Food Insecurity in NigeriaFood insecurity in Nigeria continues to have a widespread and serious impact on Nigerians, which has significantly worsened due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the global supply chain and causing food prices to rise. In 2021, 58% of all households in Nigeria were struggling with severe food insecurity and a significant portion of said households were food secure prior to the pandemic.

Nigeria ranked 103rd out of 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index in 2022, and while overall trends from 2000 to 2022 show a notable decline in food insecurity over time, there’s still much work to do. This article will focus on four Nigeria-based startups addressing food insecurity in Nigeria through different approaches.

4 Local Startups Addressing Food Insecurity in Nigeria

  1. ColdHubs: While Nigeria’s electricity access rate steadily increased over time, nearly half of the population still does not have ready access to power. In 2020, only 55.4% of Nigerians had access to electricity. Without the power to operate cold storage and fridges, food spoilage becomes a serious threat to food security. ColdHubs is a startup addressing food insecurity by supplying solar-powered cold storage units to areas without sufficient, reliable access to power, especially rural farms. Its solar-powered cold storages are capable of extending shelf life up to three weeks, which significantly reduces the post-harvest deterioration of fresh produce. There are currently a total of 54 ColdHubs units active across Nigeria, and over 5,250 farmers and produce suppliers are using the cold storage units. ColdHubs also received recognition for its impact by winning the 2021 AYuTe Africa Challenge, an annual competition held in several African nations that offers cash grants to innovative agricultural technology startups.
  2. VeggieVictory: VeggieVictory is Nigeria’s first plant-based food technology startup addressing food insecurity by introducing a sustainable meat alternative to Nigerians with their flagship plant-based meat product called Vchunks. Located in Lagos, Vchunks is produced completely locally and expands the options of meat products for Nigerians. Hakeem Jimo, the founder of VeggieVictory, says that “An alternative or more variety for meat… helps efforts that tackle food security, environmental and socio-economic challenges”. Alternative diet industries are beneficial to food security because plant-based calories are generally much more efficient to produce compared to animal protein.
  3. Alutyo Integrated Farms: Alutyo provides consulting services and technical support with growing and processing crops, as well as practicing animal husbandry. The company’s main focus is providing knowledge and equipment for local, small producers. Alutyo also uses social media platforms to share agricultural knowledge such as nutritional requirements for animal feeds and aquaculture farm designs. Startups like Alutyo are important because agriculture in Nigeria is still lacking in mechanization. For instance, Nigeria’s tractor density is at 0.27 hp/hectare, far below the recommended tractor density of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which is at 1.5. Modernizing Nigeria’s agricultural sector is a big step towards improving productivity and bolstering food security.
  4. Isidore: Founded in 2021, Isidore is a startup addressing food insecurity by improving the supply chain and logistics of Nigeria. Isidore developed an easy-to-use mobile app platform for agricultural producers and buyers called Jinja. On Jinja, farmers and other producers can easily sell their products and request trucks to transport their produce, while buyers can find verified products in locations convenient for them.

Looking Ahead

In Nigeria, food insecurity remains a pressing issue with a significant amount of the population in need of assistance. However, these startups addressing food insecurity present excellent examples of innovative solutions for Nigeria.

– Junoh Seo
Photo: Flickr