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AITA NATIONAL PRESIDENT REACTION ON FOOD INFLATION AND WORSENING HUNGER CRISIS IN NIGERIA

A United Nations report estimates that 25 million people in Nigeria about 15% of the total population are food insecure, Also according to the National Emergency Management Agency, widespread flooding in the rainy season damaged more than 676,000 hectares of farmlands, which diminished harvests and increased the risk of food insecurity for families across the country.

 AITA national president Ambassador Alhaji Aminu Abubakar Majidadi as well as many expert believe that regional instability, climate change and inflation are the major triggers of food insecurity in Nigeria.

The National president said that the food security and nutrition situation across Nigeria is deeply concerning, with many families fighting to stay alive, calling on relevant stakeholder to act fast in ensuring that affected Nigerian get the lifesaving support they need.

Citing the recent declaration of a “state of emergency” on food insecurity Ambassador Aminu express concerns over the continuous decline in the purchasing power of Nigerians, amid poor income and climate change effects on food prices.

He also said situation worsened further due to the aftermath of government policies such as the immediate removal of petrol subsidies leading to increased transportation costs, and the move to unify forex rates, among others.

The further said the since the president made his declaration, many Nigerians have raised concerns about the key indices driving food insecurity in Nigeria and the legal implications of president Tinubu’s declaration of a state of emergency on food security in the country.

He mentioned Conflicts and worsening insecurity in certain regions of the country, especially in the northeast, northwest and north-central as having adverse effect on agricultural activities and displaced farmers, hindering food production and distribution, as many farmers are unable to visit their farmlands for fear of attacks by bandits or herdsmen in the last decade.

He call for the need of effective storage facilities, efficient transportation system and good access road across farm settlements in Nigeria which often lead to massive spoilage and wastage, amid poor investment in preservation infrastructure that could help improve the shelf life of food items before getting to the consumer.

AITA National president also emphasis the need for more budgetary allocation saying despite Nigeria being a signatory to the 2003 Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, which among other things requires parties to allocate 10 per cent of their national budgets for the development of agriculture across the continent, Nigeria is yet to comply with the pact.

Within the last decade, allocation to the sector has been extremely poor, even amid wastage and corruption. Before the immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari, assumed power in 2015, only 1.43 per cent(N67 billion) of Nigeria’s 4.7 trillion national budget was allocated to the sector.

Ambassador Aminu Abubakar  Majidadi stress the importance of effective agricultural  policy saying in the last five decades, Nigeria has introduced a number of agricultural policies to boost production and improve food security but the impacts of these policies have been poor.

Recalling the early years of Nigeria’s independence, agriculture served as the nation’s mainstay with the country being one of the biggest producers of palm oil, groundnut, cotton and cocoa.

The sector alone employed over 70 per cent of the labor force and accounted for as much as 62.3 per cent of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings. But things changed for the worse after the nation discovered crude oil and productivity declined in the sector.

Since then, Nigeria has struggled to reposition its agricultural sector, with the numerous policies introduced by different administrations.

He said despite the policy interventions of past administration there have been no significant changes in the country’s state of food availability, affordability and accessibility, prompting the present administration to declare a state of emergency in the sector.

The national president advice that since the implication of food crisis is not only hunger it has ripple effect that impacts public health, socioeconomic stability, education, and national security. So the government has to do the needful to really address the issue of food security given the vast arable land in the country and two huge fresh water river that is supposed to be used for all year farming, as the food insecurity worsened,  Ambassador said it now require a sustained multi- faceted response to mitigate the severity and ultimately reverse the trend. As the first toward acknowledging and addressing the escalating crisis is the emergency declaration by the president.

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