25 million Nigerians are in danger of experiencing food crisis by August 2023 – FAO

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the Nations (FAO) has predicted that about 25.3 million Nigerians are likely to experience food crisis between June and August 2023 if urgent steps are not taken to scale up and sustain livelihood and food assistance.

FAO disclosed this in its October 2022 Food and Nutrition Analysis, noting that about 17 million people including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees in 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were in “crisis or worse level” through October 2022.

It noted that out of that number, three million are living in Borno, Adamwa and Yobe states.

FAO said in a statement “Furthermore, an estimated 25.3 million people are projected to be in crisis or worse levels during the 2023 lean season (June – August) with 4.4 million in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, if immediate steps to scale up and sustain livelihood and food assistance are not taken”.

The statement further noted that the Government of the Royal Kingdom of Norway renewed its funding cooperation with FAO aimed at helping the most vulnerable populations in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Taraba states with a special focus on women-led households.

According to FAO, “The three-year intervention will benefit 43,990 households (about 307,930 individuals), with at least 45 percent of them being women as direct beneficiaries receiving items such as agricultural inputs, livestock assets, and energy saving stoves.”

The beneficiaries reportedly include IDPs, host communities and returnees of relocated households with priority on women-headed households.

Speaking in Abuja at a signing ceremony to flag off the implementation of the project, the Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Norway to Nigeria, Knut Eiliv Lein, reiterated his country’s commitment to supporting the efforts to restore the conflict-affected livelihoods in the North-East.

Lein said “This project we are signing here today is part of Norway’s larger support to Nigeria in general, including humanitarian efforts specifically targeting those in need in the North-East region.”

He added “We have partnered with many organisations in addressing a number of issues, including health, food security, democracy, gender equality and more”.

On his part, the FAO Representative in Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Fred Kafeero, commended Norway for the support, describing it as another milestone in strengthening the commitment in the fight against poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition in Nigeria.

Kafeero said “The new project, whose agreement we are signing here today, marks the continuous and fruitful collaboration and partnership that exists between the Government of the Royal Kingdom of Norway and FAO in Nigeria”.

“Thanks to this collaboration for years now, the conflict-affected populations of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states have greatly benefited from the agricultural-based livelihoods support that has enabled them to improve their food security as well as build their resilience.”

FAO explained that the support is aimed at enhancing resilience to the humanitarian crisis, climate variability and change of vulnerable communities; and building resilient livelihoods in the BAY states against the negative effects of climate change.

The beneficiaries, who will reportedly receive special training on animal husbandry, farming and agribusiness, are IDPs, host communities and returnees of relocated households with special attention paid to women-headed households.