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Food Insecurity Ravaging Nigerians (A Country at the Verge of Starvation)

Food Insecurity Ravaging Nigerians (A Country at the Verge of Starvation)


By Ikenna Igwe

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy and its largest population with over 200 million people. One of the world’s largest youth population is at risk of running out of food and facing a possible economic collapse.


Recent reports from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a UN specialized organization on food, estimates that approximately 25 million Nigerians are experiencing a hunger epidemic. This is a projected increase from the estimated 17 million people currently at the risk of food insecurity. Food access has been affected by the persistent violence in the Northeast states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe and armed banditry in states such as Katsina, Sokoto and Niger. Also a detailed report from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) stated that widespread flooding in the 2022 raining season resulted to the destruction of 676,000 acres of farmland, with the accompanying diminished harvest and increased food insecurity for families across the country.

Major Causes of Food Insecurity

-Armed violence and banditry: Top of the list would have to be the relentless wave of attacks against farmers in Nigeria by armed groups. This has hindered critical food supplies and has threatened to push the country deeper into a devastating hunger crisis.


Report from “Save the Children” stated that the increasing attack against farmers across parts of the country is leading to displacement, market disruption and loss of livelihood. According to the “Nigerian Security Tracker”, armed groups have killed more than 128 farmers and kidnapped 37 others across Nigeria between January and June 2023. In addition, an estimated 2 million children under five across the northern Nigerian states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe are likely to be pushed into acute malnutrition in 2023 with about 700 children on the brink of death.

As many farmers are fleeing their farmlands and leaving acres of arable land to lay waste because of these attacks, the whole country’s economic framework is not just threatened but at risk of total collapse because a country which can’t feed majority of its population is doomed to fail. On a scale of preference base, the issue of food security should be on the frontline of all government policies.

-Climate change: As weather fluctuations are causing harsh weather patterns, droughts, extreme temperature and flood, agricultural productivity and food production are being affected not only in Nigeria but also globally.

Data from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) shows that the duration and intensity of rainfall has changed from normal across some states over the years with devastating impact on agricultural practices. Last year, Nigeria witnessed one of its worst flood as hundreds of villages and urban centers were submerged in water which displaced over 2.4 million people.


According to NiMet official statistics, over 600 Nigerians died in the disaster while expansive acres of farmland were destroyed with ripple effect on the country’s food availability, affordability and safety.

Optimistic Approach to Combating Our Current Plight

In response to the food insecurity plus soaring inflation rates and the removal of the fuel subsidy, on the 13th of July 2023, the Federal Government declared a state of emergency on the food insecurity in the country. It unveiled a comprehensive intervention plan to create available, affordable and safe food for the nation. Some of the intervention plans stated were:


* Immediate release of fertilizer and grains to farmers and households. 

* Increased security measures for farmers and farms. 

* Activation of 500,000 acres of land for farming and river basins for continuous farming.

* Improvement of transportation and storage facilities for agricultural products.

However there are concerns that have been expressed in various quarters about the willingness of the government to deliver on these commitments and promises in a timely and organized manner. In a statement, Fisayo Kayode, a senior manager at Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Ltd, believes that the declaration is not anything novel because Nigeria has been in a food crisis for a long time.

Food security she said, is not only focused on affordability, it also includes accessibility and food safety. She noted that over 40% of food produced in Nigeria get wasted due to poor logistics and infrastructure for proper aggregation, storage and processing. Adding that distributing fertilizers and seeds as captured in President Tinubu’s plan for farmers every planting season will not solve the problem. 

At the final analysis, we implore every Nigerian to try as much in their power to grow their own food especially those in the rural areas with more access to fertile lands as we hope that the implementation of the proposed plans to address the food insecurity by the government are properly executed after we have experienced repeated failure by past governments. 


Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.

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