- Nigeria celebrate World Food Day amidst hike in food price
- Okon Amah, Akwaibom fish farmer appeals to the government to prioritize clean, safe water
- Nigerians call on President Tinubu to reduce food price hike
Every year precisely on October 16, the globe marks the World Food Day. The celebration which encourages action for the future of food, people, and the environment and awareness of hunger started in 1979 when the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared October 16 to be World Food Day.
This day serves as a reminder of the need to ensure food security and everyone’s access to wholesome food. Additionally, it emphasizes how crucial sustainable agriculture and food production are to addressing the world’s food problems. The chance to unite as a global society and strive for a future in which no one goes to bed hungry is provided by Future Food Day.
However, this year’s World Food Day 2023 focuses on the theme, ‘Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind’. This theme aims to highlight the critical role of water for life on earth and water as the foundation of food.
The campaign focus by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is on taking water action in support of food systems. It also calls for increased water use efficiency in the production of food, animal feed and biofuel, while ensuring water is distributed equally, aquatic food systems safeguarded and nobody is left behind.
In most states of Nigeria, water supply is one of the biggest issues to the residents. It is a known fact that 95% of the residents get their water from private individuals like water tankers, borehole and water pushers in the case of those living in the northern part of the country.
It has also been discovered that many a time, such water was not even good for drinking.
It is important to point out that Agriculture accounts for 72 per cent of global freshwater withdrawals.
Rapid population growth, urbanization, economic development, and climate change are putting the planet’s water resources under increasing stress.
Water availability and quality are deteriorating fast due to decades of poor use and management, over extraction of groundwater, pollution and climate change.
For instance, in Enugu state, residents in the state capital have been experiencing acute shortage of potable water.
Nevertheless, in June this year, few days after his inauguration, President Bola Tinubu declared an immediate “State of Emergency” on food insecurity in the country.
The move was seen as part of an aggressive push to boost agricultural productivity and reduce the high prices of major staple foods in Nigeria.
The declaration of state of emergency came amidst experts’ concerns over the continuous decline in the purchasing power of Nigerians, amid poor income and climate change effects on food prices.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), recently revealed that the country’s food inflation rate had climbed to 24.82 per cent in May from 24.61 per cent in April.
WITHIN NIGERIA findings showed that the situation worsened due to the aftermath of government policies such as the immediate removal of petrol subsidies leading to increased transportation costs, and the move to unify forex rates, among others.
Other major factors identified to be contributing to food insecurity in Nigeria include poverty, climate change, conflict general insecurity, increasing population, poor policy implementation, inefficient agricultural practices, post-harvest losses and low budgetary allocation to agriculture, among others.
In the past decade, the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria has been increasing significantly. In effect, high levels of poverty make it difficult for people to access and afford nutritious food.
In many agrarian communities in the country, most of the farmers are seen or known to be poor. These farmers cannot afford the soaring cost of farm inputs like use of mechanization in farming, fertilizers, pesticides and important farm inputs.
However, in many states of Nigeria, floods have continued to destroy farmlands due to the effects of climate change. Also, in many states of the federation, there was late arrival of rainy season. Many farmers usually lose their farm inputs due to inadequate rain fall.
More so, in many agrarian communities of the federation, there has been high level of insecurity in those communities.
In Enugu state for instance, Opanda, Adani, Eha-Amufu, Oghe and other communities have witnessed unprecedented herdsmen attacks in the recent past.
Between April and May this year, more than 300 people including women and children were killed in the villages of Mangu Barikin Ladi and Riyom LGAs of Plateau state.
Report had it that in Mangu alone, more than 150 people were confirmed killed in a night attack and houses burnt in May in two communities of Kubwat and Fungzai in the Kombun district of Mangu Local Government Area.
For the past decades, the impact of climate conditions is evident on crop production across the country’s different regions.
Data from Nigeria’s Meteorological Agency (NiMet) indicate that the duration and intensity of rainfall have changed from normal across some states over the years, with devastating impacts on agricultural practices.
For instance, last year, Nigeria witnessed one of its worst floods in the last decade as hundreds of villages and urban centres were submerged, displacing over 2.4 million people while expansive hectares of farmlands were also destroyed, with ripple effects on the country’s state of food availability, affordability and safety.
The negative effects of this devastation has continued to fester among the Nigerian populace as many effected farmers literally backed out from farming this year.
Armed groups killed more than 128 farmers and kidnapped 37 others across Nigeria between January and June 2023, according to the Nigerian Security Tracker.
In June, 19 farmers were killed by non-state armed groups in Nigeria’s northern Borno State alone.
All these and many others have continued to be deciding factors on the availability and security of food in Nigeria.
According to available statistics by National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, between 2016 and 2022, the population of Nigerian men living in extreme poverty rose from 35.3 million in 2016 to 44.7 million last year just as that of women increased from 34.7 million in 2016 to 43.7 million last year, according to
While the number of men living on less than $1.90 per day in the country reached around 44.7 million, the count was at 43.7 million for women.
By and large, early this year, the NBS disclosed that an estimated population of 133 million people in Nigeria were living in multidimensional poverty.
Against this backdrop, we need no much further data to say that Nigeria is currently facing food crises amidst soaring price of refilling cooking gas, particularly when seen from the perspective of the 2023 Global Hunger Index (GHI), which recently ranked Nigeria 109th position out of the 125 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2023 GHI scores.
In its report, GHI stated that “With a score of 28.3 in the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria has a level of hunger that is serious.”
To further buttress this point, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Food Price Watch Report released on October 2, 2023, showed an uninterrupted increase in food prices in August, particularizing how the prices of beef, tomatoes, beans, garri, yam and other food items increased significantly in the month of August.
The Report further stated that while the average price of 1kg of boneless beef was N2, 141.18 in August 2022, it increased by 30.75 per cent to N2, 799.51 in August 2023.
It added that the average price of 1kg of local rice increased by 62.68 per cent on a year-on-year basis, from N454.10 in August 2022 to N738.74 in August 2023.
On a month-on-month basis, 1kg of local rice increased by 13.04 per cent from the N653.49 recorded in July 2023.
NBS report further showed that the average price of 1kg of brown beans increased by 27 per cent on a year-on-year basis from N545.61 in August 2022 to N692.95 in August 2023.
The Report added that the average price of 1kg of yam tuber increased by 42.80 per cent on a year-on-year basis from N403.65 in August 2022 to N576.39 in August 2023.
On the price of garri, it showed increase by 49.16 per cent on a year-on-year-basis, from N305.92 in August 2022 to N456.32 in August 2023, the NBS stated. On a month-on-month basis, the price increased by 6.15 per cent from the N429.89 recorded in July to N456.32 recorded in August 2023.
On state profile analysis, the report showed that the highest average price of 1kg of boneless beef was recorded in Anambra at N3, 790.02, while the lowest price was recorded in Kogi at N1, 835.71.
It stated that Ondo recorded the highest average price of 1kg of local rice at N903.26, while the lowest was recorded in Benue at N529.72.
The NBS stated that the highest average price of 1kg of brown beans was recorded in Imo at N1, 087.14, while the lowest price was recorded in Kogi at N480.34.
On Akwa Ibom state, it recorded the highest average price of 1kg of yam tuber at N1, 030.71, while Adamawa recorded the lowest price at N328.71.
Nevertheless, the soaring price of the essential products has no doubt added to the various socio-economic problems that Nigerians are been plunged into across the nation and has left them almost frustrated.
For instance, it is important to note that the use of LPG for cooking has become increasingly prevalent due to its safety, ease of usage, couple with quickness in cooking compared to traditional firewood or charcoal, which is considered by many to be cumbersome and outdated.
Looking into the market reality of the product reveals that in September, a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas, which had been selling for between N9000 and N10, 000 in Lagos, Enugu and other cities, unexpectedly soared to a stunning N12, 500 at the commencement of October.
This ugly development has resulted to resultant anxiety and disquiet among consumers of the product, against the backdrop of the warning from the President of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, Olatunbosun Oladapo, that the price could reach as high as N18,000 by December 2023 if the government does not intervene and regulate the activities of terminal owners.
Today, many average Nigerian families are finding it extremely difficult to eat square meals a day. This is against the backdrop of the fact that a milk cup of beans is sold at N120, gari N100, rice N140, maize N100.
As the World celebrates this year’s World Food Day, Okon Eteobong Amah, The Catfishpreneur
President, Akwa Ibom Fisheries Association told our reporter that explained that government at all levels should be aware of what farmers pass through to get food.
“On the occasion of World Food Day, I congratulate everyone in the world who is doing something to stop hunger in the world. And keying to the United Nations SDGs zero hunger goal.
“Food is by far the most essential for humans survival just after oxygen. To add quickly, water is food.”
Explaining further Eteobong stressed that “I must commend the Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO) who has chosen the theme; “Water is food, water is life; leave no one behind.”
“This resonates with my vision and goal to make judicial usage of water and avoid wastage. Clean water is food and should be made available for the over 8 billion persons living on the planet.
“Governments around the world should prioritize clean and safe water availability. While the citizens prioritize the waste prevention.
“According to UNICEF, about 2.2 billion people still lacked access to safely managed water services, including 1.5 billion with “basic services,” 292 million with “limited” water, 296 million who used unimproved sources and 115 million who still collected drinking water directly from rivers, lakes, and other surface water sources.
“For us in the Aquaculture sector, the volume of water we use for our business is high. And that’s why we encourage better practices which include converting waste water to fertilize nearby crops or putting up earthen ponds with limited changing of water.
“And with good funding, there should be water recirculatory system set up to minimize waste water to the barest.”