19.4m Nigerians May Face Acute Food Shortage, FAO Warns

A file photo taken at a food market. A large percentage of poor Nigerians live in the rural areas where the predominant occupation is farming.
A file photo showing traders at a food market.

 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that 19.4 million Nigerians may face an acute food shortage between June and August 2022. 

It hinged this on rising inflation and insecurity. This is according to a report by the agency in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The report analyses acute food and nutrition insecurity in the Sahel and West African region and noted that the food crisis will affect Nigerians in 21 states and FCT.

According to the report, about 14.4 million people in 21 States and FCT are already in a food crisis till May 2022.

The FAO analysis for March covered  Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Edo, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Tarba, Yobe, and Zamfara, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

FAO Tracks Climate Smart Agricultural Practices In Northeast Nigeria

 

 

Climate change has negatively impacted food production in the Sahel and is driving conflict in the region.

Disputes often arise over scare resources such as arable land for crop production, animal grazing or water.

The current climatic reality, including poor or erratic rainfall, long dry spells, and floods, has led to reduced incomes of households, worsening food insecurity, nutrition and employment and laying the groundwork for conflict.

In northeast Nigeria, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is working to strengthen the agricultural response to climate change in the region, through promoting the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) approach in the conflict-affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

Between 28 to 29 March, 2019, the UN agency, in collaboration with the regional ministries of agriculture and environment in the three states and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), validated data collected on climate-smart agricultural interventions as part of a larger goal to create a baseline and profiles for CSA activities in the region.

The validation workshop, which took place in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, included 52 participants across the three states, including representatives of government agencies as well as research institutes.

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The baseline and profiles being developed will include a map of who is doing what, where and how in the three states and will feed into policy and investment guidance on climate-smart agricultural activities. FAO’s work will also support regional governments and other sector players on scaling up the climate smartness of agricultural interventions in the region.

FAO deputy representative in Nigeria, Nourou Macki-Tall, stressed that the impact of climate change was very visible in the northeast and will be addressed by FAO. “The development of the CSA profiles for the three states is a first step in upscaling FAO’s CSA activities in Northeast Nigeria. The ultimate aim is to reach the majority of subsistence farmers to make their livelihoods more sustainable in the face of climate change,” he said.

During the event, Iyabo Mustapha, Chief Land Resources Officer, representing the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, spoke of the timeliness interventions on CSA. ‘At the federal level in Nigeria, the linkages between agriculture and climate change are increasingly put on the forefront.

The continued dialogue between the government and the FAO is therefore of high importance and will maximize the outcomes of CSA interventions,’ she shared. FAO plans to extend the CSA profiles throughout other areas of Nigeria.

Importance of CSA approach amid harsher conditions for farmers
With low agricultural returns and the increasing unviability of previous agricultural lands due to climate change, the climate-smart agriculture approach equips farmers and other agriculture sector players with the tools, training, and strategies needed to adapt to a harsher, more problematic production systems.

FAO’s CSA strategy in northeast Nigeria aims to (1) increase agricultural productivity of climate-change and conflict-affected households, (2) support adaptation to climate change and (3) mitigate the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). So far, FAO has trained numerous agriculture support staff on the CSA approach across the three states and has developed a Safe Approach to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) programme in the northeast.

FAO’s SAFE programme involves the provision of cleaner, fuel-efficient stoves and solar lanterns which reduce the need for wood fuel and greenhouse gas emissions. The Organization’s climate change and SAFE activities are funded by the Government of Norway

FAO Empowers 141, 000 Farmers In Northeast

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, says it has so far supported 141,000 households among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) with agricultural inputs for the rainy season farming in the Northeast.

The Acting Country representative, Mr Nourou Macki-tall, made this announcement at the flagging off of presentation of agricultural inputs to 1,500 IDPs at Shagari low-cost area in Maiduguri on Friday.

Macki-Tall noted that the exercise was conducted in partnership with World Food Program, Social Welfare Network Initiative and the Borno state Ministry of Agriculture, stating that 67,000 farmers were drawn from Borno, 41,000 in Yobe and 32,000 beneficiaries were from Adamawa.

He explained that the FAO had so far made about $17.5 million which would be channeled into various agricultural programs to target 1.1 million farming populations in the Northeast of Nigeria.

“We are targeting farming communities who lost their means of livelihood in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Farming was the basic means of livelihood for most of them and they have not been able to farm for quite some time.

“In March 2017, FAO and Federal Ministry of Agriculture conducted the cadre harmonise vulnerability analysis that estimated around 5.2 million people will face high levels of food insecurity in the Northeast.

“With the recovery of hitherto vacated lands and restoration of relative peace in some liberated communities, the need for the people to get back their lives together cannot be over emphasised.

“Lack of agricultural inputs is the major constraints for many farmers particularly the IDPs.” Mr Macki-Tall lamented.

The 1,500 beneficiaries drawn from Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere received varieties of seeds like Cowpea, cereal, Millet Seeds, Sorghum, maize seeds and fertilisers.

Other beneficiaries in Jere council mostly women, would receive Okro seeds, Amarantus, sorrel, Roselle seeds, and fertilisers.

Nigeria Meets One MDG Target, Ahead Of Deadline

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has announced that Nigeria has met the target in the fight against hunger, ahead of the 2015 deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

This was revealed by the FAO Director-General, José da Silva, in a statement, where he revealed that Nigeria is among 38 countries that have met the targets by reducing the number of people living below $1 a day by half.

This makes Nigeria one of the countries that have met MDG number one.

However, it is not clear where the country stands with regard to MDG target 1.b which stipulates achieving “full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people”.

According to the statement, the progress of the affected countries was measured between 1990 to 1992 and 2010 to 2012.

How To Address Wasting of 1.3billion Tonnes Of Food

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the world is reported to waste about 1.3billion tonnes of food annually.

With the recently marked World’s Environment Day, which had the theme; ‘Think, Eat, Save’ an anti-food waste campaign geared to make everyone reduce their food print, this edition of Sunrise focuses on how addressing food wastage can help preserve our environment in Nigeria.

According to John Osonwa, a climate change expert, “the 1.3billion tonnes of food wasted are more than the entire food produced by the entire sub-Sahara region and it is enough to feed the 1billion people in the world, who go to bed hungry every day.” This waste, he warns, is highly devastating to the environment.

Speaking on Channels TV weekend breakfast programme; Sunrise, the climate change expert noted that the bulk of food wasted in Nigeria “is not in the consumption aspect, but in the production aspect.”

Mr Osonwa is joined by Bola Ilori, Special adviser to the Governor, State of Osun on Environment and Anthony Akpan, an environmentalist and President, African Mission for Environment. They all called for attitudinal change such as government policy on food storage and efficient transportation to address post-harvest loses.

They also called for green initiatives such as construction of trees and waste management.

World food prices fall in May: UN’s FAO

World food prices dropped in May for a second month in a row, hit by steep falls in dairy products, sugar and other commodities, and are likely to fall further in the coming months, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Thursday.

Food prices grabbed attention of the world leaders after their spike to record highs in February 2011 helped fuel the protests known as the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa. Food prices have fallen since.

Improvement in the security of food supplies amid the economic downturn was high on the agenda of a summit of leaders of the G8 industrial powers last month.

The FAO Food Price Index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 204 points in May, down from 213 points in April, the FAO said in its monthly index update.

“We were expecting a decline in May, the surprise is the extent of it, which showed that markets for oils and fats, dairy products and sugar all had to make sharp downward adjustments,” Abdolreza Abbassian, FAO’s senior economist and grain analyst, told Reuters.

In May, an improved outlook for crops in some major producing countries, a strengthening U.S. dollar, which hits competitiveness of dollar-denominated commodities, and growing concerns about Europe’s debt crisis pushed prices down.

“We’re in a situation where supplies have improved and we’ve had quite a big spillover from other markets which were all down,” Abbassian said.

The steep price drop in May meant that even if further declines were seen in June, they would probably be less marked, he added.

The index was driven down by a 12 percent fall in dairy prices, a 9 percent drop in sugar and a 7 percent decline in oils and fats.

REUTERS