GIEWS Country Brief: Nigeria 02-April-2018



  • Above-average cereal harvest gathered in 2017

  • Prices of coarse grains remained at high levels driven mostly by weak local currency

  • Food security situation improved but over 3 million in need of assistance

Above-average cereal harvest gathered in 2017

Harvesting of the 2017 cereal crops was completed in January 2018. The 2017 national production is estimated at above average levels owing to the timely onset and good distribution of the rains in most states. However, the rainy season ceased early in September 2017 in the northeast reducing local production prospects. In these areas, despite localized improvements in security, effects of the Boko Haram conflict and the threat of new attacks continue to affect agricultural activities and other livelihoods.

Despite some floods in September 2017, which affected 22 out of 36 states and substantial outbreaks of pests (including Fall Armyworm), the country’s aggregate cereal output in 2017 is tentatively estimated at about 24.4 million tonnes, well above the last five-year average. The 2017 harvest included 11.1 million tonnes of maize (15 percent above average), 6.3 million tonnes of sorghum (equivalent to the average) and 5.4 million tonnes of rice (13 percent above average).

Near-average rainfall amounts also provided generally favourable conditions for pastoralists with sufficient pasture and water availability. However, limited access to pastures in conflict-affected areas resulted in early movements of pastoralists and consequent increased competition for pasture.

Slightly above average imports forecast

Despite the increases in local production, the country remains a net cereal importer and cereal imports (mostly rice and wheat for human consumption) are forecast to reach 7.8 million tonnes in 2017/18, about 6 percent above the five-year average. The country is still the largest rice importer in Africa, importing on average about 2.6 million tonnes per year. Reports indicate there might not be sufficient foreign exchange availability to meet demand for imported cereals.

Prices of food remain high in the northeast

Wholesale prices of maize generally strengthened in January 2018, while those of millet and sorghum remained relatively stable or weakened in some markets. The price of white gari (made from cassava) and rice showed mixed trends. Prices were generally below their year-earlier values, but still relatively high, particularly in the northeastern parts of the country, where the ongoing conflict continues to hinder food production activities and disrupt the markets. The high level of food prices reflects the reduced value of the local currency against the US dollar throughout 2017, high transport costs and strong demand from traders and institutional bodies to replenish their stocks. The high prices of food are reflected in the annual food inflation, which remained high at 18.9 percent in January 2018.

Some improvements in food security but over 3 million still in need of food assistance

According to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” (Harmonized Framework) analysis, the estimated number of people facing acute food insecurity and requiring urgent life-saving response and livelihood protection has declined from 8.9 million in June-August 2017 to about 3.2 million in October-December 2017 across the 16 states and Federal Capital Territory that were analysed. Moreover, approximately 1.7 million people have been internally displaced due to the insurgency in the northeastern region of the country as of February 2018, most of them entering being displaced for more than two years. Insecurity and damaged infrastructure, particularly in the Borno State, put additional strain on the delivery of humanitarian aid.

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