The United Nation World Food Programme (WFP) is spending $2.5 billion in the next four years to assist Nigeria in combating hunger and malnutrition.
This is was revealed in Abuja on Wednesday during a joint press conference by WFP and the Ministry of Humanitarian Disaster Management and Social Development to announce the WFP Country Strategic Plan (CSP) 2023-2027.
The WFP Representative and Country Director, David Stevenson said Nigeria’s most vulnerable people continue to suffer critical levels of food insecurity and malnutrition, driven by persistent conflict, organised violence, recurrent climate shocks and broad exposure to the impact of climate change.
He lamented that one in three households in Nigeria cannot afford nutritious food and more than 100 million people report at least moderate food insecurity, further decrying that the severity and scale of regionalized crises have been compounded by the global food supply crisis, which has hampered Nigeria’s economic recovery from the 2019 coronavirus pandemic.
He disclosed that the WFP Nigeria CSP covers the Northeast, Northwest and states hosting Cameroonian refugees with a total budget of USD 2.5 billion for five years.
He said: “To address the challenges posed by the deteriorating food and nutrition situation, WFP will integrate its dual mandate by working on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, applying targeted emergency responses that save lives while opening shock-responsive pathways to rapid recovery and resilience using a gender transformative, nutrition mainstreaming, climate smart, and conflict sensitive approach.
Stevenson noted that WFP focuses on crisis response, resilience building and addressing the roots causes of food insecurity and malnutrition and includes five fully integrated outcomes.
He revealed that 4.3 million people require food assistance during the lean season (June – August). of which 522,367 will be in the ‘emergency phase’ (Phase 4), noting that recurrent climate shocks with widespread crop loss from flooding, unprecedented food inflation and conflict have contributed to the deterioration of the situation. A quadrupling of severe acute malnutrition to 700,000 and 600,000 in Phase 4 emergency conditions.
He further noted that 2 million children with malnutrition 697,000 children with with severe acute malnutrition
He said to respond to the needs, WFP will increase the number of people assisted with lifesaving food assistance from one million now in February to 2.1 million during the peak of the lean season before scaling down during the harvest period. The rest of the food security actors plan to assist 700 thousand people, noting that this will leave a gap of 1.5 million people not assisted.
He added that WFP will use in-kind food, electronic voucher or cash to provide the assistance. The transfer modality selection will be informed by multisectoral assessment which will consider market functionality, protection risks, government regulations, availability of financial infrastructures, beneficiaries’ preference and how the modality contributes to resilience supporting food systems or connecting farmers to markets.
He reiterated that WFP’s total funding requirement for 2023 is USD 473 million of which US$400 million is to provide lifesaving food and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable people in Northeast Nigeria, adding that WFP urgently requires USD 255.5 million to meet assistance needs for the next six months (March to August 2023).
In his speech, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo noted that the partnership that has existed between the Ministry and WFP has been very cordial and has achieved several milestones in the humanitarian space, stressing that: “This meeting is important to the Ministry not only to discuss the success stories from this partnership but to chart a course that will continue to strengthen the provision of enabling environment, demonstration of application of the principle of whole of society and whole of government approach in humanitarian delivery.”
He said the new five years plan made provision for WFP to expand its areas of assistance to the Northwest and refugees camps in Nigeria instead of the Northeast previously covered.