Politics

Food disaster: 82 million Nigerians could go hungry quickly, UN warns

The United Nations has once more predicted that 82 million Nigerians, about 64 per cent of the nation’s inhabitants, could go hungry by 2030, calling on the federal government to deal with local weather change, pest infestations, and different threats to agricultural productiveness.

The prediction comes within the wake of a persistent hike in meals costs within the nation.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s meals inflation fee hit a document excessive of 40.66 per cent in May 2024, surpassing the earlier month’s 40.53 enhance.

This surge represents the biggest year-on-year enhance in meals costs since data started in 1996.

Historically, meals inflation in Nigeria has averaged 13.42 per cent, with the bottom level of -17.50 per cent in January 2000.

In 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organisation predicted that no fewer than 2.6 million Nigerians in Borno, Sokoto and Zamfara states, and the FCT could face a meals disaster between June and August 2024.

According to a government-led Cadre Harmonisé evaluation launched in March, 2024, roughly 4.8 million folks in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states are experiencing extreme meals insecurity, the best stage in seven years.

Also, as Nigerian employees commemorated the 2024 May Day, Organised Labour expressed concern in regards to the nation’s rising meals costs and gas shortage, saying that the present scenario threatened the survival of employees.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba, additionally lately warned {that a} starvation riot may quickly get away in Nigeria, calling on the Federal Government to behave quick.

Speaking lately on the launch of CropWatch in Abuja, the Resident Humanitarian Coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, represented by one of many UN officers, Taofiq Braimoh, stated, “The authorities of Nigeria, in collaboration with others, conducts an annual meals safety survey. This 12 months’s outcomes are alarming: roughly 22 million Nigerians will face meals insecurity in 2023, and round 80-82 million are prone to extreme meals insecurity by 2030.

“Nigeria, like many countries, grapples with food insecurity, climate change, unreliable water patterns, pest infestations, and other threats to agricultural productivity. As an agrarian society, our farms’ success directly impacts food availability for our population. Leveraging technology is crucial to strengthening our agriculture sector and ensuring food security.”

He pressured that satellite-based crop monitoring offered real-time information on crop circumstances, enabling farmers and policymakers to make knowledgeable choices and optimise agricultural practices.

He famous that the know-how may assist expedite the accomplishment of sustainable growth targets in meals and agriculture.

‘Climate change fuelling high hunger rate’

An agricultural economist from the Centre for Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment on the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Tobi Awolope, attributed the excessive starvation fee in Nigeria to local weather change, which has severely affected smallholder farmers, the principle gamers in meals manufacturing.

Awolope, who spoke to our correspondent on Friday, famous that these farmers had a low adaptive capability to deal with the results of local weather change, similar to irregular rainfall patterns and lack of irrigation.

“Climate change has reversed the progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2, which aim to eradicate poverty and hunger. Smallholder farmers are struggling to adapt to the changing climate, and this has led to declining food availability and rising prices,” she stated.

She emphasised the necessity for presidency help for farmers, together with subsidising manufacturing inputs, and offering know-how and irrigation help.

“Farmers cannot mitigate the effects of climate change alone. The government needs to step in and support them to ensure food security,” she acknowledged.

Awolope additionally pressured the significance of utilising analysis suggestions to tell coverage choices, saying, “This is not the time to leave research output on the shelf. We need to use those recommendations to make informed decisions that will support our farmers and ensure food availability.”

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Transform agriculture with science, know-how — Expert

Meanwhile, the Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, Dr Adepoju Mathew, highlighted the significance of science, know-how, and innovation in advancing agricultural growth and meals safety.

“The world inhabitants is projected to achieve 9.5 billion by 2050, and meals manufacturing should enhance by 70 per cent to fulfill this demand.

“Space science, technology, and innovation play a crucial role in transforming agriculture and enhancing food security,” he added.

UN report displays actual scenario— Farmers

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, the National Secretary of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Dr Yinusu Alidu, stated the UN report ought to be taken severely, noting that it displays the true scenario within the nation.

He stated, “What the UN stated is trending in the meanwhile, as a result of it displays the true scenario within the nation. It is just not magic; the UN is just gathering reviews, and chatting with the present scenario. They are utilizing world warming, local weather change, insecurity, and different components to make the report. People like us on the sphere know already that the UN’s report is turning into actual.

“This is July and there is not enough rain yet. Weather forecast experts have predicted that there is going to be a drought. They predicted that there was going to be a short rain period, and that rain may not fall after August. They advised farmers to plant crops that will yield and mature fast. If not, the crops will be stunted and will not yield well. If people use conventional modes of planting, their farms will be affected by drought.”

Alidu urged the federal government to behave on the report to forestall a meals disaster.

He stated, “It is the accountability of the federal government to forestall a meals disaster. The authorities ought to encourage irrigation farming techniques. The authorities must create dams and channel waste water for farming functions. Water is being wasted lots. This is the appropriate time for the federal government to be severe about low season farming. Seventy per cent of crops grown in Nigeria are planted with direct rain; few folks use irrigation techniques. The authorities has a accountability to make farming simple for farmers. They ought to help the irrigation system.

“I don’t know why the government is taking a lackadaisical approach to farming. Maybe they believe they have the money to buy anything they want, regardless of the price, because they have money. What about the average Nigerian? I would only advise farmers to be smart and fast in farming.”

‘UN report reflection of govt failure’

 Also talking with our correspondent, the President of Integrated Agricultural Services, South-West, Mr Adeyemi Adejare, described the UN’s report as a pointer to the federal government’s failures in supporting agriculture and farmers.

Adejare stated Nigeria was already witnessing a scarcity of meals, saying solely aggressive farming may assist Nigeria out of the disaster.

He stated, “The solely method to avert the UN’s prediction is to interact in aggressive farming, and get real help from the federal government. Nigeria is going through meals insecurity already, so we will’t shrink back from what the UN stated. It is a pointer to the federal government’s failure to help agriculture.

“The meals industries and our farming system should attain a sustainable stage to avert the prediction, and that requires a holistic strategy. We must discard the previous farming, storing, and processing techniques. Government in any respect ranges should be genuinely dedicated to selling agriculture.

“The government must empower farmers and encourage mechanised farming for the youth. The government must also provide soft loans and subsidise farming inplements for genuine farmers.”

Adejare famous that the UN report was appropriate, including that the nation should take proactive actions to finish meals insecurity.

He stated, “The UN report is appropriate. Currently, it’s going to take Nigeria 30 uninterrupted farming and harvesting seasons to attain meals safety, due to the scarcity now we have already.

“The government has not been fair to farmers. The northern farmers are enjoying little benefits from the government, but the South-West governors are not helping the farmers at all. The governors have not been helpful; they have been paying lip service to the promotion of agriculture.”

  • Additional report: Ismaeel Uthman and Mohammed Lawal

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