Reference Date: 23-May-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production recovered significantly in 2013
Maize prices exhibited high volatility in recent months, mainly reflecting the impact of civil insecurity
The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in the northern part of the country, as a result of continuing civil conflict
The cropping season has started on time in the South
Seasonal rainfall has started in April in southern parts of the country, where planting of the first maize crop is underway. Planting activities are expected to progressively move northwards with the onset of the rains. The escalating civil insecurity in northern parts of the country is reportedly causing increasing number of farmers to abandon their farms, which may negatively affect planted area and difficulties in accessing inputs which may potentially lower yields.
Last year, regular and well-distributed rains benefited crop development in the major agricultural producing areas of the country. The official estimate puts the 2013 aggregate cereal production at some 24 million tonnes, an increase of 11 percent over the 2012 floods-affected output.
Maize prices exhibited high volatility in recent months
The good 2013 cereal harvest put downward pressure on prices across the country resulting in the fall of maize prices by 41 percent from July to October 2013 in the main northern Kano market. However, prices have begun to increase significantly since November 2013 and by March 2014 were close to last year’s flood-affected levels. Trade disruptions, resulting from the escalating insecurity in northern parts of the country, have been sustaining price instability despite the 2013 good cereal production.
High import dependency persists
In 2012, the Government launched the Agriculture Transformation Program (ATA) to reduce the country’s reliance on food imports by increasing production of the five key crops, including rice, sorghum and cassava. A number of import-substitution measures were introduced to support domestic production. For example, the mandatory inclusion of 10 percent of cassava flour in bread was implemented as of 2012, with the rate of substitution expected to reach 40 percent by 2015. ATA also aims to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice by 2015, when imports will be banned. To that end, rice import duties on imported polished and milled rice have increased dramatically to 40 and 110 percent, respectively. The high rice import tariffs in Nigeria have amplified informal cross-border imports from neighbouring coastal countries. Input availability and access were also supported in the framework of the ATA.
In spite of these measures, Nigeria remains a food-deficit country with cereal imports (mostly rice and wheat), forecast to exceed 6 million tonnes in 2014. The country is still the largest rice importer in Africa.
Deteriorating food security situation in the North
Following the escalating civil insecurity and conflict in northern Nigeria, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate resulting in an increasing number of refugees in neighbouring countries. According to UNHCR, some 40 000 Nigerians have taken refuge in the Diffa Region of Niger as of late April. The escalating conflict has also disrupted commodity movements leading to higher price levels and volatility. The crisis is also likely to affect crop production in several regions this year.
The United Nations and humanitarian partners launched a three-year Regional Strategic Response Plan (RSRP) earlier this year to provide aid to millions of people in nine countries of the Sahel belt. The country plan for Nigeria is seeking to mobilize USD 75 million to provide food and non-food assistance to over 6 million people in the northern part of the country.