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Widespread flooding across the country reduces crop production levels

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Nigeria
  • October 2012 - March 2013
Widespread flooding across the country reduces crop production levels

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Areas of Concern
  • Events that Might Change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • Widespread flooding peaked between September and mid-October across the country and was particularly severe in the north-central and coastal states. This flooding displaced over 1.3 million people and damaged several thousand hectares of cropland. To offset the impact of the flooding, the Government of Nigeria has indicated that it will provide flood-affected populations with early maturing seeds, fertilizer, and technical assistance to improve the potential of dry season activities, which will start in December. 

    • The Boko Haram conflict has intensified in urban and rural areas of Borno and Yobe states. This conflict has displaced significant populations, restricted population movement, disrupted food inflow, and restricted agricultural activities. In these areas, displaced populations will be dependent on food assistance through December. 

    • The harvest of major cereal crops, such as millet and maize, is currently underway. This harvest has improved household food availability and as a result, most households throughout the country will be food secure (IPC Phase 1) after the harvests. Government actions to increase dry season activities will also increase incomes and food availability starting in December, causing most households to continue to be food secure (IPC Phase 1) through March. However in the extreme northeast, the effects of the Boko Haram conflict will likely cause households to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity from January to March.


    National Overview
    Current Situation

    Excessive rainfall and the release of water from several dams, such as the Kainji and Jebba hydroelectric power dams in Nigeria and Lagdo dam in Cameroun, have resulted in high water levels in rivers and ponds and widespread flooding in 35 states. Four hundred thirty one casualties have been reported, infrastructure such as roads, dams, and bridges has been destroyed, and 1,341,179 people have been displaced, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

    Before the widespread flooding occurred, the 2012/2013 cropping season was forecasted to be good. This was primarily due to increases in the total land area under cultivation in 2012 compared to 2011, ranging from 1-16 percent depending on the crop. However, recent flooding has damaged several thousand hectares of cropland and has been estimated to have reduced production levels for the current season, mainly along the floodplains, by the following amounts: rice (22.4%), maize (14.6%), soybeans (11.2%), cassava (9.3%) and cowpea (6.3%). While the full impact of the floods on crop production has not yet been determined, this season's production levels will be lower than what was previously forecasted at the beginning of the season.  

    Despite the flooding, early green harvests of maize, cowpeas and tubers in September to mid-October improved household and market food stocks. In addition, the harvest of major cereal crops, such as millet and maize, is currently underway and prices for these staples range from NGN5,000 to NGN5,700 between September and October. This is about 20 to 25 percent lower than August prices, but is still 29 to 45 percent higher than prices last year at this time. The price of sorghum, which will be harvested starting in November, remains high on most markets, ranging between NGN7,200 to NGN7,500. This is about 20 to 43 percent higher than prices last year at this time.

    As the main harvest peaks, household, trader, and industrial food demand will generally be low. In an average year, most households are able to rely on their own food production for about five to six months after the harvests.  

    Markets are functioning normally, with adequate food flow from the surplus production zones in the north to the deficit areas in the south. Exceptions are the areas of Borno and Yobe states where markets and food flow have been affected by the persisting conflict relating to Boko Haram. 

    Assumptions

    The most likely scenario during October 2012 to March 2013 period is based on the following national-level assumptions:

    • Food stocks: Although the actual impact of this year's flooding on crop production is still being assessed, production levels will likely be lower than what was forecasted before the floods, and will most likely be average to below-average. If harvests are below-average, food stocks will be depleted earlier than usual across the country. This will be compounded by the low carryover stocks from the 2011 below-average production.
    • Food/Livestock prices: Food prices will likely continue to decline until the end of the main harvest. In the second half of the outlook period, prices will slowly increase as food stocks start to decline.  Livestock prices will continue to increase from October to December, due to the Tabaski and Christmas festivities. Livestock prices will then decline slightly but will remain relatively favorable for the pastoralists through March/April 2013, due to prolonged pasture and water availability and good livestock body condition.
    • Dry season activities: Fishing and irrigation agriculture (rice, maize, cowpea and vegetables) will begin in December when water levels recede. Given this year's abundant rainfall, these dry season activities are expected to be extensive and prolonged, lasting until May 2013, one month longer than normal. To offset the impact of the flooding, the Ministry of Agriculture is expected to provide flood-affected populations with early maturing seeds, fertilizer, and technical assistance to improve the potential of dry season activities.
    • Transhumance: Pastoralists will begin moving southward in March/April 2013.
    • Food assistance: Households internally displaced by flooding will continue to need food assistance until December. After dry season activities begin, flood-affected households will use these activities to access food and will no longer be in need of food assistance.
    • Disease epidemic: Water-related diseases outbreaks, such as cholera, diarrhea, and malaria, are expected in November and December in several IDP camps across the country, particularly in the coastal states of Delta, Anambra, Rivers, and Bayelsa, and along the Niger and Benue Rivers in Niger, Kogi and Benue states. These diseases will expose affected populations to increased health-care related expenditures and increased malnutrition, especially among children under the age of five.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Food security outcomes will be stable in most parts of the country. The ongoing main harvest is expected to replenish food stocks and improve food availability for most households. While a substantial number of households have been displaced by recent flooding and are reliant on food assistance, at least 80 percent of households in all areas of the country will be food secure (IPC Phase 1) through the end of December. 

    During the second half of the scenario period, an increase in dry season activities due to government action to support flood-affected households will increase income levels, purchasing power, and food access. With the exception of extreme northeast areas of the country affected by civil conflict, most areas of the country will remain at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through March 2013. 


    Areas of Concern

    NE millet and cowpeas livelihood zone in the extreme northern parts of Borno and Yobe states

    Current Situation

    The conflict relating to Boko Haram has increased civil insecurity in localized areas of Borno and Yobe states. In mid-October, intense fighting are reported in Potiskum and Damaturu (the commercial center of Yobe state) and in Maiduguri (in Borno state), the commercial center in the zone, causing heavy casualties.  As a result, market closures have increased, some areas have been cordoned off by the military, and traders have been evading the area for fear of attacks. Pipeline vandalism in parts of the country, in late September to mid-October also created a  fuel shortage, leading to higher transportation costs across the area. These factors have all hampered food flow and trade in conflict-affected areas. In addition, food prices are generally about 15 to 23 percent higher in conflict prone areas, such as Maiduguri, Damaturu and Potiskum.

    Some households have temporarily moved to safer areas due to the conflict. These households have lost productive assets, are unable to maintain their normal livelihood activities, and currently have limited coping strategies. Displaced households are dependent on limited assistance by the government and NGOs to access food. Malnutrition rates in this zone are high. Wasting and stunting rates are 22 percent and 49 percent, respectively and are higher than the national average.

    The area of land currently under cultivation in these two states has also declined as some farmers have left their farms due to the conflict, reducing agricultural production levels. However, crop production from the ongoing main harvest has still been sufficient to increase market supply and caused food prices to decline, although this decline has been more gradual than in areas of the country not affected by conflict.

    Assumptions

    Due to the difficulty of collecting information and data from this conflict zone, this most likely scenario as outlined below is based on limited information from government and FEWS NET field enumerators. The assumptions used in this scenario are the following:  

    • Food Access: In October, the main harvest began normally and is expected to peak in November. This will increase household and market supply, as well as reduce food prices compared to prices during the lean season. However, the lower than normal crop production levels, due to the conflict, will mean that household food stocks will not last as long as usual, and households will become dependent on market purchases earlier than normal, next year. This increased consumer demand, coupled with reduced food supply due to market and trade disruptions, will result in increased food prices during the second half of the scenario period. During this period, household food access will decline.
    • Livestock: Livestock demand will increase between late October and December due to the Tabaski and Christmas holidays, leading to increased livestock prices and higher income for pastoralists. During January to March, livestock demand will be normal and prices will decline as usual. Due to abundant rainfall, pasture and water resources for livestock will be prolonged and will last one month longer than normal, to April 2013. This will lead to improved livestock body conditions, a delay in transhumance to the south, and increased milk availability for household consumption and sale.
    • Trade: Cross border trade with Niger will increase in December to February after the main harvest is concluded as traders begin to replenish their low stock levels, compounded by the food production shortfall in 2011. Industrial demand in Nigeria will also begin as food processing companies, poultry farmers and malting companies begin to procure maize, sorghum and millet as raw materials. These will lead to increased food prices during the second phase of the scenario period.
    • Boko Haram conflict: Civil insecurity will escalate or remain constant through March 2013. This will limit population movement and food inflow, cause market disruptions or closures, and will lead to reduced dry season harvest levels this year.   
    • Excessive flooding: Excessive flooding in localized areas along major floodplains of the Lake Chad basin and Komadugu-Yobe River will negatively impact crop production and fishing activities in October/November. The affected households are expected to recover starting in December when water-levels recede and the dry season activities begin, increasing labor opportunities and income.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    The main harvest is currently underway. This harvest is replenishing household food stocks, reducing food prices of major staple foods, and improving food access. Most households will be able to access essential food and non-food needs through December and will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

    Substantial populations in this zone have been displaced due to the combined effects of conflict and flooding, which has resulted in reduced crop harvests this season. As a result, household food stocks will be below-average and will deplete earlier than usual. In addition, disrupted markets and reduced food flows will likely lead to increased food prices. This increased consumer demand, coupled with reduced food supply due to market and trade disruptions, will result in increased food prices during the second half of the scenario period. During this period, household food access will decline. Households in this zone are expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity during the January through March period.

    NW millet, cowpeas, groundnuts and cotton livelihood zone in the extreme northern parts of Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa states

    Current Situation

    Due to the 2011 production shortfall and high food prices during the lean season period, this livelihood zone faced Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity in September before the start of the main harvest. However, as the main harvests of millet, maize, cowpea and rice begin in October, poor households' food stock are increasing and food security is gradually improving. Markets continue to respond positively to the ongoing harvests and cereal prices now ranged between NGN4,700 to NGN8,000/100Kg, which are about 20 to 30 percent lower compared to the last two months. These lower prices are increasing poor household food access, although prices are still higher than last year at this time and higher than the five-year average by about 25 and 35 percent, respectively. Fuel scarcity in the zone persists, leading to increased fuel prices (NGN120  to NGN130/liter compared to the official price of NGN97/liter). This has caused transportation costs and food prices to increase across the area.

    Compared to other areas of the country, flood damage has been relatively less severe in this zone, except in Jigawa state, where flooding was more severe due to dam opening. However, intense rainfall has hampered the drying of harvested crops in some areas, which has delayed harvests. In Katsina and Jigawa states, IDPs displaced during the August and September flooding have been resettled into camps. They are currently dependent on food assistance by government, Red Cross and other NGOs.

    There is a widespread outbreak of malaria and typhoid fever in four local government areas of Gumel, Sule Tankarkar, Gagarawa and Maigatari in Jigawa state. These diseases have increased hospital admissions, reduced labor availability, and have exposed affected populations to increased health-care related expenditures. This has negatively impacted household incomes and food access for affected households.

    Most of the poor households in the zone are currently able to meet their basic food and non-food needs through normal livelihood strategies such as sale of small ruminants, and agricultural labor work and are classified as IPC Phase 1. Exceptions are the poor households affected by the floods, who are in shelters and are dependent on limited food assistance.

    Assumptions

    The most likely scenario for October 2012 to March 2013 is based on the following assumptions:

    • Labor demand: Labor demand will likely increase as the main harvest peaks in November and during the off-season activities (fishing, irrigated agriculture) in December - March. This will increase incomes, household purchasing power, and food access. Labor wages will be normal but are expected to increase during the peak of the harvest and off-season activities.
    • Harvests: The main harvest of millet, maize, rice, legumes and cotton in October is expected to be above-average in the zone.
    • Food stocks: Household food stocks will increase after the main harvest and will likely be above-average due to good harvests. This will increase food access and income levels of poor households through March 2013.
    • Prices: Food prices are expected to decline normally until the end of the main harvest in January. By February, food prices will begin to increase as usual as households start to deplete their stocks and consumer demand increases.
    • Labor migration: Normal casual labor migration to major cities will begin in January 2013. Households are expected to return to the region after the end of the scenario period for land clearing activities.
    • Livestock: Livestock demand will increase between late October - December due to Tabaski and Christmas, resulting in increased livestock prices and income levels for the pastoralists. In January through March 2013, livestock prices are expected to decline slightly due to low demand. Transhumance from the north to the south will begin normally in March/April. Improved pastoral resources and prolonged water levels in rivers and ponds are expected to last up until April 2013.
    • Industrial demand: Industrial demand for cereal crops, such as maize, sorghum, and millet, by domestic poultry farmers, food processors and malting companies will begin normally in January/February 2013. Food prices will increase normally due to increased demand.
    • Off-season farming: Off-season farming activities, such as fishing and irrigated agriculture, will begin in November/December and will be extensive and prolonged due to the high water levels in local ponds. This will increase household food supply, income levels, purchasing power, and food access through March 2013.
    • Flooding: In localized areas, flooding is expected to reduce crop production levels. However, overall crop production for the region is expected to be above-average.
    • Nutrition: Food supply will improve, causing food security-related malnutrition to decline throughout the scenario period.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Food security conditions will continue to improve as the main harvest peaks in November. This harvest will replenish household food stocks and will increase food access. Agricultural labor demand and wages and livestock prices will be favorable throughout the scenario period and will increase household incomes.  Food security-related malnutrition rates are expected to decline, and most households in this zone will be able to meet their basic food and non-food needs throughout the scenario period. Households in this zone will have Minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) from October 2012 to March 2013.  


    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Area

    Event

    Impact on food security outcomes

    NW millet, cowpeas, groundnuts, and cotton livelihood zone

    Substantial quelea bird infestation in October and January during the dry season cultivation

    This would cause substantial damage to crops, such as sorghum and rice. This would reduce crop output and would reduce household access to food.  

    NW millet, cowpeas, groundnuts, and cotton livelihood zone

    Substantial locust infestation in the zone during January to March 2013

    This would cause substantial damage to crops and would reduce crop production in the zone. Household stocks would be below-average and households would have to resort to the market earlier than normal.

    NE millet and cowpeas livelihood zone

    Outbreak of water-related diseases, such as cholera and malaria, in October to December

    This would reduce family labor availability, increased household expenditures, and would reduce household income levels. Households would have more difficulty accessing food.

    NE millet and cowpeas livelihood zone

    Civil conflict contained between January and March 2013, due to government efforts to create a bilateral border patrol with Niger

    Food flow and trade will improve. Market supply will increase and prices will decline, improving household food access.

    National

    Full withdrawal of fuel subsidy in January 2013

    Increased transportation costs which would likely translate to increased food prices. This would especially reduced food access for urban poor households.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, October 2012

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, October 2012

    Source: FEWS NET

    Basin Excess Rainfall Map - Catchments, 2nd dekad of October, 2012

    Figure 3

    Basin Excess Rainfall Map - Catchments, 2nd dekad of October, 2012

    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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