Food Security Framework | Hazards
- The Sudano-Sahelian zone of Nigeria is usually drought prone and thus suffers from food production deficits often aggravated by pest infestation and poor access to inputs. Consequently, following a poor harvest poor household food reserves will last barely for 5-6 months. After the exhaustion of the family grain reserve, households become vulnerable to food insecurity and often resort to migration in search of alternative means of livelihoods.
- Seasonal increases in high price of foods might occur earlier than normal ( January-February) and be much higher than normal. Households will have to resort to market for food sooner than usual; the subsequent deterioration of poor household financial resources could limit their access to food during the lean period.
- High prevalence of severe forms of child malnutrition compounded by poor household practices and severe deficiencies has resulted in a substantial proportion of children in these communities being more reliant on food aid, relief, and nutrition rehabilitation centers.
- Pastoralists face fodder and water deficits due to poor rainfall situations, thus prompting early southward migration to north central zones and southern Nigeria. The farmer?herder conflicts associated with this situation result in substantial disruption of livelihoods. As rains commence in the North around May?June, the northward migration of animals resumes, also resulting in the deterioration of food security conditions and income of pastoral households and holds potentials for localized conflicts between crop farmers and herders. Conflict potentials remain high as migratory herders from Sahelian countries such as Niger will not return to their settlements in their countries until mid July when grazing conditions have improved. While the negative impact of pastoral household transhumance to the north is usually limited in May, the upcoming massive movement of animals northward in June and July might bring about food security challenges as animals tend to become weak due to hardship and thus are sold at relatively low prices.
- The combined impact of high prices of cereals and low prices of animals contributes to reduced pastoral household access to food; pastoral households have to sell more of their animal resources to buy food; and the situation results in the drastic deterioration of both their sources of food and income, especially in May and June when fodder is scarce.
- When animals are weak as a result of diseases or shortage of fodder and water, they usually produce less milk, which may translate to reduced milk intake for children under the age of five, thus increasing their vulnerability to malnutrition.
- Smallholder farm households face seasonal flooding when rainfalls are heavy between July and September, thus resulting in massive loss of harvest and acute food insecurity. High cost of farm inputs, limited access to farm land due to increasing urbanization, very high population density, and land fragmentation result in food production deficits usually aggravated by soil infertility and advanced gully erosions. High pressure associated with land, low agricultural productivity, and poor market systems translates to massive rural urban migration by able men in search of means of diversifying livelihoods, leaving core agricultural activities mostly to women who are limited in many ways. The attendant time allocation and resource constraints for women impact negatively on the nutritional status of the children. In core areas of southern Nigeria, excessive oil spillage and long periods of environmental degradation have eroded much of farm lands and water, drastically limiting fishing and farming activities, and food security conditions deteriorate further due to growing, though localized, conflicts. As most communities in southern Nigeria depend heavily on cereals and livestock from northern Nigeria, any increase in food and livestock prices in the north results in unusually high prices of these essential commodities in the south, thereby limiting food access to the already vulnerable farming households. These conditions are usually worsened by poor road conditions and frequent increases in pump prices of petrol.
- With the incidence of avian flu, many poultry farms were closed following a sharp decrease in the demand of poultry products. The situation translated into a fall in the demand for grain, especially maize used for animal feeds. The subsequent losses of revenue for poultry farmers was estimated at 14.38 billion naira, according to the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN). High prices of poultry and poultry products as a result of the closure of farms put at risk the livelihood and nutrition of many households who depend on the poultry and egg production as their sources of income and protein. The devastating effect of last?s year disease, coupled with the first case of human death this year, is making recovery of the ailing industry very difficult. There is a need for government, the private poultry, and financial institutions to come up with a consensus plan based on monitoring the flu and providing incentives to the industry.