ANKARA

Nigeria is facing a level of food insecurity not seen since 2016-2017, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic, rising conflict, and floods, a UN agency said on Thursday.

Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe are the most affected states and the situation is expected to further deteriorate this summer “if no mitigation actions are taken,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Adverse effects of the pandemic and related containment measures, along with high food prices are among the main drivers of food insecurity, an FAO report said.

The pandemic’s impact “disrupted households’ income-generating activities and livelihoods, generally reducing their purchasing power,” it said.

“Its effects have also led to spikes in the cost of agricultural inputs and staple food prices, which have affected the availability of and access to food,” FAO added.

An upsurge of violence between armed groups and inter-communal conflict in the past few months has led to the additional displacement of people, “particularly in the North-East, North-West and Centre-North regions,” the agency said.

Torrential rainfall, river floods, and flash floods in 2020 affected 22 states, displacing over 24,000 people and causing damages to farmlands worth millions of dollars, the report added.

“Providing agricultural support to vulnerable farmers in time for the upcoming rainy season is critical to ensure food production and avert a major food crisis,” the FAO said.

The UN agency said the food security situation is expected to worsen between June and August this year, warning that “it is crucial to provide livelihood assistance to the most vulnerable populations.”

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