Estimated 7 million people may suffer severe hunger in the Lake Chad Basin region, including northeastern Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Speaking during a visit to Lake Chad Basin, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Mr. José Graziano da Silva, this region requires immediate food and livelihood assistance.

“The situation we have now is largely due to the conflicts and armed groups that have devastated the lives and livelihoods across the whole of Lake Chad region. It is like an opportunistic infection, which is largely taking advantage of an already weak body from underlying problems of environmental degradation, related droughts, low investment in rural development and limited employment and livelihood opportunities for young men and women. We need to work on the symptoms by restoring peace and treat the disease by making the body stronger. This is all about resilience,” Graziano da Silva said.

In addition, NaijaAgroNetreports that over 1 million returnees and the majority of internally displaced people in areas which have recently become relatively strife-free, have access to land and may benefit from the forthcoming rainy season starting in May 2017 should sufficient agriculture support be provided.

“Protracted conflict has eroded coping capacities, exhausted livelihoods and left people with no way to feed themselves and their families.  Agriculture cannot be an afterthought. More than 80 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods,” the FAO Director-General said.

NaijaAgroNetreports that Graziano da Silva during his visit, met local farmers on several FAO supported farms in Gongolong and Old Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State.

He was accompanied by the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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This post was originally published at Naija AgroNet and has been republished with permission.

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