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Nigerians face food insecurity, lack access to safety nets, NBS warns in new report

A new report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the impact of covid-19 on the economy has revealed that a large number of Nigerian households experience severe food insecurity. Many citizens also reported they lack access to safety nets or other forms of support.

“The food security situation in Nigeria has sub-stantially worsened since the start of the pandemic. About 30 percent of households interviewed in June experienced severe food insecurity due to lack of money or other resources,”
the data office stated in its COVID-19 Impact Monitoring report.

“The incidence of severe food insecurity in June 2020 was nearly 3 times higher than in July/August 2018 and nearly 6 times higher than in January/February 2019. ”

Moreover, 77 percent of households interviewed in June reported moderate or severe food insecurity. There has also not been any significant improvement in safety nets or other sources of income assistance from institutions and/or remittances”.

According to the second round of its Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey ( NLPS) conducted in June, the NBS noted that 38 percent of households that engaged in agriculture reported having to modify their farming plans due to COVID-19. Out of these, 52 percent reported reducing the area they planted, 30 percent planted crops that take less time to mature, and 25 percent reported delaying planting time.

But the commerce, agriculture and services sectors which were the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis according to the report experienced the largest recoveries in the share of respondents working.

“Those engaged in non-farm household businesses reported facing challenges associated with COVID-19. The most widely reported challenges faced by non-farm businesses are difficulty raising money”.

Of the 87 percent of households owning non-farm businesses, 77 percent had difficulty buying and receiving supplies and inputs, while 70 percent had difficulty selling goods and services.

The NBS in the report also noted that frequent handwashing with soap which tops as a preventive measure against COVID-19, as advised by the Nigeria government was majorly impossible as insufficient access to soap and water for washing was prevalent in some households.

“The most readily available COVID-19 preventative measure is washing ones hands with soap and water; however, insufficient access to soap and water for washing is a hindrance for some households, with 24 percent having insufficient soap and 7 percent insufficient water for washing hands,” it stated.

However, vast majority of respondents practice safety measures to minimize the risk of contracting the virus. 73 percent of respondents reported wearing a mask and 77 percent washing their hands all or most of the time after being in public.

The report also shows that between April, May and June, the share of respondents who were working increased in both urban and rural areas, reflecting the easing of the lockdown measures in the country.

The NBS described the COVID-19 NLPS as a monthly survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,950 households to monitor the economic impact of the pandemic and other shocks.

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