Nigeria Food Security Outlook Update, February to September 2021


Poor macroeconomic conditions and high conflict drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in 2021

Key Messages

  • The high levels of conflict in Northeast Nigeria limit the ongoing dry season harvest and agricultural labor activities. This, coupled with the expectation of limited purchasing power, is expected to drive persistent Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes across much of the northeast. Households in hard-to-reach areas mainly have little to no food stocks and access food through wild foods. These households also face limited market access and are expected to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4). A risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists, and Famine could occur in a worst-case scenario if there is a dramatic uptick or shift in conflict that limits access to typical food and income sources and humanitarian assistance for a prolonged period of time.

  • In northeastern areas where there is a concentration of IDP, humanitarian actors can generally access households and distribute assistance. Additionally, market and trade activities function somewhat better in these areas than adjacent inaccessible areas. As a result, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are expected through at least May. Moreover, in urban areas of the northeast, particularly Maiduguri and its surrounding areas, household purchasing power is expected to be somewhat better and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are anticipated through much of 2021.

  • Recent attacks in Marte and Dikwa LGAs of Borno State drove increased displacement and fatalities and significant declines in the engagement in livelihood activities among affected households. These attacks are of concern as some populations have been displaced multiple times in a short amount of time. Many conflict-affected households have relocated to neighboring areas, with others traveling to Maiduguri. Some of the most vulnerable populations, including many elderly, women, and children, likely remain in their areas of origin, with lower-than-normal access to typical food and income sources and humanitarian assistance.

  • Increasing levels of conflict relative to previous years are anticipated to disrupt typical livelihood activities in the Northwest, where most affected households are expected to remain reliant on markets for food. Income-earning opportunities such as petty trading, construction work, water vending, and agricultural labor will most likely remain below average, especially in areas where households are displaced. Food access is anticipated to remain low as staple food prices are expected to remain atypically high, driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) throughout the scenario period in the worst conflict-affected areas.

  • Despite marginal crude oil price increases, poor economic conditions continue in Nigeria as foreign reserves remain low, and the annual inflation rate remains high, the highest since April 2017. The dry season harvest is expected to improve market supply slightly. Driven by the poor macroeconomic conditions and below-average 2020/21 harvest, staple food prices are significantly above average and are expected to remain high through at least late 2021. However, the high demand and low supply, in conflict-affected areas coupled with the poor macroeconomy, is expected to drive prices even higher.