The conflict in the northeast of Nigeria persists and continues to induce widespread displacement and disruption of livelihoods as well as optimal functionality of markets. The protracted nature of the ongoing conflict in the northeast, which is almost a decade long now, coupled with recent displacements attributed to attacks by Non State Armed Groups (NSAGs) in December 2018 and January 2019, continues to draw the attention of the humanitarian community, government and donors to the northeast states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) States, which remains epicenter of the ongoing crisis in the northeast. This recent renewed attacks by the NSAGs continues to intensify the already fragile situation as seen in the fresh waves of massive displacement of people with displacement metrics standing at about 1.75 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) as at January 2019.
An in-depth Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) was conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP), government counterparts – National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS) under the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) of the Federal Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and National Population Commission (NPoPC), and other Food Security Sector partners between the 25th of March to the 21st of April,2019 to update the food security situation in BAY States, particularly given the recent deterioration in the security situation. The objectives of the survey was to evaluate the food security situation of host communities and IDPs, describe the profile, location and characteristics of food insecure households as well as the underlying causes of food insecurity and provide recommendations for the targeting of households most in need of assistance. The EFSA covered IDP camps in nine LGAs of Borno State (Bama, Damboa, Dikwa, Jere, Konduga, Ngala, Maiduguri, Monguno and Gwoza) in order to have representative findings for displaced households living in camps. Findings of the assessment as well provided information for the June 2019 Cadre Harmoniśe by the GoN and partners in BAY States.
What proportion of households are food insecure?
Overall, 28.9 percent of households across BAY States were food insecure and 3.1 percent of these households were severely food insecure. This represents an increase of 2.4 percent in the prevalence of food insecurity compared to February 2018. 36.4 percent of IDP camp residents of Borno State were food insecure, 3.4 percent of which were experiencing severe food insecurity.
Where do food insecure households live?
A greater proportion of food insecure households were in Borno State (41.8 percent) as compared to Yobe (25.6 percent) and Adamawa (13.8 percent) States. Both global and severe food insecurity was most pervasive in Northern and central parts of Borno State, specifically Kaga (84.1 percent), Monguno (76.5 percent), Gubio (73.0 percent), Gwoza (70.2 percent), Magumeri (62.0 percent), Nganzai (56.8 percent) and Maiduguri (52.5 percent); Yunusari (55.0 percent) in Yobe State; and Guyuk (37.3 percent), Yola South (27.6 percent), Gombi (25.5 percent), Demsa (25.4 percent), Madagali (21.0 percent), Michika (19.5 percent) and Numan (18.9 percent) in Adamawa State.
Who are the food insecure households?
Displaced households in camps (36 percent), informal settlement (53 percent), and host communities (45 percent) had a higher prevalence of food insecurity than permanent residents (23 percent). Pronounced levels of food insecurity was found in IDP camps in Bama (73.8 percent), Konduga (62.3 percent), Monguno (37.0 percent) and Maiduguri (33.1 percent).
Host communities in Borno State, currently hosting a large number of IDPs were found to have higher proportion of food insecure households compared to IDP camps residents in the same locations, most notably host community households in Monguno (76.5 percent), Maiduguri (52.5 percent), Ngala (31 percent), Damboa (33.3 percent) and Gwoza (70.2 percent) LGAs.
Households that had hosted IDPs within six months that preceded the survey were found to be more food insecure (43.5 percent) compared to counterparts that have not (26.9 percent). Moreover, the severity of food insecurity was more pronounced among households that still hosted IDPs at the time of the survey (52.7 percent) compared to households that previously hosted IDPs (38.0 percent), which clearly shows a positive correlation between dependency from IDPs and incidence of food insecurity.
Households with uneducated heads with no previous education (cannot read and write in any language) were found to have a higher rate of food insecurity (37 percent) compared to counterparts with an educated head (24 percent). Among households with an educated head that can read and write, food insecurity was highest for household head that dropped out after primary school (24.1 percent) or that can read only in Arabic (26.4 percent) compared to those that achieved secondary school and above (16.2 percent).
Female headed households were disproportionately affected by food insecurity (36.9 percent) compared to male headed counterparts (24.9 percent). Similarly, there were more severely food insecure female headed households (6.9 percent) compared to their male headed counterparts (2.1 percent), which is unsurprising since women living in the northeast have limited livelihood opportunities compared to men. Majority of female headed households are either widowed (63.7 percent) or separated/divorced (12.0 percent).
Households that their primary means of livelihoods were begging (66 percent), unskilled wage labor (49.0 percent), skilled wage labor (38 percent), petty trade (31 percent) and daily common labor (29 percent) were more food insecure compared to counterparts engaged in salaried work (15 percent), livestock business (16 percent) and agriculture (23 percent).
Households without access to farmland were more food insecure (36 percent) compared to those with access (22 percent). Moreover, among households with access to farmland, a correlation exists between food security and the expanse of land cultivated. Households that cultivated more hectares of land were found to be more food secure.
Poor households with few assets tend to be more food insecure than better off household. In the face of shock and threats, households with lower levels of income and fewer assets are more likely to deploy extreme coping strategies to meet their basic food needs. The persistent use of such coping strategies might have severe, and oftentimes, irreversible impacts on food insecurity within the affected households.