Nigeria was among 10 countries of the world most affected by food crisis in 2019, the 2020 Global Food Crisis Report has said.
The joint report, funded by the European Union and USAID, said the 10 countries accounted for 65 per cent of the world’s total population of people who faced food crises that year.
Africa was most affected by the said food crises situation, according to the report.
“Africa remained as the continent most affected by food crises, accounting for 54 percent of the global total number of people in Crisis,” said the report released in April by Global Network Against Food Crises and Food Security Information Network.
Nigeria ranked 9 out of these 10 countries listed in the report, as Yemen, DR Congo and Afghanistan were among the first three in the list.
The ten countries are Yemen, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, The Sudan, Nigeria and Haiti.
According to data from FSIN and GRFC, Nigeria recorded 5 million people who were affected by the food crisis ,while other African countries like DR Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan recorded 15.6 million, 8 million and 5.9 million people respectively.
The data shows that DR Congo recorded the highest number of most affected people in Africa, followed by Ethiopia and South Sudan.
Yemen recorded 15.9 million as the country with the highest number of affected people in the world.
Data to show the number of affected people in those countries:
According to the report, the common problem in these countries remain insecurity, which has led to massive displacement of populations, destruction or closure of basic social services, disruption of productive activities and disruption of markets and trade flows.
Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people has the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, according to the world poverty clock released in 2018.
The new report said about 5.1 million people in Nigeria were estimated to have been in immediate need of food assistance between March and May 2020. They include 1.4 million in Borno, 1 million in Yobe and 0.5 million Adamawa states.
“The number of food insecure people has increased by 1.1 million people since October–December 2019. The situation is likely to worsen, mainly due to insecurity,” the report added.
According to the report, about 7.1 million people in Nigeria are projected to be in crisis situations between June and August 2020. The report explains further how COVID-19 can team up with the security crises to worsen the situation.
The states that contributed the most to the food crisis in Nigeria are Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara, the report states.
Following the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria, the situation may worsen as many farmers in the region may be displaced, therefore facing double challenges, the report said.
Nigeria has so far recorded over 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus and over 450 deaths.
Many businesses and offices are still out of operations because of the pandemic, as people are advised to keep to the given directives of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in order to curb the spread of the dreaded disease.
“By June –August 2020, 7.1 million people are projected to be in a crisis situation or worse in Nigeria if appropriate measures are not taken in the short term. The deterioration is mainly due to the security situation. The security crises and the Covid-19 health crisis could tip over 50 million additional people into a food and nutrition crisis,” the report said.
The main reason behind these food crises is solely attributed to insecurity in some parts of the country especially the northern region, though floods and heavy rains were reported to have damaged crops in some parts of the region.
Highlighting the impacts of coronavirus to the situation and the nation’s economy to include increased dependence on non-Africa imports due to a collapse in the local food system, witnessing of higher unemployment rate, loss of income for households and a collapse of food crop production as a result of the pandemic.
“Therefore, it is urgent to plan ahead and design strategies to revive and revitalize agri-food systems, including non-agricultural segments (processing, collection, distribution), in rural and urban areas,” the report said.