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25 million Nigerians at food insecurity risk

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By Timothy Akintola

Impending food insecurity crisis to be the biggest Nigeria has ever experienced.

The recurrent crisis and inadequacy in the provision of agricultural infrastructures have led to a prevalence of acute food Insecurity in Nigeria. With farmers incapable of going to their farms as a result of the extreme focused attacks and kidnappings that most farmers have suffered over the last year, as well as the recent flooding that submerged most farms months ago, the food insecurity situation has been exacerbated. Statistics indicate that the prevalence of food insecurity in Nigeria has grown on par with the rising population. From 2016 to 2021, obtained data shows that food insecurity rose consistently from 11 percent to 19.1 percent. The continued crisis and floods that have hit the country last year is a clear indicator of a further increase.

Presently, at least 25 million Nigerians are predicted to be at imminent risk of being affected by food insecurity and facing severe hunger between the months of June and August, 2023. According to the October 2022 Cadre Hermonisé, a Government led and United Nation’ supported food and Nutrition analysis which is regularly carried out twice every year, this situation might potentially be the biggest food insecurity crisis the country has experienced, unless urgent measures are put in place to curb this Epidemic.

Flooding in 2022 damaged over 676,000 hectares of farmlands.

This figure represents an increase from the estimated 17 million people who are presently at risk of food insecurity. Inflation, climate change, constant crisis and the ever rising Food Prices have played key roles in propagating this alarming situation. The persistent crisis in North-Eastern states like Borno, Adamawa and Yobe and Banditry in states like Kano, Benue and Niger has immensely affected the food access in the country. The National Emergency Management Agency noted that the incessant flooding in 2022 was responsible for damaging over 676,000 hectares of farmlands, declining the harvest production and further increasing the food insecurity percentage in the country.

Despite the flooding situation, a key effect of the Climate Change largely affecting Nigeria’s agricultural production output, extreme weather conditions are to be expected. Statistics also suggest that 3 million of the 17 million Nigerians presently living with severe food insecurity live within the North-Eastern states (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States). The figure is expected to increase by 1.4 million in the lean season, if necessary measures are not implemented. This includes a displaced population and returnees presently struggling in crisis in which about 8.3 million people are in dire need of help.

Nutrition center filled with children fighting to stay alive.

Mr. Matthias Schmale, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria noted that the food and nutrition situation in the country was hugely alarming. On the severity of the situation, he further explained that he had visited nutrition stabilization centers which were now filled with children fighting to stay alive and urged that immense work must be put in place to turn the situation around and offer lifesaving supports to those that need it. With children being the most vulnerable to this food insecurity epidemic, there is a huge morbidity risk among malnourished children. In the North-Eastern states alone, children suffering from overt Malnutrition is expected to increase from 1.74 million to 2 million in 2023.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, in collaboration with organizations like ALIMA and MSF are helping by investing in scaling up the preventive nutrition intervention, whilst also ensuring that lifesaving nutrition services are accessible to affected children. 650,000 children were able to access these live saving services in 2022. However, Northwestern regions like Kastina, Sokoto and Zamfara states have also been regarded as a good insecurity hub, with about 2.9 million people presently impacted. This number is expected to increase to 4.3 million, unless urgent actions are taken.

UN urged stakeholders to help curb impending food insecurity situation.

FAO, with necessary collaborations have also been of immense support to the government in the quest to restoring livelihood in the North-East and North-West regions. Important measures put in place include production of livestock, micro gardening, crop production and value chain development. The United Nation has however urged the government, public and private stakeholders and philanthropists to urgently help in the process of implementing mitigation strategies to help salvage the impending food insecurity situation and save lives.


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