A report by Cadre Harmonise (CH) has alerted that about 26.5 million people in 26 states of Nigeria have been predicted to face a food crisis between June and August 2024.
This prediction was reported in the November Analysis Result Presentation organised by the Kwara ministry of agriculture and human development in collaboration with CH and other partners.
The report stated that the anticipated people include internally displaced persons in Zamfara, Sokoto and Borno states.
Isiaq Oloruko-oba, the permanent secretary of the ministry, speaking at the meeting, noted that such reports paint a gloomy picture of the food and nutrition security facing the country.
He stated that it is critical for decision-makers to plan ahead of such danger looming and proffer lasting solutions.
According to him, the meeting affords all critical stakeholders to deliberate on the way forward.
He reiterated the resolve of the state government to ensure relevant stakeholders, especially farmers, are empowered and receive the necessary aid to ensure food security in the state.
Also speaking, Olusoji Oyawoye, the state CH coordinator, said that agriculture offers a source of livelihood to the majority of the population through subsistence traditional farming.
He said: “Major crops are rice, cassava, yam, soya beans, maize, beniseed, guinea corn, groundnut, and cowpea, tree crops include cashew nuts and palm oil.
‘There is also some exploitation of hard wood timber and various forest resources such shea nuts and locust bean.”
Oyawoye stated that the increase in inflation resulted from a combination of supply-side factors including disruption of agricultural activities caused by higher costs of farm inputs and insecurity.
Others he said included; exchange rate devaluation, increase in electricity tariffs and fuel increase with a resultant increase in transportation costs.
According to him, the food inflation rate in September 2023 was 30.64 percent on a year-on-year basis, which was 7.30 percent points higher compared to the rate recorded in September 2022 (23.34 percent).
He added that high fuel prices, high food prices, high cost of farm inputs and inflation of other consumer commodities have been the key drivers of food and nutrition insecurity in Kwara.
“The increase in fuel prices and in the exchange rate were the major shocks which affected livelihoods, economic, transportation, agricultural activities and every other sector of the economy,” he said.
Oyawoye pointed out that though Kwara has abundant food in the state, it is however worrisome that the foods are being exported outside to the detriment of the state.
He emphasized that agricultural produce especially food crops that are cultivated in the state should remain in Kwara to ensure food security.
“Farmers should be encouraged to focus more on food crops instead of depending largely on cash crops. We also need to ensure that large yields of foods are processed,” he said.
Oyawoye appealed to the state government to encourage all-year-round farming, adding that such must be ingrained in our system.
In his presentation, Habeeb Lawal, the state coordinator of the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ARIN) project submitted that nutrition is linked to food security.
He called for consistent action to ensure food security in the country, adding that the vulnerable including children, the elderly, pregnant and maternal mothers are at great risk.
Meanwhile, stakeholders at the meeting recommended dry season farming and irrigation should be encouraged all over the state in order to increase the availability of food crops throughout the seasons.