In the 2018 Global Hunger Index, Hunger in Nigeria is ranked 103rd out of 119 qualifying countries. With a score of 31.1, Nigeria suffers from a level of hunger that is chronic.
Nigeria is Africa’s only global superpower. However, this west African nation is currently experiencing a serious food crisis. Most important to note is that the famine and Hunger in Nigeria is man-made.
This crisis manifests itself in the inability of the nation to produce enough food to feed its population and the need to import food at exorbitant prices.Nigeria is currently experiencing a serious food crisis. Most important to note is that the famine and Hunger in Nigeria is man-made. Click To Tweet
20 Facts and Statistics about Famine, Poverty and Hunger in Nigeria:Of the 17 million people living in regions affected by Boko Haram, 11 million are in need of humanitarian aid, food, water and shelter. Click To Tweet
Here are 20 Facts and Statistics about Hunger, Poverty and Famine in Nigeria:
- One-third of children under five are stunted.
- Mobile health clinics in Maiduguri and Monguno in Borno State are providing life-saving therapeutic treatment to acutely malnourished children as well as vital health care for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under five years old.
- The insurgency in the country has led to a large number of displaced people without access to food.
- On top of the rates of displacement, 5.1 million Nigerians are malnourished.
- The full extent of the suffering is not known as many areas are not yet accessible to aid organisations. We fear what we are seeing may be just the tip of the iceberg.
- The amount of food insecure households is highest in the rural region of Borno in Nigeria.
- Action Against Hunger has carried out numerous rigorous technical assessments of malnutrition levels in Borno, which guide the analysis of the severity of the overall emergency.
- In the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe there were 400,000 children under 5 at risk of severe acute malnutrition in 2016.
- Action Against Hunger (AAH) is active in Nigeria and has completed an assessment of risk levels in the state of Borno.
- Action Against Hunger completed a rigorous nutrition assessment in Monguno, in Borno State. Our findings suggest a prevalence of global acute malnutrition at 28% and a prevalence of severe acute malnutrition at 8%, both of which are almost double the internationally recognised emergency threshold.
- Households headed by females are more inclined to have high rates of food insecurity.
- Action Against Hunger has provided clinics to aid with hunger in Nigeria.
- The International Committee of the Red Cross has been active in fighting hunger in Nigeria.
- More than 80 per cent of Borno State is considered high or very high risk to aid workers, which restricts their access to the people who need them most.
- Of the 17 million people living in regions affected by Boko Haram, 11 million are in need of humanitarian aid, food, water and shelter.
- In northeast Nigeria, conflict between Boko Haram and government forces has uprooted more than 2 million people from their homes.
- Families displaced by the violence, and the communities hosting many of them, urgently need help – including food, water, sanitation, protection, education, shelter and health services.
- In late July, the Government of Nigeria declared a food and nutrition emergency in Borno State, in the northeast of the country.
- Due to the Government’s success in reclaiming areas previously controlled by Boko Haram, aid organisations like Action Against Hunger have finally gained limited access to displaced people in some parts of Borno State.
- Around 400,000 children aged under five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition over the next 12 months across the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe; with 244,000 in Borno state alone.
We need Food Banks to end Hunger in Nigeria:
Losing his soldier father at nine and his mother to illness at 12. Begging for food and live off charity, was all the experience Peter Adeeko needed.
He managed to conceive the Soulace Food Bank project for war widows and orphans.
Adie Vanessa Offiong is an award-winning journalist and head of the Arts and Entertainment desk at Daily Trust newspaper.
She sat down with Adeeko Peter Olakunle, the Chief Convener of Soulace Africa, which is a community based peace building organization.
Interview between Adie Vanessa Offiong of Daily Trust and Peter Adeeko of Soulace Africa:
Daily Trust: What was the motivation to start a food bank?
Peter Adeeko: My childhood dream was to adopt many orphans and build a big house for them. Little did I know that I would end up an orphan by age 12. My father – a soldier sustained combat injury and he died. My mother took ill afterwards and she too died. My teenage older brother, became father. This was not without an adverse effect on him.
He dropped out of school to fend for us and he became alcoholic and violent. Getting education for me was like passing through the eye of a needle. Clearly, I remember being chased out of classrooms and flogged on many occasions, for bringing late school fees.
One of such I vividly remember was in my Class 3, in secondary school. The school principal striped me of my school uniform, socks and sandals as punishment for failing to bring the school fees, and as collateral for payment. It wouldn’t have been anything serious if I wasn’t the only one in my class as at that time to face this.
It was such a humiliation for a child as I was then. Having scaled through all of these, I am passionate at preventing violent conflict, I also support families already affected by war in Nigeria, through my organization, Soulace Africa Initiative.
I have always been worried with the idea of people being fed during festive period while we pretended, they are fine every other days of the year. I am always uncomfortable with occasional handoffs. So in preparation for the just concluded international widow’s day 2019, I was keen to do something differently and sustainably.
Most importantly, I want to ensure widows don’t have to wander about where the next food comes from when we have our skill building or vocational trainings. And for the first time, my mind went to the Egypt and Joseph scenario in the bible. I had a thrust in me its ‘food bank’. I quickly jumped on the internet and the rest is story.
DT: What experience(s) about your childhood have/has played a role in this regard?
Adeeko: My father died when I was nine. During that time, I saw my mother go through the horror of widowhood for 12 agonizing years before she took ill and then died. As a result, my older brother and sister drop out of school for lack of school fees and support from anywhere.
After that, I clearly remember all our travails at the time leading up to our parents’ deaths. I cannot forget impact of the 1988 austerity measures, on my family. Consequently, we practically begged to eat at some point. The truth is, many families are going through worse conditions today. Widows are highly disconnected and marginalized in Nigeria and worse for those of veterans.
DT: How did you set up the foodbank?
Adeeko: Soulace Food bank is an initiative born from immense desire to win the war against hunger concerning war widows and orphans in Nigeria. The project was launched during 2019 International Widow’s Day in Ibadan, and will officially kickoff before the year’s end. All arms are on deck to harness needed resources. This will be first of its kind in Nigeria. The food bank will serve as shock absorber for the widows.
DT: How does it work?
Adeeko: It is a commodity exchange and women support enterprise designed to provide short /medium term sustainable solution to hunger. It will also enhance food security through collection, redistribution and access to rediscounted food items support to vulnerable veteran wives and widows across barracks in Nigeria. This will be through a cooperative structure.
Soulace Food bank is liaising with the barracks community for a warehouse where food items will be stored. We are also reaching out to well-meaning Nigerians, corporate organizations and donor agencies to donate raw food items or monetize their gifts, while we execute their supplies. We are intalks with organisations dealing in family products, to be part of this initiative. The bank is designed to operate a hybrid business model which drives impact and earns some margin or contribution.
This model helps us to be sustainable in the long run. Registered widows with Soulace Survivor Network (our self-help group and cooperative) will pay monthly renewable subscription.
In case of supervening financial difficulty, members can pay through their existing contribution in their cooperative account. Veterans’ widows will have access to some pre-determined volume of food items that is equal to the 40% of their spending on food monthly. Albeit, the foodbank shall earn margin on sales to non -members within the community.
Receipts on membership collection and proceeds on sale will be ploughed back to replenish the bank’s stock, while we continue to have our partners give to us on a rolling basis. The food bank will have kiosks in strategic spots in the barracks where women who want to buy can access them. Selling some food stuff while supporting the widows will be our way of giving back to our food based organisations whose products shall be sold through this initiative. However, our door is open to continuous collection of food donations.
DT: This is arguably, a first of its kind in Nigeria. What models did you learn from?
Adeeko: It is an impact-driven social enterprise designed to complement our interventions with the community affected by war in Nigeria. I have looked through the Western idea about food banks. This included Europe and the United States, where the concept is predominant. I have also understudied the Egyptian and Joseph models and implementation. I think we are taking a middle ground, bringing social impact and profit margin to play.
DT: How do you plan to avoid the mistakes they made especially as their situations may be or are totally different from scenarios Nigeria may present?
Adeeko: I discovered that most organizations running food banks in Europe and America, do them as stand-alone or one-off charity-based projects. The reason being, poverty is not as prevalent and social efforts in this regard, are readily funded. This is the reverse with Nigeria and other African countries.
Nigeria is presently rated one of the most impoverished countries. Giving to charity has many drawbacks. Regardless, we cannot be onlookers. Poverty won’t just go away and we really need food banks in Nigeria. The food bank is a complementary, participatory and contributory project.
We are restricted to food items with long shelf life. As much as we look forward to big institutional support, we are also exploring smaller contributions from our committed partners. More so, the project is volunteer-based and open ended. We are also venturing into agro-preneur next year. This is expected to further enhance sustainability of the project.
To tackle challenges with storage, the food bank will only deal in commodities with minimal perish-ability for now. As the project grows, we will absolve more. The kiosks will enhance stock turnover and better reach to widows, while we are also driving social impact.
Daily Trust: You are based in Ibadan. How are you organizing to collect food donations from other locations?
Adeeko: Being a pilot project, we shall be mobilizing food items essentially from south western states. Donors outside this catchment area will be encouraged to monetize their food donations. However, where it is difficult to monetize, we shall arrange pickup from whatever location through public commuters, but such donor will have to pay for the cost of transportation.
In the future, we shall have this challenge curtailed as we plan to replicate this project across all geopolitical zones in Nigeria. Donors can then donate to the nearest food bank to them. These will also be driven and supported by our volunteer network and mobile app that enable prompt donor alert, pickup and deposit.
The most common causes of food insecurity and Hunger in Nigeria:
Nigeria is Africa’s wealthiest, most populous nation, it is also its fastest-growing economy. Despite this, more than half of the country lives below the poverty line.
Decades of armed conflict continue to contribute to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. Food security remains one of the most urgent humanitarian needs for displaced persons and those returning home.
The most common causes of food insecurity:
- Military conflicts.
- Lack of emergency plans.Drought and other extreme weather events.
- Corruption and political instability.
- Cash crops dependence.
- Pests, livestock diseases and other agricultural problems.
- Climate change.
Food Insecurity Statistics and Hunger in Nigeria:
The number of people who experience food insecurity in Nigeria is rising. Of Nigeria’s population of more than 160 million people, the number of undernourished people has increased from 10 million in 2010 to almost 13 million in 2012 and has been growing since.
Consequently, as of early 2019, an estimated 1.8 million internally displaced persons resided in Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states. To meet their daily food needs, many conflict-affected households in northeastern Nigeria remain reliant on humanitarian assistance, support from host communities, and market purchases.
Hunger Statistics in Nigeria 2018 indicate that more than half of the country lives below the poverty line, and northern Nigeria suffers the world’s third highest level of chronic undernutrition among children. Since 2012, Northeastern Nigeria has faced insecurity due to conflict with the Boko Haram insurgent group.
How to end starvation and achieve Zero Hunger in Nigeria by 2030.
Many developing countries that used to suffer from famine and hunger can now meet the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable. Nigeria makes history with the launch of a strategic plan and roadmap to achieve zero hunger by 2030.
Most problems related to food insecurity in Nigeria are man-made. Though Nigeria is not a poor country, its food management has been poor. The insurgency in the country has led to a large number of displaced people without access to food. The reign of the extremist group, Boko Haram, has left 8.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Nigeria. On top of the rates of displacement, 5.1 million Nigerians are malnourished.
On 29 April 2016, Nigeria’s Zero Hunger initiative was launched at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Headquarters. In conclusion, there is a silver lining in all these efforts. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is committed to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Hopefully, this will end the food crisis and set Nigeria on it’s path to become the super power it is meant to be.