BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Health and Food Security



Food Security is defined as a situation where all individuals at every time have both physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food required to meet their dietary needs in order to achieve an active and healthy life. The foregoing definition was put forward at the 1996 World Food Summit and shows that many of us may really be food insecure. It’s no longer news that the world’s population, currently at 7.4 billion, is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Consequently, the World Bank recommends the need to produce at least 50% more food than currently available to sustain life. Population growth is very challenging for many reasons- and the most important is the fear or need for survival… for food! Despite the continued increase in population, the world’s resources are becoming scarce especially due to climate change and mismanaged depletion by mankind.

Bringing this fact home to Nigeria- a country without much agricultural prospects, the problem of food insecurity becomes much more frightening. The direct consequence of food insecurity is an explosion in food prices- the price of rice for example! Increase in food prices affect poor families which can result in unfortunate medical outcomes such as malnutrition, underweight, general weakness, reduced blood pressure, heart muscle atrophies, poor coordination and increased irritability. On a broader social level, children may have to drop out of school if there is not enough money for their parents to afford basic needs such as food. This clearly presents intergenerational and ripples of lifelong effects on the social, physical, and mental well-being of millions of children and young people. More specifically, malnutrition causes decreased learning capacity, lower productivity, increased morbidity and mortality- especially in children, where one-third of all child deaths globally is attributed to malnutrition.

By now, I’m sure you understand that food, and its security or insecurity, is a definite determinant of health and an indispensable one at that. Thankfully, there’s a way out… investment in agriculture and rural development in order to enhance food/animal production and nutrition should be a priority for Nigeria. Matter of fact, as my lovely sister once said, Nigerians need to be reminded that there’s dignity in labor… yes, in farming! Activities such as encouraging young farmers and entrepreneurs, creating employment through the establishment of agricultural companies, promoting climate-smart farming techniques, restoring degraded farmlands, breeding more resilient and nutritious crops, growing birds and animals for consumption, improving storage methods and supply chains for reducing food losses should be investment in. These will go a very long way in averting the impending danger of food insecurity in Africa’s most populous nation.

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