Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Aims to Provide Livelihood Assistance to Nearly 49 Million People in 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict and climate-related crises drive acute levels of hunger higher, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is seeking $1.1 billion in 2021 to save the lives and livelihoods of some of the world’s most food-insecure people.
In 2021, FAO is aiming to reach more than 48.9 million people who rely on agriculture for their survival and livelihoods through interventions aimed at boosting local food production and nutrition, while strengthening the capacity and resilience of communities to prepare for and cope with crises, as well as providing post-disaster livelihoods support to help people resume production.
According to FAO’s latest data, country after country has recorded new food insecurity figures and the total number of people who experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2020 is expected to exceed 2019’s high of 135 million people. This year’s Global Report on Food Crises , to be launched by the Global Network against Food Crises in April, will underscore the severity of the situation.
“The shocks of the past year will reverberate long into 2021 and beyond, and we need to urgently scale up actions to avert a worst-case scenario,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergencies and Resilience Division.
Of extreme concern are the estimated 30 million people in Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 4 or Emergency levels of acute hunger, who are already experiencing excess mortality and the irreversible loss of vital livelihood assets.
Hundreds of thousands of girls, boys, women and men are at extreme risk of acute food insecurity in several countries. Many are living in conflict zones where humanitarian access is restricted or challenging.
“Millions are living on the precipice – one stress or shock away from a rapid deterioration. With or without famine declarations, we need to act now,” Burgeon added.
Many depend on agriculture for their lives and livelihoods
Agriculture is critical as nearly four out of five people live in rural areas and rely on some form of agricultural production for their livelihoods. The most severe manifestation of acute hunger remains a largely rural phenomenon so averting famine must therefore begin in rural areas and include large-scale and collective action to save livelihoods and lives.
FAO has already provided critical livelihood support to safeguard the livelihoods of over 24 million people against the socio‑economic impacts of COVID-19. Desert Locust control operations have also had an impact in the Greater Horn of Africa and Yemen where FAO has protected over 3.1 million tonnes of cereal, worth $939 million, enough to feed more than 20.8 million people for a year and protect more than 1.5 million pastoral households.
With FAO’s support, those affected can have the means and the capacity to produce the food needed to stave off acute hunger.
FAO targets assistance to acutely food insecure
FAO’s emergency response in 2021 will focus on providing assistance to highly food-insecure communities in more than 30 countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Yemen is suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as a consequence of conflict and economic collapse. Farmers have also had to deal with Desert Locusts and natural disasters. FAO aims to reach 6.3 million people with high impact interventions combining cash and agricultural livelihoods support and promoting community resilience.
In Syria, 12 million people will benefit from restoring agricultural livelihoods and value chains while in Ethiopia, the Organization aims to assist 6.7 million people facing acute hunger and another 6 million people in South Sudan to improve their food security, resilience and agricultural production.
Recognizing that close monitoring and agility are crucial tools in preventing rapid deterioration, FAO will continue to expand its anticipatory action linked to early warnings in 2021 to protect livelihoods before a disaster.
“We will continue investing in the most vulnerable people and their livelihoods so that they can lead their future recovery and pull themselves out of acute hunger,” said Burgeon.
Nigeria Spends N16.126 Billion Daily on Petrol Subsidy
Nigeria’s daily consumption of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) commonly known as petrol has risen to 80 million litres, according to the latest data from the Nigerian Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
A breakdown of the data showed that 558.83 million litres of petrol were evacuated between March 4 and 10, 2023, translating to an average daily consumption of 79.83 million litres.
In February 2023, the Group Chief Executive, NNPCL, Mele Kyari had put petrol consumption at around 66 million litres of petrol and declared that the corporation was spending about N202 on every litre of PMS consumed across the country.
“Today, by law and the provisions of the Appropriation Act, there is a subsidy on the supply of petroleum products, particularly PMS imports into our country. In current data terms, three days ago, the landing cost was around N315/litre.
“Our customers are here; we are transferring to each of them at N113/litre. That means there is a difference of close to N202 for every litre of PMS we import into this country. In computation, N202 multiplied by 66.5 million litres, multiplied by 30 will give you over N400bn of subsidy every month,” the GCEO had stated.
Therefore, going by Kyari’s estimation that Nigeria spent N202 a litre as a subsidy will put Nigeria’s daily petrol subsidy cost at N16.126 billion and N483.769 billion per month.
However, the national petroleum corporation has been lamenting the huge resource spent on subsidizing fuel when the majority of people benefiting from it are a few criminals smuggling it to neighbouring countries.
NNPCL explained the danger of the continued practice on the corporation’s cash flow, adding that the funding had been ongoing without refunds from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, despite the fact that subsidy had been budgeted for in the Appropriation Act.
“But there is a budget provision for it (subsidy). Our country has decided to do this. So, we are happy to deliver this, but it is also a drain on our cash flow, and I must emphasize this.
“For as we continue to support this, you will agree with me that it will be extremely challenging for us to continue to fund this from the cash flow of the company when you do not get refunds from the Ministry of Finance,” Kyari had stated in Abuja.
Scarcity of Fuel and Naira Set to Plunge Over 28 Million Nigerians into Crisis
A latest report by Cadre Harmonise has revealed that over 28.4 million Nigerians in 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory are expected to face severe crises between June and August this year due to the scarcity of fuel and naira.
This projection includes 18,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Cadre Harmonise is a tool developed as an early warning system to prevent and manage food and nutrition crises in Nigeria.
The report was released in Abuja on Thursday, covering 26 states in Nigeria. It was also stated that about 17.7 million people, including 14,000 IDPs in 26 states and the FCT, were already in crisis or worse by May 2023.
The report pointed out that the naira redesign was one of the major drivers of the crisis in Nigeria, as the withdrawal of old naira notes from circulation created a serious bottleneck to households’ ability to access cash and food commodities.
The prolonged scarcity of Petroleum Motor Spirit commonly called petrol, and the associated hike in the pump price of the commodity across the states led to an astronomical rise in transport fares and cost of food products in Nigerian markets.
The report also highlighted the consistent rise in the price of food commodities and agricultural inputs across Nigerian markets as a major driver of food insecurity. For instance, the consumer price index, which measures inflation, grew from 15.7 percent in February 2022 to 21.9 percent in February 2023 (that is a 39.49 percent point increase) year-on-year.
Insecurity, especially insurgency in the North-East states, particularly in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe, was also identified as a persistent challenge in the report.
The Cadre Harmonise report was produced with technical and financial support from global, regional, and national partners including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Food Programme, Save the Children, UNICEF, Mercy Corps, among others.
Cash Crunch, Economic Uncertainty Bolster Inflation Rate to 21.91% in February – NBS
Nigeria’s inflation rate continues to upward trend in February as economic uncertainty amid a chronic cash crunch crippled economic activities.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate, grew at 21.91% rate in the month of February, a 0.09% increase from 21.82% recorded in January, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated.
On a yearly basis, the inflation rate was 6.21% higher than the 15.70% filed in February of 2022.
According to the NBS, the headline inflation was bolstered by Bread and Cereal (21.67%), Actual and Imputed Rent (7.74%), Potatoes, Yam and Other Tubers (6.06%), Vegetable (5.44%) and Meat (4.78%).
On a monthly basis, inflation moderated by 0.16% in the month under review to 1.71% when compared to 1.87% reported in January 2023. Indicating that in February 2023 price level was 0.16% lower relative to January 2023.
The percentage change in the average CPI for the twelve months period ending February 2023 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve months period was 19.87%, showing a 3.15% points increase compared to 16.73% recorded in February 2022.
Nigeria’s food inflation rate grew at a whopping 24.35% rate on a year-on-year basis in February 2023 as a few money continues to chase limited food items due to the nation’s new bank policy that made it impossible for people to access their deposited money in the bank.
This was 7.24% points higher when compared to the 17.11% recorded in February 2022. The rise in food inflation according to NBS was caused by increases in prices of Oil and Fat, Bread and Cereals, Potatoes, Yam and Other Tubers, Fish, Fruits, Meat, Vegetable, and Food Product etc.
On a monthly basis, the food inflation rate was 1.90% in February 2023, representing a 0.18% increase from 2.08% in January 2023.
However, the average annual rate of food inflation for the twelve-month ending February 2023 over the previous twelve-month average was 22.12%, which was a 2.44% points increase from the average annual rate of change recorded in February 2022 (19.69%).
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