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2.6 million Nigerians at risk of food insecurity in 2024 – FAO

by Haruna Gimba
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By Asmau Ahmad

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said no fewer than 2.6 million Nigerians in Borno, Sokoto and Zamfara States including the FCT may face food crisis between June and August, 2024.

FAO country representative, Dominique Kouacou, disclosed this at the presentation of October to November round of the Cadre Harmonise food security and early warning analysis on Friday in Abuja.

Kouacou was represented by Dr Abubakar Suleiman, Assistant FAO representative, Programme.

The CH analysis was conducted in 26 states and the FCT to ascertain the food security situation and make projections for the future.

According to him, the current cycle is happening after an unusual lean season, which witnessed several shocks, ranging from persistent insecurity situations like insurgency, banditry

He listed other challenges as natural resource-based conflicts, high cost of food and agricultural inputs due to high inflation and severe dry spells in some states immediately after the onset of rains.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, said the analysis was conducted and validated by highly skilled professionals of the CH analysis task force over the past two weeks.

The permanent secretary, who was represented by Mrs Fausat Lawal, Director Special duties, said the results of the cycle of Cadre Harmonise (CH) analysis was coming at a time when government at all levels was leaving no stone unturned in reinvigorating the nation’s economy.

He said though the challenges were daunting, they were surmountable, adding that several factors seemed to be negating the ministry’s efforts.

“Notable among them are the lingering negative impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and the Russia-Ukraine war which is currently disrupting the food systems and spiking up input prices and food prices.

“The removal of petroleum subsidy has further heightened this pressure, resulting in food inflation and increases in consumer price index,” he said.

He said that environmental and human factors such as climate change, displacements due to insecurity and seasonal flooding regime had all remained recurrent concerns.

Umakhihe said that the disruptions had implications on food consumption patterns and the attendant high use of irreversible coping strategies among a sizable population of Nigeria.

He said the ministry remained resolute in leading and supporting the CH process in Nigeria.

The permanent secretary added that before the end of year 2024, the ministry would work to mainstream all the 36 states of the country in the CH analysis.

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