Food security is a critical issue that affects millions of people worldwide, and Nigeria is no exception. As Africa’s most populous country and one with significant agricultural potential, Nigeria faces numerous challenges in ensuring that its population has access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. In order to address this urgent problem, this article examines the essential elements of food security in Nigeria, highlighting data, underlying reasons, and viable remedies.


  1. The State of Food Insecurity:

Nigeria is grappling with a high prevalence of chronic undernourishment. Between 2019 and 2021, an estimated 22 million people in the country experienced persistent hunger, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This staggering figure emphasizes the urgent need for effective interventions to combat food insecurity in Nigeria.

  1. Severe Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa:

Within Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria stands out as one of the countries with the highest levels of severe food insecurity. Approximately 39 million Nigerians faced acute hunger in 2020, underscoring the magnitude of the challenge. This situation necessitates focused efforts to improve food access and availability throughout the country.

  1. Malnutrition and its Consequences:

Malnutrition remains a significant concern in Nigeria, particularly among children. Around 2.6 million children under the age of five suffered from severe acute malnutrition in 2020, putting them at a higher risk of mortality and long-term health complications. Addressing malnutrition is crucial for the overall well-being and development of Nigeria’s future generation.

  1. Climate Change Impact:

Climate change poses additional hurdles to Nigeria’s food security. Erratic rainfall patterns, increased frequency of droughts, and land degradation have adversely affected agricultural productivity and food production. These challenges disproportionately impact rural communities heavily dependent on agriculture. Implementing climate-smart agricultural practices and investing in sustainable land management are vital steps towards building resilience in the face of climate change.

  1. Gender Inequality in Agriculture:

Gender disparities persist within Nigeria’s agricultural sector, limiting women’s access to resources, finance, and decision-making opportunities. Women make up a significant portion of the agricultural labor force but face barriers that hinder their full participation. Empowering women farmers and promoting gender equality in agriculture can enhance food security, reduce poverty, and drive sustainable development.

  1. Food Loss and Waste:

Food loss and waste contribute to food insecurity in Nigeria. Each year, nearly 15 million metric tons of food are lost or wasted in the country. This loss occurs across the value chain, from post-harvest handling and storage to distribution and consumption. Addressing this issue requires investment in improved infrastructure, technology, and consumer awareness to reduce food waste and increase efficiency.

  1. The Path to Progress:

Achieving food security in Nigeria requires a multi-faceted approach. It involves investing in sustainable agricultural practices, supporting smallholder farmers, strengthening value chains, and improving post-harvest handling and storage systems. Furthermore, promoting climate-smart agriculture, diversifying agricultural production, and fostering innovation can enhance resilience and productivity in the face of climate change.


Food security remains a significant challenge in Nigeria, with millions of people facing hunger and malnutrition. Addressing this issue requires comprehensive strategies that tackle the root causes, such as poverty, climate change, gender inequality, and food loss. By prioritizing sustainable agriculture, empowering women, investing in infrastructure, and promoting innovative solutions, Nigeria can make significant progress towards ensuring food security and improving the well-being of its population. With concerted efforts and collaboration among government, civil society, and international partners, a future where no Nigerian goes to bed hungry is within reach.



  1. FAO, “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021,” page 95. (
  2. FAO, “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021,” page 133. (
  3. UNICEF, WHO, & World Bank Group, “Levels and Trends in Child Malnutrition: Key Findings of the 2021 Edition of the Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates,” page 11. (
  4. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Climate Change and Land: An IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems,” Chapter 4, page 370. (
  5. FAO, “The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11: Women in Agriculture,” page 41. (
  6. FAO, “Food Loss and Waste: Facts and Figures,” page 6. (
  7. World Bank, “Nigeria Agricultural Sector Report: Sustaining the Transformation,” page 3. (