According to the recent findings of the Global Hunger Index (GHI), nine of the world’s countries, including Nigeria, are expected to face rising rates of hunger over the course of this year. The Index, an instrument for thoroughly evaluating and monitoring hunger at global, regional, and national levels, also recognised Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Haiti, Burkina Faso, and Mali as the other countries. to be affected. In 2023, a number of nations are dealing with extreme hunger, and the situation is only expected to get worse as the year progresses.
Initial warning indicators show that several regions of the world are in crisis, the GHI report said, although situations in 2023 are not yet reflected by the data in this year’s GHI scores. According to the report, economic downturns are an even more prevalent factor in causing these crises than conflict and climate change. When compared to the 125 countries for which data is complete enough to rank on the 2023 GHI, Nigeria ranks 109th. Nigeria has a serious hunger problem, as indicated by its Index score 28.3.
Food inflation accounts for half of the overall inflation rate.
The United Nations defines food insecurity as a lack of regular access to food, which lowers the standard of one’s diet, interrupts normal eating habits, and can have detrimental effects on one’s nutrition, health, and well-being. Nigeria food inflation has continued to escalate since August 2019 and is presently at an intense pace after the nation floated the naira and also eliminated the petrol subsidy. This comes amid high levels of hunger and malnutrition in Nigeria, which is the most populous country in Africa.
Also, the National Bureau of Statistics reports that food inflation, which accounts for half of the overall inflation rate, reached 30.64 percent in September, which is the highest level in 18 years, up from 29.34 percent in August. There was a year-over-year increase in food inflation due to higher prices for oil and fat, bread and cereals, potatoes, yams, and other tubers, fish, fruit, meat, vegetables, milk, cheese, and eggs. In its most recent update on global food security, the World Bank included Nigeria on its list of countries predicted to experience catastrophic levels of food insecurity in the last months of 2023.
Pressures on inflation and hunger are anticipated to persist.
Acute food insecurity is expected to become even more widespread in Nigeria, as stated in the update released on June 29. It is anticipated that about 24.8 million people will be facing severe food insecurity in the upcoming months, including 1.1 million people who will be in critical conditions (IPC Phase 4). The severity of hunger and malnutrition is alarmingly increasing at an alarming rate right now. In order to survive, most households now skip meals.
Optimus by Afrinvest Limited’s managing director/chief business officer, Ayodeji Ebo, stated that inflation pressures are anticipated to persist, particularly on the food element of the headline index. Although September marks the beginning of the harvesting period, he said that food inflation will likely rise in the coming months due to the ongoing closure of the Niger border, inadequate rainfall in July and August, possible flooding warnings throughout 32 states, which include the FCT, and a possible rise in petrol prices.
Dietitians also call for an emergency declaration on food security.
In a similar report by AskNigeria, Dietitians in the country also urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to make an emergency declaration on food security as comprehensive and detailed as possible and to include dietitians as important partners in the proposed campaign to combat food insecurity. According to those food experts, a “silent hunger” is currently affecting a significant portion of the population that resides in Nigeria. They also emphasised that this difficult issue should be the focus of the Federal Government’s attention.