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Ukraine crisis: How Nigeria can stop looming hunger, by Oxfam

By Joke Falaju (Abuja) and Rauf Oyewole (Bauchi)
24 March 2022   |   2:40 am
Oxfam International has urged the Nigerian government to design short and long-term shock absorbers to tackle the hunger that may arise from the Ukraine-Russia war.

Nation, others have enough groundwater to survive 50-year drought, says report

Oxfam International has urged the Nigerian government to design short and long-term shock absorbers to tackle the hunger that may arise from the Ukraine-Russia war.

In a statement by Country Director, Dr. Vincent Ahonsi, Oxfam noted that the crisis in Ukraine has caused food prices to skyrocket globally in the last few weeks, with some forecasts estimating up to a 20 per cent increase.

Ahonsi noted that Ukraine and Russia are important players in the global food export market. Russia is the top wheat exporter with a share of almost 16 per cent of the global market, while Ukraine is the third-largest exporter, at almost 10 per cent of the global market.

He said: “Nigeria’s government needs to provide public funding necessary to create fair, gender-just, and sustainable food systems, particularly focusing on agroecological production, which is inherently less dependent on imports of feed and agricultural inputs, and more resilient to climate change impacts.”

He noted: “The most important problem is affordable access to food, not its availability. Many people in low-income countries (including Nigeria) cannot afford the prices of goods, like bread, which, in many countries, is made from imported wheat. The reason is that supply chain disruptions and climate-driven disasters, like drought, coupled with conflict, have driven prices up when wages have been unable to keep pace.”

THIS came as new research conducted by WaterAid Nigeria and the British Geological Survey (BGS) said most African countries have enough groundwater to survive, at least, between five to 50 years of drought.

The report stated that countries, like Niger Republic, Nigeria, Ethiopia Madagascar, Mali and several others have enough groundwater.

While there have been fears over groundwater drying up due to climate change, the report indicates that groundwater could provide a buffer against climate change for many years to come, even in the unlikely event that rain does not fall.

The report, however, bemoaned under-investment in services to get the water out of the ground and supply those who need it most.

WaterAid and BGS released the report during the World Water Day celebration in Dakar, Senegal.

Chief Executive of WaterAid in the UK, Tim Wainwright, said: “Our findings debunk the myth that Africa is running out of water. But the tragedy is that millions of people on the continent still do not have enough clean water to drink.”