Real reasons Nigeria has a food security problem

Country: Australia
Real reasons Nigeria has a food security problem
17 July 2023

President Bola Tinubu's recent declaration of a "State of Emergency" on food insecurity in Nigeria has brought to the forefront the urgent need to address the escalating food prices in the country. The move represents a proactive and determined approach by the government to boost agricultural productivity and alleviate the burden of high food prices on Nigerian citizens. This decision aligns with the government's broader strategies, encompassing short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans to tackle the challenges of food affordability and accessibility across the nation.

According to Dele Alake, the presidential spokesperson, "Mr President is not unmindful of the rising cost of food and how it affects the citizens. While availability is not a problem, affordability has been a major issue for many Nigerians in all parts of the country. This has led to a significant drop in demand thereby undermining the viability of the entire agriculture and food value chain." Alake further stated that specific steps will be taken as part of the state of emergency, including the immediate release of "fertilizers and grains to farmers and households" and protecting "farms and the farmers so that farmers can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks."

The declaration of a state of emergency on food insecurity underscores the growing concerns expressed by experts regarding the continuous decline in the purchasing power of Nigerians, exacerbated by low incomes and the impact of climate change on food prices. Earlier predictions by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projected that over 25 million Nigerians could face acute hunger during the peak of the lean season between June and August this year.

In response to the declaration, Fisayo Kayode, a senior manager at Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited, highlighted the need for innovative solutions beyond traditional approaches. She stated, "We need to think outside of the conventional ways that we have addressed food security in the past. We need to develop solutions that will create efficiency." Razaq Fatai, Africa Policy Manager at the ONE Campaign, emphasized the importance of tangible actions accompanied by clear timelines, stating that the release of fertilizers and grains is a starting point, but the real challenge lies in the political will to translate objectives into actionable steps.

The state of emergency declaration reflects the government's commitment to addressing the multifaceted issues underlying food insecurity in Nigeria. It signifies a comprehensive approach aimed at addressing the root causes and creating a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector. Through these concerted efforts, the government aims to ensure that Nigerians have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, thus contributing to the overall development and prosperity of the nation.
The original version of the article can be found below: