With the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other partners, including the World Food Programme (WFP), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) and USAID, between 17 December 2020 and 3 January 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR) carried out its annual assessment Mission to determine crop production and food supply situation throughout the 18 states of the country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictive measures introduced to contain it, the methodology was modified, with institutions of the Federal Government, normally conducting the survey, delegating to staff at State level the task of collecting all the requested data, under the supervision of federal staff from the Food Security Technical Secretariat (FSTS) and the General Directorate of Planning and Agricultural Economics (GDPAE).
Following this procedure, 22 state teams headed by the Director-General of the State Ministry of Production and Economical Resources or by the Director-General of the national irrigated scheme covered the 18 states and the four national irrigated schemes. The teams’ visits were designed to collect data and information from state ministries and irrigation schemes and to audit them through field visits and interviews with farmers and key informants. The combined quantitative and qualitative information, from both primary and secondary sources, allowed the teams to assess the 2020/21 cereal (sorghum and millet) and other field crop production and to forecast wheat production to be harvested by March 2021. Discussions about factors affecting crop and livestock conditions were held with the representatives from local Government offices, United Nations (UN) agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
Field visits were conducted by local specialists from state ministries and irrigation schemes, who also provided the latest information on all aspects of agricultural production within their domains, including the provision of follow-up data, where required. The teams cross-checked the official estimates by conducting extensive field inspections, rapid case studies with sample farmers and interviews with herders and traders. The security situation generally improved compared to the previous years and imposed less constraints to field observation and interviews to farmers. In the areas where it was not possible to conduct field visits, data provided by state authorities were audited through triangulation with secondary data and consensus-building discussions among all staff that participated in the survey, were conducted. Data were compiled by state, crop and sub-sector (irrigated, rainfed mechanized and rainfed traditional) to provide the overall area and production estimates. Using these data, a national cereal balance sheet was drawn up comparing the total cereal requirements for the coming marketing year (January-December) with the domestic cereal availability.