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Persistent conflict and poor macroeconomy likely to drive below-average engagement in agriculture

  • Key Message Update
  • Nigeria
  • March 2021
Persistent conflict and poor macroeconomy likely to drive below-average engagement in agriculture

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Despite the recent slight increase in both crude oil production and international prices, most macroeconomic indicators remain poor. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates the annual inflation rate rose from 16.46 percent in January to 17.33 percent in February. Similarly, the NGN depreciated to 484 NGN/USD on the parallel market in late March, while the official exchange rate remains relatively stable at 380 NGN/USD. Overall, this is driving increases in staple food prices, lower household purchasing power, and reduced food access. Moreover, the unemployment rate increase by over five percent from Quarter two to four in 2020, likely decreasing remittances for some poor households.

    • Conflict in the northeast continues at high levels, driving displacement and constraining household access to food and income. Displaced and conflict-affected households rely mainly on firewood sales, petty trade, and construction labor to earn little income. Atypically high staple food prices and lower than average purchasing power is resulting in reduced food access. Humanitarian food assistance delivery from December to January in the northeast has decreased. Available information suggests that while assistance has decreased, displaced households in some camps are still able to meet their food needs. As a result, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are present in some areas where displaced populations are located. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist in much of the northeast, with inaccessible areas facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Famine (IPC Phase 5) is possible in the event there is a dramatic uptick or shift in conflict that limits household access to typical food and income sources and humanitarian assistance for a prolonged period of time.

    • While conflict events have occurred across the Northeast in early 2021, the recent conflict in Dikwa has been the most significant. An assessment conducted by IOM in November 2020 found over 76,200 IDP were present in Dikwa. Also, according to IOM, conflict in early March in Dikwa displaced nearly 27,900 individuals and drove considerable displacement towards Ajiri ward in neighboring Mafa LGA. Other displaced persons fled to adjacent LGAs as well as Maiduguri. Additionally, humanitarian actors have significantly reduced activities in this area; however, some assistance delivery started in late March to over 63,000 people in Dikwa.  Of particular concern are populations still in areas of Dikwa who did not engage in the agricultural season or lost food stocks due to fires or looting by the insurgents.

    • The multidimensional conflict in the northwest and north-central parts of Nigeria continues to increase. Additionally, kidnapping for ransom has also increased, both of which are driving increased displacement. Between March 15 and 21, banditry and farmer/herder conflicts in Chikun, Kauru, and Birnin Gwari LGAs of Kaduna State and Safana and Kankara LGAs of Katsina State affected 391 individuals, including 27 injuries and 34 fatalities. These households remain displaced and unable to engage in typical livelihood activities and have resorted to petty trading and unskilled labor to earn little income, depending mainly on markets to access food. Combined with atypical staple prices and below-average income, most conflict-affected households face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.

    • A normal to slightly early onset of the rainy season has been observed in bimodal areas. In non-conflict affected areas in the north, dry season cultivation and land preparation activities are underway as normal. These households are also consuming own cultivated staples, while those dependent on markets are also accessing food normally. As a result, most households are facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1). Exceptions are households affected by conflict, and urban poor households continued to be impacted by the indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with below-average access to income-earning activities, is expected to drive persistent low household income. As a result, some households are only able to meet basic food needs and are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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