Nigeria’s vulnerable food ecosystem: A closer look at the presidential emergency declaration

BY AISHA HADEIJA, TEMI ADEGOROYE AND MOHAMMED MOMOH

Exactly 45 days after Nigeria welcomed a newly elected government, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on July 13, 2023, declared a national emergency on food security due to the sudden hike in food prices that has made basic items unaffordable to millions of Nigerians. This declaration is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of our food ecosystem, which several development programs and private-led sector-led initiatives continue to tackle.

In collaboration with the critical actors in the food and agriculture landscape, Sahel Consulting organised the first Food Systems Changemakers’ Conference in 2022 to discuss the need for immediate and comprehensive action from all sectors to address the food crisis in Nigeria. While the government’s acknowledgement of the crisis is a step in the right direction, we must adopt a unified approach to address the underlying issues to ensure our nation’s food security.

Nigeria’s Food Security Situation

Despite Nigeria gaining the status of a lower-middle income economy in 2014, Africa’s biggest economy with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of $441 billion and gross national income per capita of $2,085 in November 2022 has over 100 million people facing food insecurity.

How is it that a country where agriculture contributes 22% of the total GDP and employs over 80% of the population is in such a state?

Poor implementation of policies, insufficient resource allocation to the sector, and exposure to the shocking impact of climate change, such as flooding, droughts, and desertification, contribute to the increased prevalence of hunger and undernutrition in Nigeria. According to the World Food Program’s (WFP) Advanced Disaster Analysis and Mapping system, nearly 750,000 hectares of farmland were affected due to flooding in October 2022.

Read more: Cable

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