The United Nation’s World Food Programme with the Food and Agriculture Organization has warned that Nigeria could face a “major (food) emergency… or series of emergencies” in the next three to six months, alongside Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Yemen.
This was disclosed in a report by the United Nations on Friday evening. The UN said the most vulnerable region in Nigeria is the North East, adding that the drivers of these humanitarian crises include long-running conflicts, and a lack of humanitarian access to communities in need.
It was reported in March, that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation predicted that 7 million Nigerians would experience food shortage between June and August 2020, as 16 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were identified to face food and nutrition crisis.
FAO reported that states like Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Benue, Gombe, Taraba, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Plateau, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Niger would be affected.
It urged thus: “Introduce policies and programs that are crucial for improving the livelihood of the poor to improve self-reliance and reduce total reliance on food assistance as well as prevent further deterioration of the food and nutrition security situation during the clean season.”
In Friday’s statement, WFP spokesperson, Tomson Phiri, highlighted how people’s dire situations were linked to an insurgency in northern Burkina Faso and northeastern Nigeria. He said,
“People have lost assets, people have lost their capability to cope with any shocks. We had …unprecedented floods this year; floodwaters were submerging whole towns, people are struggling, the harvest that was just about to come in.”
The WFP revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns worsened food insecurity in 27 countries, with up to 104.6 million people in need.
In those 27 countries, the number of people that are already facing acute food insecurity are (sic) more than 100 million already. Analysis obviously is continuously ongoing so we except this number to increase much more,” said WFP’s Ah Poe.
“And earlier on this year, we… had estimated in the countries where we are operating – which is around 80 countries – an additional 121 million people would be at risk of falling into food insecurity,” the WFP said.
Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Sahel Consulting, told Nairametrics in April that it would be impossible for Nigeria to achieve food security or GDP growth when more than 74% of her small-scale farmers were financially excluded.
“According to a report by the @worldbankdata, there is a strong correlation between financial inclusion and GDP growth. Improving access to finance for smallholder farmers will improve their output, the availability and affordability of food, and in turn the GDP of our economy”
“Our regional and national borders are closed, and trading is being restricted. These realities, if pro-longed and not urgently addressed, will lead to short term consequences of food shortages, price hikes, and medium to long term consequences of under-nutrition, mass starvation,” she added.