Nigeria is currently
ranked 38 among poverty stricken countries in the world, and 7th among the top nine West African Countries.
The revelation came to the fore recently during the 36th Inaugural lecture of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology by Professor Sunday
In the lecture, titled “Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding the Future,” Professor Giami stated that in both developed and developing countries, food insecurity is often linked to poverty.
Consequently, he continued, to
understand the magnitude of food insecurity in Nigeria, we must consider the number of individuals below the poverty line.
Quoting data from the World Bank in 2014, the Professor of Food Processing and Product Development stated that 62% of Nigerians live on less than 81.25 a day as at 2010.
The amount is the internationally
recognised standard for estimating poverty. Professor Giami further stated that another 82.2% of Nigerians live on less than two dollars a day.
“In fact, the poverty situation and the fear of possible food crisis in Nigeria has been given credence by the current country’s poor ranking on the latest Global Hunger Index (GHI), which grouped the country as the 38th poverty stricken nation, with a high level of hunger threat withan index of 14.7 compared with Ghana’s index of 7.5 and ranking 16, he said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria also ranks 20th among countries with people with the highest under nourishment (3rd in Africa),and 117th among countries with the highest under fire mortality rates (4th in Africa).
Explaining the importance of food security in every society, he noted that food security” is the
basic of human needs and is central to any discussion on
energy security, civil society or political security.
“Food features prominently in a
raft of interrelated societal challenges associated with health, deprivation, novel technologies, national resource
management, migration, and armed conflict.
“As a consequence, food (production, distribution, and
processing) has rapidly become
centre stage in the world, and tomorrow’s issues are becoming
todays,” he said.
He however, noted that the attainment of food security in Nigeria is feasible, given the abundant natural resources and
diverse food crops available in the country.
On way to ensure food security,
according to the Professor, is to
re-evaluate a number of traditional food crops that are currently under utilized in Nigeria.