) is one of the main cereal crops of West Africa, and the most important cereal food crops in Nigeria. It comes after wheat and rice in terms of world importance.

Maize is becoming the miracle seed for Nigeria s agricultural and economic development. It has established itself as a very significant component of the farming system and determines the cropping pattern of the predominantly peasant farmers, especially in the Northern States (Ahmed, 1996). Maize has been of great importance in providing food for man, feed for livestock and raw materials for some agro-based industries. Maize constitutes a stable food in many regions of the world. It is a basic stable for large population groups particularly in developing countries (FAO and ILO, 1997).

In developing countries, maize is consumed directly and serves as staple diet for some 200 million people. Most people regard maize as a breakfast cereal. However, in a processed form it is also found as fuel (ethanol) and starch. Starch in turn involves enzymatic conversion into products such as sorbitol, dextrin, sorbic and lactic acid, and appears in household items such as beer, ice cream, syrup, shoe polish, glue, fireworks, ink, batteries, mustard, cosmetics, aspirin and paint (Jean

2003). Hart (2009) pointed out that most definition of food security include the phrase “at all times” and as such does not distinguish between different durations and intensities of food insecurity. Furthermore. About 80% is consumed by man and animals while 20% is utilized in variety of industries processes for production of starch. Internationally food security is defined as the ability of people to secure adequate food. and ethanol. 2010). Maize consists of 71% starch. oil high fructose. Empirical studies on food security Defining food security Food security is a broad term. food insecurity has a temporal as well as an intensity dimension.du Plessis.Maize is one of the most abundant food crops in Nigeria. corn sweetener. Temporal dimension can be chronically (long term or . More especially it has been defined by researchers as the access by all people at all times to enough food for an active healthy life (DAFF 2009). 9% protein and 4% oil on a dry weight basis (Onuket al. cereal and alkaline. which is defined in different ways by a number of organizations around the world. The basic definition of food security is that it refers to the ability of individuals to obtain sufficient food on a day-to-day basis.

The intensity dimension on the other hand refers to the magnitude of the food gap. Vulnerability has an external and internal dimension. . transitory (referring to short periods of extreme scarcity of food availability and access) as well as seasonal or cyclical. and food insecurity has a temporal and intensity dimension. An understanding of these distinctions and dimensions associated with the concept of food(in) security are necessary for policy development and appropriate interventions to address food security issues. It is also important to have a good understanding of the concepts vulnerability and food insecurity.persistent).