The Conflict in northeast Nigeria has had devastating effects on food security and livelihoods. Millions of people have been driven away from their homes and access to agricultural lands and assets have been hampered, creating massive humanitarian needs in the area. The conflict has spilled over to neighbouring countries, more specifically Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Due to the ongoing conflict, the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in the northeast Region of Nigeria are facing massive displacement of people, significant human, social and economic losses and food insecurity. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Round 25 (October 2018) (IOM, 2018) indicates that 2 026 602 people are internally displaced in northeast Nigeria, of which 1 475 605 or 71.5 percent are located in Borno State. Host communities are also affected with poor access to the needed resources for their own food production, facing high levels of poverty and malnutrition. The Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis of food and nutrition insecurity (October 2018) (CILSS, FAO & NPFS, 2018) indicates that the main food, nutrition and livelihood indicators remain alarming. In Borno State, an estimated 835 772 people are currently in the three critical food insecurity categories (CH Phase 3-5), with an expected increase to around 1.38 million people during the coming lean season (June and August 2019).
The context of conflict is further compounded by climate variability that negatively impacts the production systems, resulting in poor crop yields and livestock productivity with direct negative impact on people’s livelihoods and food security. Drought is the main natural disaster in the region. It affects more than 50 percent of the population that directly depends on crop and livestock production for their livelihood sustenance, hampering irrigated agriculture and reducing water for livestock production. In addition, a significant proportion of land in Borno State is degraded as the result of inappropriate soil management practices, deforestation and over-exploitation of rangelands that has led to a progressive and severe loss of the original vegetation cover.
Limited access to energy has been identified as a very pressing issue in Borno State. It has exposed vulnerable people to a number of challenges and risks; which directly hampers food security and nutrition (e.g. insufficient fuel to cook food), increases deforestation (e.g. unsustainable felling of trees for household fuel) as well as protection risks (e.g. harassment, assault, physical and sexual violence when collecting woodfuel) and health risks (smoke inhalation provoking respiratory illnesses). Additionally, the use of night lighting in all Internally Displaced Populations (IDPs) camps has been a challenge due to ongoing military operations. Movements in the dark have exposed IDPs – especially new arrivals (returnees and IDPs) - to protection risks.
Therefore, an assessment was jointly initiated by FAO, UNHCR and WFP to assess the supply and demand of woodfuel resources in Borno State. This assessment included three steps: 1) assess the energy demand including woodfuel (firewood and charcoal) and the associated challenges experienced by IDPs, returnees and host communities,
2) assess the woodfuel supply including the aboveground biomass stock, land cover classification and changes over time, and 3) identify relevant inter-linkages and gaps as well as develop and propose possible future scenarios in which improved cookstoves, the use of other biomass feedstock and afforestation interventions can be implemented.
Seventy nine percent of the 8 937 surveyed households depend solely on firewood for their daily cooking energy needs, 8.1 percent depend solely on charcoal and 8.4 percent depend on a combination of firewood and charcoal. In addition, 3.2 percent rely on a mixture of other organic biomass sources, including agricultural and animal waste products, most often in combination with firewood and/or charcoal. This means that 98.7 percent, or 8 819 of the total number of respondents, use biomass as their only energy source for cooking. Only 1.3 percent of surveyed households indicate to use fossil fuels, such as kerosene, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or non-organic waste materials (e.g. plastic), as part of their household energy mix. Among IDPs, a higher dependence on less efficient energy sources (agricultural or animal waste) was noticed, while host community members showed a slightly higher incidence of combining firewood and charcoal as their daily cooking energy source. In order to assess knowledge and openness to other energy sources, 20.8 percent of respondents, who use traditional biomass as energy resource, indicated that they would change their current energy source if given the opportunity. The top choices as alternative energy sources indicated by the respondents, are kerosene and LPG. Surveyed households were also asked the maximum amount they would invest in an improved cookstove. The average willingness to pay (WTP) of the sample is 4 530 Nigerian Nairas (NGN) or 12.44 US Dollars (USD) per household.
The sourcing of woodfuel is mainly through local sellers or market places (roadside, at IDP camp entrance, etc.). 64.1 percent of respondents source their fuel in this way. A total of 21.5 percent of respondents indicated that they only collect firewood from the surrounding environment (they do not purchase woodfuel), with an additional 14.4 percent indicating they source their fuel by combining different approaches (buying, collecting and receiving from humanitarian actors). The high number of people who buy firewood can be explained by the widespread protection risks, the strict security perimeters around towns, the restriction of movement of petroleum, oil and lubricant products in some locations and the expensive cost of kerosene1 out of Maiduguri.