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Monday, July 15, 2024

Food insecurity: UN allocates $11 million to Nigeria

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To address the worsening food crisis in northeastern Nigeria, the United Nations has announced the allocation of $11 million to the country.

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffith, who revealed this on microblogging site X on Wednesday, said the allocation was drawn from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UNCERF).

Mr Griffith said acute malnutrition in the country is increasing at a rapid rate, although he noted that food insecurity is at its worst in seven years.

He said: “Acute malnutrition is increasing rapidly in northeast Nigeria and food insecurity has reached the highest level in seven years.

“To provide immediate support to the most vulnerable, I have allocated $11 million from UNCERF.”

UNCERF is a UN program that allows the international organization to provide immediate funding to those affected by natural disasters, wars and other emergencies.

The food crisis in the northeast of the country, according to Griffiths, is considered a challenge that requires urgent attention.

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FAO projection

Nigeria’s food security problem was expected to worsen due to insecurity and violent crisis ravaging parts of the country.

In 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) projected that more than 31.5 million people in Nigeria would face acute food insecurity between June and August 2024.

According to FAO data, a higher prevalence of food insecurity was expected, affecting a larger proportion of the population than had been forecast the previous year.

The data indicated that the population of affected people would increase from 26.5 million to more than 31.5 million people.

The World Food Agency, in its Cadre Harmonise Report released today, also said Nigeria was grappling with multiple security challenges that had affected food production and access.

According to the report, other factors will contribute to the alarming food insecurity, including conflicts in the northeast, north-central and northwest, fuel shortages, devaluation of the naira, currency crisis, rising inflation and the consumer price index.

Commodities in decline

Farmers across the country have begun to report a decline in the production of some staple foods, blaming it on a variety of reasons, including flooding due to climate change.

Data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Statista projected a slight decline in rice production in Nigeria from 5.355 million metric tons to about 5.229 million metric tons between the 2023 and 2024 marketing year.

READ ALSO: Prices of tomatoes, rice and other foods rose in May, NBS says

For crops like corn, production was expected to decline by 8 percent, going from 12.75 million metric tons in 2021 to 11 million metric tons this year.

Guinea corn (sorghum) production was expected to fall from about 6.742 million metric tons to 6.7 billion tons.

Analysts say regional instability, which has displaced around 3.3 million people, climate change and inflation are the main triggers of food insecurity in Nigeria.

However, the situation worsened after the government stopped paying gasoline subsidies, leading to higher food, transportation and energy costs.

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