Nigeria + 1 more

Compounding shocks in NW Nigeria & SW Niger: Implications for food security, agricultural livelihoods and stability in the Kano-Katsina-Maradi corridor



The rapidly deteriorating context in Nigeria’s northwest—with insecurity and its associated symptoms of rising humanitarian needs, erosion in governance and markets, and widespread violence spreading outwards from Zamfara and Sokoto States—has prompted increasing concern of spillover into both the neighboring states of Nigeria and across the border into Niger. The responses developed to date generally fail to give due consideration of the broader drivers, systemic capacities and regional dynamics at play creating and perpetuating the worsening humanitarian, development and security needs. It is with this in mind that Mercy Corps set out to assess northwestern Nigeria from a cross-border perspective and to develop, if found to be relevant, an actionable, implementable intervention that can both deliver quick impact across key areas of need and serve as the foundation for further durable expansion.

Within the broader transfrontier area, the KanoKatsina-Maradi corridor stands out as a priority geography as these local areas have—despite the increasing insecurity and residual impacts of COVID-19—thus far been able to maintain local institutions, fairly functional market systems, economic investment and formal/informal conflict management and mitigation systems. Even so, the effects of the Ukraine/Russia conflict on global food systems are putting increasing strain on these areas at a precarious time. Mercy Corps’ findings validate other humanitarian assessments showing severe immediate food insecurity concerns.
Beyond this, however, the findings draw attention to deeper dynamics underpinning local systems in this dense corridor, and their eroding capacity to mitigate the effects of increasing insecurity and food price shocks on local food security and livelihoods.

Background & Methodology: In response to the above context, a deliberate and joint Mercy Corps Niger – Nigeria initiative was launched to better assess the context and determine feasibility and prioritization of different potential areas of intervention. The work sought to identify levers at the domestic and transfrontier levels for both immediately alleviating and mitigating worsening impacts as well as catalyzing systemic improvements.The process was underpinned by an extensive literature review, key informant interviews with knowledgeable local and international actors, and joint field assessments by members of both Mercy Corps’ Niger and Nigerian teams throughout both regions.2 Interviews were conducted in March and April 2022 with a wide range of actors including agro-pastoral producers, transhumant actors, traders, transporters, financial institutions, market authorities, government ministries and civil society groups across the transfrontier area, as well as national-level ministries, academics, experts and peer INGOs.