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Food assistance needs will remain high across northern Nigeria through January 2025

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Nigeria
  • June 2024 - January 2025
Food assistance needs will remain high across northern Nigeria through January 2025

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  • Key Messages
  • Analysis in brief
  • Food security context
  • Current food security conditions as of June 2024
  • Analysis of key food and income sources
  • Humanitarian food assistance
  • Current acute food insecurity outcomes as of June 2024
  • Key assumptions about atypical food security conditions through January 2025
  • Projected acute food insecurity outcomes through January 2025
  • Events that may change projected acute food insecurity outcomes
  • Featured area of concern
  • Annex: Most likely acute food insecurity outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian food assistance
  • Key Messages
    • Conflict continues to drive widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in Northeast, North West, and North Central Nigeria. Many years of protracted conflict in the Northeast and escalating conflict in the North West and North Central is disrupting livelihood activities, limiting access to income-generating activities, driving population displacement, and constraining food access. In inaccessible areas of the Northeast, households will likely face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes through January 2025 as they continue to have restricted mobility, reduced access to markets, and depleted coping capacity.
    • FEWS NET estimates that between 17 and 18 million people will need humanitarian assistance in the June to August 2024 lean season. Of highest concern includes the population in inaccessible areas, the displaced population in garrison towns, and the IDPs in camps in the Northeast. These are closely followed by the displaced population in the North West and North Central states.
    • The macroeconomic crisis persists, with inflation hitting a nearly 30-year high and the continued devaluation of the Nigerian naira. Households across the country face increased prices for basic necessities, while labor wages have not been able to keep up, driving widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Vulnerable households, including IDPs, who are facing multiple shocks, including conflict and the macroeconomic crisis, are worst affected. 
    • Humanitarian food assistance in the Northeast reached about one million beneficiaries with about 70 percent of their caloric needs monthly. IDPs in camps are the main beneficiaries of this assistance. However, food assistance is expected to be scaled down in October after the main season harvest, even though needs will remain elevated. 

    Analysis in brief

    Expanding conflict in northern Nigeria drives high food assistance needs

    Figure 1. Price of maize in select markets, May 2024
    Price of maize in select markets, May 2024

    Source: FEWS NET

    Nigeria faces significant food security challenges exacerbated by escalating conflicts, economic instability, and atypical staple food prices. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in many regions until at least early 2025, particularly in Northeast, North West, and North Central states. The conflict in the Northeast, especially in Borno State, has led to depleted food stocks, reduced purchasing power, and restricted food access for internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and households in inaccessible areas. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are likely through January 2025 in inaccessible local government areas (LGAs) of the Northeast, notably in Abadam, Bama, Guzamala, and Marte LGAs.

    In Northeast Nigeria, the hardest hit by conflict, and increasingly in North West and North Central states, many households have been displaced, have lost or abandoned their assets and have limited income opportunities. High food prices and strained social support systems worsen the situation. IDPs in Northeast camps receive about 70 percent of their monthly caloric needs through humanitarian food assistance. However, this aid is expected to scale down in October after the main harvest.

    Nigeria continues to a macroeconomic crisis with persistent revenue deficits, rising inflation, and currency devaluation. Inflation hit a record 33.95 percent in May 2024, driven by high food and transportation costs. The Nigerian naira has depreciated over 90 percent year-on-year, reducing household purchasing power and limiting food access for poorer households. Consequently, staple food prices remain significantly above average, making it difficult for many households to meet basic food needs (Figure 1).

    Despite some seasonal improvements in food and income access associated with crop and livestock production in October, acute food insecurity is expected to remain severe in northern Nigeria. The recent dry season harvest slightly increased food stocks for some households, but staple food prices remain significantly above average at the beginning of the lean season when households are increasingly reliant on market purchases. Livestock prices are atypically high, and labor wages, while increased, are outpaced by the depreciation of the naira. Poorer households, particularly those in conflict-affected areas, will continue to face difficulties meeting their basic food needs. Humanitarian food assistance needs are expected to increase through the June to September 2024 lean season and will remain elevated even in the post-harvest period. A scale-up in humanitarian food assistance, particularly in North West and North Central states, will be essential to address the ongoing and severe food security challenges across Nigeria, while humanitarian assistance must be sustained in the Northeast.

    Learn more

    The analysis in this report is based on information available as of June 14, 2024. Follow these links for additional information: 

    Food security context

    Since the rise of the non-state armed group (NSAG) Boko Haram in 2009, the Northeast has been grappling with conflict characterized by violent attacks, kidnappings, and the destruction of property. The rise of Islamic State West African Provinces (ISWAP) and Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (JAS) splinter groups has further destabilized the region. Since 2011, conflict has expanded into North West and North Central states, where armed banditry and cattle rustling have intensified significantly, further escalating decades-long tensions between farmers and herders, leading to frequent violent clashes, mass abductions, and displacement. In 2021, the conflict escalated to an unprecedented level, with record levels of violence persisting into the early parts of 2024, significantly reducing humanitarian access across many states in North West and North Central Nigeria. 

    Nigeria is also facing a macroeconomic crisis, including record inflation. In May 2024, the annual inflation rate reached a 28-year record high of 33.95 percent, while food inflation rose to 40.53 percent, driven by factors including currency depreciation and high transportation and import costs. In June 2023, the government lifted a long-standing fuel subsidy, leading to soaring fuel prices. This decision sharply increased the cost of goods and services, exacerbating an already challenging economic situation for many Nigerians. Economic instability is further strained by fluctuations in global oil prices, given Nigeria's dependence on oil exports. Nigeria’s inability to meet the OPEC+ monthly oil production quota has led to a substantial drop in government revenue and a decline in foreign reserves. 

    Multiple shocks, including protracted conflict and a macroeconomic crisis, have eroded livelihoods across Nigeria. While livelihoods vary, agriculture remains dominant for most rural households. Conflict in the north, previously a key area for surplus crop production, has disrupted agriculture and reduced yields. High inflation and economic volatility worsen these issues by making food less affordable. June, the current situation for this report, typically marks the start of the lean season with rising food prices, but the lean season has begun earlier in recent years as households deplete food stocks sooner. Insecurity limits market access and the movement of goods, isolating communities and preventing surplus food distribution even during the post-harvest period (September to January). These compounded shocks have disrupted the seasonal food availability cycles, leading to high levels of need year-round.

    Figure 2. Seasonal calendar for a typical year in northern Nigeria
    Seasonal calendar for Northern Nigeria

    The full set of seasonal calendars for Nigeria is available here.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security conditions as of June 2024

    Early warning of acute food insecurity outcomes requires forecasting outcomes months in advance to provide decision makers with sufficient time to budget, plan, and respond to expected humanitarian crises. However, due to the complex and variable factors that influence acute food insecurity, definitive predictions are impossible. Scenario Development is the methodology that allows FEWS NET to meet decision makers’ needs by developing a “most likely” scenario of the future. The starting point for scenario development is a robust analysis of current food security conditions, which is the focus of this section.

    Key guiding principles for FEWS NET’s scenario development process include applying the Disaster Risk Reduction framework and a livelihoods-based lens to assessing acute food insecurity outcomes. A household’s risk of acute food insecurity is a function of not only hazards (such as a drought) but also the household’s vulnerability to those hazards (for example, the household’s level of dependence on rainfed crop production for food and income) and coping capacity (which considers both household capacity to cope with a given hazard and the use of negative coping strategies that harm future coping capacity). To evaluate these factors, FEWS NET grounds this analysis in a strong foundational understanding of local livelihoods, which are the means by which a household meets their basic needs. FEWS NET’s scenario development process also accounts for the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework; the Four Dimensions of Food Security; and UNICEF’s Nutrition Conceptual Framework, and is closely aligned with the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analytical framework.

    Key hazards 

    Conflict: Conflict across northern Nigeria continues to lead to loss of life, large-scale population displacement, property damage and loss of assets, and disruption of livelihoods. In Northeast Nigeria, Damboa, Abadam, Marte, Konduga, Bama, Dikwa, Gwoza, Kukawa, and Ngala LGAs (Borno state) and Geidam and Gujba LGAs (Yobe state) remain the areas most affected by conflict linked to violent extremist organizations (VEOs). Throughout 2023, the frequency and intensity of VEO attacks increased by over 20 percent compared to 2022 levels, and a high level of intensity continued into early 2024, spurred by increased mobility of armed groups during the dry season. In addition to attacks on government forces, with a high rate of civilian casualties, fighting between ISWAP and JAS has continued through the first half of 2024. 

    Violence associated with banditry—especially in North West and North Central regions—continued to escalate in the first quarter of 2024. Notable increases in the targeting of civilians were reported in Katsina, Niger, Kebbi, Plateau, and Kaduna states, while attacks persisted in Sokoto, Zamfara, and Benue states. Record levels of violence were recorded in Katsina State in early 2024, following a spike in attacks on civilians. Bandits have recently intensified attacks along the road from Sokoto to Gusau by mounting illegal checkpoints and kidnapping travelers.

    Operations by the Nigerian army against bandit groups have continued to take place, primarily concentrated in the Northeast. However, these have not succeeded in significantly degrading the operational capabilities of organized bandit groups, as military resources are spread thin. Local self-defense and vigilante groups have continued strengthening in Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states with the support of local authorities and security forces.

    In the first half of 2024, attacks, abductions, and social unrest persisted in the Southeast and South South, with increased Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) activity and a rise in opportunistic kidnappings. An increase in the tempo of military operations has resulted in the partial degradation of armed groups in the region, leading to decreases in complex attacks targeting security forces.

    Macroeconomy: Nigeria’s macroeconomic crisis continues to worsen due to persisting revenue generation deficits, increasing inflation, and continued currency devaluation (Figure 3). According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), external reserves slightly increased to 33.90 billion USD in late June 2024, up from 32.69 billion USD in May 2024. However, reserves were lower than the average value of 34.59 billion USD in June 2023, indicating a decline of about 5 percent relative to the previous year.  

    Annual headline inflation has accelerated, reaching a record high of 33.95 percent in May relative to 33.69 percent in April 2024 . High food prices and transportation costs are primarily driving the increase. Food inflation jumped to 40.66 percent in May, compared to 24.82 percent in May 2023. In late June, the NGN exchanged for about 1,499/USD, a depreciation by over 90 percent year-on-year relative to June 2023.

    Figure 3. Annual headline inflation and Nigerian Naira (NGN) to USD exchange rate, January 2023 to May 2024
    Annual headline inflation and Nigerian Naira (NGN) to USD exchange rate, January 2023 to May 2024

    Source: Central Bank of Nigeria/FEWS NET

    Analysis of key food and income sources

    Crop production: The dry season harvest concluded in May, slightly increasing food stocks for some households that are able to cultivate along major floodplains. As the growing season continues across the country in June, weeding, chemical pesticide applications, and land preparation are underway, depending on the area. In bimodal zones of the south, weeding and pesticide application continue at about average levels, slightly impacted by the high import cost and lower purchasing power of most households. In northern areas, many people are engaged in land preparation, planting, and weeding at levels relatively higher than last year's, except in the worst conflict-affected areas with lower levels of cultivation relative to the previous year. However, overall, crop cultivation and related activities are below normal due to high input costs and lower purchasing power.

    Poor households typically depend on agricultural labor opportunities from middle and better-off households. Agricultural labor wages are relatively higher than the previous year and the five-year average in response to the currency's depreciation. Furthermore, labor competition has increased due to below-average levels of cultivation, particularly in conflict-affected areas.

    Livestock production: Livestock production is most important in the country's Northeast and North West areas, where very poor and poor households depend on animal rearing or livestock and livestock product sales for 60 to 80 percent of their food and income needs. Livestock production continues to decline due to rustling activities in northern areas. However, livestock trade and sales surged in the lead-up to the Eid-el-Adha holiday in June, increasing income and, thus, food access for livestock traders and households along the livestock value chains. Livestock prices are atypically high across the country, particularly in deficit areas of the south. In May 2024, sheep sold for about 140,000 NGN in Ibadan, Oyo state, which is about 40 percent above prices same time last year. Pastoralists have relocated to unusual areas to evade attacks by bandits, reducing livestock availability in native areas in parts of the north. Some traders have resorted to importing livestock from Niger, Chad, and Cameroon to meet local demand.

    Off-own-farm sources of income: Across the country, labor wages have increased, although the increase is not commensurate with the depreciation of the naira. In May 2024, the labor union negotiated with the government and private-sector employers to raise the minimum wage. The government has agreed to increase the national minimum wage to 60,000 naira a month, double the current minimum wage. However, this remains well below the requests of the labor unions. To earn some income, urban poor households are engaged in unskilled labor such as construction work, water vending, petty trading, driving motorcycle taxis, and selling crafts and firewood. Migration from rural to urban areas has increased competition for these unskilled labor opportunities, decreasing poor households’ access to income. Mining activities are also common in some localized areas in Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna, and Zamfara states, though disrupted by intense attacks by non-state armed groups (NSAGs), constraining income earned from this source. 

    The central bank of Nigeria revealed that direct foreign remittances declined to 282.61 million USD during the first quarter of 2024 from 301.57 million USD in the first quarter of the previous year, a decline of about 6.3 percent. However, remittances increased in April 2024 to over 193.31 million USD, and subsequently increased by about 47 percent in May relative to the previous month. Thus, many poor households are benefitting from the increased flow of remittances into the country.

    Figure 4. Market functioning in Lake Chad region, as of May 2024
    Market functioning in Lake Chad region, as of May 2024

    Source: FEWS NET

    Markets supplies and functioning: Dependence on markets typically increases as the lean season approaches and households deplete their own-produced stocks. However, most poorer households and displaced populations have resorted to market purchases atypically early due to conflict, flooding, and other natural disasters. In the Northeast, markets are gradually becoming operational and more functional relative to previous months, as more displaced households return to some difficult-to-access areas. However, markets along the Lake Chad axis, particularly in Marte, Kalabalge, Jere, Damasak, Mafa, Dikwa, Mobbar, Kukawa, Konduga, and Bama LGAs, are functioning substantially below normal levels due to the presence of NSAGs in these areas, limiting movement and trade activities (Figure 4). Similarly, in conflict-affected regions in parts of eastern Sokoto, western Kaduna, and eastern Niger states, market functionality is below normal (Figure 5). Market stocks are generally low and below average across the country as the lean season begins in surplus-producing areas, contributing to atypically high staple food prices. However, market supply remains sufficient to meet household demand. 

    Household purchasing capacity for food and non-food items: Overall, staple food prices are seasonally increasing following the onset of the lean season across most of the country. Staple food prices remain significantly above average across the country due to below-average production of locally produced staples and the continued devaluation of the NGN, which is driving up imported food costs. For example, maize prices in key markets across northern Nigeria are more than 130 percent higher than in May 2023 prices and 225 percent higher than the five-year average. 

    High prices are reducing the disposable income of most households across the country, particularly in conflict prone areas. In addition, increased competition for income-earning opportunities has further reduced household purchasing power for most poorer households across the country.

    Figure 5. Market functioning in North West and North Central Nigeria, as of May 2024
    Market functioning in North West and North Central Nigeria, as of May 2024

    Source: FEWS NET

    Other: Since 2016, the government of Nigeria has established a national social safety net coordinating office (NASSCO) to register all vulnerable households across the country. The agency aims to support over 68 million poor and vulnerable households with assistance across the country. However, data on beneficiaries is limited. 

    Humanitarian food assistance

    Humanitarian food assistance—defined as emergency food assistance (in-kind, cash, or voucher)—may play a key role in mitigating the severity of acute food insecurity outcomes. FEWS NET analysts always incorporate available information on food assistance, with the caveat that information on food assistance is highly variable across geographies and over time. In line with IPC protocols, FEWS NET uses the best available information to assess where food assistance is “significant” (defined by at least 25 percent of households in a given area receiving at least 25 percent of their caloric requirements through food assistance); see report Annex. In addition, FEWS NET conducts deeper analysis of the likely impacts of food assistance on the severity of outcomes, as detailed in FEWS NET’s guidance on Integrating Humanitarian Food Assistance into Scenario Development. Other types of assistance (e.g., livelihoods or nutrition assistance; social safety net programs) are incorporated elsewhere in FEWS NET’s broader analysis, as applicable. 

    Humanitarian food assistance, primarily distributed in IDP camps in Northeast Nigeria, was at a seasonal low from September 2023 through March 2024. In March, about 1 million people received humanitarian food assistance across three states, Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe, primarily in the form of cash or voucher. However, the number of food assistance beneficiaries is relatively lower by about 28 percent compared to March 2023. This is attributable to limited funding and the closure of some IDP camps in Borno state, where most of the displaced population resides. In North West and North Central regions, partners are also providing some assistance to conflict-affected households in makeshift camps and others in host communities; however, information on the number of beneficiaries and size of assistance is limited. Information from partners and key informants indicates that this assistance is not well targeted and is substantially below the anticipated level for the affected communities and populations.  

    Current acute food insecurity outcomes as of June 2024

    Based on the analysis of food security conditions, FEWS NET then assesses the extent to which households are able to meet their minimum caloric needs. This analysis converges evidence of food security conditions with available direct evidence of household-level food consumption and livelihood change; FEWS NET also considers available area-level evidence of nutritional status and mortality, with a focus on assessing if these reflect the physiological impacts of acute food insecurity rather than other non-food-related factors. Ultimately, FEWS NET uses the globally recognized five-phase Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) scale to classify current acute food insecurity outcomes. In addition, FEWS NET applies the “!” symbol to designate areas where the mapped IPC Phase would likely be at least one IPC Phase worse without the effects of ongoing humanitarian food assistance.

    In northern areas, a below-average dry season harvest, high transportation costs, unseasonably high staple food prices, and poor economic indicators have substantially reduced household purchasing power, leading to atypically low financial access to food. The persisting and escalating conflict in northern areas has led to increased population displacement and limited livelihood activities across the regions. 

    • Prolonged conflict in the Northeast has resulted in substantial damage to livelihoods and huge population displacement through 2024. In Adamawa, Yobe, and southern Borno states, many households were able to engage in recent dry season cultivation, though at below average levels. These households are able to meet basic food needs and face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Areas worse affected by the conflict in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states either remain displaced or have constrained income-earning opportunities and limited humanitarian assistance, facing food consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. IDPs in camps in the Northeast mainly rely on some level of food assistance, which prevents worse food security conditions. These households are able to meet basic food needs and are Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!). Households in difficult-to-access areas that are most affected by the conflict in the Northeast are unable to access any assistance. They have exhausted food stocks from the harvest, and they are mainly dependent on foraging, begging, and bartering to earn meager income and access food. Markets are rarely functioning in these areas, including in Abadam, Bama, Marte, and Guzamala LGAs in Borno state, which are facing wide food consumption gaps and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.
    • In Northwest and North Central States, areas less affected by the conflict are engaged in agricultural labor to earn a little income and face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Displaced households in Northwest and North Central states mainly reside in makeshift camps and have limited assistance. Some of them have been displaced multiple times and are unable to engage in normal livelihood activities. These households mainly rely on menial work to earn a limited income, facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes with moderate food consumption gaps. Some households resort to begging, prostitution, and foraging, facing wide food consumption gaps and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, although they represent less than 20 percent of the population.

    As the lean season continues in June in the surplus-producing areas in the north, food flows continue towards the southern areas, where most households depend on market purchases. However, staple flows are relatively low due to the below-average harvest in the previous years. Market purchases will continue to increase in southern areas due to the below-average harvest in southern areas. Given the poor economic situation across the country, many households will have difficulty meeting their basic needs and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. 

    Key assumptions about atypical food security conditions through January 2025

    The next step in FEWS NET’s scenario development process is to develop evidence-based assumptions about factors that affect food security conditions. This includes hazards and anomalies in food security conditions that will affect the evolution of household food and income during the projection period, as well as factors that may affect nutritional status. FEWS NET also develops assumptions on factors that are expected to behave normally. Together, these assumptions underpin the “most likely” scenario. The sequence of making assumptions is important; primary assumptions (e.g., expectations pertaining to weather) must be developed before secondary assumptions (e.g., expectations pertaining to crop or livestock production). Key assumptions that underpin this analysis, and the key sources of evidence used to develop the assumptions, are listed below.

    National assumptions

    • Given that revenue generation remains poor, the macroeconomic crisis is expected to persist, further exacerbated by the combined impacts of conflict, currency depreciation, and rising inflation.
    • According to NOAA, average to above-average dry spells are expected at the beginning and towards the end of the rainy season in Nigeria. Above-average river flows are anticipated, likely leading to a high risk of localized floods in major rivers in West Africa, including the Niger, Komadougou, and Volta rivers, particularly in the August to October period.
    • National production is anticipated to be lower than in the previous year and in the pre-conflict period due to persisting conflict in surplus-producing areas across the north, the high cost of agricultural inputs, and macroeconomic challenges impacting income generation.
    • Market supply of key staples is anticipated to be considerably below average from June to September due to below-average 2023 production and high fuel and transportation costs. Supply is expected to seasonally improve from October to December due to the 2024 main season harvest but remain below average due to the anticipated low production. 
    • Cross-border exports are expected to increase through the scenario period due to the depreciation of the NGN against the Central African Franc (CFA), particularly for manufactured goods and staples. Cross-border trade of livestock will continue but will be significantly below the previous year’s level and the five-year average. Accordingly, cross-border importation of cash crops (e.g., cowpeas, groundnuts, and sesame) and livestock from neighboring countries into Nigeria is anticipated to be below average. 
    • Across the country, staple food prices are expected to remain significantly above average throughout the projection period.
    • Livestock prices will remain above average due to the anticipated below-average supply and a general increase in the price of goods and services resulting from the knock-on effect of the fuel subsidy removal and currency devaluation.
    • Main season cultivation will provide on-farm labor opportunities for poor households through December. However, the compounded impacts of ongoing conflict, high input prices, and deteriorating purchasing power of middle and wealthy households are limiting cultivation in the primary producing areas of the north, resulting in reduced demand for on-farm labor. 
    • Access to off-farm labor and self-employment, such as petty trade, construction, and other unskilled labor, is expected to remain below average nationally through the scenario period. The supply of labor and petty traders is expected to continue increasing as displacement continues in the northern states through the projection period.
    • Domestic remittances are anticipated to be below both the previous year’s level and the average through January 2025 due to ongoing poor macroeconomic conditions. Meanwhile, international remittances are expected to be near to above average through the scenario period as the NGN weakens against foreign currencies.

    Subnational assumptions for Northeast Nigeria

    • Conflict levels within inaccessible areas in Bama LGA will likely remain higher than last year through January 2025. Activities of NSAGs, such as disruption of routine farming activities during the wet season, looting of farm produce, and abduction of farmers, are anticipated to increase during the main season cultivation from June to January 2025.
    • Population displacement will likely continue throughout the scenario period.
    • The main season harvest in early October will be below average. 
    • Markets within inaccessible areas within Bama LGA such as Gulumba, Rijiya, Kuntebogomari, Darajamal, Jere, Walasa, and Kumshe will likely remain closed throughout the outlook period. 
    • Agricultural labor demand will remain limited during the main season. Dry season activities starting in December 2024 will likely remain significantly below average compared to last year due to high conflict, limited access to agricultural inputs, and the high cost of dry season production. 

    Subnational assumptions for North West and North Central Nigeria

    • Conflict related to banditry and intercommunal tensions, particularly in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Benue, and Plateau states, is expected to stay stable through July 2024 before increasing again through the end of the period driven in part by deteriorating economic conditions, political dynamics, and the end of the rainy season. 
    • Due to the ongoing conflict, typical livestock movement in Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina will be well below average.

    Humanitarian food assistance

    • Despite funding constraints, humanitarian food assistance will persist through January 2025, particularly for IDPs in camps in the Northeast. While detailed information on planned humanitarian assistance is not available, assistance will likely continue to reach about 1 million beneficiaries monthly through the end of the lean season, with about a 70 percent ration. Historical trends show a decrease in humanitarian assistance around October, with the beginning of the main season harvest; though, IDPs will likely continue to receive aid. However, humanitarian access constraints continue to limit the impact of assistance, particularly for households in inaccessible areas. 
    • While FEWS NET does not have information on planned assistance in the North West and North Central States, humanitarian food assistance will likely continue in conflict-affected, including Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states; however, assistance is expected to remain limited and at similar or lower levels to last year.
    Table 1
    Key sources of evidence FEWS NET analysts incorporated into the development of the above assumptions 
    Key sources of evidence:
     Weather and flood forecasts produced by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, USGS, the Climate Hazards Center at the University of California Santa Barbara, and NASAConflict analysis and forecasts produced by ACLED and other sources2024 Seasonal Climate prediction for BAY states presented to Borno FSS by NiMET in April 2024.
    FEWS NET rapid field assessment conducted in Sokoto, North West, and Bama, Bama LGA of Borno state, Northeast in May 2024Humanitarian Situation Monitoring (HSM) in inaccessible areas survey result table and report. April 2024

    Crude oil production data by Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission


    Outcome Analysis conducted by FEWS NET and other partners, including SCI, ACF, IRC, WFP, and government partners, covering NG05, NG09, and NG14 across Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states in May 2024UNICEF SAM admission trend analysis from January to April 2024 Annual Inflation and Consumer Price Index- Data by the National Bureau of Statistics
    Data on Nigeria’s foreign reserve- by the Central Bank of Nigeria 



    Projected acute food insecurity outcomes through January 2025

    Using the key assumptions that underpin the “most likely” scenario, FEWS NET is then able to project acute food insecurity outcomes by assessing the evolution of households’ ability to meet their minimum caloric needs throughout the projection period. Similar to the analysis of current acute food insecurity outcomes, FEWS NET converges expectations of the likely trajectory of household-level food consumption and livelihood change with area-level nutritional status and mortality. FEWS NET then classifies acute food insecurity outcomes using the IPC scale. Lastly, FEWS NET applies the “!” symbol to designate any areas where the mapped IPC Phase would likely be at least one IPC Phase worse without the effects of planned–and likely to be funded and delivered–food assistance. 

    Conflict-affected population in the Northeast: Poorer households in inaccessible areas in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states will continue to face difficult access to humanitarian assistance, limited access to farm inputs, restricted income-generating opportunities, and constrained market access coupled with atypical staple prices. These households will have difficulties meeting basic food and non-food needs and will likely experience large food consumption gaps. As such, they will rely heavily on foraging, begging, and bartering and will continue to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food security outcomes during the lean period through September 2024. The main season harvest starting in October will marginally increase households' access to food, slightly improving food consumption but not to a sufficient degree to close the gap. Looting of food stocks, ongoing conflict, and displacement will remain challenging, and very poor households will have difficulties meeting their basic food needs. Thus, they are expected to continue experiencing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes through January 2025.

    Displaced households in garrison towns of the Northeast will continue to experience low purchasing power due to increasing staple food prices amid high reliance on market purchases. Due to increasingly high competition for income-earning opportunities as more households move to urban areas, many will continue to face food consumption gaps. The early start of the lean season will lead to an increasing number of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through at least September. Some households will engage in limited agricultural labor to earn meager income and increase food access. In October, market-dependent households are expected to have increased food access due to increased market food supply and decreased staple prices. Some of these households will likely be able to meet their basic food but not non-food needs, facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes between October 2024 and January 2025.

    IDPs remaining in camps will continue to benefit from humanitarian food assistance, meeting about 70 percent of their basic needs. Humanitarian actors will likely continue to scale up assistance targeting the IDPs in camps, who will likely face Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes through September. Considering the anticipated decrease in funding during the main harvest, likely increases in population displacement with the growing conflict, increased competition for assistance, and the scale-down of humanitarian food aid, many IDPs will be unable to access food assistance starting in October 2024. These IDPs will likely experience food consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through January 2025. 

    Households in the North West and North Central states,particularly in Sokoto, Zamfara, Plateau, Benue, Katsina, Niger, and Kaduna states, are highly affected by farmer/herder conflict, kidnappings, and banditry, and they remain displaced in major urban settlements. These households have limited support and mainly depend on market purchases despite restricted income opportunities and atypically high staple prices, as a result facing constrained food access. This will be further exacerbated by the economic crisis across the country. As a result, these households are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through the lean season. Most of these households will continue to rely on market purchases during the harvest and to face consumption gaps through January 2025. Most urban IDPs in the North West, particularly in Sokoto, Katsina, and Zamfara states, will continue resorting to negative livelihood coping strategies associated with Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, including begging and prostitution. However, the worst-off households will likely also rely on food-based coping strategies, including skipping meals or going days without eating. However, these IDP populations represent less than the 20 percent threshold for area-level classification.

    Populations in areas less impacted by the conflict and engaged in certain levels of dry season cultivation and agricultural labor will be able to meet basic food but not non-food needs, and they will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September. Some households will consume their limited own-produced food during the harvest period. Consequently, many households will likely be able to meet basic needs, and they will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes between October 2024 and January 2025.

    Events that may change projected acute food insecurity outcomes

    While FEWS NET’s projections are considered the “most likely” scenario, there is always a degree of uncertainty in the assumptions that underpin the scenario. This means food security conditions and their impacts on acute food security may evolve differently than projected. FEWS NET issues monthly updates to its projections, but decision makers need advance information about this uncertainty and an explanation of why things may turn out differently than projected. As such, the final step in FEWS NET’s scenario development process is to briefly identify key events that would result in a credible alternative scenario and significantly change the projected outcomes. FEWS NET only considers scenarios that have a reasonable chance of occurrence.


    Widespread and above-average flooding across the country

    Likely impact on acute food insecurity outcomes: Flooding in Nigeria usually peaks between July and August. If widespread and above-average flooding occurs, cropped areas, livestock, and infrastructure will be damaged or destroyed, particularly farmland along major floodplains. Substantial land areas will be damaged by flooding, resulting in below-average harvests. Many households in affected areas will be displaced, increasing the population in need as the lean season peaks. Crop harvests will likely be below average, particularly in the case of rice, which is usually cultivated along floodplains. The destroyed infrastructure will lead to detours, increased transportation costs, and higher staple food prices. Affected communities will resort to markets earlier than usual, leading to sustained high market purchases and atypically high staple prices. The population facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes would likely significantly increase in the worst flood-affected areas. 

    North West and North Central States

    Large-scale increase in humanitarian assistance

    Likely impact on acute food insecurity outcomes: A large-scale increase in humanitarian assistance would enable displaced households to access increased assistance both in the North West and North Central states. With increased assistance, many households would be able to access more food and reduce their reliance on begging and foraging. Levels of malnutrition would also improve. Many households would likely have access to shelters, and some would gradually start to rebuild their livelihoods. As a result, many households would be able to meet basic needs, although some would only be able to afford their food needs. These households would likely face Minimal! (IPC Phase 1!) and Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes.

    Northeast Nigeria

    Substantial improvement in conflict

    Likely impact on acute food insecurity outcomes: If conflict substantially improves, displaced households, particularly in garrison towns in the Northeast, will return to their homesteads to start rebuilding their livelihoods. They will have increased access to farmlands, irrigation areas, and water bodies. Herders will also have increased access to resources, including water and grazing areas. Humanitarian actors will shift their focus to facilitate rebuilding the livelihoods of the conflict-affected population in the Northeast. Fishermen will have increased access to waterbodies and increased catch and income. Consequently, many households will have access to more income-earning opportunities, leading to increased food access, enabling some households to meet their food and nonfood needs, thus reducing the population facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.

    Featured area of concern

    Inaccessible areas of Bama LGA in Borno state, NG09 livelihood zone, (Figure 6)

    Figure 6: Reference map for Bama LGA, livelihood zone NG09
    This map shows the area of concern: Bama LGA, Borno State

    Source: FEWS NET

    Reason for selecting this area: Nigeria's conflict has impacted many regions, including the Northeast, North West, and North Central regions. Similarly, separatist militants have also impacted the South East and South South regions. The conflict in the Northeast has been persisting since 2009, with over two million people displaced and a substantial impact on livelihoods. Bama LGA remains one of the LGAs worst impacted by conflict, with some areas that are inaccessible and cut off from humanitarian support. Thus, FEWS NET has selected Bama LGA in Borno state to illustrate the long-term impacts of NSAG conflict with the highest level of population displacement.

    Period of analysis:June to September 2024October 2024 to January 2025
    Highest area-level classificationEmergency (IPC Phase 4)Emergency (IPC Phase 4)
    Highest household-level classificationCatastrophe (IPC Phase 5)Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5)

    The security situation remains critical in Bama LGA as armed clashes between the rival groups of JAS and ISWAP, coupled with intense military counterinsurgency operations, continue to disrupt livelihood activities such as farming and trading activities in the inaccessible areas. 

    The greater part of Bama LGA remains inaccessible. Only four (Kasugula, Shehuri-Hausari, Banki, and Soye) out of the 14 wards are accessible, and these four wards continue to receive an influx of IDPs, limiting access to shelter and food. According to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), about 2,916 people, mostly women and children, arrived in Bama from inaccessible areas from January to April 2024. Most IDPs live in Government Senior Science Secondary School (GSSSS) camp in Bama town to access humanitarian assistance. As of the end of April 2024, there were about 107,291 IDPs in the GSSSS camp.

    Despite the fragile security situation, farming remains the main food source for most households in inaccessible areas. The April 2024 Humanitarian Situation Monitoring (HSM) reports that about 69 percent of households cultivate less than a hectare, compared to between 2 and 3 hectares in a typical year. In early May, newly arrived IDPs indicated that land-clearing activities for the 2024 wet season just started in parts of the inaccessible areas. Similarly, rainfall has started in Bama LGA. However, access to good-quality seeds remains a constraint and farming households usually resort to sowing seeds from the previous season.

    Other inputs, such as fertilizers and chemicals, are unavailable for farmers in inaccessible areas. Young women are restricted from crop cultivation in areas controlled by NSAG. The April 2024 HSM bulletin revealed that about 46 percent of households who engage in recent dry-season cultivation in inaccessible areas are unable to harvest their crops due to escalating conflict. While in a typical year, farmers are able to cultivate irrigated crops as well, the high cost of fuel needed to power irrigation systems has significantly decreased irrigated gardening activities. Some farmers are able to cultivate some irrigated sorghum, though at below average levels.

    Food stocks from the October 2023 harvest have been exhausted since February 2024 and/or looted by insurgents during reprisal attacks. Poorer households rely on wild food gathering, the community, and relatives for assistance in order to meet their food needs. Women-headed households, including widows and elderly women, face more difficulty in accessing food and income. They mostly rely on begging, foraging for their food, or sneaking out of inaccessible areas where they can access limited assistance in garrison towns.

    Markets in Gulumba, Darajamal, Bula daloye, and Njimiya are not functioning, and cross-border trade between the border communities and the neighboring Republic of Cameroon remains disrupted. The April HSM report indicates that about 83 percent of the households in inaccessible areas had no market access in the last three months. NSAGs control areas with limited market access, and the level of transactions is controlled by the NSAGs. Prices of staples are at record highs in inaccessible areas and higher than in relatively accessible areas.

    Poor households resort to food-based coping strategies, such as reducing the frequency of meals for adults to prioritize children, and have no more livestock to sell in order to purchase food. Households that have exhausted their coping strategies risk their lives in order to sneak out of inaccessible areas to locations with humanitarian food assistance. Income-earning opportunities remain extremely limited and are primarily agricultural labor. Key informants report that government structures, such as schools, health facilities, and key markets, have been destroyed and there is also no construction work or functional transportation system in the inaccessible areas, that would typically provide additional income.

    Poorer households living in inaccessible areas in Bama LGA have no access to humanitarian assistance, limited access to farm inputs, few income-generating opportunities, limited market access, and atypically high staple food prices. These households will have difficulties meeting their basic food and non-food needs and will likely experience large food consumption gaps. As such, they will rely on wild food gathering, begging, and bartering and will continue to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes during the lean season from June through September 2024. The main season harvest in October will marginally increase households' access to food, leading to a slight improvement in food consumption, though insufficient to close the gap. Looting of stock, persisting conflict, and displacement will be challenging, and poor households will have difficulties meeting their basic food needs. The dry season cultivation starting around December will remain limited due to the high cost of production. The households in inaccessible areas will continue to engage in emergency coping strategies such as begging, heavy dependency on wild foraging, and food-based coping strategies such as spending a day without food. Thus, they will continue to experience Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes through January 2025. A small subset of the population including most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and incapacitated who are unable to engage in income-earning activities and crop cultivation, will face Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) outcomes through January 2025.

    Annex: Most likely acute food insecurity outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian food assistance

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Nigeria Food Security Outlook June 2024 - January 2025: Food assistance needs will remain high across northern Nigeria through January 2025, 2024.

    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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