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Food Security Poll: 7 in 10 Adult Nigerians often go Hungry due to Insufficient Food

Food insecurity, Food security, Factors
Food Security in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria. November 7th, 2023 – A new public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls has revealed that majority (70 percent) of adult Nigerians nationwide often go hungry because there is not enough food. However, 28 percent of Nigerians interviewed attributed the major cause of the food insecurity crisis in Nigeria to Farmer-Herder clashes. Similarly, 16 percent linked the situation to unemployment. This corroborates with the publication of Relief Web, a humanitarian information service provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), that the food security situation in Nigeria has over the years been impacted especially by violent conflicts, including the insurgency in the North-East; armed banditry in the Northwest; perennial farmer – herder conflicts in the North-central[1]. According to the publication, other factors contributing to food insecurity include rising unemployment, engendering, and compounding cost-of-living crisis, with deleterious effects on the conditions of living of citizens, and their ability to access food[2]. In addition, 12 percent of Nigerians interviewed cited bad leadership among other factors that have mostly impacted the food insecurity crisis in Nigeria.

More findings revealed that most Nigerians (89 percent) affirmed they worry about whether the food they will buy will be enough. In the same vein, 88 percent of Nigerians interviewed stated that they worry about whether the food they buy will run out before they get money to buy more. Furthermore, 81 percent affirmed they cut the size of their meal because they or their family member did not have enough food. Still in the affirmative, 80 percent revealed that they eat the same food several days in a row because they have just a few different kinds of food on hand and do not have money to buy more. Sadly, 49 percent of Nigerians interviewed also stated they had gone to bed hungry at some point because they could not afford to buy food while 40 percent stated that they did not eat because their family did not have enough money for food.

With regards to recommendations on how the Federal Government can improve food security in Nigeria, 26 percent advocated that the Federal Government should tackle insecurity. Other suggestions include Improving agricultural Policy (14 percent), opening all closed borders (12 percent), Reducing fuel prices (9 percent), Creating job opportunities (7 percent), and Address Climate Change (7 percent) amongst others. These are some of the key findings from the food security Poll conducted in the week commencing 23rd October 2023.


Food security, as defined by the United Nations Committee on World Food Security, means that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life. It is also the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food[3]. The key drivers to the food insecurity crisis in Nigeria have been linked to consistent violent crises, climate change, inflation, and rising food prices. A January 2023 Press Release by UNICEF reiterates that food access has been affected by persistent violence in the north-east states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY), and armed banditry and kidnapping in states such as Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Benue, and Niger[4].

The reports also show that children are the most vulnerable to food insecurity with approximately 6 million of the 17 million food-insecure Nigerians today being children under 5 living in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Sokoto, Katsina, and Zamfara states. These North-Eastern States are hotspots for insecurity and malnutrition.

According to the November 2022 World Food Programme Nigeria, WFP report, poor feeding practices and worsening food insecurity have continued to loom heavily. Ranking 163rd on the Human Development Index (HDI) for the second year in a row, Nigeria has also experienced the worst flooding in a decade, further eroding chances for improved food security among the most vulnerable[5].

Flooding occasioned by the prevalence of climate change in the country has largely impacted the availability and affordability of food resulting in the undesirable challenge of food insecurity. A report of the National Emergencies Management Agency [NEMA] shows, that the 2022 floods led to the destruction and washing away of over 675,000 hectares of farmland. One can only imagine the extent of the impact of this scale of destruction of farmlands on agricultural activities and food production across the country. Farmers, the majority of whom are small-scale farmers, lost not only crops and harvests, but also farm animals, poultry, fishery, and farm implements to the raging floods[6].

Regrettably, in 2022, countries that are highly dependent on food imports have seen a spike in food inflation, as the war in Ukraine and associated supply shortages caused sharp price hikes for wheat and other staples on top of high fuel and transportation costs resulting in a deterioration in food security. The prices of staple food in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have surged by an average of 23.9 percent in 2020-22 (Okou, Spray, and Unsal, 2022)[7].

It is against these backgrounds that have impacted negatively on the health, nutrition, and socio-economic lives of Nigerians that NOIPolls surveyed to feel the pulse of Nigerians regarding food security.

Survey Findings

The first question sought to gauge the opinion of respondents on what food insecurity is. The survey result revealed that a greater percentage (51 percent) of adult Nigerians nationwide affirmed that they know what food insecurity. On the other hand, 49 percent of the respondents stated otherwise.

Chart showing proportion of those aware of food security
Knowledge of Food Security

When asked if they think there is food insecurity in Nigeria. Findings show that the vast majority (90 percent) of the respondents answered in the affirmative with the North-East and North-West both (93 percent) having the highest proportion of respondents who made the assertion. However, 8 percent stated otherwise.

Chart showing Nigerians thought on food insecurity
Nigerians thought on Food Insecurity

Furthermore, a couple of statements that bother on food availability and feeding patterns were read to respondents in which they were asked to reply either ‘’yes’’ or ‘’no’’. Analysis shows that most of the respondents (89 percent) affirmed that they worry about whether the food they can afford to buy will be enough. Similarly, 88 percent worry about whether the food will run out before getting money to buy more. 81 percent of adult Nigerians interviewed reveal that they cut down the size of meals because they or their family did not have enough money for food. Further findings show that 80 percent of respondents affirmed they eat the same food for several days in a row because they lack money to buy varieties of food. Moreso, 70 percent lamented that they go hungry due to a lack of food. Additionally, 49 percent disclosed that they went to bed hungry because there was not enough money to buy food. When asked if they didn’t eat a whole day because their family did not have enough money for food, 40 percent also answered in the affirmative.

Statements showing food security scenarios
Food Security Scenarios

Subsequently, when asked which factor has mostly impacted the food insecurity crisis in Nigeria, 28 percent pointed out insecurity (banditry/farmer-herders clashes), followed by unemployment (16 percent) and bad leadership (12 percent). Other factors mentioned are increment in fuel price/fuel subsidy (9 percent), increased transportation fare (8 percent), and amongst others.

Highlighted factors that affect food security in Nigeria
Factors impacting Food Security

Additionally, adult Nigerians were asked to give recommendations on how food insecurity should be tackled, and findings show that 26 percent suggested that the government should tackle security, 14 percent advised that the government should improve agricultural policy, open all closed borders (12 percent), reduce fuel price (9 percent). Other suggestions include creating jobs (7 percent), addressing climate change (7 percent), mechanized farming (5 percent), price control/regulation (5 percent), other recommendations include encouraging people to go into farming (4 percent), subsidize agricultural input (3 percent), and encourage good governance (2 percent).

What can be done to improve food security
Improving Food Security


In conclusion, findings have shown that 51 percent of Nigerians interviewed know what food security is. Similarly, 90 percent affirmed that there is food insecurity in Nigeria with 28 percent citing herder-farmers clashes/insurgency as the top-most factor that has impacted food security in the country, followed by unemployment (16 percent) and bad leadership (14 percent) among others.

To end the food security crisis in Nigeria, survey findings show that tackling insecurity (26 percent), improving agricultural policy (14 percent), and opening all closed borders (12 percent), were the top-mentioned recommendations for how food security could be improved in the country.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing October 23rd, 2023. It involved telephone interviews of a proportionate nationwide sample of 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geo-political regions 36 states, and the FCT of the country. Interviews were conducted in 5 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin English, and English. Although we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained were statistically precise – within a margin of error of plus or minus 4.65%; we recognize that the exclusive use of telephone polling has its limitation of excluding non-phone-owning Nigerians. Nonetheless, with the country’s tele density put over 100 percent by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we consider our telephone polling approach appropriate. Also, given the rigorous scientific process of randomization and stratification applied, we can confidently stand by the validity of our methodology and approach. NOIPolls Limited, No. 1 for country-specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at


This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues that form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as authors whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited, or published. NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect the views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or facts, or any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken because of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions, or views herein constitute a judgment as of the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls' current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] [2] [3] [4] 25 million Nigerians at high risk of food insecurity in 2023 ( [5] [6] [7] Food Insecurity in Nigeria: Food Supply Matters: Nigeria (


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