Kidnapping for Ransom: A Growing Threat to Food Production

Kidnapping for Ransom: A Growing Threat to Food Production | Daily Report Nigeria
TBILISI, GEORGIA - JUL 18: Sale of agricultural products on central food market, Jul 18, 2011 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Suitable for farming areas account only for 16% of total territory of the country.

Nigeria is grappling with a deepening food crisis that has intensified due to a combination of factors. The issue of food insecurity, long simmering, has been thrust into the public eye by recent events.


Rampant terrorism and banditry in states like Benue, Niger, Plateau, Kaduna, and Zamfara pose a severe threat to these regions’ ability to contribute to the nation’s food supply.

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Conflict, insecurity, inflation, and climate change have collectively stifled agricultural productivity across Nigeria for an extended period.


Shockingly, projections suggest that during the June-August 2024 lean season, approximately 26.5 million people in the country will face acute hunger, a stark increase from the 18.6 million reported in late 2023.

Reports indicate a troubling rise in kidnapping for ransom, particularly between December and February, which has instilled fear and deterred people from engaging in income-generating activities.

By February, many households had already exhausted their below-average harvests, forcing early reliance on costly market purchases for food. Compounding these challenges, economic downturns have significantly eroded purchasing power for families nationwide.

Farmers, the backbone of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, are facing unprecedented threats. They are being forcibly displaced from their lands, their crops destroyed, and their livelihoods devastated.

In Niger State, for instance, bandits have seized control of farmlands, leaving local communities without sufficient food to sustain themselves or to sell.

Recent attacks by bandits on four villages in Niger State’s Shiroro local government area displaced 600 people and resulted in the exploitation of villagers for forced labor on seized farmlands.


This dire situation is mirrored in the North East region, where conflict has displaced 2.2 million people and left 4.4 million more vulnerable to food insecurity in states like Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe.

Natural disasters such as periodic droughts and floods have further compounded agricultural woes, reducing output and leaving rural populations increasingly vulnerable.

The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that insurgent activities have exacerbated these challenges, heightening food and nutrition insecurity among vulnerable groups, particularly women and children. WFP is actively working to support 1.1 million vulnerable individuals monthly in northern Nigeria, including those in displacement camps and host communities.

Rural-urban migration continues to deplete agricultural labor, further jeopardizing food sufficiency in rural areas. Recent statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveal a staggering rise in food inflation to 40.66% in May, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

READ ALSO: Price of Healthy Food Increases by 32% in 5 Months – NBS

Addressing these multifaceted challenges requires decisive government action. The state must prioritize security measures in conflict-prone regions, safeguarding farmers and their crops. Additionally, promoting agricultural investment and supporting small-scale farmers through access to credit, training, and technical assistance are crucial steps.

Collaboration between government, civil society organizations, and the private sector is essential. These groups must rally together to advocate for policies that enhance food security and support sustainable agricultural practices.


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