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Tackling Nigeria’s Food, Nutrition Insecurity

Tackling Nigeria’s Food, Nutrition Insecurity

Food and nutrition security remain one of the cardinal essentials of a healthy society and globally, despite concerted efforts put in place to ensure sustainable food production, hunger and lack of nutrition continue to persist.

African countries such as, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria among others, keep facing extreme hunger, starvation and even death due to lack of food and nutrition.

According to the October 2022 Preliminary Food Security and Nutrition Analysis (Cadre Harmonise CH ) results released by the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development in Abuja last week, about 25.3 million Nigerians across 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are projected to face acute food and nutrition insecurity between June and August 2023.

The figures are going up from the current 17 million people including (Internally Displaced Persons and returnees) who are experiencing  phase three of the crisis or even worse through October to December, 2022. While nutrition evaluation in the analysis have reached crisis phase for children under five years in places like Borno and Yobe, with those of Adamawa in stress phase.

The growing number of people especially the vulnerable groups who are moving into the emergency of food and nutrition insecurity in Nigeria has called for great concerns.

Although goal two of the Sustainable Development Goals seek to address these challenges by forging strong alliance with countries to mobilise resources against this negative development.

In Nigeria, several agricultural policies and intervention programmes to boost food production often suffer setback due to poor budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector, persistent insecurity, perennial floods, Russia-Ukrainian war and climate change which has pose various challenges along the food distribution, processing and storage value chain of production.

In addition to these challenges are issues of poor implementation of agricultural policies that might have accelerated food production and better nutrition for Nigerians over the years. In the same vein experts have identified high prices of agricultural inputs and depreciation in the value of Naira as other key drivers of the food and nutrition crisis.

According to Save the Children, given the scale of these challenges for Nigeria, achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 of zero hunger and other related SDGs may be a tall order.

To address these recurrent challenges, the organisation noted that Nigeria government must mobilise political will to implement  recommendations brought forward by stakeholders during several dialogues among which include establishment or revamping of farm settlements and estates  that are made up of groups of smallholder producers, including women and young people.

In this regard, the farm settlement estates should include all basic amenities including the internet to discourage rural-to-urban migration.

Promotion of “Operations Feed Yourself” initiative which entails  helping households to access information and inputs that will encourage them to produce food around their houses to feed their families using any available space at home for gardening.

Other recommendation include government to implement social protection law, using the social register to identify and support farmers and families who are affected by shocks caused by natural or man-made disasters.

In the wake of this global consciousness to the peculiarities of each country’s challenges of food and nutrition security, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) also conceived strategies such as World Food Day with the aim to promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all, leaving no one behind.

According to FAO, for countries to overcome challenges of food insecurity, collective efforts and partnerships are required  to build a sustainable world where everyone, everywhere has regular access to enough nutritious food.

Speaking at an event to mark this year’s World Food Day, minister of agriculture and rural development, Dr r acknowledged that time has come for everyone to get involved, reduce food waste and help feed millions so that hunger-related problems would significantly reduced.

He said, “The day is like a reminder to eat mindfully and consider that millions of people are unable to afford one meal for themselves. It is important that we rededicate ourselves to this very important event and its purpose by drawing attention through global awareness, bold action and innovation to enhance effectively the channels that make our food systems stronger and more equitable.

In the face of global crises and escalating threats therefore, global solutions are needed more than ever to safeguard life and transform our agri-food systems”.

“Let me reaffirm that, a renewed commitment between Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Nigerian government is in focus for continuous collaboration to strengthen the agricultural sector and enhance food and nutrition security while contributing to the eradication of poverty, hunger and malnutrition in Nigeria”, the minister added.


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