Food crisis in Nigeria:17.7M and others hungry midst food insecurity

Climate change

Food crisis in Nigeria:17.7M and others hungry midst food insecurity

Climate change has caused a startling 17.7 million Nigerians to live in the harsh realities of hunger and food insecurity amidst the beautiful tapestry of cultures, languages, and landscapes that make up this varied nation. This ongoing crisis paints a grim image of a country struggling with intricate problems brought on by climate change and extending well beyond its borders. 


Nigeria, which is frequently praised for its strong economic prospects and diverse cultural legacy, is currently dealing with a food crisis of unparalleled scope. Droughts brought on by climate change, insecurity in areas where food is produced, unstable economies, and an expanding population have all combined to create a significant storm that is putting millions of people at risk of starving and is projected to get worse. According to an update from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a troubling number of Nigerians, almost 25.3 million, are in danger of experiencing severe food insecurity this year. 


The 17.7 million people who are currently thought to be in danger of food insecurity are projected to increase. The research names the main factors escalating the nation’s food security to be climate change, inflation, and rising food costs. Nigeria was ranked 107th out of 113 countries in the 2022 Global Food Security Index, which assesses nations in terms of food affordability, availability, quality, and safety. From its prior position of 97 in 2021, this represents a significant decline. 


Climate change and food insecurity in Nigeria 


In Nigeria, there are now significantly more people living in extreme poverty than there were ten years ago. In actuality, it is challenging for people to obtain and purchase nourishing meals due to high levels of poverty. 


According to Statista, between 2016 and 2022, the number of males living in extreme poverty in Nigeria went from 35.3 million in 2016 to 44.7 million last year, and the number of women increased from 34.7 million in 2016 to 43.7 million last year. From the data, 88.4 million Nigerians were expected to be living in extreme poverty in 2022. While around 44.7 million men lived in the country on less than $1.90 per day, the figure for women was 43.7 million. 


The effect of climatic conditions on crop output has been noticeable during the previous few decades in all of the country’s geographical regions. The length and extent of rainfall have varied over time in several states, according to data from Nigeria’s Meteorological Agency (NiMet), with disastrous effects on agricultural activities. Over 2.4 million people were forced to flee their homes because of one of the greatest floods to hit Nigeria in the past ten years, which swamped hundreds of rural and urban areas. 


Over 600 Nigerians died in the tragedy, according to government statistics, and vast amounts of farmland were damaged as well, having an impact on the availability, price, and safety of food in the nation. As a country that mainly depends on agriculture, with about two-thirds of the labor force earning a living through farming or herding. Nigeria’s agriculture sector is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because both activities rely substantially on climatic conditions, such as rainfall. 


Nigeria is also among the nations most susceptible to the effects of climate change and natural disasters. Numerous climatic calamities, such as rising temperatures, gully erosion, drought, and increased flooding, have affected it. 

Devastating floods struck Nigeria in 2022, displacing over 1.4 million people, claiming over 500 lives, and destroying roughly 90,000 dwellings. The World Weather Attribution group’s analysis concluded that climate change was probably to blame for the flooding-causing torrential rains.


The country’s already acute food insecurity was made worse by the floods, which damaged thousands of hectares of agriculture. The floods caused nearly $2 billion in damage to the agriculture industry and destroyed many crops. Furthermore, the present drought and land degradation pose serious problems for Nigeria’s dry regions in the northwest and northeast. Both problems significantly reduce the amount of water accessible to crops, which has an effect on food security. 


The government, public society, and the commercial sector must all actively participate in efforts to address climate change and food insecurity in Nigeria. Despite the enormous hurdles, preemptive steps and coordinated efforts at all levels can help Nigeria’s people and ecosystems have a more secure supply of food in the future. To protect the food security of the country and the well-being of its people, immediate action is required. 

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