The Nigerian Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA) provides an in-depth assessment of the food security situation within Nigeria. This is very important as it equips policymakers with timely and relevant information that will aid the targeting of interventions. Some of the most pertinent findings of the study are listed below:
• Food insecurity and poverty are intricately linked. Some 29 percent of households in the poorest wealth quintiles have unacceptable diets (9 percent poor and 20 percent borderline) compared with 15 percent in the wealthiest (2 percent poor and 13 percent borderline).
• The poorest livelihoods are found in agriculture. Seventy-seven percent of subsistence farmers are found in the two poorest wealth quintiles, as are 70 percent of mixed or cash crop farmers.
• The general state of water and sanitation facilities available to households in all wealth categories is very poor, with consequent health implications. Forty-five percent of respondents do not have access to decent toilets, and 85 percent have no proper means of refuse disposal.
• The vulnerable and food insecure are mostly found in rural areas and the North West and North East regions of Nigeria.
• Most households in all regions and at all wealth levels purchase food, but rural households and poorer households (by wealth and livelihood) also rely heavily on own food production. Households in the poorest quintiles in both rural and urban areas rely on own production (32 percent rural and 24 percent urban). Wealthier urban households rely mostly on purchases, whereas own production is common at varying levels across all wealth levels for rural households.
• Nigerians generally consume a starchy diet, but wealthier households can afford more nutrient-rich foods (including animal-based proteins) than poorer households. For instance, the wealthiest households consume meat, fish, and eggs an average of four days a week compared with only two days for the poorest households.
• Most households protect vulnerable household members in terms of food allocations (women and children), but that may not hold in the poorest households where some difficult allocation decisions may have to be made.
• Poorer households are more likely to engage in extreme coping strategies (like going a whole day without food) to deal with food shortages.
By Oluyemisi Kuku-Shittu, Astrid Mathiassen, Amit Wadhwa, Lucy Myles, and Akeem Ajibola