NIGERIA—The release of the 2021 National Food Consumption and Micronutrients Survey report has illuminated the alarming levels of food insecurity and hygiene challenges faced by Nigerian households.

Launched in Abuja by the Federal government in collaboration with foreign partners and other stakeholders in the food sector, the report presents a stark picture of the country’s current food landscape.

According to the report, only about 21 percent of Nigerian households are considered food secure, while 79 percent are categorized as food insecure. Among the food insecure households, 59 percent experience moderate food insecurity, with an additional 20 percent classified as severely food insecure.

Dr. Olarinwaju Isiaka, one of the researchers involved in the study, highlighted key findings, revealing that 41.5 percent of households lacked the financial means to purchase food in the past seven days preceding the survey.

Additionally, approximately 23 percent of households in Nigeria lack access to toilet facilities, underscoring significant hygiene challenges.

Water access also emerged as a critical issue, with the report indicating that while 62.9 percent of households have access to improved water sources, only 1.1 percent have access to piped water.

The majority rely on borehole water systems (42.6 percent) and protective well water (17.4 percent). Regional disparities were evident, with the South East and South South zones experiencing the lowest percentage of piped water access.

Dr. Michael Ojo, the Country Director of GAIN, expressed concern over the stagnation in water supply rates, highlighting a decline from 11 percent to 1.1 percent over the past decade. He emphasized the need for concerted efforts to address systemic issues within the nation’s food system, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and holistic approaches.

Furthermore, Dr. Ojo accentuated the significance of reducing food wastage and enhancing value addition to address poverty and food insecurity effectively. He called for increased capacity building and value addition initiatives to optimize the utilization of food resources and ensure adequate access to nutritious food for all Nigerians.

With over 220 million people, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the sixth in the world.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), conflict and insecurity, rising inflation, and the impact of the climate crisis, continue to drive hunger in Nigeria.

26.5 million people across the country are projected to face acute hunger in the June-August 2024 lean season, a confounding increase from the 18.6 million people who were food insecure at the end of 2023.

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