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40 per cent – four out of every ten – of households are reported to have experienced severe food insecurity in June, due to lack of money and other resources, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics have shown.

According to the National Longitudinal Phone Survey (NLPS) on the socio-economic effects of COVID-19 on Nigerian households conducted for June, the food security situation in Nigeria has substantially worsened since the start of the pandemic.

The survey is the second of a planned 12 series of the COVID-19 NLPS of households in Nigeria – 1,950 households – to monitor the economic impact of the pandemic and other shocks.

Before the emergence of the novel virus, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations had said that about 4.02 million people in Nigeria were being faced with acute food insecurity. As a result of the lockdown in economic activities, the number might have increased.

It, however, said there was no significant increase in access to safety nets or other forms of support.

It said the incidence of severe food insecurity in June 2020 was nearly 3 times higher than in July/August 2018 and nearly 6 times higher than in January/February 2019.

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“Moreover, 77 per cent of households interviewed in June reported moderate or severe food insecurity.

“There has not been any significant improvement in safety nets or other sources of income assistance from institutions and/or remittances” it said.

It also said there was virtually no change in the provision of safety nets in June. 13 per cent of households received food assistance, while 2 per cent of households reported having received a direct cash transfer.

Informal mechanisms of support from friends and family seem to be affected with the share of households receiving remittances from within Nigeria decreasing from 22 per cent in April/May to 18 per cent in June.

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