The Food and Agricultural Organisation has reported that around 26.5 million Nigerians are at risk of facing extreme hunger in 2024.
The FAO country representative, Dominique Kouacou, disclosed this during the presentation of the Cadre Harmonise food security and early warning analysis for the October to November period in Abuja on Friday.
The research carried out in 26 states and the FCT, aimed to assess the food security situation and provide future projections.
According to Kouacou, the current cycle follows an atypical lean season marked by various challenges, including ongoing insecurity issues like insurgency and banditry.
He also mentioned additional obstacles such as conflicts related to natural resources, the elevated costs of food and agricultural inputs due to high inflation, and severe dry spells in some states shortly after the start of the rainy season.
In his own remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, said the analysis had been carried out and endorsed by a team of highly skilled professionals from the CH analysis task force during the past two weeks.
He noted that the analysis cycle was being presented at a time when governments at all levels were diligently working to revitalize the nation’s economy.
He then acknowledged that although the challenges were substantial, they were not insurmountable, despite certain factors appearing to hinder the ministry’s efforts.
“Notable among them are the lingering negative impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and the Russia-Ukraine war which is currently disrupting the food systems and spiking up input prices and food prices.”
“The removal of petroleum subsidies has further heightened this pressure, resulting in food inflation and increases in consumer price index,” he said.
He further noted that the CH analysis will be mainstreamed in all 36 states before the end of 2024.