September with early maturing maize, millet, and yams, with the potential for some unfavorable crop development in areas affected by dry spells, flooding, and uneven rainfall distribution across the country.
- Formal and informal cross-border trade activities are expected to remain below average due to conflict, reduced production, and market stocks. The flow of goods within the country is expected to be normal; however, below-average within and to conflict-affected areas where trade is most likely to be disrupted.
- Household and institutional demand will most likely remain above average, contributing to higher prices, as market supply would remain below average. Despite the favorable NGN to CFA exchange rate for foreign traders, cross-border purchases will likely be constrained by the conflict, and demand will likely be lower than typical.
- Market supply will likely remain below average, following lower than normal food production and much lower in conflict-affected areas. Market supply would be seasonally low between July and August, when most household stock would be depleted and reliance on market purchase increase.
- Staple food prices are expected to increase through July/August, when they are expected to peak, remaining significantly above average. Prices are anticipated to be higher in conflict-affected areas. Prices would remain seasonally highest and above-average between June and August, although prices will also increase in April associated with Ramadan. Below average food production and rising transport costs will continue to impact staple food prices throughout the outlook period. Given the recent conflict in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia, there is the potential for disruption to global cereal and fertilizer exports from both Ukraine and Russia. The likely magnitude of these disruptions is still being analyzed as events in Ukraine unfold. The potential impacts are further detailed in the Events that Could Change the Scenario.
- Livestock movement from northern to southern regions of the country during the dry season will be below average due to the persisting conflict in addition to kidnapping, cattle rustling, and communal clashes, with pastoralists exploring other alternatives, including movement to neighboring countries like Cameroon. Pastoralists are anticipated to face limited land access in the central and southern areas as farmer/herder conflict escalates. Similarly, most southern states will enforce the law against open grazing, limiting livestock movement. Livestock will return to homesteads from southern and central states at below-average levels, given limited movement in June.
- Pastoral resources will remain available for most parts of the dry season in the northern areas. Some pastoralists in northern areas will remain at their homesteads, increasing competition for pastoral resources. However, pastoralists from neighboring countries such as Niger, Chad, and Mali will be constrained coming into the country. Livestock body conditions will remain favorable for most pastoralists across the country as they relocate towards the central and southern states.
- Livestock prices would remain similar or slightly higher than last year, even as more livestock markets in the northwest reopen. The depreciating value of the Naira would further reduce livestock inflow from neighboring countries, particularly Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, through September, decreasing supply. Livestock prices are expected to be higher in July during Tabaski following increased demand and favorable livestock body conditions due to pasture availability.
- Agricultural labor demand and supply are expected to increase through the dry season harvest in April/May and, subsequently, main season farming activities starting with land preparation. However, daily wages will likely remain below average as labor supply is expected to outpace demand as conflict persists in some areas of the country, particularly the northern areas. Similarly, daily wages in less conflict-affected areas are expected to remain below average but higher than those in conflict-affected areas.
- Construction, petty trading, and other unskilled laborers are expected to earn generally below-average income due to competition and higher than typical labor supply, below-average demand for labor, and conflict.
- Labor migration from rural areas, including conflict-affected regions, is expected to increase slightly compared to last year and average as households continue exploring options to increase food and cash income. Labor migration is expected to be high between June and September, with more households seeking to increase income through agricultural labor work.
- Remittances from urban to rural areas will remain below average as the country continues to be impacted by conflict, limiting income in general. At the same time, remittances from abroad are expected to increase compared to last year slightly.
- The annual livestock movement to the Southern areas starting in March will increase the level of conflict in the Southern areas. Herders will likely violate the law on open grazing ban in the Southern states, causing more violence. Thus, the level of conflict in the Southern areas will slightly increase and likely be somewhat higher than last year.
- Kidnapping for ransom and banditry in the Northwest and Northcentral states will continue to increase. The worst-affected states include Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, and Niger. As such, banditry will likely escalate from currently elevated levels through May 2022, when the rainy season begins. Starting in June, levels of conflict are expected to level off through at least September.
- Both attacks on the military in the Northeast will likely increase during the reporting period, peaking at the end of the rainy season in July/August, followed by a relative decline in line with seasonal trends. Violence against civilians is likely to continue to decline given the likely continued military operations through May 2022, when the rainy season begins, and military forces withdraw to fortified bases. While there is anticipated to be a slight uptick in violence against civilians at the onset of the rainy season in June/July, it is expected to continue the year-on-year trend decline, with fewer attacks during the same period compared to 2021.
- Humanitarian operators and the government are expected to continue to provide assistance to displaced and poorer households, particularly in northern areas. However, assistance will remain limited as conflict persists and further escalates across much of the northern parts of the country. There is a limited presence of humanitarian partners in the northwest and central states, resulting in assistance much lower than in the northeast. The humanitarian response plan is targeting 5.3 million people in the northeast with a 70 percent ration.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
Poor households affected by banditry, kidnapping, and communal conflict in the Northwest and North-central states will remain displaced and unable to engage in normal livelihoods activities as conflict escalates. Some households within these areas are expected to continue to consume own-produced foods, though they are not likely unable to meet non-food needs. These areas will likely face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through at least September 2022. Poorer and displaced households in worst-conflict affected areas are likely to face difficulty accessing food and income during the postharvest period. Moreover, they are expected to have limited income-earning opportunities and low purchasing power. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in many areas of the Northwest and North-Center. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to expand across some of these areas as more households deplete their food stocks and become market reliant during the peak of the lean season. Some households are expected to depend mainly on wild foods and face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) or Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) outcomes.
Households less affected by conflict in Northeastern states, who are able to engage in normal livelihood activities, though at below-average levels and have market access, are likely facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September. Households with limited income-earning opportunities and who are unable to engage in normal livelihood activities will face food consumption gaps during the lean season when food prices are at peak levels and will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
Those households remaining in camps with better access to humanitarian assistance within the garrison towns are expected to experience Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) through at least May 2022. Those in camps across the northeast who are currently dependent on assistance are not expected to receive continued food aid as funding levels are currently low. As a result, those in IDP camps will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from June to September.
Most conflict-affected households in relatively accessible areas of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states who remain displaced and are within major urban areas with limited access to humanitarian assistance have limited purchasing power. They are most likely facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through at least September. In these areas, some households will likely face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).
Households worst-affected by the conflict in the Northeast and inaccessible to humanitarian actors, mainly in parts of Borno state who had no main season harvests and restricted access to markets and livelihood activities, will continue to face wide food consumption gaps with elevated levels of acute malnutrition. These households are mainly dependent on wild food consumption, limited bartering, and begging to access some food. Thus, they will be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) during the scenario period.
Based on the latest nutrition analysis conducted by the IPC in December 2021, proxy levels of acute malnutrition in northeast Nigeria are expected to fluctuate between Alert (GAM 5-9.9 percent) to Critical (GAM 15-29.9 percent) levels. The improved food access after harvest and seasonal decrease in disease prevalence will likely result in improvement of nutrition outcome between January to April, but this will be insufficient to lower acute malnutrition below 'Alert' or 'Serious' levels in many conflict-affected areas. Continued displacement of households and limited food production at the household level with the combined effect of high staple price would limit households' food consumption, particularly during the lean season. It would significantly contribute to continued 'Alert' to 'Critical' levels of malnutrition in conflict-affected areas.
Events that Might Change the Outlook
Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario.
Impact on food security outcomes
Food prices increase higher than currently anticipated
Food prices, particularly for bread, in Nigeria, could increase even further than currently anticipated during the projection period if conflict in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia significantly disrupt international markets, push transport costs further up, and drive food prices higher. Additionally, high fertilizer prices could impact the next primary agricultural season starting in June, reducing food production and limited food access.
Delayed onset of the rainy season across the country.
Increased trader speculation, increased staple prices, and reduced food access.
- High probability of substantially below-average main season harvest.
- Reduced labor opportunities, increased labor competition, and reduced wages.
- Reduced access to pastoral resources and increased livestock prices.
- Affected households will likely face increasingly difficult access to food and income, and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will emerge in many areas of the country.
Escalating conflict and multiple displacement of population.
- Widespread population displacement and increased assistance needs.
- Substantially limit crop cultivation, food flow, and food access.
- Market disruptions and limited income leading to reduced food access.
- Sustain atypical staple prices and limited access.
- Many households will face food consumption gaps and be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), while others will face Emergency (IPC Phase 4).
For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.
About Scenario Development
To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.
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