Daily Video

April 16, 2009

Rich Nigeria Can’t Feed Itself

Nigeria’s 140 million people face starvation because of high prices and the lack of food and water.

According to the United Nations, a third of Nigeria’s children are significantly underweight and some families have resorted to eating leaves and shrubs during the country’s dry farming seasons. Even families with farms are unable to sustain themselves because supplies like fertilizer and diesel fuel are so expensive.

The problems of Nigeria’s farming community were in part caused by decades of military dictatorships which promised to modernize the country but never followed through on their expensive plans.

Many farmers have yet to see the benefit of dam or silo projects that were supposed to help them.

Thomas Odemwingie of the non-government group, Action Aid says, “The local people, what do they have to show for the [expensive infrastructure projects]? You know, their poverty — their situation never changes.”

In this video, NewsHour correspondent Fred De Sam Lazaro reports looks at Nigeria’s mounting agricultural problems.

Quotes

“The reality of the situation is the easy money that we get from the oil industry has created more problems than solutions, that we became virtually a consumer nation rather than a productive nation.” – Muhammad Sabo Nanono, farm organizer

“There should be some control of price of commodities in the market. Farmers need support from government to find a market that will make it work. As it is, there is no control on prices. One season, the price is very low; another year, it’s very high.” – Kabi Abubaker Matazu, farmer

Warm Up Questions

1. Why might people living in a country rich with oil still face hunger and poverty?

2. Where is Nigeria?

Discussion Questions

1. What are your reactions to this video?

2. Thomas Odemwingie of Action Aid says that many of the able-bodied people are moving to the cities. In what ways might this affect rural areas?

3. What kinds of problems might American farmers face? How are they similar or different to the problems of Nigerian farmers?

4. Nigerians are importing much of their food from the neighboring country Niger. Which countries does America rely on for certain goods?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

In-depth Coverage: Oil and Politics in Nigeria

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