from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – ABOUT 26,5 million people in Nigeria are forecast to grapple with high levels of food insecurity in 2024.
Moreover, approximately 9 million children are at risk of suffering from acute malnutrition or wasting. Of these, an alarming 2,6 million children could face severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and require critical nutrition treatment.
The latest projection for 2024 by Cadre Harmonisé, with the Government’s leadership and the United Nations (UN) system’s support, indicates a sharp rise from the 18.6 million people currently vulnerable to food insecurity from October to December 2023.
Ongoing conflicts, climate change impacts, escalating inflation and rising costs of both food and essential non-food commodities, in part due to the devaluation of the naira and the discontinuation of the fuel subsidy, fuel the trend.
Persistent violence in the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) hinders food availability and access.
Of the 18,6 million people who experience food insecurity today, 3,3 million live in the BAY.
Dr Ernest Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, highlighted that despite Government efforts, external challenges like the ongoing global economic effects of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war, which disrupts food systems, persist.
Dominique Koffy Kouacou, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) representative ad interim in Nigeria, said they would continue to support the government and the people to overcome food insecurity and malnutrition.
“In 2024, alongside our partners, FAO’s focus will be on agrifood systems transformation with deliberate attention on resilience-building, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and providing extension services,” the envoy said.
The Cadre Harmonisé analysis covered 26 of Nigeria’s 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
– CAJ News