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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 28-September-2022


  1. Cereal production in 2022 affected by flooding, high production costs and conflicts

  2. Cereal import requirements forecast near average in 2022 marketing year

  3. Prices of coarse grains near or above year‑earlier levels

  4. Unprecedented 19.5 million people estimated to face acute food insecurity

Cereal production in 2022 affected by flooding, high production costs and conflicts

Harvesting of the 2022 main season crops, mostly maize, was completed in August in the south. In the rest of the country, harvesting of rice, millet and sorghum crops is underway and it is expected to conclude in January 2023.

The 2022 rainy season had a timely start, with the onset of the rains in March in southern states and in June in northwestern, and northcentral states, which supported planting activities and crop establishment. In the northeast, however, below‑average rains in June caused delays to plantings. Subsequently, average to above‑average rainfall amounts between July and September supported crop development across most of the country. Although the abundant rainfall was beneficial to crops, flooding occurred between June and September in riverine areas in central and northeastern states, causing disruptions to livelihoods and losses of productive assets. According to a recent assessment by the World Food Programme, about 640 000 hectares of crops were affected by the floods as of mid‑September.

In northwestern and northcentral states, rising insecurity restricted farmers’ access to fields and hampered agricultural activities, limiting the extent of planted area with cereal crops and yields expectations. In the northeast, a decrease in the number of violent incidents led to an increase in the number of farmers cultivating land. However, remote sensing data indicates below‑average vegetation conditions, mostly due to the erratic distribution of rains and a reduced use of agricultural inputs. Amid higher prices of fuel and fertilizers, farmers´ ability to purchase inputs has been limited in 2022 as their financial resources have been significantly diminished by years of insecurity that reduced their incoming-earning opportunities.

Reflecting the expected production shortfalls driven by the floods, low application of agricultural inputs and conflict‑related disruptions, national cereal production, mostly maize, rice and sorghum, is preliminarily anticipated to be slightly below the average level of 28.5 million tonnes.

Cereal import requirements forecast near average in 2022 marketing year

The country relies significantly on imports of cereals, mostly of wheat and rice, to cover its domestic requirements. In the 2022 marketing year (January/December), cereal import requirements are forecast at a near‑average level of 8.1 million tonnes. This includes 5.5 million tonnes of wheat, a near‑average level but 15 percent below the previous year’s high level, when growth of the bakery sector, driven by strong local demand for bread, pushed up wheat imports. Imports of rice are forecast at 2.5 million tonnes, slightly above the previous year’s level and the five‑year average.

Prices of coarse grains near or above year‑earlier levels

Prices of coarse grains strengthened between November 2021 and February 2022. Between March and July 2022, the upward pressure eased and prices of maize and sorghum generally held steady or decreased, underpinned by the harvest of maize crops in southern areas and the commercialization of stocks. Prices of millet increased during the same period, ahead of the harvest due to start in September. Prices of coarse grains were near their year-earlier levels in southern markets, while they were up to 15 percent higher year on year in northeastern and northcentral states, supported by poor security conditions, strong demand and high transportation costs.

Food inflation increased steadily in 2022 and reached an annual rate of 23 percent in August 2022. The high inflation level reflects market disruptions, mostly related to insecurity in the north, increased production costs and high prices of fuel, and imported food products, supported by increasing trends in international markets and a significant currency depreciation. In August 2022, the naira was equivalent to NGN 422/USD 1 on the official market, compared to NGN 410/USD 1 one year before, while it depreciated by nearly 70 percent on the parallel market, falling to about NGN 700 /USD 1.

Unprecedented 19.5 million people estimated to face acute food insecurity

According to the latest available ‘’Cadre Harmonisé’’ analysis carried out in March 2022, the number of people facing acute food insecurity (CH Phase 3 [Crisis] and above) was estimated at about 19.5 million between June and August 2022, including 1.2 million in CH Phase 4 (Emergency). This is the highest number on record and well above the 12.8 million people estimated to be food insecure during the same period in 2021. The sharp increase in food insecurity levels reflects both an expansion of the geographical coverage of the CH analysis and a deterioration of conditions in northwestern, northcentral and southeastern states, underpinned by insecurity and conflicts, below‑average market supplies and high food prices. A significant number of people in CH Phase 4 (Emergency) in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe are located in areas inaccessible or hard to reach by humanitarian assistance.

The poor insecurity conditions in northwestern and northcentral states, and insurgent violence in northeastern states, have continued to disrupt agricultural livelihoods and markets in 2022, causing large‑scale displacements. As of July 2022, the number of estimated internally displaced persons in northeastern states was 2.5 million and in northwest and northcentral states was 1 million.

However, the actual number of food insecure people is likely to be higher than the current estimates, which were produced prior to the start of the war in Ukraine. Food availability and access are estimated to be worse than previously foreseen due to the unfolding effects of the war on international trade and commodity prices, which are compounded by national macroeconomic challenges. These include, currency depreciation, low foreign exchange reserves and a widening fiscal deficit, mostly underpinned by a higher bill for fuel subsidies and reduced domestic production of crude oil. High inflation, monetary tightening and disruptions of power supply, are expected to slow down economic growth in 2022, reducing income‑generating opportunities for the most vulnerable. In addition, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), flash floods have affected, as of September 2022, about 190 000 people in the areas already affected by high levels of food insecurity, malnutrition and violence in northeastern states. New CH estimates of the number of people facing acute food insecurity in the last quarter of 2022, are expected to be released next November by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).

In order to boost food consumption and income‑generating opportunities, FAO is supporting farmers in northeastern states for the cultivation of groundnut and cowpea crops.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.