GIEWS Country Brief: Nigeria 24-January-2019


Above-average cereal production estimated in 2018

Higher food prices in northeast due to persisting conflict

Moderate economic growth and increasing food price inflation

Assistance needs will remain high in 2019

Above-average cereal harvest gathered in 2018

Despite persisting conflict in the northeast zone and floods in some localized areas, generally adequate rainfall in 2018 benefitted crop development in most parts of the country. Harvesting activities for millet, sorghum, rainfed rice and main season maize crops have almost finalized, while harvesting of irrigated rice and second season maize crops is still ongoing and will be completed by end-January. The country’s aggregate cereal output in 2018 is estimated at 28.7 million tonnes, about 5 percent higher than the output in 2017 and 18 percent above the five-year average.

In main grazing areas of the country, early and extended rainfall improved availability and quality of pastures as well as contributed to the replenishment of main water points including dams, ponds, streams, rivers and lakes. The animal health situation is generally stable, with no major disease outbreaks recorded. However, the conflict in the northeast and the clashes between farmers and pastoralists continue to limit access to grazing land for in the affected areas. These conflicts undermine the food security and stability in Nigeria.

Despite the above-average 2018 production, import requirements for the 2018/19 (November/October) marketing year are set at 7.8 million tonnes, slightly above average due to higher demand for human and industrial use.

Prices of food remain high in the northeast

Market supplies have increased since October due to the new harvest of staples including maize, millet and tubers. Market demand for staple foods has gradually declined as households are increasingly relying on the consumption of their own production. Staple food prices for cereals, including maize, millet and sorghum, have remained relatively stable between October and November. However, prices remain at relatively high levels compared to the average due to the high inflation rate. In particular, staple food prices remain higher in the northeast compared to other neighbouring areas due to the persisting civil conflict.

Moderate economic growth projected, food price inflation increasing

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the economy is forecast to grow by about 1.9 percent in 2019, down from the 2.1 percent recorded in 2018 due to the uncertainty related to the elections scheduled in February 2019 that may limit business, industrial investments and services. The year-on-year inflation rate in 2019 is forecast at about 13.9 percent, up from 12.2 percent in 2018 as a result of a weakening currency and high consumer prices.

According to the Nigerian Central Bank (CBN) and the parallel Bureau de Change, the Naira (NGN) has remained relatively stable in 2018 at an estimated average of NGN 305.5 per USD 1. However, the existing multiple exchange rate system is expected to persist in 2019, with a significant differential between the official (Government), the market-determined (investors and exporters) and black market rates. Reports from the field indicate that the CBN continues to supply USD 210 million into the foreign exchange market to avoid that the local currency deteriorates against other regional and international currencies.

Assistance needs remain high for food insecure households, especially in the northeast

The civil conflict and cattle rustling activities in northwest states, the pastoralist/farmer conflict in the central states and localized communal conflict across the country continue to disrupt livelihoods and lead to increased population displacement. According to UNHCR, as of October 2018, over 2 million people were internally displaced, about 90 percent in the northeast. In addition, as of November 2018, over 32 600 Cameroonian refugees were in Cross River, Taraba, Benue and Akwa Ibom states. Most displaced households are heavily dependent on humanitarian assistance to satisfy their food needs.

According to the November 2018 ”Cadre Harmonise” analysis, about 2.5 million people were estimated to be in need of food assistance across the country between October and December 2018 compared to 3 million in October-December 2017. The caseload is projected to increase to 4.5 million during the June to August 2019 period, if mitigation measures are not taken. Almost 1.5 million people benefitted from food assistance in October 2018, across Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, significantly lower than the monthly average of 2.25 million in 2017 due to lower availability of food assistance.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations