The United Nations (UN) has listed Nigeria among the countries with the most food-insecure population, caused by protracted conflicts and other factors.
The UN revealed this in its Global Report on Food Crisis, jointly published on Wednesday, by its Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), and the European Union (UN), warning that the situation might worsen due to the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine on the global food value chain.
On the global food crisis, the UN noted that the number of people who cannot afford enough to eat daily reached an all-time high in 2021, saying it could hit “appalling” new levels as the global food systems struggle with increasing commodities inflation.
According to the agency, nearly 193 million people in 53 countries suffered acute food insecurity in 2021, due to a “toxic triple combination” of conflict, weather extremes, and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
It explained that the total number of people without adequate daily meals increased by 40 million in 2021, confirming a “worrisome trend” of yearly increases over several years.
The report read in part, “Today if more is not done to support rural communities, the scale of the devastation in terms of hunger and lost livelihoods will be appalling. Urgent humanitarian action is needed on a massive scale to prevent that from happening.”
Furthermore, the report indicated that in eight African countries, extreme weather was the main driver of acute food insecurity for 23.5 million people.
It called for greater investment in agriculture and appealed for $1.5 billion to help farmers in risk-prone regions with the upcoming planting season to stabilise and increase local food production.
“When we look at the consequences of what’s happening as a result of the war in Ukraine, there is real cause for concern on how this will amplify the acute food needs that exist in these food crisis countries,” said Rein Paulsen, Director FAO Office of Emergencies and Resilience.
He noted that several countries battling major food crises obtained almost all of their wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine in 2021, saying urgent humanitarian action was needed on a massive scale to prevent acute hunger in those regions.