• Tuesday, November 28, 2023
businessday logo


Over 26m Nigerians face acute food shortage by August 2024 — Report

The Sad, Sorry and Scary state of food insecurity in Africa

Nigerians, numbering over 26.5 million including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are expected to plunge into acute food insecurity between June and August 2024. The Cadre Harmonise report has revealed.

The report which was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in collaboration with the federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, in Abuja on Friday, showed that the post-effect of petrol subsidy removal had its toll on food prices, which impacted household capacity to sustain acceptable food consumption pattern.

Read also: Increasing food shortage to worsen malnutrition

The report which covered 26 states and the federal capital territory, also showed a reduced harvest and household stock, resulting from flash floods that led to displacement and loss of cultivated crop fields and ‘ready to harvest crops’.

Soaring fuel prices, inflation push households below food consumption threshold

“Going into the lean season (June to August 2024) households may experience slight to moderate deterioration in food consumption which may plunge several states into the crisis phase.

“The unacceptable thresholds of food consumption may have resulted from a significant spike in staple food prices following increases in fuel prices, inflation and high cost of food production,” it stated.

Read also: Nigeria faces catastrophic food insecurity on accelerating inflation

Commenting on the report, Dominique Koffi Kouacou, FAO representative Ad-interim in Nigeria, noted that the outcome of the report was impacted by several shocks, ranging from persistent insecurity, (like Insurgency, banditry, natural resource-based conflicts), high cost of food and agricultural inputs due to high inflation and other economic factors and severe dry spells in some states immediately after the onset of rains.

Represented by Abubakar Suleiman, assistant FAO representative (programs), the combination of the above shocks generally affected the livelihoods and food security of many households at the peak of the lean season.

“Last week, we gathered in many states with the main goal of analysing all available data to identify populations at risk of food and nutrition insecurity in the country.

“As you all agree, CH analysis continues to produce reliable and widely acceptable evidence for planning food security and livelihood response targeting, and for prioritisation of development programmes.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the increasing interest of the government in empowering communities and strengthening their resilience so that they can be self-reliant. And we pledge to continue supporting the government and vulnerable communities to achieve these goals,” he said.

In his remarks, Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security said that the results are coming at a time when the government at all levels is leaving no stone unturned in reinvigorating the nation’s economy by first addressing the challenges to food and nutrition insecurity.

According to him, environmental and human factors such as climate change, displacements due to insecurity and seasonal flooding regimes have remained a recurrent concern for the government.

“Daunting as this may be, it is surmountable, although several factors seem to be negating our efforts. Notable among them are the lingering negative impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and the Russia-Ukraine war which is currently disrupting the food systems and spiking up input prices (fertilizers and agrochemicals) and food prices.

Read also:Nigeria, others to suffer increased poverty, food insecurity in 2023 – World Bank

“The removal of petroleum subsidy has further heightened this pressure, resulting in food inflation and increases in the consumer price index. These disruptions have implications on the food consumption patterns and the attendant high use of irreversible coping strategies among a sizable population of Nigeria,” he said.

Fausat Lawal, director of special duties at the ministry, who represented the permanent secretary, said that the ministry remains resolute in leading and supporting the CH process in Nigeria.

He pledged the government’s assurance and commitment to uphold and utilize the outcome of the report in implementing food and nutrition security interventions.

Further details of the report showed a significant reduction in household stock was reported among more than a percent of households with more than 35 per cent having no stocks in 2023 when compared to 2022.

The report showed limited food production activities in crisis-affected states of Adamawa, Borno, Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Yobe, including parts of Benue and Plateau. It added that although global market stock supply appears to be stable, an increase in food prices has continued to limit food access in all affected states.