AT least 26.5 million Nigerians residing in 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, are at risk of facing acute food crises between June and August 2024.
A new report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), of the United Nations in partnership with the World Food Programme and other agencies has disclosed.
The Cadre Harmonise (CH) report for October 2023 revealed that the aftermath effect of the removal of the fuel subsidy announced by President Bola Tinubu during his inauguration on May 29 has impacted several households within the country negatively.
The announcement, according to the report, came after the country had battled with challenges like the naira redesign policy which affected the country’s economy before it was suspended and the 2022 flooding in October-Novermber that displaced more than 1.4 million people from their homes including the destruction of agricultural products.
“Going into the lean season (June to August 2024) households may experience slight to moderate deterioration in food consumption which may plunge several states into the crisis phase. The unacceptable thresholds of food consumption may have resulted from a significant spike in staple food prices following increases in fuel prices, inflation and high cost of food production,” the report stated.
The ICIR has reported how rising food inflation impacts the prices of food. Also, the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics put Nigeria’s inflation rate at 26.72 per cent making it the second-highest inflation record since 2003.
The rising inflation has failed to tank, despite the federal government’s announcement of about 10 palliative schemes to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidies.
Conversely, available data showed the schemes have not been effective as the inflation rate has increased by 4.31 per cent consistently from 22.41 per cent reported in May 2023.
During the presentation of the report, the UN FAO Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Dominique Koffy, said the agency went to various states in Nigeria to identify populations at risk of food and nutrition insecurity.
He said, “Last week, we gathered in many states with the main goal of analysing all available data to identify populations at risk of food and nutrition insecurity in the country. As you all agree, CH analysis continues to produce reliable and widely acceptable evidence for planning food security and livelihood response targeting, and for prioritisation of development programmes.”
The report also said that there was a significant reduction in household stock to more than 60 per cent of households, with more than 35 per cent having no stocks in 2023 when compared to 2022 and the five-year average.
“The low levels of stocks resulted from the washed away of several hectares of matured ready-to-harvest cropped fields, particularly in states most affected by the 2023 flash floods (Kogi, Taraba, Plateau and Niger states).
“In crisis-affected states of Adamawa, Borno Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna Katsina, Sokoto and Yobe, including parts of Benue and Plateau states, limited production activities were reported. Although global markets stock supply appears to be stable, price increases have continued to limit food access across all analysed states,” the report stated.