Food security: WFP, FAO target 1.8 million vulnerable people in Northeast
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) say they are targeting provision of food and livelihood for 1.8 million persons in two Northern states.
Mr Douglas Mercado, the Deputy Country Director of WFP, said this at the National Consolidation Workshop on Cadre Harmonise of Food and Nutrition Insecurity Analysis in 16 states of Northern Nigeria.
Mercado said in Abuja on Friday that the move was to assist vulnerable households to recover their livelihoods and achieve food security following the crisis in the area.
He said the assistance would come through the distribution of food items and cash transfers of N23, 000 each to the affected persons.
“By December last year, we reached one million people in Yobe state through food distribution, cash transfer and supplementary nutrition.
“ We plan to scale up to reach 1.8 million people between April and May. We will continue to use the Cadre Harmonise’ to reach the most vulnerable food insecure people in Yobe and Borno.
“We are trying to reach the most vulnerable households and provide them with assistance. In areas where we have their markets functioning, we try to give them cash based transfer so that they can buy their own foods.
“For those places with functional markets, we distribute food items to them. We have made a lot of difference in terms of food in Nigeria since last year.’’
Also, Mr Patrick David, the FAO’s Officer-in-Charge of Nigeria, said that no fewer than 10 million people were under threat of food crisis in 16 Northern states of the country.
He listed the states to include Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Niger, Benue, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba, Sokoto, Kebbi and Katsina.
David said the organisation was working with WFP and other donor agencies to ensure food security in the states.
He said the cadre harmonise project which commenced in Nigeria in 2015, provided information on food insecurity in the 16 states.
The officer in charge called on the Federal Government to scale up efforts aimed at providing livelihood and food for people in the region.
“FAO is trying to provide support for agriculture in livestock, fisheries, forestry and natural resources management, especially to avert food insecurity,’’ he said.
Similarly, Dr Shehu Ahmed, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the ministry would support all interventions aimed at eradicating food crisis in the states.
Ahmed, represented by Mr Muyiwa Azeez, the Director, Agricbusiness and Marketing in the ministry, noted that government would take actions toward the implementation of the cadre harmonise analysis.
According to him, agriculture contributes four per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country in 2016.
“Government is working on various means to conserve water in the Northern part of the country through construction of dams to boost farming and food production in the region,’’ he said.
The Cadre Harmonise’ is a tool for analyzing and classifying the severity of food insecurity in current and projected periods in the ECOWAS region.
It aims at preventing food crisis, by identifying affected populations and proffer appropriate measures to improve food and security.