Nigeria Tagged ‘Hunger Hotspots’ as Governments Rally to End Food Insecurity, Nutrition Crisis

Gilbert Ekugbe

A joint United Nation (UN) report has stated that food crisis has tightened its grip on Nigeria and 18 other countries, adding that the number of people facing acute food insecurity worldwide is expected to continue to rise precipitously.

According to the report obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO’s) website, hunger hotspots is driven by rising conflict, weather extremes, and economic instability aggravated by the pandemic and the ripple effects of the crisis in Ukraine.

This is  as African leaders and governments in Europe, Asia and the Americas have vowed to end hunger in the world while expressing concerns over the looming food insecurity and nutrition crisis unfolding around the world,

According to them, efforts are currently being made by governments across the globe to act “with urgency, at scale and in concert” in responding to the current food insecurity and nutrition crisis.

THISDAY had reported that Nigeria was tagged along with 22 other countries last year, but this goes to show that Nigeria has done little or nothing to exit itself from the shackles of hunger.

The report added that Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen remain at the ‘highest alert’ as hotspots, alone account for almost a million people facing catastrophic levels of hunger (IPC Phase 5 ‘Catastrophe’) with starvation and death a daily reality and where extreme levels of mortality and malnutrition may unfold without immediate action.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Kenya, the Sahel, the Sudan and Syria remain ‘of very high concern’ with deteriorating conditions – as in the June edition of the quarterly report – but the alert is extended to the Central African Republic and Pakistan. Meanwhile, Guatemala, Honduras and Malawi have been added to the list of countries, joining Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe that remain hunger hotspots.

The statement added that violent conflict has remained the primary driver of acute hunger with analysis indicating a continuation of this trend in 2022, with particular concern for Ethiopia, where an intensification of conflict and interethnic violence in several regions is expected to further escalate, driving up humanitarian needs.

On his part, the FAO Director General, Mr. QU Dongyu, has said that severe drought in the Horn of Africa has pushed people to the brink of starvation, destroying crops and killing livestock on which their survival depends, warning that acute food insecurity is rising fast and spreading across the world.

He noted that people in the poorest countries in particular who have yet to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are suffering from the ripple effects of ongoing conflicts, in terms of prices, food and fertilizer supplies, as well as the climate emergency.

“Without a massively scaled up humanitarian response that has at its core time-sensitive and life-saving agricultural assistance, the situation will likely worsen in many countries in the coming months,” said FAO Director General warned.

The World Food Programme’s (WFP’s) Executive Director, Mr. David Beasley, said people at the sharp end of today’s crisis are also facing soaring food prices and severely limited opportunities to earn a living following the pandemic.

“We urgently need to get help to those in grave dangers of starvation in Somalia and the world’s other hunger hotspots,” he said.

In a statement obtained from the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) website, the leaders, representing the African Union, European Union, United States, Spain, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia, and Nigeria, issued a joint declaration at the Global Food Security Summit to affirm their commitment.

The statement also added that the leaders noted the overcoming global food insecurity would require innovative partnerships drawing in a wide range of key stakeholders in the global community.

The event, which took place on the sidelines of the just concluded 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, had Senegal’s President Macky Sall, Chair of the African Union, say around 800 million people are currently experiencing hunger, an increase of 150 million since the onset of Covid-19, according to FAO report

“When a crisis of this magnitude hits the world, every single country suffers. The situation worsened due to the war in Ukraine, which has triggered a sharp rise in food and fertilizers prices,” he added.

He cautioned against imposing trade restrictions, pointing out that countries must work together to ensure openness and transparency of markets for grains and fertilizer for all countries to have access to grains and fertilizers in accordance with international trade rules.

Sall commended AfDB for swiftly launching its $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility to avert a looming food crisis, stressing that the multilateral organisation’s facility will facilitate the production of 38 million tonnes of food, representing a $12 billion increase in output in just two years.

As of July 2022, the bank’s board had approved a cumulative $1.13 billion in mixed financing to 24 African countries under the Facility.

German Chancellor, Mr. Olaf Scholz, called on governments, the private sector, the research community and civil society to join the Global Alliance for Food Security, an initiative launched by the world’s most developed economies (G7) and the World Bank in May.

Related Articles