31 Million Nigerians Facing Food Insecurity by August, Government Proposes Farmer Training as Solution

By Milcah Tanimu

The federal government of Nigeria has acknowledged a critical food security crisis, predicting that approximately 31 million people will face food and nutrition insecurity by August 2024. This alarming forecast was revealed during a presentation by Wale Edun, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, on the Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan (ASAP). The plan aims to tackle key challenges affecting reform initiatives and stimulate development across various sectors of the economy.

According to the ASAP draft, “Thirty-one million people are projected to be food insecure by August 2024.” Over the past few years, food prices have been steadily increasing, with Nigerians spending a larger portion of their disposable income on food each year. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that food accounts for 56.65 percent of Nigeria’s total household expenditure.

A recent food inflation report by the NBS revealed that the food inflation rate in April 2024 reached 40.53 percent, the highest since 1996. This surge in food prices has exacerbated the financial strain on households.

Farmers in Nigeria have been grappling with significant challenges, particularly insecurity. Many have been forced to abandon their farms due to the threat of kidnapping and other security issues, leading to a reduction in the nation’s food supply and increased food inflation. The average prices of staple foods such as rice, garri, and tomatoes rose 141 percent over the past year, marking the highest annual increase during this period. For instance, the average price of rice increased by 156 percent, from N547 in April 2023 to N1,399 in April 2024. Similarly, garri, a staple for low and middle-income households, surged 135 percent, from N363 in April 2023 to N852 in April 2024.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) warned in 2023 that 25 million Nigerians were at risk of hunger, citing insecurity as a major driver of food insecurity.

To combat this crisis, the government plans to improve food security through several measures outlined in the ASAP report. These include training farmers to adopt climate-smart techniques, auditing the National Seed System, providing inputs to farmers via an e-wallet system, and improving fertiliser use to 25kg per hectare. Additionally, the government aims to increase capacity development for tractor operators, farmers, and service providers, and to open up 30,000 hectares of new irrigatable land for dry-season farming, among other interventions.

These initiatives are part of the government’s broader strategy to address the dire food security situation and enhance the resilience of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.


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