Rising political, economic, and life insecurity in Nigeria will push the country into famine in the next ten years, a new report has shown. The report; ‘The SBM Jollof Index, Slippery Slope, Q1 2021,’ analysed different economic indicators to achieve its projections.
“Nigeria may experience famine in the nearest future if production, consumption and political-economic dynamics remain the same,” the report said, adding that “Food Availability Decline (FAD), exponential population growth and decline in entitlements are the main theoretical explanations for famine as proposed by free-market activists, Thomas Malthus and Amartya Sen respectively.”
“Other than these theoretical explanations, history shows that famines with the highest mortality rates resulted from poor harvest, natural disasters (drought, flood), war/conflict, poor governance and policy failures (e.g the great leap forward and British denial policy) – conditions which Nigeria fulfils easily.”
Nigeria is currently facing insecurity across all regions in the country, with IPOB separatists attacks in the Southeast and South-south, ethnoreligious conflict in the Southwest, kidnapping and banditry in Northeast and Northwest, and the decade long Boko-Haram terrorism in the Northeast.
Additionally, changing climates are contributing to food production, as farmers struggle to follow the environmental changes while wading off attacks on their lives.
The Jollof index added notably that “more than 62,000 farmers in the Middle Belt were displaced from their homeland between 2010-2015. More recently, 2020 ended with the news of over 110 farmers executed by Boko Haram over allegedly cooperating with the Nigerian Army.”
The climate change impact is highlighted in the report when it mentioned that “overlapping with these gruesome conflicts are adverse weather conditions of flood and droughts and decreasing agricultural land due to urbanisation. For instance, in Kaduna State between 1980- 2012, agricultural land declined from 24,282.93 hectares (59% of the total land area) to 17,865.5 hectares or 43.4% of total land area).”
COVID-19 pandemic also features as a factor, alongside “issues of governance failures/resulting unrest, policy failures (border closure policy, Forex restriction policy, increased tariffs on electricity and fuel) and rising exchange rate currently at a controlled rate of N410 per dollar, against a parallel rate of N475 per dollar, and a 2015 average rate of N192 – a combination of internal and external factors.”
These combined factors, the reports noted, if not properly dealt with, and with speed, will lead Nigeria to inflation.