Nigeria: Hunger Report - Operation Update Report no. 1 (MDRNG032)

Situation Report
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Nigeria’s Northwest region – particularly states of Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina – has in recent years seen a deterioration in the security situation, marked by an increase in banditry and violence. The crisis has accelerated during the past years because of the intensification of attacks and has resulted in widespread displacement across the region.

Reportedly, nearly 280,000 people are displaced in the three states as of January 2021. Women and children have been affected more by this displacement with access to education, proper nutrition for children being severely affected.

Disrupted livelihoods and reduced market access have lessened households’ capacity to meet their essential needs. It is reported1 that in Northwest Nigeria, 2.53 million people are projected to face acute food insecurity (Phase 3 and above) in June – August 2021 lean period. An estimated five percent of the total food insecure population (138,476 individuals) are internally displaced persons (IDPs), of which 26,000 are in the emergency acute food insecurity phase (CH phase 4). The higher prevalence of acute food insecurity also reflects the adverse effects of measures to contain the COVID‑19 pandemic on the supply chain, the escalation of armed and community conflicts, some localized cereal production shortfalls, the unfavorable macro‑economic conditions, and high food prices.

The present food insecurity situation is compounded by the closure of borders, insecurity across the region and COVID 19 pandemic. All these factors have had a direct effect on the food prices, either due to the unavailability of enough food or lack of sources to purchase food items. Farmers are unable to access their farms due to the fear or attack or kidnapping and this has equally led to reduction in food production across the region.

Additionally, domestic petrol prices remain elevated, pushing up transportation costs. These economic factors are putting pressure on staple food prices across the country, particularly in deficit-producing areas. Prices for both staple and cash crops remain significantly above the five-year average and last year due to the poor macroeconomic conditions, high fuel prices and transportation costs, and high market demand due to the below-average 2020 harvest.

Traders are putting further pressure on parties as the poor start to the rainy season has resulted in market speculation, and traders and households are withholding stocks. As a result, market supply across much of the country is lower than average.

Income-earning opportunities and wages are below average for most poor households across the country and even more restricted in conflict-prone areas. This is due to the poor macroeconomic conditions and the high levels of conflict across the country, resulting in stiff competition for labor in most areas. The high competition for labor income has also resulted in lower than typical wage rates due to the high labor supply in many areas. Furthermore, income from agricultural labor is lower than usual, with most poor households engaged in labor work to earn some income. Income from agricultural labor in conflict affected areas, notably the Northeast, is minimal. Households also engage in other unskilled labor such as petty trading, water vending, and firewood sales to earn some income.

This Emergency Appeal got approved by 28 June 2021 targeted at interventions in 7 states of Northwest (Zamfara,
Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi) and North Central (Benue, Nasarawa, Niger) Nigeria.