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Food Security Outlook through March 2012

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Nigeria
  • October 2011 - March 2012
Food Security Outlook through March 2012

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  • Key Messages
  • Most Likely Scenario (October 2011 to March 2012)
  • Key Messages
    • Over 80 percent of the population of households nationwide face None or Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1). Food access has been improving since August with the green harvest, stable food prices and the incoming 2011 harvest.

    • As in a typical year, localized areas affected by flooding in the South, and dry spells in the extreme north, may have below average harvests. However, the joint CILSS/FAO/FEWS NET pre‐harvest season assessment found that production prospects are average to above average nationwide. Market flows with the region are expected to behave normally in 2011/12.

    • Civil insecurity and inter‐communal conflicts in the North and commercial banditry in the South are escalating. Needs for emergency supports are above average, particularly in conflict‐affected areas of Benue, Borno, Bauchi, Kaduna and Plateau, and the cost of trade in the South may be increasing.

    Most Likely Scenario (October 2011 to March 2012)

    Food access has been improving gradually since August due to the favorable harvest prospects in most areas; good green harvest of cereals, tubers, and pulses; unusually stable food prices since June, and high carryover stocks from the 2010 harvest. The 2011 main harvest of yam and cassava, the major crops in the South and millet and maize, the main staples in the North is ongoing in October. Sorghum will be harvested in November in the North.

    In localized areas of the millet, sorghum and cowpea livelihood zone in the extreme northeast, the start of the season was late and began in mid‐July instead of mid‐June normally. Prolonged dry spells also occurred in September, and the season ended in the first dekad of October. This led to below‐average millet, sorghum and cowpea production in the affected zones. Other areas where the 2011 harvest is below average are where excessive rains persisted leading to flooding, displacing many households and destroying productive assets such as farmlands, fishponds and crops, in localized areas in Kano, Katsina, Taraba, Adamawa, Sokoto, Bauchi and Gombe States in the North and in Oyo, Ogun, Lagos (notably around the Ogun river), Delta, Cross River, Anambra, Ebonyi and Imo states in the South. The displaced households are in shelters, while others are staying with friends and relations. The scale of damage in flood‐and drought‐affected areas across the country was greater than last year, but has less significant impact on the overall production.

    These areas of below‐average production account for less than 20 percent of the total annual production in a normal year. As such, overall harvests will be normal to above normal. The agricultural performance survey recently conducted by the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS)‐Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Kaduna state revealed that millet, sorghum and cowpea production, though average is slightly below last year’s bumper levels. The area planted under rice and maize increased substantially in 2011 compared to 2010, leading to increased production.

    The new 2011/12 harvest is gradually reaching local markets and reducing prices in October. In Damaturu market (Yobe state), prices of 100 kg bags of cereals ranged between NGN 4,700 – 5,000 in mid October, down from NGN 5,000 ‐ 5,500 in September. Prices will decline further as the main harvest concludes in November/December. The CILLS/FAO/FEWS NET joint assessment mission in late September revealed that the maize crop is still drying on most farms, leading to a delay in the arrival of harvests on the market and in seasonal price decreases. Prices will decline by about 30 to 40 percent between August/September peaks and November/December nadirs as the crop reaches markets. Livestock prices are also increasing gradually due to favorable pastoral resources and good body conditions, leading to favorable livestock‐to‐cereal terms of trade. Trends in both livestock and food prices are within the normal seasonal range.

    The outbreak of cholera is reported in fifteen states across the country due to food and water contamination, particularly in flood‐affected areas. The scale of cholera outbreaks has been unusually high this year with 2,135 admissions and 234 fatalities (Ministry of Health). However, cholera outbreaks normally peak with the floods in August‐September/October, and a decline is likely through March 2012.

    Civil insecurity escalated in September compared to previous months in localized areas in rural and urban areas in Kaduna, Katsina, Bauchi, Abuja, Adamawa, Benue, Plateau and Borno, hampering food inflow to the affected areas. Due to the violence, over one million people were displaced, and access to essential services is hampered. Farmers have abandoned their fields, and the duration of temporary market disruptions is increasing. The spate of kidnapping, oil bunkering and robbery attacks have also intensified in the Niger Delta region, disrupting agricultural activities and hampering normal food inflows compared to previous months in localized areas.

    Currently, over 80 percent of the population is food secure nationwide. This is due to the good main harvest of major staples such as maize, yam, cassava, millet, and legumes that is currently underway, improving market and household stocks. Food prices are seasonably low, and food access for poor households is seasonably high.

    The scenario for the October to March period is based on the following factors:

    • Recent and current forecasts suggest a normal end of season in October for the main surplus‐producing Sudanian zones. This will allow the main harvest to mature and dry completely without excessive post‐harvest losses. Off‐ season cultivation (both own‐production and labor demand) and fishing activities will be average to above average due to high water availability in local water points.
    • Food prices will continue to decline by about 30 to 40 percent compared to July/August price peaks as the main harvest intensifies in October and November, as market stocks peak and household demand reaches its annual minimum. During the January to February main trading season, cereal flows from production to deficit zones and industrial demand will be seasonably high, and prices will start to increase at a generally average rate. Maize prices may be more significantly above average than other cereals due to above‐average demand in coastal areas of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
    • The demand for agricultural labor will also peak between October and November and remain high with off‐season farming through March‐April.
    • Tabaski (Eid El Adha) and Christmas festivities will take place in November and December. These events are characterized by high meat and food demand leading to high livestock prices, and high cereal supply, as households sell own cereals to meet holiday food and non‐food expenses. Livestock prices are likely to peak in November and December. Livestock‐to‐cereal terms of trade will be above normal for the October‐December period, and highly favorable to pastoral households.
    • Fuel scarcity and prices tend to peak in December due to holiday travel and energy demand. However, fuel scarcity will be less significant this year than usual. The Chad Republic, which benefits from informal fuel trade, will release its own oil production beginning in October. The persisting excessive rain in the south beyond October will cause further damages to infrastructures such as roads, markets, schools and dam collapse, displacing more populations and destruction of crops, exposing poor agricultural households to food insecurity through March.
    • Between November and March, Nigerien immigrants return to Nigeria for petty trading and in search of unskilled labor, and competition for job opportunities will be seasonably high.
    • Import parity prices of Asian rice on the global market will remain generally below import parity prices of rice in West Africa.

    Given the favorable harvest, acute food security conditions,  insecurity among at least 80 percent of the population of mapped areas is likely to remain None or Minimal through March, nationwide. However, in some local areas, particularly around the Ogun river and among those formerly land‐owning poor in displacement due to conflict, acute food insecurity among the very poor means that some households will be stressed and unable to meet their minimum, essential non‐food needs without assistance. Assistance provided by the National Emergency Management Agency, state and local governments, the Red Cross, other non‐governmental agencies, and churches and communities, is expected to be sufficient to fill these needs throughout the outlook period (Figures 2‐3). 

    The 2011 growing season is concluding and main harvest of maize, millet and legumes is underway in the north, in October, and sorghum—a long cycle crop will be due for harvest in November. Demand for agricultural labor is at its peak, and prices for locally‐ produced foodstuffs are generally falling. Cereal prices, which ranged between NGN 4,900 and NGN 5,700 per 100 kg sack in mid October in most markets monitored by FEWS NET, are normal for this period of the year. Food access has improved since the peak of the lean season in July/August. However, in higher grounds in localized areas of northern Yobe and Borno states, the rains started late and ceased abruptly in September. Fodder production there is below average.

    In localized areas of the Millet, cowpea and sorghum livelihood

    zone, which stretches from northern Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara in the west, to northern Jigawa, Borno and Yobe states in the east, prolonged dry spells in September followed by an early end of season in early October. Many farmers responded early by planting short‐cycle and drought‐resistant crops, such as cowpea and Firgi sorghum along local rivers and ponds. These crops will take advantage of residual moisture to fully 

    mature, reducing the impacts of the dry spells. However, some localized crop damage remains. The CILSS/FAO/FEWS NET mission in late September revealed that early millet production is 30 percent lower than last year in the extreme north, which is corroborated by the agricultural performance survey conducted by NAERLS, ABU, Zaria‐Kaduna state. Some localized crop damage remains, leading to a drop in millet, sorghum, and cowpea production of 20 to 30 percent compared to average. In addition traders from Niger Republic have started buying millet from Nigerian markets particularly areas bordering Maradi, Tahoua and Maine Soroa (Diffa) areas, further increasing demand and prices.

    Millet price is high in the drought‐affected areas. For example, in Geidam in Yobe state—an assembly and cross‐border market with Niger republic, where Nigerien traders often buy cereals‐‐millet prices were approximately NGN 5,400 per 100 kg in mid October, compared to NGN 4,000 per 100 kg at the same time last year. This is attributable to increased demand from the Nigerien traders and increased traders speculations due to the dry spells.

    For affected very poor households, household food stocks will decline by about 15 percent compared to normal, primarily by prioritizing cereal storage. Given the limited geographical coverage and magnitude of the dry spells, most poor households will be able to meet their basic food needs without negative coping strategies. They will intensify the supply of agricultural labor, the sale of small ruminants, and the sale of cowpea.

    Significant populations were displaced in Kaduna, Katsina, Bauchi, Abuja, Adamawa, Plateau and Borno, between August and September, and due to persisting uncertainties access to essential services and market continued to be hampered in localized areas. Food inflows into localized affected areas are hampered, as traders continue to evade such areas for fear of reprisal attacks. In Bauchi state, in the northeast, about one million internally displaced persons have been resettled in camps as reported by NEMA; they are mainly the victims from conflict prone areas in Borno, Kaduna and Plateau states. In mid October there were sporadic attacks in Plateau, Borno, Benue, Kaduna and Gombe states with displacement of populations and handful of fatalities. The displaced persons are mainly dependent on limited food assistance by government and NGOs and day labor to access food and non‐food items.

    Projected food security outcomes in the north through March are based on the following assumptions:

    • The dry season farming will start normally in November and will extend beyond April, (the normal end month) in most areas due to the high water levels in local rivers and ponds. Drought affected farming households will only have sufficient water to take advantage of dry‐season farming through March.
    • Fishing activities in the Lake Chad and Sokoto Rima River basin areas will be above normal between December and March when the water recedes due to high water levels.
    • The recent communal conflicts in Saminaka‐Kaduna state on October 22nd and in Benue state and in other conflict prone areas in the north continued to cause restricted market and food access, as food prices increased in affected areas by 10 to 20 percent, in localized areas in Katsina, Kaduna, Borno, Benue, Yobe, Plateau, Gombe and Bauchi states. Food assistance needs among the displaced population will be above average.
    • Between last dekad of December and January, Nigerien traders will move into Nigerian border markets to buy large volumes of millet, maize and sorghum, substantially increasing prices in Nigeria. They will in turn bring in livestock to Nigerian markets.
    • Cholera epidemics are worse than usual in Nigeria in the North through September, though the prevalence of cholera will likely decline in November/December as floodwaters recede. Affected poor households face above average essential non‐food costs for health care and risk losing income from wage‐earners who are either ill or working at home as caretakers.

    In most parts of the rangelands, along the major water bodies of Lake Chad basin and Sokoto‐Rima‐River basin, in the extreme north, most pastoral households will stay at homestead through March, consistent with normal seasonal trends. In the highlands of northern Yobe and Borno states, where fodder production was below average, milk yields will begin to drop in December, instead of January in a normal year. Pastoral households will move southward in search of better pastures in January and February, instead of April, as is usual. The absence of livestock at homestead will reduce milk intake among household members left at homestead between February and March. The early transhumance to the South will also reduce milk supply compared to normal in urban areas of the extreme north, leading to slightly higher milk prices. Therefore lower milk consumption at homestead will be compensated by higher milk prices; no significant change in kilocalorie consumption or achievement of minimum non‐food needs is expected through March. Pastoral households will return in July from the south, after planting.

    Nigerien traders will buy more maize, millet and sorghum during December to January period when prices will be lowest. The Nigerien traders will move to other markets, such as Dawanau, a wholesale market, in Kano state to buy millet and other food stuffs, where prices may be relatively lower than drought affected areas such as Geidam, in Yobe state where they are presently buying. Nigerian traders will import livestock from Niger during October to December for the Tabaski and Christmas festivities, increasing trade volume and trade‐related income‐generating opportunities and food access. However, cross‐border market activities in Geidam area, in Yobe state, such as transportation, storage and labor opportunities‐‐loading and uploading will be below normal, reducing poor household income. Poor households will resort to the market as early as December, two months after harvest. Poor households will cope through migration of able‐bodied men to cities for unskilled jobs and sale of small ruminants to access food. Other poor households will borrow money from the better‐off and engage in off‐season cultivation between November and March. Even in drought‐affected areas, poor households will meet essential food and non‐food needs without negative coping strategies between October and March and the areas will be in None or Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1).

    Table1. Possible events over the next six months that could change the most likely food security scenario
    AreaEventImpacts on food security outcomes
    Extreme NorthTraders from Chad and NIger will move into Nigerian border markets during December to January, increasing demand and prices significantly.Market-dependent poor households will have worse food access than expected.
     The Seasonal livestock movement from Chad and Niger into the Nigeria pastoral land will be early, in January and February, as against March/April, normally.Increasing the stocking rate along major rivers in the north. This will lead to early exhaustion of the pastoral resources in teh area, prompting early movement to the south and north central areas to search for pastoral resources.
    Sou​thPersisting and excessive rainfall in the southeast and the extreme south in October and November.The main harvest will be hampered, and damage to tuber crops will set in, reducing the good prospects for the 2011/2012 harvest. Damage to infrastructure and displacement will be more severe than usual. Delayed harvest and significant spoilage of crops such as yam, cassava and maize, reducing the high harvest prospect for the season
    NationalThe deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by the federal government and resultant fuel pump price increase from the current rate of NGN 65 to NGN 150 per liter.Significant increase in transportation costs transmits to food commodities. Food inflow restriction to deficit areas possible due to high transportation cost and insufficient effective demand, leading to reduced food supply and increased food prices in deficit areas.
    Prices of Asian rice on the global market will exceed prices of West African rice.Nigeria will transfer its demand for several million tons of rice to the regional producers such as Mali and Niger. This will drastically increase the price of locally‐ produced rice and create a substitution effect, increasing the price of local cereals throughout the region as rice producers and poorer urban households substitute rice for local cereals


    Figures Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Current estimated food security conditions, October 2011

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Current estimated food security conditions, October 2011

    Source: FEWS NET

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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