In northeast Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency has led to heightened levels of displacement and food insecurity. While humanitarian access is improving, most displaced families still rely on vulnerable host communities for basic needs, including food. Providing support to IDPs over the past three years has put already impoverished host communities under extreme pressure, leading to increased exposure to food insecurity and malnutrition. Lootings and fear of attacks have prevented many farmers from working in their fields, leading to the loss of harvests and productive assets, and extremely reduced purchasing power. 

Alarming rise in food insecurity in northeast Nigeria

The Cadre harmonisé report released on 19 August 2016 indicates that 4.5 million people are severely food insecure (Phase 3 to 5) in northeast Nigeria and require immediate assistance, an increase of 50 percent compared with March 2016. Over 65 000 people are classified in Phase 5 (Famine), while the number of those in Phase 4 (Emergency) has tripled since March 2016, reaching over 1 million. Hard-to-reach areas of Borno and Yobe States, where food insecurity has reached extremely high levels, are of particular concern. Such a rapid deterioration of the food security situation is linked to conflict, displacement and lack of relevant food production in the last three years and the consequent depletion of household and market food stocks. 

Immediate support to affected populations

In order to respond to the immediate needs of the affected population, FAO has launched a full scale corporate surge response. A dedicated team of experts is based in Maiduguri and works closely with partners on the ground. FAO’s priority is to provide immediate livelihood support to crisis-hit farmers, herders, and agropastoralists, including IDPs and host communities. The preparation of the next irrigated dry season is underway, and activities in support to weakened herd, such as veterinary care and animal feed, are urgently needed. FAO also actively participated in the assessments related to food security and livelihoods, and plays a critical role in the coordination of food security and livelihood partners. 

Strengthening livelihood resilience

Building on its emergency programme, FAO will design a resilience approach aiming at strengthening resilience in northeast Nigeria, as well as in other countries of the Lake Chad basin ‒ Cameroon, Chad and the Niger. This approach will support the 3 M system ‒  mobility, multi-activity, multiple use of lands ‒ that characterizes large parts of the agro-ecosystems in northeast Nigeria and beyond. Special emphasize will be put on women and youth, as well as on coordination with stakeholders involved in the resilience agenda in the Lake Chad region. This approach will contribute to conflict prevention and peacebuilding.


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