FAO 24 February 2017, Rome - As conflict and instability continue, the food security situation in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin is drastically deteriorating, FAO warned today, as it called for swift and decisive action from the international community to protect the livelihoods of millions of families dependent on farming, livestock and fishing for their food and livelihoods.
With the next planting season starting in May, and with scarcity of animal fodder and water points during the lean season, it is crucial that crop seeds, tools and livestock support reach families urgently to limit the scope of the deepening crisis that now involves four countries: Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
Some 7.1 million people are now severely food insecure across the four countries. Among them are 515 000 children who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition - a condition which, if untreated, can lead to permanent damage to a child's development and even death.
FAO is among the UN agencies and governments attending the Oslo Humanitarian Conference today, organized to mobilize international funding for the crisis-struck region, where 80 to 90 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods.
"In the worst-affected areas, famine continues to loom -- and millions will remain trapped in cycles of severe hunger if we don't enable farmers to start cropping now," said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, who is representing FAO at the conference. "Our collective efforts cannot be limited to merely avoiding massive famine - they need to allow people to return to a dignified life. And supporting agriculture is the key to both," he said.
Besides reducing hunger and boosting nutrition, investing in farmers also provides much needed job opportunities that reduce migration and limit the potential for radicalization of unemployed youth, according to Burgeon.
Crisis spilling across borders
Violence related to the armed group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria has spilled over to parts of neighboring countries in the Lake Chad Basin - specifically, Cameroon's Far North, western Chad and southeastern Niger - with devastating effects on food security and livelihoods.
With the Lake Chad Basin approaching a critical period in the agricultural calendar, FAO is urgently calling for $30 million in immediate emergency support to help farming families in the four countries get ready to plant in the upcoming May planting season and prevent them from slipping into long-term dependency on food aid.
A total of $232 million will be needed to secure food production and access to food for three million people in the worst-hit areas over the next three years. The vast majority of the requested funds - some $191 million - is designated for Nigeria, which is bearing the brunt of the crisis.
See more: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/472006/icode/