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Average to above-average main harvest expected at the national level

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Nigeria
  • October 2014 - March 2015
Average to above-average main harvest expected at the national level

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Key Messages
    • A favorable cultivation season continues in most parts of the country, likely leading to an average to above-average main harvest and increased income for poor households who engage in agriculture labor work. Most households will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity during the October 2014 to March 2015 period.

    • Poor households worst affected by conflict in central Borno and Yobe and northern Adamawa States have been unable to engage in typical cultivation and agricultural labor activities again this season. Even in the post-harvest period, these households will face difficulty meeting their nonfood needs. Although some dry season activities will begin in early 2015, households will still face food consumption gaps. This area will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through March.

    • Poor households in northern Borno and Yobe and southern Adamawa States that are somewhat less affected by Boko Haram conflict will still have below-average harvest stocks and pastoral resources compared to a typical year. As these households continue to face difficulty in meeting their essential nonfood needs, they will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through March.

    National Overview
    Current Situation

    The main cultivation season for most of the country is progressing favorably. Although the rainy season in the north of the country is coming to an end, rainfall is still being recorded in the southern part and the north-central states of the country. Continued rains in the center and south of the country provide adequate rainfall for the second season plantings of maize and cassava which are both at maturity stages.

    The usual main harvests of major staples such as yam, cassava, and maize is underway in the south while maize and millet harvest begin in the north. Similarly, legumes (groundnut, cowpea), water melon, melon seed and potatoes are also being harvested across the country. The national net-harvest prospects for major staples indicate average to above-average production despite some dryness in parts of Niger State during the season and conflict and the dry rainy season impacting, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States. The recent agricultural performance survey conducted in September by the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria indicated an increase in crop production for 2014 relative to 2013 at the national level. The survey notes an increase in the production of major staple cereals such as rice, maize and sorghum by about 10, 6, and 2 percent, respectively relative to last year’s level. While millet production remained within the previous year’s level, tubers such as yam and cassava output increased by about seven and one percent respectively within the same period. This is mainly attributable to the favorable spatial and temporal rainfall distribution this season, improved access to inputs, and to the low levels of crop disease and pest infestation in most areas. The survey findings also conform with the recent joint CILSS/FEWS NET/FAO/Government pre-harvest assessment conducted in September.

    While at the national level crop production is expected to be good this season, localized areas of the country experienced difficulty. Localized flooding in parts of Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara and Gombe States impacted cropped areas, reducing harvest prospects for affected areas within the states.

    Cropping activities were severely decreased this year in Borno, Yobe and northern Adamawa as Boko Haram conflict keeps households from their fields again this year. Households who have remained in the area planted much less this season than they typically would, as was also seen last year. Most planted cash crops (groundnut, cowpea) instead of staple cereals (millet, sorghum, maize) on the land that they did cultivate. Households in the extreme northeast near Lake Chad also prolonged dry spells throughout the season, which have had significant impacts on the crops planted. The dry spells persisted from late August through early October leading to wilting of many crops, particularly in the far north of Yobe and Borno States.

    In general across the country, both household and market staple food stocks are increasing food availability and access as is typical this time of year with the new harvest. The volume of trade between the surplus and deficit areas has significantly increased. As an example, market supply of yam and gari (processed cassava) on Mile 12 market in Lagos is more than doubled relative to previous months.

    Seasonal agricultural activities also contributed to a seasonal increase in labor demand and income for poor households relative to the end of the consumption year. Wages this year saw an increase in many areas. In the southwest, for example, agricultural wage labor last year earned an average of NGN600 to NGN800/day at harvest season and has currently increased to between NGN1200 and NGN1500/day. Exceptions to these favorable labor conditions are seen in the northeast where the conflict-disrupted season sees little activity on the agricultural wage labor market.

    The increasing supply of staple foods on markets is resulting in a gradual decline in food prices across most markets. Yam prices has decreased by about 14 and 20 percent in September, on Mile 12 and Bodija markets, respectively when compared to previous the month. Similarly, maize prices declined by nine percent over the same period as millet price have remained stable since May on Dawanau market. Compared to the same period last year, white gari prices also declined by 28, 33, and 21 percent, respectively on Mile 12, Bodija and Dawanau markets. This reduction in prices is due to the combined effects of high market supply and low demand as most households consumes own production.

    In the central states of Plateau, Kaduna, Benue and Taraba communal conflicts between farmers and pastoralists are also leading to increased population displacement. Pastoralists could not have access to the verse grazing land in the area and some proportions of the farmlands in the area were left fallow as farmers have been displaced.

    Despite talks on the cease-fire agreement, there remains little indication for positive improvement in the persisting Boko Haram conflict, which has deteriorated even further in many areas of the northeast over the last few months. In Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States the insurgents occupy large areas across the three states. This continues to lead to significant population displacement to neighboring states, including Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba, and countries. A recent FEWS NET field assessment to parts of the northeast revealed that there are nearly 1,500,000 IDPs (internally displaced persons) registered in Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe States. Similarly, the UNOCHA led assessment mission to the northeast indicated that there are over 500,000 IDPs in Maiduguri, the epicenter of the Boko Haram conflict and 220,000 IDPs in Adamawa state. In the northeast there are several IDP camps, particularly in Maiduguri, Yola, Mubi, Bauchi and Taraba States. In Adamawa and Borno States most of the IDPs are with the host communities. However, in Yobe state there is no IDP camp and the IDPs are living with friends or family. The government through SEMA/NEMA (State and National Emergency Management Agencies) is assisting the IDPs and host communities with limited food and nonfood items. Similarly, the local communities and some international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are providing the IDPs with food, medication, nonfood items and schools enrolment for children. FAO and UNDP have also provided over 326 tons of improved millet, maize, sorghum and cowpea seeds to IDPs in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba States in the northeast.

    Most major markets in the area, including Maiduguri, Damaturu, Potiskum, Biu, Gamboru and Bama, are either nonfunctioning or functioning at significantly below-average levels. Commodity flow within such areas are also limited due to the high security risk-perception in the area and consequently resulted in relatively higher food prices for major cash and food crops in the area. The current nominal prices (month of September) for brown cowpea, white cowpea and millet Monday Market, Maiduguri sold for NGN187.11/Kg, NGN171.06/Kg and NGN63/Kg, respectively, 5-20 percent higher than on neighboring markets. These higher prices in the conflict prone areas negatively affect households’ ability to make market purchases for key staples in face of below-average revenues. Key sources of income for this time of year in the northeast are typically agricultural wage labor, livestock sales and remittances, which have all been negatively impacted by the conflict.


    The most likely scenario for the October 2014 to March 2015 period is based on the following national level assumptions:

    • Agroclimatology: The rainy season is ending seasonably in the north, but will continue in the south through December/January, following seasonal norms in terms of distribution and accumulation.
    • Civil insecurity: Insecurity related Boko Haram conflict in the northeast has escalated relative to previous months leading to increased population displacement and will likely remain at at least current levels. The government had been intensifying military reinforcement through October with the establishment of a regional military intervention force comprising of Lake Chad Basin Commission countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger) plus Benin republic.
    • Crop production: The 2014/2015 main season harvest totals are expected to produce average to above-average harvests both for staple foods and tree crops considering the improved access to farm inputs, favorable rainfall, and low level of pests and disease infestations. This is outlook is supported by both the joint CILSS/FEWS NET/FAO/Government annual pre-harvest crop assessment and the annual crop performance survey led by NAERLS-ABU, Zaria.
    • Dry season production: Dry season crop production activities are expected to begin normally in December/January in most areas including fishing activities as water recedes. Harvests will begin normally in March/April and will likely be average due to average water levels in rivers and streams across the country except for the north east where water levels in rivers are low and will not support adequate dry-season activities.
    • Household income: As movements across the country become limited in an effort to limit the spread of the conflict from the northeast, seasonal wage labor between now and March will be slightly limited.
    • Market food supply: Improved market stocks are expected between October and December as the main harvest continues. Sorghum supply will increase during January when the sorghum harvest peaks.
    • Food prices: Market prices of staple foods will continue to experience a typical, seasonal decline towards December as market stocks and supply will increase during this period. However, the prices will increase as from January as demand will similarly increase, but remain near their five-year average.
    • Livestock prices: Demand for small ruminants for end of the year holidays will help to sustain above-average prices. The supply of livestock from neighbouring countries will be below average as the major routes in the northeast remain closed increasing domestic market demand and increased livestock prices.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    The anticipated favorable main harvest is and will continue to lead to increased food availability, diversity and access for most households across the country. Favorable pastoral resources will also improve livestock body conditions and increased income for pastoralists and agropastoralists, contributing to increased food access. Despite a slight decrease in seasonal incomes from wage labor, household incomes are expected to be near normal. Most areas of Nigeria will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity from October 2014 to March 2015.

    In contrast, households in Borno, Yobe and northern Adamawa continue to be impacted by Boko Haram conflict. In northern Borno and southern Adamawa States, as well as parts of Yobe State, somewhat less impacted by the conflict, farmers were able to cultivate somewhat more than areas that are highly impacted by conflict. Harvests are still expected, though, to be significantly below-average. In these areas food stocks and access will improve somewhat between October and December. Similarly, households in these areas will also have somewhat better access to dry season activities, though at below-average levels between January and March. As households continue to find difficulty in meeting their essential nonfood needs between October 2014 and March 2015, the zone will be in Stress (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.

    Households highly affected by conflict in northern Adamawa and southern Yobe and Borno States have experienced much greater difficulty in maintaining their livelihoods. Within these areas, cultivation of the major staple food crops (sorghum, maize and millet) was restrained during the season due to security challenges, and only about 20 percent of the usual land was cultivated for these crops. This will seriously impact the level of food availability and access to the populations even in the immediate period after harvest. Dry season activities within the area will also limited. Markets are functioning poorly in the area and income earning opportunities are also reduced. As poor households continue to face difficulty meeting their basic food needs, this area will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity through at least March 2015.


    For more information on areas of concern during this outlook period, please download the full report.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, October 2014

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, October 2014

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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