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Hunger in Nigeria, Africa - Research Paper Example

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Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa. The current population is approximately 155,215,573. The country boasts many natural resources such as oil, natural gas, iron and copper. Nigeria is a wealthy nation when all of its natural resources are considered, but there are still some real societal problems because the wealth is not distributed through the country…
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Hunger in Nigeria, Africa
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Download file to see previous pages While population growth may be a contributing factor to modern hunger in Nigeria, there are other causes that relate more directly. The biggest cause of childhood hunger and malnutrition in Nigeria can be traced to the over reliance on oil exports for income. In the early 1980’s, Nigeria began to develop oil reserves in the Niger Delta. The booming oil prices at the time convinced the government that the best path to prosperity for the nation was to focus on oil exports as a source of revenue. As a result, plantations and the entire agricultural sector became antiquated. Farmers actually became less productive over time period when the government was only focusing on oil production. This approach would have worked for Nigeria if the government and business leaders were people of integrity. Unfortunately, much of Nigeria’s oil wealth ends up in the pockets of corrupt government officials and those that are already wealthy. The entire nation has not benefited from the exploitation of natural resources so hunger has increased over the past several decades. Another cause of hunger in Nigeria is natural disasters such as droughts. Nigeria is susceptible to fluctuations in seasonal rainfall, especially in the north. Droughts have cause acute famine in some parts of the country. A final cause of hunger in Nigeria is social and political unrest. Tensions between Muslim Nigerians in the north and traditional Christian beliefs in the south have resulted in fighting that disrupts food supplies. There has also been unrest in the Niger Delta region by factions working to disrupt the flow of oil. These groups seek a larger share of oil profits for their communities. As a nation, Nigeria is trying to overcome some of these obstacles to food production. One of the efforts is centered on making Nigerian farms more productive so the nation does not need to depend on imports for feeding their population. Nigeria has a proud heritage of agricultural independence and some feel that modernizing the agricultural sector will alleviate much of the suffering. Domestically produced food will be less susceptible to fluctuations in commodity prices that agricultural products bought from abroad. Upgrading and modernizing agricultural processes in Nigeria will take a lot of money. Most of the remaining farmers do not have money to buy equipment or more land. One suggestion from opposition groups in the government is to create a fund from oil revenue that gives grants to small farmers wanting to increase productivity. Some feel that this could only be overseen by an international agency because of the high levels of corruption in the Nigerian government. A final effort being used by the government is coordinating emergency relief efforts more closely with NGO’s such as Save the Children, that specialize in alleviating child hunger all over the world. In recent years, the number of children suffering from malnutrition in the whole of Africa has increased. There are nearly 15 million more hungry children in Africa now than there were ten years ago. The greatest numbers of these children can be found in Nigeria and Kenya. In these places, many children subsist on diets that have low nutritional vale, featuring foods such as cassava, white rice and maize. Conditions that have contributed to the increase in hungry ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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