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Nigeria Food Security Outlook, October 2020 to May 2021

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Despite the main harvest, food assistance needs remain high across northern conflict-affected areas

Key Messages

  • The Boko Haram conflict in the northeast has increased in recent months, increasing the displaced population. Despite the start of the harvest, many poor and displaced households have access to own foods and are market reliant. High staple food prices and limited access to income are resulting in many households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Poor households in difficult to access areas by humanitarian actors are mainly dependent on wild foods with where Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are present in areas of Borno State. Famine (IPC Phase 5) is possible in the event there is a dramatic uptick or shift in conflict that isolates households from typical food and income sources and humanitarian assistance for a prolonged period of time.

  • Households worst-affected by conflict in the northwest are mainly reliant on own harvest and markets for food. However, the harvest is limited in these areas as conflict disrupted agricultural activities, and flooding led to further crop losses. Income-earning opportunities are below average due to lower demand and increased labor competition in areas where households are displaced. Starting in December, dry season cultivation will occur but is likely to remain constrained by continued conflict. Overall, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely throughout the projection period.

  • The main harvest is underway across the country, increasing household access to own foods and market supply, somewhat stabilizing market prices. In areas where poor households were able to cultivate and earn income at normal levels, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are present. In flood-affected areas, where households lost crops and are having some difficulty earning normal incomes, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are ongoing and expected to persist into 2021. Some worst-affected households in these areas are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes as they face large-scale crop losses or remain displaced away from their typical income and food sources. Many households are expected to recover during the February to May period, as households participate in dry season cultivation and begin to consume sufficient own foods.

  • Macroeconomic conditions continue to deteriorate due to the low international oil prices and demand, driving declines in foreign reserves. The value of the naira remains lower on both the official and parallel markets, although more significantly so on the parallel market. This, coupled with high domestic fuel prices, is driving high transportation costs and putting upward pressure on market prices. The harvest is helping to stabilize prices; however, prices remain significantly above average across much of the country. Staple food prices are expected to increase in the first half of 2021 as market demand increases and supply declines.