May 21, 2024
Food & Beverages

Nigeria Hunger Crisis Deepens as Farmers Face More Attacks, Kidnap

Nigeria hunger crisis is deepening as farmers face more attacks and kidnapping from armed groups, Save the Children warns.

According to the organisation, the hostilities in the Northeast will continue to hinder critical food supplies and push Nigeria deeper into hunger crisis.

The organisation in a statement expresses concerns that local farmers are now facing more displacements, market disruptions and loss of livelihoods.

Country Director, Famari Barro describes the situation as dire capable of causing devastating hunger crisis.

•Famari Barro:Attacks are increasing hunger crisis

According to him, “These violent attacks against farmers in Nigeria are exacerbating the already dire hunger crisis in the country, especially in the north where millions of children do not know where their next meal will come from.

“Armed groups committing these ruthless acts are not only disrupting food production but also pushing children to the brink” Barros points out.

The Country Director calls for urgent action from stakeholders to prioritise the needs of children to stop this devastating trend and protect innocent lives.

He warns “If not, armed groups will continue to carry out brutal attacks, drive food prices, and push more families to starvation.”

The organisation expresses worry that armed groups killed over 128 farmers, kidnapped 37 others across the country between January and June 2023.

This is according to the reports from the Nigerian Security Tracker which also records that non-state armed groups killed 19 farmers in Borno State.

Recounting his experience, Bulama, a farmer for 35 years who is no stranger to insecurity said, this year has been particularly difficult.

He laments that most of the farmers he worked with have either been kidnapped or killed.

According to Bulama, “On different occasions when we will be in the field farming, armed groups have attacked and kidnapped farmers who are our friends and brothers, requesting ransom – most times it’s an amount no villager can afford”.

Continuing, “They have killed and stolen our farm produce, leaving us helpless and with nothing to take home.

“The hunger and starvation most of us suffer in this community are because insurgents deprive us of accessing the farmlands, and even when we risk our lives in our fields, they steal everything and allow us to starve,” Bulama laments.

Bulama reportedly explained that although farming poses a threat to his life, if he stops, his children will die.

Save the Children notes how, this period is a harrowing choice that is all too common for farmers in the north, driving hunger crisis.

The international body states that by the UN estimates at at January, over 25m people in the country are facing food insecurity this year alone.

This represents some 47% increase from the 17 million people who were already at risk of going hungry.

This the report says is mainly due to the ongoing insecurity, protracted conflicts, and the projected rise in food prices.

Besides, the report raises alarm that about 2m children below five years across states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe are likely to experience acute malnutrition.

In addition some 700,000 children are on the brink of death from starvation and hunger crisis.

It is also likely that due to frequently extreme weather and climate crisis, more people will enter into devastating hunger situation than earlier predicted .

Bulama added: “The lack of rain this year has worsened the current hunger crisis my family is facing.”

According to him, “All our remaining crops are dried and dead.”

He regrets how long It has taken to start afresh because most farmers are cutting down their dried crops to plant new ones.

“We have nothing to eat and nowhere to go. We can go days without eating a meal.”Bulama

There is a state of emergency on food insecurity in the country to help tackle food shortages, stabilise rising prices, and increase protection for farmers facing violence from armed groups.

Save the Children has been working in Nigeria since 2001 and responding to the humanitarian crisis in the northeast since 2014.

The organisation is providing food, clean water, nutrition and protection services, sexual and reproductive health care, and education to families across Northeast Nigeria.

It is also providing technical support to the government on policy changes and reforms, especially in critical sectors such as health, education, and social protection among others.

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