Although we are among the richest nations in the world, but beneath the prosperity of Nigeria lies discerning Hunger; a plague which threatens humanity, ability of citizens to become productive and contributing members of society, which in turn threatens the future Nigeria prosperity.
The reality of our present day survival from the clutches of hunger is vindicated by the astronomical statistics that three in five Nigerians are hungry or struggle to afford food and the imperativeness of hunger cushioning mechanism is further supported by UN in making ending hunger their number one priority in the MDG.
FoodClique Support Iniiative is ready to lead the fight to end hunger in our communities, though it cannot be done alone but if we all stand-up to say enough is enough to hunger, harness our resource and volunteers, then it is possible! In the last survey carried out by FoodClique Support Iniiative, the following statistics where recoded.
- 6 in 8 Lagosian, and 3 in 5 children, lives in poverty.
- 2 in 3 kids are food insecure hungry while 4 in 6 adults are
An impoverished family of 4 makes about #18,000 a month to cover health care costs, shelter, food, and other household expenses.
- 3 in 5 child risk missing one meal every day.
- 4 in 5 Lagosian will appreciate an emergency food supply
- 3 in 4 Lagosians eat less than the required nutritious meal and
- 5 in 7 adult have reduced what they eat because of food insecurity
These statistics are alarming, food as a physiological need as postulated by Abraham Maslow which stimulates all other social level is a primary component of survival to come to the rescue of this vulnerable majority, we must rescue the situation to help give them a fighting chance to climb up the social pyramid.
- Cause of hunger in Nigeria
The causes of hunger in Nigeria are not far-fetched. The complexity of the Nigerian polity is a web of intertwined complication which has further enhances the different problems plaguing the country which hunger is no exception. The pointers to causes of hunger in the country are explicitly relayed in the sub-headings below:
Povertyis the principal cause of hunger to many Nigerians. The causes of poverty include poor people's lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the country. In a survey conducted by FoodClique over 75% of Nigerians live on $1.25 a day or less for this reason, the number of people in extreme poverty has increased. An average Nigeria earns 18,000 per month to cover for housing, transportation, feeding, and utilities. The disparity between needs and the cost of offsetting them is a problem leaving much to be desired than acquired.
Harmful economic systems are the principal cause of poverty and hunger
The economic prosperity of a country plays a vital role in the development of her citizens. Countries with a good economic systems tends to flourish for this reason, we believe that the principal underlying cause of poverty and hunger is the ordinary operation of the economic and political systems in the world. Essentially, control over resources and income is based on political and economic power that typically ends up in the hands of a minority, who live well, while those at the bottom barely survive.
Pricing system and Rising Food Prices
The global food pricing system has not in any way favoured the Third World Nation like Nigeria, the effect of having the cost of agricultural machinery of the developed country being the same as that of developing nation without recourse to other prevalent economic factor is an issue. A pricing system which is unified at a different income level would not suffice for a level playing field. This has drastically affected the level of hunger as there are many people in the working class that still cannot afford the substantive daily meal. A system of price control that will enable cost of food to be pegged on prevalent economic indicator will suffice to reduce the scourge.
Underemployment, Not Just Unemployment Rural to urban migration has drastically increased the population of the people living in the city for this reason many employable Nigerians cannot get a job in the city. This inequality in geographical distribution of labour and income is a social menace that has made hunger problem more worsened. Stagnation in job creation and loss of existing ones continue to harass effort to rescue situation. Percentage of labour force is a far cry from available jobs this consequently leaves people in search for means of putting food on the table.
Amidst abundance, it is unfortunate that people still find it easy to complain of lack of food. The question of food produced that is in abundance; enough to go round is another perspective to the cause of hunger. The role of low income, joblessness, cost of food and economic system combines with the factor of food waste to exert more weight on hunger.
Food waste from agricultural products in Nigeria is very phenomenal; poor storage facilities, lack of mechanised farming techniques, and other lack of social amenities affects the food waste. The lack of redistribution culture makes food waste in companies and individual homes inevitable which should have salvage food waste situation.
Food waste has resulted in food shortage thereby making the few available expensive, bad transportation network has not helped situation either and the population has no hand in the price regulation and the vulnerable has no way to help themselves channel the wasted one to their advantage.
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Hunger exists everywhere in Nigeria regardless of where we stay. It does not matter if you live in an urban, suburban or rural setting. Hunger has no boundaries, Hunger does not take holidays, hunger is colour blind and hunger kills.
The battle to end hunger in our various communities cannot be fought alone because it involves the coming together of everyone, the community, and grassroots efforts etc to fight this menace that kills about 25,000 lives daily. Nigeria is among the country that produces most of the required food, but majority of them end up in dump sites.
Hunger is unacceptable and for us to make it history which is one of the goals of MDG, we all need to admit that hunger exist in our communities.
How to end hunger
Hunger is manmade and it is one of the easiest problems that is solvable. Therefore, an ACTION PLAN AGAINST HUNGER must include the following measures;
- Promoting greater self-reliance in countries suffering from hunger - hence reducing dependency on imports.
- Re-examining farm policies in developing countries to make sure that they encourage - rather than discourage - farmers to produce food on a dependable basis. Policies should aim to ensure fair prices for farm produce, access to the means of production, and wise land and water use.
- Improving transportation, marketing and storage systems to ensure that available food reaches areas where and when it is needed most.
- Re-examining food aid to make sure it reaches the hungry but does not disrupt national production.
- Greater co-operation among developed and developing nations to remove trade barriers and help stabilise international prices for agricultural commodities.
- Avoiding over consumption and the waste of food in all countries.
- A realistic approach to the problems of large debts owed by many Third World countries and their consequent need to devote inordinate proportions of export earnings to repaying.
Hunger does not discriminate that is hunger can affect any body. In Nigeria the poor and needy from our community fall into three basic categories. Namely Working families, Seniors and Children though other people such as the homeless, destitute, disable etc also fall into this three broad categories.
To some Nigerians they experience hunger on a temporary basis because of a layoff, divorce or illness so during this period they struggle to eat the required calories the body needs. The reason we called it temporary is because once the tying periods is over they have tool to provide food for them.
The second group are those that experience hunger on a permanent basis. These are the poor who make up about 85% of hungry people in the country.
This category of people cannot just help themselves for this reason they are poor and automatically live in poverty. Among this people are homeless, rural dwellers, destitute, disable, pensioners, sick, widows etc.
78% of the hungry people in Nigeria are children; making kids the largest group of hungry people. According to a report carried out by FoodClique Support Initiative a NGO that provide food to the needy they said most of the beneficiary of the feeding program are the children because they just don't know how to help themselves break the jaw of hunger cause by poverty.
Many of these children live in poverty so majority of them relies on support from well meaning Nigerians to help them feed. Using Lagos state as a case-study 1 in 5 children live below the federal poverty level (approximately #18,000 per year for a family of three in 2009).