The United Nations (UN) recently revealed that more than 113 million people across 53 countries experienced “acute hunger” last year due to wars and climate disasters. According to the report, Africa was the worst-hit region. About 72 million people on the continent suffered acute hunger, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) emergencies director, Dominique Bourgeon.
The report also stated that Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Syria were among the eight nations which accounted for two-thirds of the total number of people worldwide exposed to risk of famine. The report also noted that the overall situation slightly improved in 2018 compared to 2017 when 124 million people suffered acute hunger.
All the same, it portends grave danger for the wellbeing of many people the world. Unfortunately, over 815million persons out of a global population of 7.6billion or one out of every 10 persons reportedly face chronic malnutrition.
Acute hunger is a global challenge which nations must work in concert to overcome. Without doubt, food is one of the basic needs of people. It is sad that many people in the world do not have access to food. This is why world leaders, especially those affected by acute hunger should urgently rise to the occasion to ensure that the problem is solved forthwith.
Since failed leadership, ineffectual and broken policies, diseases, natural disasters, wars, insurgencies and rising cases of global warming and flooding are responsible for global hunger, efforts should be put in place to address them. African leaders must tackle the food challenge on the continent.
The Federal and State governments should evolve pragmatic approaches to tackle the hunger challenge. While successive administrations in the country must be blamed for the hunger challenge, the risk to food security has been on the rise following the insecurity in the North East region and adverse weather conditions.
The Lake Chad, which provides water for agriculture in some parts of the region, has shrunk to less than a quarter of its original, thereby causing grave danger to lives and property. As a result of the inclement weather, many people have reportedly abandoned farming and fishing.
Unarguably, desertification has also led to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in some parts of the country. The clashes have been inimical to farming and threaten the nation’s food security. Since the primary duty of government is to ensure the security and welfare of its citizens, it is its duty to ensure food security for all citizens. The government must come up with creative ways to combat the looming hunger challenge.
But government cannot do it alone. The private sector, especially large-scale farmers must work together to ensure the nation’s food security. All tiers of government must encourage farming as a way of waging a relentless war against hunger. For the war to be effective, the Federal Government should step up the war against the insurgents as well as tackle other security challenges facing the country. The banditry in Zamfara and Kaduna must be effectively tackled. Similarly, the herdsmen and farmers clashes in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Plateau states must be curbed, too.
Government must make farming attractive to young Nigerians. Farming must be made lucrative as well. Farmers must be acquainted with modern methods of farming as well as food preservation techniques. We say this because over 50 per cent of the food harvests are lost annually through poor methods of food preservation.
Therefore, we call on African leaders to muster the political will to tackle the growing food challenge on the continent. Good enough, Africa has enough arable land for farming and animal husbandry. Above all, all nations should work together to solve the growing hunger challenge.