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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Call for experiences and effective policy approaches in addressing food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics

Ikenna  Ejiba
Ikenna EjibaNasarawa State University KeffiNigeria

Please find below my contribution on experiences and effective policy approaches in addressing food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics.

Any efforts aimed at improving food security and nutrition especially in developing countries would indeed have to begin with the rural communities. This is because these communities and households are plagued by unprecedented challenges ranging from serious food crisis caused by climate change (due to high dependence on nature), to rural-urban migration.

Based on experiences from studies carried out in rural communities in Southeast Nigeria, pest infestation, and unpredictable weather events due to climate change; and inadequate social infrastructure motivate the migration of young farm household members to urban areas leaving behind an ageing and a more vulnerable population including women, children, and the disabled. These population left back in the rural areas are therefore vulnerable and exposed on all fronts as they confront climate effects, and labor shortages, and a weak households which affect food production and constitute a threat to food security and nutrition.

Bearing in mind this scenario, efforts should be made towards empowering the vulnerable household members (mostly women, children, and the disabled) left behind in these rural areas. Any effective policy approach would entail improving the capacity of the few with respect to adaptation to climate change as applicable in the areas of interest; as most households, lacking the capacity to adapt basically do nothing, while some others view migration as a way of adaptation in itself in the face of climate stress. 

Therefore, adaptation to climate change directed towards maintaining the existing output or improving productivity of farm produce rather than sourcing for off-farm income through migration and a subsequent hope of remittance if any, should be advocated and encouraged as this would effectively contribute in addressing the problem of food security and nutrition in many rural-communities in Nigeria.

In addition, social infrastructure services ought to be provided in rural communities to keep the youth gainfully engaged. This will also help reduce rural-urban migrantion of young people in their numbers as is been observed in Nigeria.