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Emergency (IPC Phase 4) expected in parts of northeast through 2023 harvest

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Nigeria
  • June 2023 - January 2024
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) expected in parts of northeast through 2023 harvest

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Areas of Concern
  • Bama LGA, Borno State, Inaccessible Population – (NG09) Chad Basin: Masakwa flood-recession sorghum and wheat
  • Batsari LGA, Katsina State – (NG01) Sokoto millet, cowpeas, groundnuts, and livestock
  • Key Messages
    • In northeast Nigeria, the compounding impacts of the below-average 2022 harvest, a growing macroeconomic crisis, and protracted conflict are driving atypically high humanitarian food assistance needs during the peak lean season from June to September. Conflict continues to drive displacement, restrict engagement in main-season cultivation, limit access to income, and disrupt market functionality in inaccessible areas. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are anticipated in highly inaccessible areas of Bama, Marte, Guzamala, and Abadam LGAs, where households have limited mobility and deteriorated coping capacity. Meanwhile, amid the ongoing campaign to close IDP camps in Borno state, former camp residents and host communities that have relocated to urban areas of the northeast are facing high competition for income, limited food availability, and poor financial access to food amid a prolonged lean season, driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. In IDP camps, where humanitarian assistance continues to be delivered and prevent more severe outcomes, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are expected.

    • There remains a limited humanitarian footprint in northwest and northcentral Nigeria, despite critically high humanitarian food assistance needs. Persisting farmer/herder conflict, mass kidnappings, and civilian-targeted attacks, compounded by high food and input prices and minimal income generation, are driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in some areas; additionally, within these areas, some very poor households likely face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes due to mobility restrictions imposed by insecurity and lack of access to markets, leading to atypically high reliance on wild food consumption and the use of severe coping strategies.

    • Consecutive shocks to the macroeconomy – including a 200 percent increase in fuel prices due to the removal of the petrol subsidy and the devaluation of the Nigerian Naira (NGN) against the USD by upwards of 75 percent to unify the exchange rates – have caused sudden and sustained spikes in the cost of transportation, staple food prices, agricultural production, and basic services. This occurs amid an already weak macroeconomic situation, with inflation reaching an 18-year high of 22.41 percent in May and decreasing national reserves over the last nine months. The macroeconomic crisis is restricting access to food for purchase-dependent households across the country, especially in conflict-affected northern areas.

    • According to the Nigeria Nutrition Sector, acute malnutrition levels in northeast Nigeria exhibit an alarming, rising trend as households face a fourth consecutive year of large food consumption gaps and declining access to services. In Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) states, by May, admissions of children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) have already reached the peak SAM caseload from 2022, and SAM admissions have increased over 30 percent month-on-month since April 2023. The trend is attributed to the physiological impacts of prolonged food consumption gaps, high disease prevalence, and reduced access to health facilities in inaccessible areas and amid the closure of IDP camps that were providing nutrition and health services. MSF has reported that most of the facilities in Maiduguri in Borno state are already well over capacity; however, according to the Nutrition Sector, the lean season nutrition response is only 36 percent funded as of June.

    National Overview

    Current Situation

    Conflict: The frequency and fatality of conflict in northeast Nigeria in the first half of 2023 has remained relatively consistent with the levels of conflict in 2021 and 2022 and has reduced by roughly 20 to 30 percent as compared to 2020, based on ACLED data. In 2023, nearly 50 percent of the recorded conflict incidents in the northeast have occurred in just six of the 105 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the northeast: Bama, Damboa, Konduga, Abadam, Gwoza, and Mafa in Borno state, with fighting showing an increasing trend as compared to previous years in Bama, Damboa, Abadam, and Mafa LGAs in Borno state and Gujba in Yobe state in 2023. The uptick in conflict incidents in these locations is largely due to in-fighting between Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) amid continued counterinsurgency efforts by the military. While military gains on non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in April and May reportedly led to the surrender of over 500 insurgents and their families, key informants in Borno have reported that as NSAGs lose ground, an increase in revenge attacks on civilians, particularly targeting households’ foods stocks and productive assets, limiting food availability and access. In 2023, the conflict continues to disrupt livelihoods, limit market functionality, deteriorate household resilience, and drive the displacement of highly vulnerable households.

    In the northwest and northcentral states, banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and inter-communal conflict persists, largely linked to terrorist groups, prolific local militias, and “bandits.” According to ACLED data, conflict incidents are slightly lower in 2023 as compared to 2022; however, households’ livelihoods, food access, and mobility continue to be severely impacted by the insecurity, particularly in Benue, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, and Zamfara States. Over 200 people were kidnapped in Zamfara state in April and over 60 in Kaduna state in May. While kidnappings have decreased regionally in recent months due in part to operations by Nigerian security forces, the ongoing incidents continue to permeate fear in communities and limit main-season cultivation activity. The farmer/herder conflict persisted at high levels across northcentral states, with over 100 individuals reportedly killed and thousands displaced following an attack by Fulani militias in Plateau state in May. Meanwhile, security incidences, including raids, abductions, and social unrest, have declined around the southeast and south-south following the national election in February, and attacks have remained significantly below the levels observed last June.

    Population movement: According to IOM, northeast Nigeria hosts roughly 2.38 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), an approximately 10 percent increase since June 2022,1 with most IDPs residing in Jere, Maiduguri, Konduga, Bama, Gwoza, Ngala and Damboa LGAs in Borno state. While the efforts to close IDP camps and return IDPs persist, households continue to re-displace due to the ongoing attacks, insecurity, and poor living conditions upon returning to their areas of origin. According to IOM, over half of LGAs (55 percent) saw an increase in internally displaced persons (IDPs) between October 2022 and February 2023, particularly pronounced in eastern Borno and Yobe states. Meanwhile, in the Northwest and northcentral states, IOM last recorded roughly 1.2 million IDPs as of December 2022, a 10 percent increase over the three months since October 2022, and a REACH assessment from early 2023 indicated that 63 percent of IDP households in Katsina state and 54 percent of IDP households in Zamfara state had been displaced multiple times.

    Figure 1

    Fuel Price per liter (NGN), June 2019-2023
    Bar chart showing fuel price per liter (NGN), June 2019-2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Macroeconomy: A series of economic policy reforms shocked the Nigerian economy in June, leading to the sharp deterioration of the country's already fraught macroeconomic situation. The removal of the long-standing fuel subsidy, announced in May, drove a roughly 200 percent increase in petrol prices in June. New petrol prices range from 488 Nigerian Naira (NGN)/liter to 557 NGN/liter across the country, compared to petrol's price before the subsidy removal at 198 NGN/liter. Given the extensive distance from refineries and ports, northern states are seeing the highest fuel prices. (Figure 1) This particularly impacts conflict-affected households who are heavily purchase-dependent and rely on small petrol trucks to transport commodities to their local satellite markets.2

    In mid-June, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) removed the foreign exchange cap on the NGN to unify the official and unofficial exchange rates in Nigeria; however, this led to an over 70 percent devaluation of the official NGN rate from the roughly stabilized rate of 460 NGN/USD to 797 NGN/USD by June 24, according to OANDA FX Data (Figure 2). As Nigeria is highly dependent on imported food and commodities, the severe devaluation of the NGN has impacted national purchasing power and domestic commodity prices and substantially increased the relative cost of transportation and imports compared to previous months. The increased cost of goods and services for consumers across Nigeria has likely disproportionately impacted financial access to food and essential non-food items for poor and conflict-affected households in the north.

    In late June, the Nigerian government also adjusted the limit on daily cash withdrawals and deposits from 2,000 USD to 10,000 USD for individual banking accounts. While this is improving cash flow and access for medium to large businesses, it is not likely to impact small business owners, given their lower relative daily income or cash demand.

    Figure 2

    Exchange Rate (USD to NGN), June 2019-2023
    Exchange Rate (USD to NGN), June 2019-2023

    Source: OANDA

    Headline inflation hit 22.4 percent in May, marginally up from 22.2 percent in April, the highest in nearly 18 years, and food inflation rose to 24.8 percent in May (Figure 3). Additionally, the nation continues to experience the knock-on impacts of the cash scarcity crisis from early 2023, and crude oil production, the largest source of revenue in Nigeria, dipped to its lowest in seven months in April 2023, at less than one million barrels per day (bpd). Additionally, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s external trade in goods fell by over 17 percent in quarter one of 2023, as compared to 2022, and the CBN revealed that foreign reserves have steadily decreased since October 2021, indicative of the weakening macroeconomic conditions in the country.

    Figure 3

    Headline and Food Inflation Rate, 2015-2023
    Line chart showing headline and food inflation rate, 2015-2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: Central Bank of Nigeria

    Markets and Trade: The macroeconomic crisis is negatively impacting domestic and cross-border trade. Small and medium businesses, particularly those reliant on petrol, face increasing operational costs and production delays. Internal trade has grown increasingly costly, particularly disrupting the flow of staple foods from the crop-producing areas of the north to the south and, conversely, the trade flow of manufactured or imported goods, such as cooking oil or essential non-food items, from the south to the north. Additionally, the low value of the NGN in relation to the Central African Franc (CFA) has impacted cross-border trade with neighboring Cameroon and Niger Republic, decreasing the inflow of goods, including staples and livestock, and increasing outflow due to the low relative value of commodities in Nigeria.  

    Markets across the country continue to operate optimally, except in conflict-affected regions of the north (Figures 4 and 5). As the north approaches peak lean season in high crop-production areas, market supply is seasonally low and considerably below average. However, given that household food stock levels have largely been depleted, particularly in flood- and conflict-affected areas, households face atypically high market reliance to access food, driving high demand.

    Figure 4

    Market functioning and trade routes in Lake Chad basin, May 2023
    Map showing market functioning and trade routes in Lake Chad basin, May 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 5

    Market functioning and trade routes in Northwest and Northcentral Nigeria, May 2023
    Map showing market functioning and trade routes in Northwest  and Northcentral Nigeria, May 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET

    The prices of staple food and cash crops are currently higher than last year and the five-year average due to the compounding impacts of atypically large seasonal market supply deficits amid the removal of the fuel subsidy and devaluation of the Naira (Figure 6). The below-average 2022 main season harvest drove high and atypically early market reliance in 2023. While some farmers and traders are reportedly releasing their remaining saved stocks to purchase inputs, this is only slightly increasing market supply. Between June 2022 and 2023, millet prices have increased by about 12 and 20 percent in Maiduguri and Kaura Namoda markets, respectively, and by about 25 percent in Dawanau market, the largest grain market in West Africa.

    The atypically high market prices amid above-average market demand are severely limiting financial access to food and driving a sharp deterioration in purchasing power, especially among highly vulnerable households who have limited livelihood profiles and poor income access.

    Figure 6

    Maize prices across key reference markets
    Bar chart showing maize prices across key reference markets Ibadan, Kano, Kaura, and Maiduguri.  Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Rainfall and Cultivation: Main season rainfall commenced normally in March for the southern states and in May/June in the northern areas. The temporal and spatial distribution of precipitation has been favorable in most areas across the country since late June, with normal crop growth and development. Main season cultivation activities are underway, with weeding and green harvest of early planted maize and yams in the south. The recent fuel subsidy removal and resultant hike in petrol and transportation cost have likely also led to increasing input costs, such as fertilizer, pesticides, and seeds. Similarly, the operation cost of farm implements has also increased considerably, limiting the financial accessibility of using weeding and threshing machines and limiting the size of cultivated plots. Most crops in southern areas are at the tillering stage of growth, and the early green harvest of maize and yams is at average levels in June. 

    In the northern areas, most farmers are engaging in land clearing and planting, with some early-planted crops in the vegetative growth stage. However, in June, with the commencement of the cultivation season across the north, there has been a seasonal increase in attacks on unprotected farmers in their fields in both the northeast and the northwest. Farmers in these areas are limiting the size of their plots due to the insecurity and, given the ban on growing tall crops such as major cereals around several garrison towns in the northeast, households have limited staple cultivation. According to a Mercy Corps cultivation assessment, households are instead cultivating legumes such as cowpea, groundnut, and rice in some areas. Despite some government and humanitarian livelihood support, low purchasing power is driving below-average planting in the north.  

    The dry season harvest ended in June, with national production estimated to be slightly higher than last year, though below average. The dry season harvest was substantially below average in northern areas affected by conflict. However, tomato production in major surplus areas in the north, mainly in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, and Gombe states, was below average due to the Tuta absoluta crop infestation. In Kano state alone, the insect pest infected over 300 hectares of farmlands, negatively impacting income-earning and dry harvest food availability for affected farmers.

    Transhumance and Livestock: During the 2023 seasonal livestock migration from northern to central and southern states between February and June, there were high levels of farmer/herder conflict, largely concentrated in Benue and Plateau states (Figure 7). The high concentration of conflict this year was likely driven by continued tensions over open grazing ban enforcement in several states as well as increasing competition for land between farmers and pastoralists. The high incidence of cattle rustling has continued to diminish herd sizes, and it is estimated that livestock holdings remain considerably below the long-term average in June.

    In June, with the commencement of the rains and seasonal improvements in pasture near pastoralists’ homesteads, many herders started to return from the southern and central grazing areas to the north. While vegetation conditions and pasture availability in the north are at normal levels, with localized positive anomalies, for this time of year (Figure 8), access to pastoral resources in conflict-affected areas reportedly remains constrained. With the rise in NSAGs targeting civilians in revenge for lost territory, key informants have reported high rates of livestock theft in the northeast and ongoing fear of attack by bandits in the northwest, preventing normal seasonal grazing activity.

    Figure 7

    Farmer/Herder conflict incidents and pastoral restrictions in Nigeria, January to May 2023
    Map showing Farmer/Herder conflict incidents and pastoral restrictions in Nigeria, January to May 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: ACLED and Control Risks

    Despite the seasonal increase in domestic market supply of livestock in the north with the return of livestock to homesteads ahead of the Tabaski holiday in June, livestock prices are substantially higher than last year and the five-year average, due mainly to the hike in transportation costs and the decrease in cross-border supply of livestock from neighbors like Cameroon. Given the unfavorable NGN exchange rate in relation to the CFA in June 2023, most livestock for Tabaski are being sourced domestically. In the northcentral and southwest regions, livestock prices have increased by almost 50 percent. In Katsina state in the northwest, the terms of trade (ToT) between a male goat and millet have increased 75 percent from May 2021 to 2023, driven by a 99 percent increase in the price of goats. While the sale of a male goat was able to purchase 82.5kg of millet in May 2021, in May 2023, the sale of a male goat can buy 144 kilograms (kg) of millet, according to price data collected by FEWS NET. The increase in seasonal demand and decrease in cross-border supply has provided poor households with some livestock remaining a slight increase in income from livestock sales to access food.

    Income sources: Income-generating activities and wages in June are below average for most poor households across the country and even lower in conflict-affected areas. Agricultural labor is seasonally available but at below-average levels. The recent macroeconomic shocks have restricted purchasing power of middle and better-off households, limiting their capacity to hire poor households for agricultural labor. Labor availability in conflict-affected areas also remains limited due to small cultivated plots and persistent attacks. In the northeast, however, there are slight improvements in agricultural income opportunities relative to last year and the five-year average, with the ongoing return of displaced populations to plant and the government's provision of small resettlement packages to returnees. However, on-farm labor wages in the northeast are slightly lower than last year, particularly in conflict-affected areas, due to increased labor supply and competition. In June 2023, labor wages range from 800 NGN to 1,200 NGN/day, as compared to last year, when wages ranged from 1,000 and 1,500 NGN/day. Consequently, poor households are facing deteriorated purchasing power due to low wages and spiking market prices.

    Households continue to engage in off-farm labor to earn some income, including self-employment, such as petty trade, water vending, and firewood sales. In urban areas, poor households are engaging in construction and driving motorcycle taxis, as normal. However, income generation from off-farm labor is also below-average and even lower in conflict-affected areas due to the deteriorating macroeconomy. In May and June, most poor households engaged in migratory labor returned to homesteads for farming, slightly easing the labor competition in urban areas. However, the sustained displacement and rural-to-urban migration driven by poor living conditions in the conflict-affected northern areas have sustained labor competition.

    Additionally, key informants have reported that remittances from household members or better-off relatives in urban areas have decreased slightly relative to previous years and the average due to the deteriorating economic conditions across the country. This is consequently limiting a source of supplemental financial income many poor households typically rely on to access food, particularly in the lean season.

    Humanitarian assistance: In April, humanitarian actors provided food assistance to nearly 1.9 million beneficiaries across Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states, an increase from the roughly 1.4 million reached with food aid in March. The increase in assistance in April is likely due to increased targeting of households who are facing high food needs due to the early onset of the lean season. Humanitarian assistance primarily targets households residing in the remaining IDP camps in Borno state and covers approximately 70 percent of their total kilocalorie needs monthly through in-kind and cash-based transfers (CBT). Although humanitarian food assistance increased from January to April compared to last year, it remains lower than in 2021 (Figure 9). According to OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service data, the funding for the food security response in northeast Nigeria is 28.6 percent funded as of June, one of the lowest years of funding received by the mid-year point since 2017.

    Figure 9

    Humanitarian food assistance, by number of beneficiaries, Jan-Apr 2021 to 2023
    Bar chart showing humanitarian food assistance, by number of beneficiaries, Jan-Apr 2021 to 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: WFP

    Acute malnutrition: The prevalence of acute malnutrition in northeast and northwest Nigeria continues at higher levels than this time last year or the previous four years, according to the Nutrition Sector and nutrition partners operating in these areas. In the BAY states, by May 2023, Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) admissions have nearly reached the peak admissions figures from 2022 (Figure 10). Month-on-month, SAM admissions increased by nearly 30 percent between April and May, the largest jump in SAM caseload recorded in the last four years in the BAY states. The atypically high caseload in the northeast is likely attributed to the compounding impacts of high food consumption deficits, as households struggle to meet food needs due to the limited market access, high retail prices for available staple foods, limited own production, and inadequate access to safe drinking water.   Moreover, the conflict has constrained the delivery of essential health and nutrition services, especially at the start of the rainy season and with the IDP camp closures. Meanwhile, in the northwest, MSF recently reported that the acute malnutrition caseload in the northwest in May is 26 percent higher than at the same time last year.

    Figure 10

    Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) Admissions (in-patient and out-patient), Children 0-59 months, Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states
    Graph showing Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) Admissions (in-patient and out-patient), Children 0-59 months, Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: Nutrition Sector

    Current Food Security Outcomes

    Conflict has persisted in northeast Nigeria for nearly 14 years, displacing households, disrupting livelihoods, and destroying infrastructure and dwellings in affected areas. The prolonged poor macroeconomic situation, the recent removal of the fuel subsidy, and the NGN devaluation have further compounded the vulnerability of the conflict-affected population.

    Several LGAs in the northeast remain inaccessible, cut off from humanitarian actors, and unable to access food assistance. Households in rural Abadam, Guzamala, Bama, and Marte LGAs in Borno state are almost entirely inaccessible and lie at the epicentre of the insurgency. Households have heavily restricted mobility, are subject to frequent food and assets looting or taxing by NSAGs, limiting food availability, and have severely limited access to normal livelihood activities, such as cultivation and fishing. Most poor households in these inaccessible areas currently have few productive household members, limited seasonal income because of the below-average cultivation, and are mainly relying on bartering and wild food consumption to access food as markets remain disrupted or are minimally functional in June. Due to the large food consumption gaps, the very poor rely on begging to access food and are coping by prioritizing children to eat first, limiting the size of their meals, or skipping meals, and likely facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. These households are also experiencing high levels of acute malnutrition, with the overall proxy GAM prevalence for new arrivals from inaccessible areas surpassing 20 percent in both April and May, and with particularly severe outcomes in Bama, Guzamala, Gwoza, Marte and Ngala LGAs.

    Households in garrison towns in the northeast generally have some access to farmland and are engaged in below-average crop production and able to earn minimal income through on-farm labor. However, given the high competition for very few income-earning opportunities, atypically high staple prices, and low purchasing power, these households are facing difficulty accessing food in June amid the ongoing lean season. Very poor households have resorted to selling available assets, including land, farming implements, fishing gear, and household items, to access food. Additionally, due in part to the camp closures, over 60 percent of the IDPs in the northeast reside in host communities as of April, according to IOM, but with limited access to land or livelihood opportunities and are not eligible for food assistance. Host community households and IDPs living out of camps are likely facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Meanwhile, displaced households in camps in the northeast continue to rely mainly on food assistance. The high reliance on food assistance is helping mitigate food consumption gaps, and otherwise, households are using Stressed coping strategies to meet their minimum food needs and are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!).

    Current acute food insecurity outcomes in Northeast Nigeria, June 2023
    Current Situation of Nigeria Map

    Source: FEWS NET

    In the northwest and northcentral states, where banditry, kidnapping, and the farmer/pastoralist conflict persist, poor households faced an early onset lean season, which is being exacerbated by the looting of food, livestock, and other valuables or otherwise used for payment as ransom. While some households engage in the limited available on-farm labor opportunities, fear of attack or kidnapping remains high and is a significant barrier to cultivation and engagement in on-farm labor. Currently, households are mainly dependent on market purchases and community support to access food and are relying on Crisis coping strategies. These households are facing moderate food consumption gaps and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Some very poor households in inaccessible areas of the northwest have highly limited mobility, low to no market access, are primarily reliant on begging and wild food consumption to access food and are likely facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes; although, the number of households facing these conditions remains below the 20 percent threshold. 

    Most areas in the southern states are experiencing poor macroeconomic conditions, high inflation rates, high transportation costs related to the fuel subsidy removal, and atypically high staple prices. Given their below-average incomes related to the depreciation of the NGN, many households are only able to meet only their basic food and essential non-food needs. These households are using Stressed coping strategies and are likely facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    Nigeria Seasonal Calendar

    Source: FEWS NET


    The most likely scenario for June 2023 to January 2024 is based on the following national-level assumptions:

    • The macroeconomic crisis is expected to continue through the outlook period. While fuel subsidies in Nigeria have been a financial burden for the Nigerian economy, and the lifted subsidy is expected to reduce deficits and support economic recovery at the national level in the long term, the abrupt removal of the subsidy is anticipated to have short to medium-term negative implications for macroeconomic conditions through at least January 2024.
    • The high fuel prices are expected to continue driving substantial increases in the cost of transportation and commodities through the scenario period. Additionally, the value of the NGN is expected to continue weakening, driven by the open market. These sustained shocks will drive an increase in inflation through the scenario period and foreign reserves are anticipated to remain low, given low crude oil production and the corresponding low gains from crude oil sales.   
    • Following the lifting of the petrol subsidy, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has approved the newly implemented fuel prices, and the domestic price of petrol is expected to remain at elevated levels throughout the scenario period. National oil production is anticipated to remain below the official OPEC allocation of 1.8 million bpd, and thus Nigeria will remain highly reliant on imported fuel.  Given that the majority of petrol is imported, the price of fuel will partially be determined by the value of the NGN, which is expected to remain low.  
    • Internal trade flows are anticipated to be below average due to the increased retail price of petrol and the consequent high cost of transportation, in conjunction with the longstanding insecurity across much of the north.
    • With the weakening of the NGN relative to the CFA, cross-border exports are anticipated to increase through the scenario period, particularly for manufactured goods and staples, as traders from neighboring countries can purchase commodities in Nigeria at a relatively lower price. Accordingly, cross-border imports of cash crops and livestock are anticipated to be below average due to the poor purchasing power of the NGN. Nigeria is expected to continue relying on other ocean port trade, particularly refined petrol, wheat, non-filet frozen fish, and cars, though at below-average levels due to limited foreign exchange and poor value of the NGN.
    • Rainfall for June to September is expected to be average to slightly above average across the country. Similarly, vegetation is expected to be favorable and sufficient for livestock consumption through the projection period.
    • The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency has forecasted considerable flooding this year along the Benue, Niger, Rima, Sokoto, and Komadugu rivers, likely negatively impacting production in these areas, although flooding is likely to remain below 2022 levels. Additionally, in the northeast, the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and Shelter sectors have indicated that IDPs residing in camps and host communities in Monguno, Konduga, Maiduguri, Jere, Bama, Kala/Balge, and Ngala LGAs are the most vulnerable to the impacts of seasonal flooding in Borno state. Temporary flood-related displacement is expected in areas along affected riverbanks, although at levels lower than last year.
    • The main season harvest will likely commence normally in September and continue normally through December, with millet and maize in the north and yam and maize in the south.
    • National production in 2023 is anticipated to be below the five-year average due to persisting conflict in the surplus-producing areas across the north and the high cost of agricultural inputs, including seeds and fertilizers, as well as the high price and limited access to mechanized farming. However, production is anticipated to be higher than last year. Production in conflict-affected parts of the northwest and northcentral areas will likely be significantly lower than in the rest of the country due to the severity and scale of insecurity. In the northeast, while more households are expected to engage in planting than last year and the five-year average due to the continued returns, household-level production is likely to remain very minimal due to the limited land access, high cost of inputs, and low purchasing power.
    • Market supply of key staples is anticipated to be considerably below average from June to September due to poor 2022 production and high fuel and transportation costs. While Nigerian markets will continue to receive some, imports will be insufficient to alleviate the persisting domestic supply deficits. Market supply is expected to seasonally improve from October to December amid the main season harvest. However, due to high transportation costs and anticipated below-average production in 2023, particularly across the northern parts of the country, market supply is expected to continue at below-average levels.
    • Due to below-average market supply, atypically high market reliance, high transportation costs, and competition for the replenishment of stocks between traders and larger institutions, staple food prices are expected to remain significantly above average through the scenario period. Prices are expected to be highest between June and August, with seasonal decreases with the harvest between October and December.  

    Figure 11

    Maiduguri, Nigeria Millet (Pearl) Prices and Projections, NGN/Kg
    Combined bar/line chart showing Maiduguri, Nigeria Millet (Pearl) Pirces and Projections, NGN/Kg.

    Source: Estimates based on data from FEWS NET, Nigeria

    Figure 12

    Kaura Namoda, Nigeria Millet (Pearl) Prices and Projections, NGN/Kg
    Combined line/bar chart showing Kaura Namoda, Nigeria Millet (Pearl) Pirces and Projections, NGN/Kg. Described under heading Assumptions.

    Source: Estimates based on data from FEWS NET, Nigeria

    • Seasonal livestock migration is anticipated to remain below average due to persisting farmer/herder conflict and open-grazing bans, primarily in northcentral and southern states. While pasture remains available, access to grazing land in these areas is expected to remain limited due to continued farmer/pastoralist conflict, fear of kidnapping, and cattle rustling. Throughout the rainy season, pasture will remain available at normal levels, although access will remain constrained in conflict-affected areas due to fear of attacks and cattle rustling.
    • Cross-border livestock migration from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, for both grazing and livestock sales, will likely be slightly below average, as it is less profitable for herders to sell livestock in Nigerian markets due to the weakening of the NGN.
    • Livestock body conditions will likely remain favorable across most of the country due to favorable rainfall forecasts and pasture availability. While conflict and cattle rustling will persist, pastoralists will likely be able to migrate as necessary to maintain access to pasture for their livestock.
    • Livestock prices are expected to remain above average as livestock body conditions improve seasonally. However, livestock prices are likely to remain seasonally above average due to the continued below-average supply due to conflict and a general increase in the price of goods and services resulting from the knock-on effect of the fuel subsidy removal. The terms of trade are expected to favor pastoralists throughout the projected period.
    •  Main season cultivation will provide some on-farm labor opportunities for poor households through December. However, demand for on-farm labor is reduced by limited cultivation in the primary producing areas of the north due to the compounding impacts of ongoing conflict, high input prices, and deteriorating purchasing power of middle and wealthy households. Given the large size of the displaced population and limited access to alternative livelihoods, labor competition for the few on-farm labor opportunities will remain high driving down wages, with particularly low wages expected in conflict-affected areas.
    • Access to off-farm labor and self-employment such as petty trading, construction, and other unskilled labor is expected to remain below average nationally, particularly impacting poor households in conflict-affected areas. The supply of labor and petty traders is expected to continue increasing as displacement continues in the northern states through the projection period. This, amid below-average demand, is expected to drive down daily wages.
    • Domestic remittances are anticipated to be below both last year and the average due to the poor macroeconomic conditions. Given high prices and limited income opportunities, even among the better-off households, limiting their capacity to provide remittance support across familial networks. With the minor easing of global food and commodity prices, international remittances are expected to be near average through the scenario period.
    • Despite funding constraints, humanitarian actors are expected to provide humanitarian food assistance to IDPs in the northeast who are worst affected by conflict. However, rising fuel and commodity prices are anticipated to limit the amount of food households can purchase with existing humanitarian cash-based transfer (CBT) if rations are not adjusted. The government is expected to continue providing limited support to vulnerable households in communities across the northwest.
    • The frequency and intensity of attacks in the northeast are anticipated to remain at current levels. While fighting between NSAGs and the military may slightly decrease in the rainy season, a slight seasonal increase of incidents targeting civilians is expected from June through September during peak field activities. Additionally, as NSAGs continue to lose ground in the northeast, households in inaccessible areas are likely to continue to be targeted, with heightened looting of food and assets through the lean season.
    • In southern Nigeria, attacks and abductions are anticipated to persist in Imo and Anambra states in the southwest among the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) throughout 2023 at similar levels to 2022.
    • With the start of the rainy season in the northcentral and northwestern states, kidnappings and banditry are anticipated to increase as farmers prepare to access their farmlands for planting and harvest, in line with seasonal trends. However, the number of such incidents throughout the reporting period is expected to be below the levels observed in 2022 due to increased military/security operations and activities. This situation will persist through the harvest period as bandits continue to demand payment from farmers to access their farmlands and heavily tax harvests.
    • A relative decline in farmer-herder conflict is anticipated from June to September in the south as many herders return to their homesteads; however, violence is expected to increase again following the end of the rainy season, in line with seasonal trends. Meanwhile, farmer/herder conflict is expected to increase in the north during the rainy season as available routes for livestock movement are limited.
    • As the protracted conflicts in the north are expected to continue through the scenario period, population displacement is anticipated to continue. Attacks in the northwest and northcentral states are anticipated to be seasonally high at the peak of farming activities between June and October, driving displacement to urban areas, comparable to previous years. Similarly, in the northeast, while attacks and poor living conditions will continue driving displacement to garrison towns, although it is expected to be similar or less than last year due to the relatively stable state of conflict. Meanwhile, return and resettlement movements are anticipated to continue, particularly across the northern states, at similar levels to previous years through January 2024.

    Most Likely Acute Food Security Outcomes

    In inaccessible areas such as Abadam, Bama, Guzamala, and Marte LGAs in Borno State, market functionality will remain minimal, limited to only informal markets with high prices controlled by NSAGs, severely limiting financial access to food amid peak lean season. Given the continued lack of access to normal seasonal livelihood activities, households will continue to depend on bartering, wild food consumption, or begging to access little income and food, likely facing large food consumption gaps and sustaining Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes through September. Conflict is expected to escalate after the rainy season due to the increased ease of movement of armed groups. While some households cultivated, these households likely produced only small plots, and their production will not be sufficient to mitigate the severity of food consumption gaps. Very poor households are anticipated to have minimal to no harvest and continue to rely heavily on bartering and wild food to access minimal food; however, high demand for wild foods will likely limit access. They will likely continue engaging in Crisis and Emergency livelihood coping strategies, with continued high-risk distress migration to access food. These households will face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes with high levels of acute malnutrition and elevated excess mortality through the harvest period and into January 2024.

    Projected acute food security outcomes in Northeast Nigeria, June to September 2023
    Medium term projection of Nigeria food security map

    Source: FEWS NET

    As the lean season approaches its peak in August, most households in garrison towns in the northeast will remain highly dependent on market purchases for food, amid atypically high prices due to the lifting of the fuel subsidy and NGN devaluation. With the escalating macroeconomic crisis and sustained conflict, households are expected to distress-migrate from inaccessible areas to garrison towns, and households will continue resettling following the closure of IDPs camps, which will likely oversaturate the urban labor markets. Consequently, wages are expected to continue at below-average levels through the lean season, leading to further deterioration in purchasing power and increased reliance on negative coping strategies such as begging, incurring debts, and reducing meal sizes. Most households will face moderate food consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through September. Starting in October, the main season harvest will increase food access and improve food consumption for many households. However, given the limited area cultivated and high proportion of poor and very poor households in the northeast who have limited financial and physical access to cultivation, many households will remain market reliant. Due to high market prices, high inflation, and low wages, these households will likely face considerable food deficits that will not be offset by the harvest. Thus, these households are expected to resort to negative coping strategies, sustaining Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, with some LGAs improving to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through January 2024.

    Most IDP households in camps in major urban areas in the northeast have access to humanitarian food assistance and can meet their basic food needs but not their essential non-food needs. Consequently, they will face Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes through September. However, given funding constraints, there is uncertainty over continued support for these IDPs in camps. These households will likely face increased difficulty accessing food and be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between October 2023 and January 2024. Meanwhile, IDP households in host communities have limited access to assistance, limited access to farmlands, poor social connectedness, and are mainly dependent on market purchases to access food. However, given the high competition for limited income-earning opportunities and atypical staple prices during the lean season, these households are facing food consumption gaps and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). During the harvest starting in October 2023, these households will have increased food access from limited supplies of own-produced food. Thus, they will be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through January 2024 in most areas. However, those displaced households living in host communities that are unable to engage in cultivation or that were impacted by substantial flooding along major floodplains of the Komadugu-Yobe-Hadejia river basins through the Lake Chad basin will mainly continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through January 2024.

    Projected acute food security outcomes in Northeast Nigeria, October 2023 to January 2024
    NE NG AFI medium term June 2023 map

    Source: FEWS NET

    The conflict in the northwest and northcentral states will persist, and many households will remain displaced in makeshift camps or with relatives through the projection period. While many households have engaged in cultivation, it will remain at substantially below-average levels due to the conflict. Poor households will continue having limited income-earning opportunities and below-average wages due to increased competition for labor activities, primarily relying on construction labor, firewood sales, and petty trading. Households will continue depending mainly on limited market purchases and community support for food access, while banditry incidences are expected to persist. Similarly, staple prices will remain atypically elevated during the lean season, constraining food access. Consequently, households will likely face moderate food consumption gaps and experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. However, starting in October, some households in these areas will have access to own-produced food from the limited harvest. These households will only be able to meet minimum food needs and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes during the harvest period. However, many others will be unable to meet basic food needs due to restricted access to their own production or other food sources and will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through January 2024.

    From June to September 2023, acute malnutrition is expected to continue rising through the peak lean season across the north due to below-average food consumption and heightened disease prevalence associated with the rainy season. In line with the admissions trends in 2023 thus far, severe acute malnutrition (SAM) caseloads are expected to be higher than last year and the five-year average in conflict-affected areas in northern Nigeria. According to the October 2022 updated projection for IPC acute malnutrition covering January to April 2023, most conflict-affected areas are expected to face Critical levels of acute malnutrition during the June to September lean season period. However, improved post-harvest food access and the expected decrease in waterborne diseases after the rainy season will likely improve nutrition outcomes from October 2023 to January 2024.

    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Table 1

    Table 1. Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario

    Area Event Impact on food security outcomes
    Northeast Escalation of the conflict across Borno state A decrease in mobility in already inaccessible areas, as well as increased population displacement in partially accessible areas. The producing households will likely lose access to their harvests and market functionality will decrease. There will be an increase in food needs and reduction in livelihood activities, including crop production and fishing activities. This would most likely drive an increase in populations in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4).
    Northwest and northcentral Improvement in the security situation and reduction in conflict level A decline in the conflict would most likely facilitate increased mobility to farmland and to urban centers to access livelihood activities, which will increase both food access and availability. Consequently, the impacted LGAs will likely see a reduction in the population in Stressed (Phase 2) and Crisis (Phase 3).

    Areas of Concern

    There are multiple areas of concern in Nigeria due to widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. In an effort to provide regional representation for the areas of highest concern, FEWS NET conducted assessments in one LGA in the northeast, Bama LGA, and one in the northwest, Batsari LGA, due to high outstanding concern in these areas related to the impacts of high levels of conflict and displacement, severe food security outcomes, and relative comparability to other areas facing similar contributing factors and shocks.

    Bama LGA, Borno State, Inaccessible Population – (NG09) Chad Basin: Masakwa flood-recession sorghum and wheat

    Current Situation

    With ongoing in-fighting between insurgent groups amid continued counterinsurgency efforts by the military, conflict in Bama has increased in the first six months of 2023 relative to last year. Additionally, a resurgence of revenge attacks by insurgent groups on civilians has been driving spikes in displacement. IOM data indicates that Bama LGA saw the sharpest increase in IDPs across the Northeast between October 2022 and February 2023, and from May and June 2023, over 4,000 individuals have been displaced to garrison towns in Bama LGA, primarily from inaccessible areas. However, most people in Bama’s inaccessible areas lack freedom of movement out of insurgent-controlled areas, remaining extremely vulnerable to persisting shocks and facing heavily limited access to livelihoods, food, and basic services. According to OCHA population data, roughly 40 percent of the population in Bama LGA remains inaccessible, and poor and very poor households make up nearly 40 percent of the total inaccessible population (85,672).

    Figure 13

    Bama LGA, Borno State
    Map showing the Bama LGA, Borno State in Nigeria. Described under heading Areas of Concern.

    Source: FEWS NET

    While main season cultivation commenced in June, engagement in cultivation activities remains heavily restricted and at lower levels than last year and the five-year average due to limited access to land, frequent looting of assets by insurgents, limited financial access to essential farm inputs, and increased displacement amid the persisting conflict. During a FEWS NET field assessment in May, key informants indicated that to avoid attack from NSAGs, many farmers share parts of their harvest with insurgents or work as laborers on insurgents’ farms in exchange for protection. The April 2023 Humanitarian Situation Monitoring report indicated that while about 57 percent of households arriving from inaccessible areas of Bama over the last six months reported having access to land in inaccessible areas of Bama, only roughly 35 percent of the households with land access cultivated their land, most of whom reported cultivating less than two hectares. Further, the poor households reportedly had even smaller plots with extremely poor access to farm inputs, such as seeds.

    Opportunities for income generation remain minimal in inaccessible areas of Bama, particularly for poor households. Many poor households are female-headed and have few income-earning household members, with a high proportion of children, sick, and elderly individuals per household. Consequently, most households' earning potential and purchasing power remain insufficient to meet their minimum essential food and non-food needs.

    Seasonal on-farm labor opportunities in exchange for income, food, or seeds for own cultivation are providing some minor access to income and food for poor households in inaccessible areas. Meanwhile, off-farm income is also limited. Most poor households sell reeds and plants for thatch-making (zana) and wild foods or casual labor when available. Others in the riverine areas sell fish to earn limited income.

    The food stocks of poor households are extremely limited in June. Cultivated food stocks from 2022 were exhausted by roughly February. With the increase in insurgents looting food from households, markets, and crop fields in 2023, household food access and availability have grown increasingly limited. Consequently, poor households rely heavily on wild food gathering and begging to access very minimal amounts of food. Based on HSM data from May 2023, wild foods currently comprise roughly half of the calories consumed per day by very poor households.

    As of April 2023, roughly 85 percent of households arriving from inaccessible areas of Bama indicated that markets are either non-functional or functioning at sub-optimal levels, leaving the only functional markets in the LGA in Bama and Banki towns. However, most households report having access in the last three months to small, informal street markets run by NSAGs with limited supplies, such as Ngurno and Bulamusaye. While formal market monitoring is not conducted in inaccessible areas, prices are reportedly atypically high, in line with national trends, primarily driven by the removal of the fuel subsidy. However, even prior to the subsidy lift, 56 percent of households from the inaccessible areas in Bama reported high food prices in the informal markets, according to April 2023 HSM data. Given the limited availability of alternative food sources, low reported incomes, high food prices, and deteriorating purchasing power, food access remains extremely minimal for poor households.

    Meanwhile, humanitarian actors cannot access these remote areas of Bama, despite the extremely high need for assistance. While several humanitarian organizations, including Mercy Corps International, INTERSOS, WFP, ZOA, FHI 360, and UNICEF, operate within Bama and Banki towns, poor and very poor households in inaccessible areas that have limited mobility are unable to reach garrison towns and consequently have no access to external assistance. Based on the May 2023 HSM bulletin, GAM prevalence among new arrivals from inaccessible areas of Bama remains elevated at 21.1 percent, with SAM prevalence at roughly 11 percent. According to nutrition partners, this is likely attributed to the compounding impacts of high food consumption deficits, as households struggle to meet food needs due to limited market access, high retail prices for available staple foods, and limited own production, and inadequate access to safe drinking water. Additionally, the high SAM caseload is partially attributable to the closure of multiple IDP camps in Maiduguri over the last two years with a resultant reduction in access to health and nutrition services in camps.

    Poor and very poor households have limited income-earning opportunities and low purchasing power amid atypically high prices for basic commodities, constraining food access. At the same time, the currency redesign policy by the CBN limits access to cash, particularly for rural communities that lack bank accounts. Additionally, seasonal morbidity from acute watery diarrhea, measles, and malaria also contributes to the high malnutrition and mortality in Bama. Due to atypically low food access in 2023 as compared with the last five years, poor households are resorting to food-based coping strategies as peak lean season approaches, including relying on less preferred and less expensive food, borrowing food, relying on help from friends or relatives, reducing the number or size of meals eaten per day, and reducing the quantity of food consumed by adults to prioritize young children. Due to the looting of food stocks by NSAGs, some poor households are reportedly going full days without eating, and households are reportedly distress-migrating to Bama and Banki towns in search of food, as reported during a FEWS NET assessment in May. Coupled with limited access to health facilities and market, these households are facing critical health challenges and substantial food consumption gaps and are using emergency coping strategies to meet food needs and are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).


    In addition to the national-level assumptions, the following assumptions apply to this area of concern:

    • Households’ access to farmland in inaccessible areas will remain limited through January 2024 due to persisting insecurity. Due to poor purchasing power, poor and very poor households are expected to have limited access to inputs such as quality seeds, fertilizer, and chemicals to support production. Consequently, cultivation of less than one hectare of land per household is expected among poor and very poor households during main season cultivation. As a result, a limited harvest is anticipated between October to December.
    • Conflict in Bama LGA will likely remain elevated through the projection period. The military operations against NSAGs, in conjunction with poor living conditions in the inaccessible areas, will continue displacing households from these areas to garrison towns.
    • Most markets within the inaccessible areas of Bama LGA are expected to remain closed through January 2024, with households relying on informal markets controlled by NSAGs. However, some households are anticipated to sneak into Bama, Banki, and other neighboring LGAs, such as Gwoza and Maiduguri, where markets are moderately functional, to access food and non-food items.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Poor and very poor households in inaccessible areas in Bama LGA will continue to have no access to humanitarian assistance or functional health facilities and, as the lean season progresses, households will have increasingly limited access to income-earning opportunities, farm inputs, and markets. These households will be unable to meet their basic food and non-food needs, especially given the atypically high staple food prices and poor market functionality. As a result, these households will likely experience large food consumption gaps, and poor households will begin selling productive assets and increase their reliance on wild food consumption, as well as engage in consumption-based coping strategies, such as reducing the number of meals per day, skipping meals, spending a day without eating, and consuming less preferred food through the peak lean season. Some households will risk their lives to escape to Bama or Banki garrison town to access food for their households. Through the peak lean season of July to September, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to persist.

    Starting in October, the main season harvest will marginally increase households’ access to food leading to slight improvements in food consumption. However, the own-produced food of poor households will not be sufficient to fill the food consumption deficits. Conflict and looting of stock will remain a constraint, and these households will have difficulties meeting their basic food needs. Non-agricultural activities such as petty trading, firewood sales, casual labor, and cap knitting will remain significantly limited and below average within inaccessible areas due to the limited demand. While preparations for dry season cultivation are expected to provide limited income opportunities to households within inaccessible areas starting after December 2023, it is likely to remain below average due to the sustained conflict and poor purchasing power to engage in cultivation. Most poor households in inaccessible areas of Bama LGA will continue to rely on bartering, wild food gatherings, begging, and limited support from friends and relatives as their primary food source, and these households will continue to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes from October through January 2024.

    High acute malnutrition levels are expected to continue increasing through the lean season (June to September 2023) due to limited food consumption, high disease prevalence, and poor access to health services, and will likely be sustained during the post-harvest season (October 2023 to January 2024) due to the limited access to health or nutrition services.

    Batsari LGA, Katsina State – (NG01) Sokoto millet, cowpeas, groundnuts, and livestock

    Batsari LGA, located in northwestern Katsina state on the border with Zamfara state and Niger Republic, has been facing conflict related to banditry, cattle rustling, and kidnapping for more than a decade. Due in part to the presence of the Rugu Forest in Katsina state, a key hideout for terrorists, militias, and banditry groups, the state has seen a high concentration of conflict, particularly in the last five years.

    Figure 14

    Batsari LGA, Katsina state
    Map showing Batsari LGA, Katsina state, Nigeria. Described under heading Areas of Concern.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Despite the ongoing military operations in the area, localized attacks by bandits and militia groups are recorded almost weekly, leading to frequent waves of population displacement. ACLED data revealed that conflict incidences peaked in 2020 and continued to decline through 2021 before slightly spiking again in 2022. While in 2023, the level of attacks in Batsari LGA are slightly lower than 2022, Batsari remains one of the most conflict-affected LGAs in Katsina state.

    Bandits are primarily involved in cattle rustling, kidnapping, and conflict with farmers, restricted farmers from accessing their farmlands. In some cases, farmers are forced to pay a ransom to access their farmlands. In rare cases, bandits send their livestock to graze in the farmers’ cropped fields. Villages have been repeatedly raided, and bandits have continued to raze grain silos to access food. Consequently, farmers have atypically low food stocks, resulting in poor food availability and access, and have faced an early onset to the lean season in affected areas.

    According to IOM’s Northwest and Northcentral Needs Monitoring Report from April 2023, Katsina state hosts over 250,000 IDPs and has the largest number of IDPs across the northcentral and northwestern states. According to IOM, between 22,000 and 50,000 people are estimated to have been displaced in Batsari LGA since 2020. However, more precise IDP population data is not available. Most of these populations are displaced to major urban areas in Batsari LGA, neighboring LGAs such as Jibia, Safana, or Katsina in Katsina state, and Kaura Namoda in Zamfara state. Meanwhile, there are also over 3,000 IDPs from Batsari LGA in Katsina town. Given that there is no official IDP camp in Batsari LGA, IDPs are in host communities and makeshift camps in Batsari, Ruma, and Madogara, while others are residing with host communities in Abadau, Dan Geza, Darini, Karane, Kandawa, Garwa, and Rumah. However, the elderly and children who are largely immobile due to physical or financial barriers remain in difficult-to-access areas.

    A small proportion of displaced households are returning to Wagini, Dankar, Kandawa, and Yandaka settlements, where the banditry and kidnapping have relatively declined. These IDPs are relocating to homesteads while others travel to rural areas to work on their farms and return to urban areas, including Katsina and Batsari. While there are no formal restrictions on movement, fear of attacks in localized areas, particularly during night travel, prevents many households from moving outside of their settlements.

    Cultivation is typically the primary source of food in Batsari, and poor households tend to cultivate millet and sorghum, along with some maize and sweet potato. In 2022, REACH Initiative conducted a household-representative baseline Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA) for Northwest Nigeria and found that while roughly 80 percent of all households reported having access to land for cultivation, 64 percent of those households indicated safety is the primary barrier for physically accessing this land. It is estimated that poor and very poor households have considerably more limited financial and physical access to land. During a FEWS NET field assessment to Katsina in May 2023, key informants estimated that only about 20 percent of the poor households in Batsari cultivated during the 20222 main season. While households generally cultivated millet, maize, sorghum, cowpea, cotton, groundnut, and benniseed, it was at below-average levels due to restricted access to land, low household purchasing power, and high input prices. However, a key informant reported that engagement in cultivation during the main season is slightly higher than last year in some areas away from the Rugu forest in Batsari LGA due to increased levels of return to homesteads.

    Dry season cultivation, which ended in June, was below average in Batsari. Due to the scale of conflict and the mobility of armed groups in Batsari LGA during the dry season, dry season cultivation has been impacted considerably over the last several years. Over the last several months, the attacks have displaced farmers and reduced access to irrigable areas. Additionally, the high fuel prices have made powering generators for irrigation inaccessible for many households, and the reduced purchasing power and lack of agriculture inputs have reduced the area planted during dry season cultivation. Consequently, some key informants during a FEWS NET assessment in Katsina state indicated that only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of households in Batsari engaged in dry season cultivation, mainly of vegetables, rice, and green maize, which has only lasted through the month of June for most households.

    Due to the consecutive seasons of below-average main and dry harvests due to the persisting conflict, most poor households exhausted their food stocks as soon as the harvest period ended in December 2022, driving an atypically early onset to the lean season for these households. Consequently, poor households are primarily relying on market purchases as their main source of food.

    During a normal year, the main source of income for poor households is from agricultural labor, supplemented by off-farm activities, including selling firewood, petty trade, brickmaking, and construction. In 2023, however, agricultural labor demand remains lower than average as most households in Batsari are displaced, have limited land access, and have low purchasing power to buy inputs. Livestock rearing and trading, another main livelihood activity in the area, has been diminished due to cattle rustling and conflict. Thus, most households, particularly the poor, have no or limited livestock holding and limited capacity to use or sell livestock to access income. Consequently, poor households rely heavily on alternative livelihoods and negative coping strategies to access income.

    As peak lean season approaches and due to the confluence of shocks faced by poor and displaced households, many rely on begging as a major income source in urban areas, especially among female-headed households. While some families receive support from social and familial networks or remittances from male household members who engage in labor migration to urban areas to engage in work, others incur debts to access food. In the REACH MSNA baseline assessment in 2022, roughly 75 percent of households in Batsari indicated they took on debt in the last six months, 65 percent of whom reported this was to access food. Given the sustained conflict and displacement, and the recent rise in economic shocks and spiking market prices, it is likely that the proportion of households taking debt has grown since 2022, particularly among poor households.

    The prolonged conflict has reduced the functionality of most markets in Batsari LGA. Only markets in Batsari, Wagini, Kandawa, and Yandaka towns are reportedly functioning and at substantially below-average levels. Thus, key informants indicated to FEWS NET that market supply was far below the levels recorded last year and the five-year average levels due to the persisting conflict. Additionally, given poor access to income-generating activities, low wages, and low purchasing power, market demand is reportedly lower than last year and the average. However, most poorer households have resorted to begging, seeking community support, and wild food consumption to access limited food. Food purchases on credit are also common, while others rely on remittances from household members in urban areas to access food. Maize, millet, and sorghum, the major staples in the area (Wagini market) have increased month-on-month from 27,000 to 30,000 NGN/100kg in May 2023 to 38,000 to 40,000/100kg bag in June, likely due to poor supply amid high transportation costs.

    The prolonged lean season and persisting banditry, kidnapping, and cattle rustling continue to restrict poor households' income and food access in Batsari LGA. These households have limited income-earning opportunities and low purchasing power as labor becomes more competitive, largely driven by an increasing IDP population amid below-average labor demand and poor wages. Most of poor households in Batsari have no remaining food stocks and are primarily dependent on market purchases amid atypically elevated staple food prices. The situation is further exacerbated by fuel subsidy removal, a hike in transportation costs, and currency devaluation. Some of these households are reliant on wild foods and limited remittances from relations in urban areas. Many are engaged in begging to access little income. Most of these households are expected to experience food consumption gaps and high levels of acute malnutrition and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    While there is limited information about acute malnutrition outcomes in Batsari LGA, according to MSF, from January to May 2023, the malnutrition caseload has increased in Northwest Nigeria by 26 percent as compared to the same period in 2022. 


    In addition to the national assumptions above, the most likely scenario for the June 2023 to January 2024 period for this area is based on the following assumptions:

    • The main season harvest will start in September/October, though the harvest will be below average and likely above last year. More people are expected to return to homesteads and likely have increased access to farmlands; however, the conflict, poor purchasing power, and high fuel prices will likely continue to limit the areas planted.
    • Due to the limited presence of humanitarian actors, assistance will remain limited in the area throughout the outlook period. The state government will continue to solicit humanitarian support from the federal government, corporate organizations, wealthy individuals, and donor agencies. Wealthy individuals will continue to provide limited humanitarian assistance.
    • Due to the persisting conflict, market activities will remain disrupted throughout the scenario period and likely will improve slightly during the main season harvest and dry season period due to increased road accessibility in the area.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    During peak lean season, poor households will depend on limited levels of on-farm labor, petty trading, and firewood sales to access income to buy food; however, this will likely not be enough for households to meet their minimum food needs. These households will primarily depend on market purchases through the lean season amid atypically high staple food prices and low purchasing power. Some households are expected to rely heavily on wild foods to help fill food consumption gaps, while others will rely on begging or incurring debts to access little income for food. Consequently, households are expected to experience moderate food consumption gaps and will likely face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through September 2023 and high levels of acute malnutrition.

    The main season harvest will start in Batsari in October, but poor and very poor households will have limited own harvest given their minimal engagement in crop cultivation, driving households to maintain reliance on markets. For households who did cultivate, the repeated displacement due to persisting conflict and anticipated flooding during the 2023 wet season will limit production. In December, households will largely rely on brick molding and construction labor work as income sources, while others will migrate to urban areas to seek income. Meanwhile, the very poor will depend on support from relatives and friends. Due to the sustained macroeconomic crisis, wages will remain below average through January, and households will have low and below-average purchasing power. Thus, poor households will continue to have limited food access, face moderate food consumption gaps, and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through January 2024.  

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Nigeria Food Security Outlook June 2023 to January 2024: Emergency (IPC Phase 4) expected in parts of northeast through 2023 harvest, 2023. 


    This increase may be partially influenced by fluctuations in the number of LGAs that IOM was able to assess. 


    The subsidy covered only petrol fuel, not diesel fuel. Staple foods are generally transported by diesel trucks from the surplus-producing areas in the north to deficit-producing areas in the south, and petrol-based vehicles are used for local transport to urban and satellite markets.

    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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