Public Health Project Topics

The Impact of Food Insecurity on Life Expectancy in Nigeria

The Impact of Food Insecurity on Life Expectancy in Nigeria

The Impact of Food Insecurity on Life Expectancy in Nigeria

Chapter One

Objective of the Study

The general objective is to determine food security, as it relates with life expectancy in Nigeria. The specific objectives are however to:

  1. Identify the impact of farmers‟ awareness of food security strategies on the poverty status of people in Kebbi State.
  2. Identify the role of food security effort in poverty alleviation among farmers in Kebbi State.
  3. Identify the extent that food poverty has influenced life expectancy in Nigeria.
  4. to identify the causal direction between life expectancy and other macroeconomic variables.



Conceptual issues

Food insecurity is a situation in which many people lack constant access to safe, nourishing food necessary for maintaining a positive, active lifestyle (Gurkarm, 2005). FAO (1996) further defined it as a situation in which no one has constant access to sufficient, secure, and nourishing food for a healthy and active life. This denotes availability, usability, and accessibility. Inability to guarantee sufficient food is available, maintain sufficient supplies at generally stable rates through national manufacturing, provide access to food for those in need, and assure the biological use of food are all examples of food poverty.

In addition, the World Bank (2007) defined food poverty as having insufficient access to sufficient food for an active,  healthful lifestyle for all people at all times. Food poverty, which refers to a situation where all households lack physical access to suitable food for all employees and are in danger of losing that food, is not people-oriented. Food availability, access, and sufficiency are the three components that make up both food security and food poverty (Nwaniki, 2007). When it comes to the country as a whole, food poverty is defined as the lack of sufficient food reserves to meet domestic demand until harvests or imports can replace those reserves. At the individual level, it entails that all members of society have access to the food they require, whether it comes from their own production, from markets and/or the government’s transfer system. Additionally, a country is considered to have national food security if at least 2100 kilocalories of energy and 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight are available per capita per day (Nigeria Food Security Assessment Report, 2003). Experiences from a number of countries have revealed that even when domestic food security is achieved, individuals and organizations may still be going hungry because they lack the resources to eat (Hossain, Naher, and Shubaddin, 2005).

The dimensions of food security

The WFP concept of food security includes noteworthy components or dimensions such as accessibility, utilisation, stability, and availability. These four components, which have been taken directly from the WFP definition and are generally acknowledged as the “pillars” of food security, will now be addressed in more detail.


The first aspect of food security is accessibility. This idea refers to the’sufficiency’ or physical accessibility of food. According to Headey and Ecker (2013) and the FAO (2008), availability refers to the supply of food that is based on the quantity produced, net trade, and stock levels. It means that both at the national and household levels, a nation must have “sufficient” amounts of food readily available. According to the WFP (2009), the amount of food present in a certain area or nation in the form of domestic production, imports, food stocks, and food aid is referred to as food availability. This comprises local communities and households in addition to net commercial imports and exports. Shaw (2007: 4) recalls that in the past, The scope of the food security analysis was restricted to food supply. This came up as a result of the misconception that poverty is the main driver of the “food shortage” or “lack of availability” that causes hunger. As a result of this belief that the availability of food commodities would inevitably result in food security, global agriculture production has improved to the point where it is now sufficient to feed the expanding human population worldwide in terms of macronutrients (Headey & Ecker, 2013; Simon, 2012: 5). On the other hand, millions of people lack access to enough food. As a result, it is understood that food security cannot be solely defined in terms of food supply; it also refers to issues like food accessibility.


The ability of a country and its households to obtain enough food on a sustainable basis is referred to as food access. According to the WFP definition, having ‘access’ to physical, economic, and social resources is important. Food access is defined by the World Food Programme (WFP) (2009) as a household’s capacity to regularly obtain sufficient food through a mix of “purchases, barter, borrowing, food assistance or gifts.” The three components of physical, economical, and socio-cultural characterize the access dimension of food security.



RESEARCH Methodology

Theoretical framework and empirical model

The model for this study will be specified using the predictions of the Cobb-Douglas production function which proposes that output is a function of capital and labour inputs. Many economists have studied actual production functions and have used statistical methods to find out relations between changes in physical inputs ad physical outputs. A most familiar empirical production function found out by statistical method is the Cobb-Douglas production function. Originally, Cobb-Douglas production function was applied not to the production process of an individual firm but to the whole of the manufacturing industry. Two factor Cobb-Douglas production function takes the following mathematical form: Q = ALαKb

Where Q is the manufacturing output, L is the quantity of labour employed, K is the quantity of capital employed and A, α andb are the parameters of the model. Roughly speaking, Cobb-Douglas production function found that about 75% of the increase in manufacturing production was due to the labour input and the remaining 25% was due to the capital input. Adopting with modifications the model specified by Malumfashi and Kwara (2013) and using secondary data spanning from 1985 to 2018, the functional form of this model is specified as below:

LE = F(L, K, AO, FI)…………………………. (1)

The mathematical form of the model is as specified:

LE = α + β1Lt + β2Kt + β3AOt + β4FIt………. (2)

Given that there are other variables that affect life expectancy, but for simplicity, these other variables were not explicitly included in the model, the error term will be introduced in the econometric form of the model as specified below to cater for these variables:



Unit Root Test

Since empirical analysis based on time series data would be biased if the underlying data are non stationary, the unit root test is therefore necessary to check for the stationarity of the variables. The test used for observing the stationarity of the time series data used in this study is the Augmented Dickey-Fuller (ADF) test. The results are summarized on table 2 below.



Conclusion and Policy Recommendations

Since a positive and insignificant relationship exists between total labour force and life expectancy in Nigeria, the study recommends that efforts should be made by the ministry of labour and productivity in other to improve the productive capacity of the total labour force. This will help improve the general productivity and welfare leading to further significant improvements in life expectancy. Since capital formation was observed to have a positive and significant effect on life expectancy in Nigeria, to foster further significant positive impacts, the study recommends an increased allocation to capital projects. This will help to further improve total capital formation in Nigeria and further lead to increase in life expectancy. food security is not having serious influence on poverty alleviation among young farmers as type of strategy effort constraint, strategies and major taking to improved access to the strategy as most of the indices are having weak influence. The implication here is that most of the strategy are not well implemented as they should be to reach the real target whose majority are young farmers.

Since it was observed that increase in food poverty will decrease life expectancy in Nigeria, the study recommends that the government should through the ministry of agriculture map out policies that will help to further improve the performance of the sector. This will help increase the availability of food items in Nigeria and therefore reduce the incidence of food poverty which will further improve life expectancy in Nigeria. Finally, given the positive relationship existing between food items importation and life expectancy in Nigeria, the study recommends an improvement in the agricultural sector in Nigeria. This will help manage food items importation in Nigeria in other to ensure that the existing positive effect does not lead to imported inflation which will negatively affect life expectancy.

Government should provide adequate funding for Kebbi State Food security strategy to make her achieve the strategy of poverty alleviation among Youths in the state.

Efforts should be made to eliminate all identified constraints that prevented Youths from having effective access and awareness about food security programs

Extension agents should be employed and deployed to all parts of the state to create awareness on the existence of Kebbi State Food security and its strategies that can create self-employment among the Youths.


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