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Humanitarian assistance needs in Nigeria are expected to be atypically high during the June to September 2022 lean season, with the highest concentration of assistance needs in the Northeast and Northwest. These high needs are primarily driven by persistent conflict, predominately across northern Nigeria, and continued poor macroeconomic conditions. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected in inaccessible areas of the Northeast, and widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes across much of the north through at least September. While acute food insecurity is expected to improve with the harvest in October, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in some of the worst conflict-affected areas of the north where atypically high assistance needs are likely.
Overall, a relatively lower number of conflict events were reported in the Northeast during mid-2022. While the lower levels of conflict have allowed displaced households to return to their area of origin, these households, along with those who continue to be displaced, have low assets and difficulty engaging in typical livelihood activities due to the prolonged nature of the conflict. Many households are engaging in the ongoing agricultural season, and while engagement in the season is expected to be above average, households will likely still face difficulty planting at pre-conflict levels due to low income and erosion of assets. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes are expected in these areas of the northeast through at least January 2023.
In the Northwest and Northcentral states, banditry, kidnapping, and insecurity persist at high levels. Farming households pay fees to access their farms, and those with livestock continue to have them looted. Additionally, there are regular robberies of communities and traders. These incidents limit economic and agricultural activities in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Benue, and Niger states. The high cost of agricultural inputs further limits labor and engagement in the ongoing agricultural season. Across the worst conflict-affected areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely through at least January 2023 due to low agricultural production and purchasing power.
Food prices remain significantly higher than average and last year due to poor macroeconomic conditions, high fuel costs, above-average market demand, and high global food prices. Annual inflation remains high, at 17.71 percent in May, while the NGN continues to depreciate. Additionally, fuel shortages and high fuel costs are driving up transportation costs. Food prices are expected to continue increasing through the start of the harvest in September. As the harvest begins, food prices are expected to somewhat decline as market demand decreases; however, due to the likely poor macroeconomic conditions and high fuel and global food prices, food prices in Nigeria are expected to remain well above average.
Persistent conflict in southern, northwestern, and northeastern Nigeria, coupled with continued poor macroeconomic conditions, remain the primary drivers of acute food insecurity. As a result, food assistance needs are atypically high in these areas during the ongoing lean season.
Across Nigeria, conflict in mid-2022 is occurring at higher levels compared to the same time in 2021, with conflict concentrated in Northwest and Northcentral parts of the country (Figure 1). Conflict and insecurity have remained high in these areas since early 2022, predominately in Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Niger states, where many villages are fully or nearly deserted. In addition to displacement and significant disruption to livelihood and market activities, farming households and pastoralists are charged exorbitant fees by armed actors, limiting access to their farms and land.
In the Northeast, Borno state remains the epicenter of conflict. However, in recent months, conflict has remained largely below levels reported during the same period in 2021 and those observed in recent years. In May, conflict was recorded in Rann in Kaga/Balge LGA, Borno State. Conflict events were also recorded in May and June in Ngala, Konduga, and Kaga LGAs. This is among the longest periods during which conflict has been low in the Northeast in the last five years. However, fatalities per attack have significantly increased, demonstrating insurgents’ growing capability to carry out deadlier attacks.
Most notably in the southeast, conflict has increased in recent months, with Imo and Anambra states reporting the highest number of conflict events across southern parts of the country, including attacks against government officials. Additionally, due to persisting farmer/herder conflict, pastoralists’ livestock herds have declined due to looting and rustling of livestock, and farmers have fled in fear of attacks.
A significant proportion of the population remains displaced across Nigeria. According to IOM, at least one million people are displaced in the Northwest and Northcentral states as of March. Considering conflict levels in these areas and the number of deserted towns, it is likely the number of IDPs has since increased. IOM also estimated that as of December 2021, over 2.1 million people were displaced across the six northeastern states. In June, the number of displaced populations may have further declined relative to the previous assessment in December 2021, as more IDPs return to their area of origin as conflict has declined in the Northeast.
Overall, conflict is disrupting household access to normal food and income sources, including restricting livelihood activities during the ongoing agricultural season and sustaining high levels of displacement.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), crude oil production increased by five percent from April to May. OPEC in June announced an increase in Nigeria’s production quota by about three percent starting in July. Although, production capacity continues is unable to meet export quotas. While international oil prices are high and generally stable, oil production has increased the government’s earning potential, although foreign reserves decreased by around three percent between April and May. The decrease in foreign reserves is driven by the high government expenditure to subsidize the NGN and the high-cost of refined petroleum product imports. While Nigeria is an exporter of crude oil, it depends heavily on imports of refined oil products, which prices are increasing due to high and increasing global oil prices.
As economic conditions remain poor, annual inflation continues to increase, reaching an eleven-month high at 17.71 percent in May (Figure 2). The high inflation rate is largely due to continued foreign currency shortages, depreciation of the NGN, and high food prices.
The NGN on the official and parallel markets continues to depreciate, with the NGN losing about five percent of its value on the parallel market between April and May. In mid-June, the NGN on the official market was exchanging at 415 NGN/USD and 609 NGN/USD on the parallel market. In recent months, the NGN on the parallel market has been depreciating at a higher rate than on the official market. The official NGN exchange rate has remained relatively stable over the past few months, with only slight declines as the government continues to intervene in the market to support the local currency.
On top of poor macroeconomic conditions and declines in oil revenue, fuel shortages continue. This, coupled with high global oil prices, is driving significant fuel price increases. Diesel prices are currently 165 percent higher than in May 2021 and 250 percent above average. Additionally, cooking fuel prices are increasing and high, driving up expenditures for many households.
Furthermore, the fuel shortages are contributing to power outages across the country. This is driving manufacturers to switch to diesel generators. As a result, not only have transportation costs significantly increased, so have the cost of manufacturing goods. Some businesses are temporarily closing due to power outages, further increasing already high unemployment rates.
Cross-border trade activities are slightly higher in the northeast than during the same period in 2021 while deteriorating in the northwest and northcentral states. In the Northeast, while the movement of goods has improved, trade routes are only partially functional (Figure 3). Trade routes in the northeast, including Maiduguri to Gamboru through Fotokol, Cameroon, as well as the Maiduguri to Monguno route through Kukawa and Baga, are somewhat functional. In the Northwest, access to most of the important trade routes and markets is limited, with deteriorating conditions over the last few months as conflict has increased (Figure 4). Market functioning in areas outside conflict-affected areas is normal with stable trade flows. However, localized attacks by militants in the southeast of Nigeria have resulted in some traders from the north and pastoralists avoiding some southern markets, which has reduced the movement of goods, including livestock, reducing market supply.
The dry season harvest ended in June, with a harvest lower than in 2021 and average. In northern areas affected by conflict, the harvest was substantially below average.
The rainy season started typically during February/March in the southern areas and in May/June in the central states. Similarly, the rainy season has normally established in the northern regions in June/July. While some early season rainfall deficits were present in June; they are not of high concern as favorable rainfall is expected for the season and has not significantly impacted crop cultivation activities.
Agricultural activities associated with the rainy season are ongoing, although at lower-than-normal levels. Despite the government and various actors providing input and cash support to farmers through loans, the high cost of agricultural inputs, including fertilizer and pesticides, is limiting access to agricultural inputs. In conflict-affected areas, particularly in the north, engagement in the agricultural season is limited due to limited land access. Similarly, the continued attacks by the Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the Southeast and anti-open grazing law in the Southern states continue to limit transhumance in the area.
Vegetation and pasture availability is lower than usual; however, available resources are generally sufficient for livestock needs (Figure 5). Livestock movement from the southern to central areas as households return to homesteads in the northern areas is underway. Although, overall migration is slightly delayed due to the early season rainfall deficits in northern areas, where access to pasture in lower than usual in some areas. Access to pastoral resources in conflict-affected areas in the North remains constrained. Livestock herd sizes remain below average mainly due to the cattle rustling activities, coupled with anti-open grazing policies in some states.
Livestock body conditions are generally favorable, and prices remain atypically high across the country. One head of cattle sold for about 300,000 NGN across most northern markets in May; six percent and 28 percent higher relative to April and the same time in 2021, respectively. Similarly, the livestock to cereal terms-of-trade (ToT) are favorable for pastoral households. In Gujungu market in May, a goat purchased about 100 kg of millet. While these ToT are fair, market access in areas affected by conflict is limited, reducing the ability for households to sell their livestock. As a result, restricts income for pastoralists in conflict-affected areas.
Prices of staple food and cash crops remain significantly above the five-year average and 2021 due to the poor macroeconomic conditions, high fuel prices and transportation costs, and high market demand. Although, staple food prices have decreased in some markets as the off-season harvest has become available and market actors release stocks. In May, maize prices were about 20 and 65 percent higher than the same time last year and the five-year average, respectively, in Dawanau market. Prices of wheat-based products such as bread and noodles have increased as global wheat prices are high. Bread prices have increased by about 30 to 60 percent in June across the country, depending on location, relative to prior to the Ukraine crisis. Staple food prices in conflict-affected and deficit-producing areas are higher than in the rest of the country.
Conflict and the macroeconomy are driving a poor labor market with high competition driving down labor wages. Wages and the availability of income-earning opportunities remain below average for most poor households and even farther below average in conflict-affected areas. Agricultural labor is now available; however, at lower-than-normal levels due to low payment power by the better off. In conflict-affected areas, agricultural labor availability is limited. There has been an improvement in agricultural income opportunities in the northeast region, following a substantial decrease in the level of conflict, with increased access to farmlands, return of the displaced population to their homes, and government support to returnees through the provision of settlement packages including cash, food items and farming inputs in some cases.
On top of earning income from labor, households engage in self-employment activities such as petty trade, water vending, and firewood sales to earn some income. In urban areas mainly, poor households engage in construction labor, petty trading, and motorcycle taxi. Overall, income from these sources is lower than usual and even lower in conflict-affected areas.
In April 2022, humanitarian actors provided food assistance to over 1.0 million people in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states, of which over 930,000 beneficiaries are in Borno State. The total food aid distributed in the northeast in April is nearly 50 percent lower than the same time last year and five percent lower than in March (Figure 6). Funding constraints persist, and most humanitarian actors have limited funds to reach out to most of the beneficiaries in the Northeast of Nigeria. Similarly, the atypical staple prices have limited the number of beneficiaries that humanitarian actors can support, notably those beneficiaries that receive cash.
The Cadre Harmonise Task Force on Inaccessible Areas May Bulletin indicated that many households in hard-to-reach areas continue to face large food consumption gaps and 'Critical’ levels of acute malnutrition (GAM rate of 15.0 percent to 29.9 percent measured by weight-for-height Z-score). The overall prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in the inaccessible areas across Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states was 16.9 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, in May. The high levels of acute malnutrition are indicative of severe food insecurity, poor water and sanitation access, and poor health conditions.
In June, millions of households across the country face difficulty meeting their food and non-food needs due to the lower purchasing power, limited income-earning opportunities, coupled with atypical staple prices. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are present as the peak of the lean season begins.
IDPs residing in camps in the Northeast are mainly dependent on humanitarian assistance for their basic food needs. Despite declines in humanitarian aid, assistance is still sufficient to support Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in IDP camps. Most households living outside displacement camps within major urban areas, host communities, and rural areas earn some income to purchase food. Although, with the atypically high food prices, household purchasing power is low and household access to food is low. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely ongoing. In these areas, some households likely face extreme difficulty accessing food and income and are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Households in locations less impacted by the conflict in the Northeast are earning near-normal income, engaging in some level of crop production and consuming own food, or depending on the market at near-normal levels, with these areas facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
Households in hard-to-reach areas, predominately, Abadam, Guzamala, Kukawa, Gubio, and Magumeri LGAs, are reliant on markets and some wild foods for food; however, food access is significantly constrained due to constrained income. Some households also rely on bartering; however, this option is not readily available. Consequently, wide food consumption gaps and high levels of malnutrition are likely ongoing in these areas. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are ongoing in these areas, with some populations likely facing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).
In the Northwest and Northcentral states, conflict-affected and displaced households are engaged in increased labor to access limited income. Some displaced households could not cultivate during the previous season and now mainly depend on limited community assistance and the market for food. They also have limited income and are facing difficulty purchasing food due to the atypically elevated staple food prices. The limited agriculture-related labor opportunities in most parts of these areas are also constraining income. Thus, these households face food consumption gaps and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), particularly in parts of Katsina, Sokoto, Niger, Kaduna, and Zamfara states. It is expected that some worst conflict-affected households are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4).
The most likely scenario for June 2022 to January 2023 is based on the following national-level assumptions:
- Despite the increase in Nigeria’s crude oil production quota and expected high and increasing global fuel prices, macroeconomic conditions are expected to remain poor. The NGN, particularly on the parallel market, will most likely continue to depreciate as foreign exchange demand remains elevated, restrictions on foreign currency sales by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are likely to remain throughout the scenario period, and currency shortages persist. Annual inflation is expected to remain high throughout the outlook period. Fuel subsidies are not likely to be sustainable due to significant budgetary constraints.
- The price of petrol and diesel domestically is expected to remain higher than in 2021 and average due to supply shortages, high global fuel prices, and the continued heavy reliance on oil imports. This is expected to drive continued high transportation costs as supply shortages would likely persist throughout the projection period.
- Despite the reopening of four international land borders in December 2020 and another four in April 2022, persisting conflict and inflationary market pressures are expected to continue to drive below-average trade flows over land. Imports and exports through ocean ports are also anticipated to remain lower than normal as access to foreign currency remains limited, and the NGN continues to depreciate. Furthermore, imports are expected to remain higher than exports, as the nation would continue to rely more on imported products, including refined petrol, wheat, non-filet frozen fish, and cars.
- Above-average rainfall is expected for the main rainy season from June to August in northern Nigeria, with below-average rainfall most likely in southern and central Nigeria. Based on the above-average rainfall forecast in the Sahel, there is an increased likelihood of flooding in Sahelian and downstream riverine areas.
- The primary harvest will likely commence normally in September across the country with millet and maize in the north and yam and maize in the south.
- National production is anticipated to be below average due to conflict, high cost of inputs, including seeds and fertilizers, and below-average rainfall in central and southern areas. Production in conflict-affected northern areas will most likely be significantly lower than in the rest of the country. In the northeast, production is expected to be above the five-year average while substantially lower than normal in the northwest and northcentral areas.
- Market supply is predicted to decrease until the harvest in September, remaining lower than average due to lower-than-normal 2021 production and imports from neighboring countries, including Niger. As the harvest starts in October, market supply is expected to improve seasonally through at least December; however, remaining lower than usual due to low food production. It is likely in worst-conflict affected areas in the north; market supply will be limited throughout the scenario period.
- Due to lower-than-normal market supply, atypically high market reliance, and competition for institutional purchases, in addition to the knock-on effects of the high global food prices and transportation costs, staple food prices are expected to remain significantly above average following seasonal trends across the country. The government will likely continue to intervene in releasing more stocks from the security reserve in an attempt to somewhat stabilize food prices.
- Livestock migration within Nigeria will most likely remain below average due to the expected continuation of high levels of conflict. However, access to vast grazing land in the central parts of the country would remain limited due to escalating farmer/pastoralist conflict, kidnapping, and cattle rustling, limiting pasture availability. Livestock movement in and around Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina states is not likely. Similarly, livestock movement around the southern states is expected to be limited following the ban on open grazing, even though the enforcement of these measures is weak.
- Livestock migration from neighboring countries, including Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, will most likely be slightly lower than average throughout the scenario period as the value of NGN continues to depreciate. General migration will be lower than typical through January 2023.
- Pastoral resources across the country will remain available at normal levels throughout the rainy season, although remaining constrained in conflict-affected areas, with pastoralists evading conflict-prone areas.
- Livestock prices are expected to increase in July as livestock body conditions improve, and demand is high associated with the Tabaski holiday, after which demand is likely to decrease and livestock prices decline. Livestock prices are likely to remain generally above average, resulting in continuing favorable terms of trade.
- Area planted will generally be lower than average due to conflict as well as the high cost of inputs. As labor supply is expected to be higher than usual, reducing wages, income from agricultural labor is likely to be lower than normal. In worst-conflict-affected areas, agricultural labor income is expected to be limited; however, overall income from labor in the northeast is expected to be slightly higher than average.
- Access to non-agricultural related labor and self-employment such as petty trading, construction, and other unskilled labor is expected to remain generally below-average and further below average in conflict-affected areas. Daily wages will also remain below average as labor supply continues to increase following displacement.
- Domestic remittances will most likely be lower than last year and average through January due to the poor macroeconomic conditions and lower urban and better-off household income. In the wake of global food prices, international remittances are expected to be at least similar to last year and above average.
- While the number of herder-farmer conflict events has declined since the end of the livestock migration period in August 2021, it is likely that in 2022, the number of events will be higher stemming from increased competition for resources, in addition to retaliation from the escalated levels of violence reported during the previous year’s migration period.
- Kidnapping for ransom has escalated across the country—but primarily in Niger, Zamfara, and Kaduna states, with assailants striking soft targets such as schools in the northern regions, civilians in remote communities, and travelers on isolated transit routes.
- In the northeast, it is likely that both attacks on military positions and IED attacks will likely peak in May/June, followed by a relative decline in line with seasonal rainy season trends before increasing again in November onward; this trend will likely be in line with levels observed in 2021. Although the total number of incidents of violence against civilians is likely to stay elevated through quarter two before a rainy season declines in July and August, and military forces withdraw to fortified bases. There is expected to be a slight uptick in violence against civilians beginning in September—with the election season and the focus on election security limiting security force activity—it is likely that the relative decline compared to previous years seen so far in 2022 will dissipate.
- Humanitarian actors and the government are expected to continue to provide food assistance to vulnerable households in conflict and flood-affected areas across the country; however, it is not expected to be significant for a large proportion of the population due to continued funding constraints and humanitarian access. Humanitarians are likely to decrease ration sizes and populations reached due to the rising price of staple food commodities.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
In areas worst affected by conflict in Northwest and Northcentral states, poor households will most likely continue to be market reliant with restricted income opportunities, notably among displaced households. As household movement is limited as well as market access, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected during the lean season. Some households worst affected by conflict, with extremely limited income due to restricted movement, are reliant on wild foods and/or begging. These households are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) or Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely as households are likely consuming some own-produced foods due to the availability of the harvest; however, they will most likely continue to face low purchasing power for their non-food needs. In Niger State, food security outcomes during the lean season are better than previously anticipated as conflict is not expected to restrict market access, allowing households to purchase sufficient food to meet their food needs. In these areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely ongoing among some households. These households face difficulty meeting their food needs due to restricted local market access and minimal ability to earn income, as well as poor access to the 2022 agricultural season.
While seasonal improvement in food security is expected with the harvest in the Northwest and Northcentral states, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are anticipated through at least January 2023 in some areas. In areas where Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely, many households face difficulty engaging in the agricultural season, resulting in a low harvest. These households are expected to continue to rely on markets for food with low purchasing power as food prices remain high. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are likely among some households even in the post-harvest period as some households will likely face insurmountable odds to access food. Households that were able to engage in the 2022 agricultural season and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are likely across many areas; however, there is still concern that conflict is expected to restrict food and income access among some households during the harvesting period for many households, with concern for northwest Kaduna State. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected among some households in these areas.
In the Northeast, more households than normal are expected to engage in livelihood activities; however, due to the protracted nature of the conflict, household assets have been eroded, and overall income and engagement in the agricultural season are expected to remain low. Displaced populations in camps across the Northeast currently depend on assistance. While assistance is expected to support Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) during the lean season, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected from October 2022 to January 2023 as funding is expected to be low and assistance is likely to decline. Most conflict-affected households outside urban areas in the Northeast remain displaced with limited access to humanitarian assistance and restricted purchasing power and are most likely facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) throughout the scenario period. Worst conflict-affected households that remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors, mainly in parts of Borno state, will continue to face wide food consumption gaps. These households have restricted access to markets and are primarily dependent on wild food consumption, limited bartering, and begging for food and are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.
Due to flooding-related disruptions to the agricultural season and likely flood-related displacement, households along riverine areas are expected to have some declines in their ability to access food and income throughout the projection period. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected across most riverine areas through at least September. During the harvest, some of these displaced households will return to homesteads in October and will likely consume their own little harvest as staple prices decline during the harvesting period, increasing food access, and most of these households will be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through January 2023.
From June to September, malnutrition is likely to remain elevated in the northern part of the country due to low food consumption, high burden of malaria, and other waterborne diseases (diarrhea, cholera) due to the rainy season as well as persisting conflict/attacks which in some cases limits access to humanitarian food assistance and health facilities. Improvements in food access after harvest and a seasonal decrease in the prevalence of waterborne diseases will likely result in improved nutrition outcomes from October 2022 to January 2023.
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
Prolonged dry spell or below-average rainfall
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.
Current food security outcomes, June 2022
Source: FEWS NET
SEASONAL CALENDAR FOR A TYPICAL YEAR
Source: FEWS NET
Source: Central Bank of Nigeria
Source: FEWS NET
Source: FEWS NET
Source: FEWS NET/USGS
Source: Food Security Cluster
Source: FEWS NET
Source: FEWS NET
Source: FEWS NET
Source: FEWS NET
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.