Persistent high levels of conflict drive high assistance needs during the post-harvest period
Increased conflict observed in early December led to further displacement in the Northeast, particularly in Borno state, limiting access to farms, reducing the already expected below-normal harvest. This, coupled with atypically high market prices due to increased demand, below-average supply, and poor macroeconomic conditions, are driving low purchasing power among already vulnerable populations. As a result, more households are likely experiencing food consumption gaps indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. A risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists, where Famine could occur in the event that households are cut off from typical food and income sources and food assistance for a prolonged period of time.
Armed banditry, kidnapping, and cattle rustling activities have slightly increased in recent months in northwest and northcentral states. This is driving lower than regular engagement in income-earning and agricultural activities among most conflict-affected households. As a result, many poor households are mainly dependent on markets for food and are unable to meet non-food needs, experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Worst conflict-affected households in Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina states who remain displaced and have limited income or no humanitarian assistance are experiencing food consumption gaps and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
Households in areas less affected by conflict and/or flooding are consuming own foods normally and engaging in typical livelihood activities. Although some flood-affected households remain displaced and have constrained income, relying mainly on markets for food. Thus, they are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Many flood-affected households are expected to engage in dry season cultivation and will start consuming own foods with the harvest in April/May. As such, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected to emerge.
Macroeconomic conditions remain fragile, with the continued increase in the annual inflation, although slightly, despite the rise in international crude oil prices as foreign reserves continue to decline. Though the value of the NGN remains relatively stable, the value of the currency remains lower than last year and the average. Despite the harvest, prices are not seasonally decreasing due to the macroeconomic pressure on the markets and atypically high market demand as many households lost some, if not all, their harvest due to flooding or conflict. Food prices across the country are above-average, with prices even higher in conflict-affected areas of the Northeast.