Persisting conflict in the northeast continues to drive severe food insecurity
Persistent Boko Haram conflict in the northeast during several years has led to extensive population displacement, very limited cultivation of staple foods, and major disruption to typical livelihoods activities. The response of humanitarian agencies to mitigate severe food insecurity has also been restricted by the poor security environment. The majority of the population in the area continues to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity, with an increased risk of high levels of acute malnutrition and excess mortality. Areas that remain inaccessible are facing an elevated risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5).
An increase in attacks and conflict events in November due to the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, particularly in Borno State and parts of Adamawa State, has caused additional population displacement, substantial casualties, and restricted humanitarian access. In November, insurgents carried out suicide attacks in Mubi and Madagali towns (Adamawa State), and invaded Magumeri town in Borno State.
The recent IOM-DTM Round XIX report conducted in September 2017 revealed that the estimated number of IDPs in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe States was 1,713,771 people, representing a decline of three percent relative to the previous Round XVIII in August 2017. Approximately 85 percent of the displaced reside in Borno State, the epicenter of the insurgency, while less than five percent are outside of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe. Adamawa State recorded the highest returnee population relative to August data, with nearly 670,000 people returning, while Borno and Yobe States also noted an increase in the rate of return, by 7 and 3 percent respectively.
The IOM-DTM reports for January to September 2017 (Rounds XIV to XIX) indicate that food assistance remains a priority need for displaced households, with approximately 70 percent of the displaced reporting that food needs are the top assistance priority. The same reports indicate a consistent decrease in the IDP population across the six northeastern states during the period, with the exception of a slight increase in May.
Main season harvests have been concluded across the country. Aggregate production of major cereals (maize, millet, rice, and sorghum) increased by 9 percent compared to last year, and by 12 percent compared to the five-year average. Rice production was 23 percent above average, while maize production was 12 percent above average. Millet and sorghum production remained near-average. Above-average main season harvests have increased food availability and access for most households outside the northeast region, leading to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity in most areas.
Food prices have begun to decline from their highly elevated prices, due to the combined impact of main season harvests, improving macroeconomic indicators, declining inflation rates, and the stabilization of the naira (NGN) against the US dollar (USD) and CFA. Between September and October, maize prices declined by about 24, 30, 40, and 47 percent in Dawanau-Kano, Potiskum, Gujungu and Saminaka markets, respectively. Prices for maize and other staple cereals are lower compared to the same period of last year. However, staple food prices remain elevated relative to the two-year and five-year average levels across most markets.