More than 93 million Nigerians are currently battling food insecurity, Phillips Consulting’s
‘Household Economy Survey’ has
The survey, which assesses the socio-economic state of
Nigerian households to determine the proportion of
vulnerable households in the
country, found a compelling relationship between food insecurity and unemployment.
WHAT IS FOOD INSECURITY?
According to the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP), people are considered food-insecure when there is no “availability and adequate access at all times to sufficient,
safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”.
Going by the UN definition and the Phillips Consulting survey, 51% of Nigeria’s population
of 183 million (which mounts to 93 million) cannot boast of
availability and adequate access at all times to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.
Nigeria ranks far below the best score on Food security in
the world FOOD INSECURITY COMES WITH UNEMPLOYMENT
This nationwide survey was carried out between May and
June 2016, with a focus on assessing the following four
main areas of household economic stability: food
security, health and education, household finance (income and
expenditure), and household assets.
The survey, which considered 5,747 respondents from 12
states across the country, revealed that over 31% of respondents had experienced food insecurity for a few
months (between 1-4 months continuously) within the past year.
The survey further
demonstrated that there is a strong relationship between
food insecurity and household size; larger households were more prone to food insecurity.
38% of households consisting of between 11 and 15 people stated that they experienced
food insecurity most months, in comparison to the 23% of respondents with 6 to 10 household members.
“As one may expect,
respondents in full time employment were much more
likely to be food secure than those who were not; about
40% of employed respondents had never experienced food insecurity, compared to only
20% of unemployed and 28% of self-employed respondents,” said the report.
“Unemployed persons are more vulnerable to food insecurity, due to the unavailability of
financial resources; likewise, self-employed respondents may
suffer from inconsistencies or
fluctuations in income, thus affecting their food security status.”
FOOD SECURITY TOO EXPENSIVE
Food was also rated as the highest household expenditure by over half (53%) of
respondents, far ahead of other
expenditures such as shelter (15%) and transportation
The current inflation rate of over 16% and the sharp increase in the prices of imported food (due to the difficulties experienced by
importers in securing foreign exchange) have had a large
negative effect on consumers, affecting their access to
different food items.
OTHER INDICES OF NIGERIAN WELL-BEING
Over 64% of respondents have
access to healthcare services; however, when segmented
across settlement type, almost half of the rural respondents
(47%) reported having no access to healthcare, in
comparison to just 31% of urban respondents.
When asked if they (or any member of their household) had sought medical care in the past year, 72% said “yes”, with the most common reason being to see treatment for malaria
(68%). For education, most respondents (75%) were educated up to tertiary level.
Access to finance was
highlighted as a challenging area for respondents, with 73% indicating that they had no access to any financial support,
in the form of loans, mortgages, etc. Households need financial support for various reasons, such as funding for new
business ventures, rent payments, school fees and transportation costs.
With limited access to formal financial support (due to high
lending interest rates and other impediments), it is therefore important that the federal
government puts in place enabling policies and frame works that work towards encouraging the public to source funds from the formal sector.
THE ‘MOBILE’ SILVER LINING
The majority of respondents (47%) own communication and entertainment devices such as
mobile phones, tablets and laptops. A large number (41%)
also have household appliances and furniture, such as
refrigerators, television sets and
Nigeria is the highest-ranked
African country with regards to number of internet users and
also has over 150 million active mobile phone lines.
Nigeria is also a huge market for household appliances, with
international players currently taking advantage of the country’s demographic
THE TICKING TIME BOMB
With Nigeria’s exponential
population growth showing no signs of decline, the size of households are bound to become even larger.