The United Nations, through its Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with the World Food Programme and other partners, has sounded an alarm over an impending acute food crisis in Nigeria. The crisis is expected to affect approximately 26.5 million Nigerians across 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This dire prediction was disclosed in the October 2023 Cadre Harmonise report, which was presented in Abuja to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
The report, a comprehensive analysis tool for food and nutrition situations, cites the removal of fuel subsidies, the naira redesign policy, floods, conflict, and insecurity as the primary drivers of the anticipated crisis. The UN and its partners project that between June and August 2024, the crisis will intensify, including for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in states like Borno, Sokoto, and Zamfara.
Dominique Koffy, the UN FAO Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, highlighted the agency’s efforts in identifying populations at risk of food and nutrition insecurity. The lean season is expected to see a deterioration in food consumption for households, pushing several states into a crisis phase due to spikes in staple food prices, inflation, and the high cost of food production.
The report also notes a significant reduction in household stock, with more than 60% of households reporting lower stocks compared to 2022 and the five-year average. This is attributed to the destruction of crops by flash floods and limited production activities in conflict-affected states.
The UN’s warning about Nigeria’s food security is a call to action for both the Nigerian government and the international community. The convergence of economic policies, environmental disasters, and security challenges has created a perfect storm that threatens the sustenance of millions.
The government must address these underlying issues with urgency and effectiveness. Policies must be revisited to cushion the impact of subsidy removals and currency redesigns. Moreover, there is a pressing need for a robust response to the security challenges that disrupt agriculture, which is the backbone of Nigeria’s food supply.
This situation also highlights the importance of international aid and cooperation in times of crisis. The global community must stand ready to support Nigeria through these trying times to prevent a humanitarian disaster.
Did You Know?
- Nigeria’s population is projected to grow to over 400 million by 2050, making food security a critical issue for the future.
- The Cadre Harmonise report is a key tool used across the Sahel and West Africa to assess food insecurity and guide humanitarian response.
- The lean season in Nigeria, typically from June to August, is when food stocks are lowest before the new harvest begins.
- Flash floods have become increasingly common in Nigeria, exacerbating food insecurity by destroying crops.
- Conflict and insecurity, particularly in Nigeria’s northern regions, have displaced millions, creating large populations dependent on aid for survival.