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Country Briefs

  Nigeria

Reference Date: 04-January-2021

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Slightly above‑average cereal production gathered in 2020

  2. Cereal import requirements estimated slightly above average in 2020/21 marketing year

  3. Prices ease with new supplies from recent harvest, but remain at high levels

  4. Weak economic growth projected, food price inflation increasing

  5. About 9.8 million people estimated severely food insecure in 2020 post‑harvest period

Slightly above‑average cereal production gathered in 2020

Harvesting activities of millet, sorghum, rainfed rice and main season maize crops have almost finalized, while harvesting of irrigated rice and second season maize crops is still ongoing and will be completed by end‑January. Despite the conflict in the northern areas and the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic, favourable rains in 2020 benefitted crop development in most parts of the country. The country’s aggregate cereal output in 2020 is estimated at 28 million tonnes, slightly above the last five‑year average, but below the 2019 production record.

Early and extended rainfall favoured abundant quality pasture and water resources for livestock in the main grazing areas of the country. Crop residues from the main harvest are also increasing fodder availability in most parts of the country. The national forage production in dry matter content is estimated at about 6.3 million tonnes, 7 percent above the last five‑year average. The animal health situation is generally favourable, with only seasonal disease outbreaks recorded in some areas, including Contagious Bovine Pleuroneumonia (CBPP), Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), African Swine Fever (ASF), Gumboro (Infectious Bursal Disease - IBD), New Castle Disease (NCD) and Helminthiasis. However, the persisting conflict in northern areas and clashes between farmers and pastoralist in northcentral and northwestern areas continue to limit the access to grazing resources and herds started earlier than usual to move southwards in January. In addition, pastoralist transhumance from Niger, Chad and Cameroon is expected to remain significantly limited due to border closures, persistent conflict and cattle rustling incidences, theft and banditry along the borders.

Cereal import requirements estimated slightly above average in 2020/21 marketing year

In addition to the trade restrictions introduced in 2015 to increase local production, the Government decided to close the borders since August 2019 in order to stop illegal inflows of rice and maize from neighboring countries, with the aim to accelerate domestic crop production. However, the country continues to rely significantly on imports of crops, including rice and wheat, to cover its domestic requirements. The aggregate import requirement of cereals in the 2020/21 marketing year (November/October) is estimated at 7.25 million tonnes, slightly above the five‑year average and similar to the previous year’s level.

Prices ease with new supplies from recent harvest, but remain at high levels

Prices of coarse grains started their seasonal decline in October due to the arrival on the markets of new supplies from the 2020 harvest. However, prices remained at high levels and were higher than their year‑earlier values, mainly due the effects of the measures to contain the COVID‑19 pandemic on the supply chain and the unfavourable macro‑economic conditions, including the high inflation rate and the continued depreciation of the local currency. The situation is compounded by localized production deficits, coupled with the strong domestic demand to supply local factories for beverages and animal feed production. In addition, the situation is exacerbated by the persisting conflict in the northeast part of the country, where prices were up to twice their year‑earlier values.

Weak economic growth projected, food price inflation increasing

The economic recession continues in the country, characterized by a negative growth rate of 6.10 percent in the second quarter and 3.62 percent in the third quarter of 2020. Current macro‑economic conditions are mainly driven by the low global crude oil prices on the international market and the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic. In addition, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the food inflation rate has progressively increased since late 2019, reaching 18.3 percent in November 2020, the highest level in about three years. Moreover, the Naira continued to depreciate from NGN 461/US dollar in October 2020 to NGN 482/US dollar in November 2020. The situation is also exacerbated by recent social protests, further limiting economic activities.

About 9.8 million people estimated severely food insecure in 2020 post‑harvest period

According to the October 2020 ‘’Cadre Harmonisé’’ analysis, about 9.8 million people are estimated to be in need of external food assistance from October to December 2020, a significant increase from the estimated 4 million people in same months in 2019. The situation is expected to deteriorate at the peak of the next lean season, between June and August 2021, when close to 14 million people are expected to require assistance, if no mitigation actions are taken. The higher prevalence of food insecurity mainly reflects the adverse effects of the measures to contain the COVID‑19 pandemic on the supply chain, the escalation of armed and community conflicts, some localized cereal production shortfalls in 2020, the unfavourable macro‑economic conditions and high food prices. The areas most affected by food insecurity are Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

In particular, the food security situation has worsened in recent months mainly due to the upsurge of violence between armed groups and communal conflicts, driving new population displacements, especially in the Northeast, Northwest and Northcentral regions. Most of the affected households are unable to carry out their livelihood activities, including petty trade and unskilled labour restricting their purchasing power. In addition, the well above‑average staple food prices are limiting market food access. As a result, many affected households continue to experience high levels of food insecurity, especially in the most inaccessible areas. According to the latest FAO‑WFP Early Warning Analysis of Acute Food Insecurity Hotspots, famine is likely to occur in the northeast in the event of continued heightening levels of insecurity which could heavily constrain humanitarian access. As of August 2020, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) identified over 2.7 million people that have been displaced due to the insurgency in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, to communal clashes in Northwest/Northcentral and flooding across northwestern and northcentral parts of the country.

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