Progress slow but steady in northeastern Nigeria

The armed insurgency in northeastern Nigeria continues to have devastating impacts on the food security and nutrition status of people in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. Currently, an estimated 2.6 million people in the three states are classified as facing crisis or worse levels of food insecurity (October-December 2019), a reduction of close to 300,000 people from June 2019, according to the recently released Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis. However, if no humanitarian support is provided, a projected 3.6 million people in the three states are likely to be severely food insecure from June to August 2020 - traditionally the lean season in the North-East.

Slow but steady progress in the North-East

A resurgence in conflict and insecurity, wide-scale floods ravaging homesteads and farmlands during the rainy season and outbreaks of diseases, including cholera, are key drivers of the current food security and nutrition situation in the North-East. “While continued reductions in the number of food insecure are welcome, there is urgent need to accelerate the pace by which we remove people from vulnerable situations. This can only be achieved by addressing the root causes of the conflict and by providing sustainable livelihoods support. As agriculture is the main source of income in these states, the promotion of sustainable and higher income agricultural livelihoods is critical,” shared Suffyan Koroma, FAO Representative in Nigeria, at the CH launch.

The CH analysis found that an estimated 4.02 million people in 16 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory are facing food insecurity (October-December 2019), while about 5.9 million are projected to be food insecure across the north from June to August 2020, if no humanitarian interventions take place. The states included in the analysis were Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.

Launched on 5 November 2019 in Abuja, the CH results were presented by the Government of Nigeria and key partners, including FAO, the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the World Food Programme and others. The CH tool is part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional framework for the consensual analysis of acute food insecurity situations and aims to strengthen food security information and analysis.

Key recommendations to strengthen food security and nutrition among the vulnerable were shared at the launch. Experts recommended strong security actions in areas deemed ‘hard to reach’ and disconnected from humanitarian support. They also called for new humanitarian interventions across the 16 states, specifically for populations most at risk. Due to volatility, especially in the northern Borno axis, a number of areas in the North-East were not assessed as part of the current CH process.

The results of the CH analysis are now the benchmark for the United Nations’ Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plans for the North-East. The CH analysis in Nigeria is funded by the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The next round of the CH is expected to take place in March 2020.

Key facts:

  • Conducted twice a year, the CH provides early warning information that triggers actions for governments, humanitarian actors and development partners towards reducing food insecurity and malnutrition vulnerability.
  • The CH partnership process has built capacity of the experts of the ministries, departments and agencies at national and sub-national levels to undertake the analysis with little or no external guidance.