The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has projected that by June and August 2022, the number of food insecure in Nigeria will be around 18 million people, of which 620,000 are foreseen to face CH Phase 4 (Emergency) and 13 550 CH Phase 5 (Catastrophe).
For the West Africa region, where an estimated 27.3 million people are facing acute food insecurity, the number is projected to increase to an unprecedented 38.3 million between June and August 2022, if humanitarian interventions are not scaled up.
This was revealed in the latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation, Quarterly Global Report and Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS) Special Alert for West Africa – Sahel, released by FAO.
FAO said the alarming high level of food insecurity is due to localized shortfalls in cereal production in 2021, worsening conflicts, high food prices and macroeconomic challenges compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, West Africa – Sahel food insecurity is at unprecedented levels in most coastal and Sahelian countries.
“The number of food insecure people could increase above initial projections in the second half of 2022 as spikes in food and fuel prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, are likely to worsen access to food.
“Further aggravating risk factors to food insecurity are the high prices of agricultural inputs, notably fertilizers, persisting insecurity and forecast localized unfavourable weather conditions that could have additional negative impacts on agricultural production,” the FAO’s GIEWS alert stated.
This is coming as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is considered as a key factor that has worsened food insecurity and increased the need for humanitarian assistance in all countries.
Also the report noted that as of October 2021, over 3.2 million people were estimated to be internally displaced in northern states of Nigeria.
The report maintained that latest CH analysis showed that about 12.9 million people were estimated to be in need of humanitarian food assistance between October and December 2021 owing to the conflict in northern states of Nigeria.
The report said that, “latest CH analysis, about 12.9 million people were estimated to be in need of humanitarian food assistance between October and December 2021 owing to the conflict in northern states, localized shortfalls in staple food production, high food prices and reduced incomes.
“As of October 2021, over 3.2 million people were estimated to be internally displaced in northern states. Between June and August 2022, the number of food insecure is projected to increase to 18 million people, of which 620 000 are foreseen to face CH Phase 4 (Emergency) and 13 550 CH Phase 5 (Catastrophe).”
On the regional highlights for Africa for cereal production, it showed that adverse weather conditions in North Africa and Southern Africa have curtailed 2022 cereal production prospects.
Meanwhile, cereal supply and demand brief with updated forecasts, pointed to a likely 1.2 per cent decline in world trade in cereals in the 2021/22 marketing year (July/June) compared to the previous year.