Currently, Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa, is facing a significant food shortage crisis. According to a UNICEF report in January, “nearly 25 million Nigerians are at risk of facing hunger between June and August 2023 (lean season) if urgent action is not taken.” Now, in July, Nigeria’s president, Bola Tinubu, has declared the country in a state of national emergency over food. Further, The Conversation reports that almost 6 million children across northwest and northeast Nigeria have been subject to acute malnutrition, with nearly 2 million suffering severely. Several causes have led to Nigeria’s food emergency; therefore, it is vital to understand them before proposing solutions.
UNICEF’s report covering the Nigerian food emergency crisis suggests the floods that occurred in 2022 contributed greatly: “Widespread flooding in the 2022 rainy season damaged more than 676,000 hectares of farmlands.” The floods resulted in a devastating loss of harvests, creating an increased level of food insecurity for a considerable number of families. Additionally, conflict and violence throughout the country have increased food shortage levels. This, combined with extreme shifts in weather, has created an overwhelming food insecurity status across Nigeria, meaning potential solutions that can bring the country out of this state of emergency are desperately needed.
Action Against Hunger has continuously worked to alleviate Nigeria’s food emergency issue and has developed numerous education programs to help prevent food insecurity. The organization’s Porridge Moms program aims to educate mothers impacted by a lack of food on creating nutritious meals, thus reducing malnutrition levels in the Nigerian population. This system not only creates a long-term solution but also generates a support system for Nigerian women who have endured suffering. Action Against Hunger was able to help almost 3 million people in 2022.
Developing Income-Generating Activities
Nigeria requires both short and long-term results to ensure a reversal of their food emergency. In response, the World Food Program has prioritized the development of income-generating activities in the country: “We give cash support in the short term, while providing training so displaced people can acquire skills and employment in the long term.” The WFP has worked to create opportunities for the affected Nigerian population in vegetable gardening, aquaculture and food processing, enabling communities to prevent further food shortages from occurring in the future.
Preventing Soil Erosion
A report from the World Bank has revealed that uncontrollable floods in southern Nigeria triggered significant soil erosion, leading to the destruction of numerous crops and farms. Soil erosion is an indirect consequence of climate change. The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) proposed numerous mechanisms to combat changing weather patterns. Such mechanisms included waste management, stormwater diversion plans and early-warning systems. NEWMAP has reported that more than 12 million people benefitted from their program.
Despite the causes that have led to Nigeria’s food emergency, many organizations are proposing a vast multitude of solutions across all areas to alleviate food insecurity. With help from the rest of the world, the country of Nigeria can look to a brighter future with the assistance of the charitable organizations already devoted to the country.
– Ibrahim Azam