Nigeria is confronted by multiple security challenges, notably the resilient insurgency induced by Non State Armed Groups (NSAGs) in the northeast and more recently, the rising conflict between herders and farmers in northwest states like Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina, which is already spiraling into different types of violence, ranging from extortion, kidnapping, indiscriminate killings, sexual violence, burning of villages and looting. According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there are over 160,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the northwest states of Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina.
Objectives A rapid assessment was jointly conducted by World Food Programme (WFP), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Federal and State Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development through the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU-FMARD), in order to assess the impact of the conflict in Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina states on household food security, nutrition and market functionality in the worst affected areas.
Food Security and Nutrition Outcomes
- More than two in every IDP households did not have sufficient food intake during the week of the assessment with prevalence rates of 82.6 percent, 78.6 percent and 73.1 percent in Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states respectively, which shows concerning food consumption gaps in the three states;
- Prior to displacement, majority of IDP households were into subsistence farming and as such, they predominantly relied on own-produced cereals for consumption. However, because of the displacement IDP households predominantly rely on markets to meet their food needs due to lack of access to their farmlands;
- Prevalence of global acute malnutrition among children 6 – 59 months by MUAC and/or oedema amongst the assessed displaced population in the three states was very high – 19 percent in Katsina, 18.4 percent in Sokoto, and 31.1 percent in Zamfara – and requires further investigation and urgent attention to avert increased risks of morbidity and mortality;
Drivers of Malnutrition and Food Security
- Malnutrition in the host community has been a long-standing issue in northwest Nigeria despite high levels of agricultural activities, e.g. crop cultivation and livestock rearing, and the region is viewed as the country’s hub for meat and cereal production, which shows that malnutrition is largely underscored by socio-economic and cultural issues as much as inadequate food utilization;
- Displaced households have extremely limited livelihood opportunities in their current places of residence as majority lack access to farmland and continue to engage in agricultural casual labor and menial jobs to earn some income to meet their basic needs;
- The major constraints for involvement in the ongoing planting season were lack of access to farmland, late arrival of IDPs in host communities as planting season already commenced before arrival and lack of seeds and agricultural inputs for those that have access to farmland;
- Nonetheless, some displaced households are gradually returning back to their places of origin either to ‘fully resettle’ or ‘partially to cultivate’ and return to the hosting areas;
- Some displaced households send their children to beg for food in communities or along busy roads whereas, others with adolescent or teenage children send them to major cities to undertake unskilled manual labor and menial jobs as part of efforts to boost their income and purchasing power;
- Analysis on the Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB) shows that the wages from casual labor cannot cover the daily food requirements, which suggests existence of gaps and unmet food needs across displaced households;
- Term of Trade between wages from causal labor and cereals was not favorable as the prices of cereals (e.g millet) were more expensive compared to daily wage from casual labor, which indicates economic constraints for food access among market reliant displaced households, due to their weak purchasing power;
- Household’s weak purchasing power underscored the pervasive usage of negative food and livelihood based coping strategies observed among displaced households in order to meet their food needs;
- The prevailing limited income-earning opportunities, coupled with already depleted assets among affected displaced households, will gradually hamper food access due to continued depreciation of their purchasing power and will invariably deepen their vulnerability even further;
- Government services have limited capacity to fully respond to the needs of the affected populations, both host and displaced as development partners are regarded as the major supporters for nutrition programming in the three states.