Ms Rhoda Dia, Project Manager, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Global Environment Facility (GEF), in charge of the Resilient Food Security Project.

Trace Reporters –About 13 million people could suffer acute food insecurity in Northern Nigeria in the next few months, says the United Nations (UN) – Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Rhoda Dia, Project Manager, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Global Environment Facility (GEF), in charge of the Resilient Food Security Project, gave out this information on Wednesday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Ms Dia said the warning had become imperative because the country was facing growing levels of acute food insecurity due to decades of insecurity across the country.

She said the insecurity had resulted in increasing poverty and economic crises.

The situation has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and recently, the series of clashes between farmers and herders, said Ms Dia.

She stated that women, girls and the elderly were the most vulnerable groups to climate change, adding that it was because they were highly exposed to climate risks.

Ms Dia said that the adaptive capacity of these groups was low, which according to her was constrained by poor quality of access to, and control of resources.

She added that they were more likely to live in poverty, as they were traditionally excluded from the decision-making process at local, national, and international levels.

“Food production requires the use of valuable resources such as land, ecosystems, water, energy among others and its wastage results in high water and carbon footprint losses,” Ms Dia said.

She said that the global estimate of agricultural waste produced yearly was approximately 1,000 million tonnes with a current market size for waste to energy of 30 billion dollars at a rate of 4.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, the project manager said that Nigeria’s palm oil production industry alone generated over 90 million tonnes of effluent annually.

“The country is also generating 4.34 million tonnes of rice straw and 0.9 million of rice husk, and has an estimated 19.5 million cows which also generate waste.

“With the increasing Nigeria population, it is projected that the quantity of agricultural waste generated in the country will triple in the coming decades,” she said.

Ms Dia said that with respect to agricultural waste, there existed the potential of resourcefully reusing the materials to reduce environmental harm and boost soil fertility and farm productivity.

She said that the time was ripe for the northern region to tap into the potential present in converting agricultural wastes to energy as well as other economically viable repurposed products.

Ms Dia said it was against this backdrop that Sonvisage Nig. Ltd. in collaboration with the UNDP- GEF- IAP Project was training extension agents from project communities.

She said the training was on Waste-to-Wealth that is, rice and groundnut waste re-purpose for self-reliance training.

The UNDP-GEF is currently training extension agents in Kano on how to turn waste to energy (briquettes making) and waste to animal feed (livestock and poultry).

On July 19, President Muhammadu Buhari blamed floods and insecurity for hampering his administration’s efforts at food security.

This is as the Central Bank announced on Wednesday that over N750 billion has been disbursed to three million farmers to boost food production in the country.

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