24.8 million Nigerians to experience food crisis in June/August

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By Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

The March 2023 Cadre Harmonise (CH) report has revealed that 24.8 million Nigerians in 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), including 18,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) are expected to be in food and nutrition crisis between June and August of 2023.

The key drivers contained in the report are the Naira redesign, prolonged scarcity of fuel, flood incidence, protracted insecurity, high food inflation and loss of employment.

The report said the monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) geared towards the redesign of the currency notes and withdrawal of the old notes from circulation created a serious bottleneck for households’ ability to access cash as well as food commodities.

“Insecurity, especially insurgency in the North East states particularly in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States still persists; armed banditry and kidnapping for money ransom in some North West states such as Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna states as well as North Central states of Benue and Niger which have also lingered”.

“Prolonged scarcity of petroleum motor spirit (PMS), commonly called petrol, and the associated hike in pump price across the states led to astronomical rise in transport fares and cost of food products in Nigerian markets”.

The report went further to say that food consumption level has remained inadequate and below the desired threshold across most of the States, stating that in some LGAS in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, food consumption is so critical that most of the LGAS fall under the crisis phase.

The Country Representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for Nigeria and ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, while speaking at the CH National presentation ceremony in Abuja Nigeria’s capital said Nigeria witnessed unprecedented levels of farmland destruction by flood, affecting nearly half a million hectares of formerly productive land.

This, he said, has brought negative consequences for food production; early depletion of household and stock; leading to predictable food scarcity in 2023.

“FAO has continued to support the government in leading the implementation of CH processes nationally, both in terms of funding as well as technical support, despite resource limitations and competing demands”.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, noted that the March CH results is apt and comes at the phase of economic stress when the country is still faced with Post COVID-19 pandemic challenges, and the negative economic impact of Russian -Ukraine war.

Umakhihe, who was represented by the Director, Department of Planning and Policy Coordination, Mr. Ibrahim Tanimu, noted that the challenges have led to disruptions in food production and distribution systems, resulting in poor consumption patterns among several households especially, in areas affected by insecurity.

He however assured of the government’s commitment to upholding the outcome and recommendations arising from the CH with a view to enhancing the food and nutrition security situation in the concerned states through an objective intervention programme.

CH is also a tool adopted by partners in the Food Security Sector (FSS), usually developed on request by the government as an early warning tool to prevent and manage food and nutrition crises.

The analysed states are: Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Edo, Enugu, Gombe Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory.

In Nigeria, the process CH is led by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) through the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS), working closely with other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), with technical and financial support from global, regional, and national partners including FAO, CILSS, WFP, Save the Children, UNICEF, FEWS NET, CRS, Mercy Corps, among others.

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