• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Adefeko calls for urgent action to address food insecurity

Adefeko calls for urgent action to address food insecurity

Ade Adefeko, director of corporate & regulatory affairs, Olam Agri, has called for urgent action to address Nigeria’s worsening food crisis.

In an interview with Arise Television, Adefeko said the United Nations World Food Programme projected that 31.8 million Nigerians will face acute hunger between June and August 2024, and this is due to inadequate funds.

Adefeko said agricultural budgetary allocation has been ridiculously low in the last three years, noting that the sector’s budget has been declining rather than increasing.

“In the last three years, budgetary provision has been very poor in terms of what has been marked to agriculture,” Adefeko said.

He said while this might be due to other competing concerns by the government like healthcare and education, agriculture should however be treated as a national security.

With Nigeria’s population projected to reach 229 million, Adefeko stressed that food insecurity affects over 226 million people, making it a critical national security issue.

“Population growth is growing at a geometric progression, while food production is at an arithmetic progression. This poses a slight anomaly driving food insecurity,” he stated.

Read also: Food Insecurity: Experts see GMO as solution to Nigeria’s food crisis 

Adefeko went on to urge the federal government to take advantage of its competitive advantage in the global market, especially in the area of its key staple crops like cocoa, sesame, and cashew among others.

“Nigeria has a lot of key staples and that is something we need to work on assiduously.”

According to him, the government should develop strategies to help farmers increase food production. He called on the government to provide more fertilizers and mechanisation for farmers.

Speaking on improved seeds for farmers, Adefeko said agricultural research institutes should carry out more research to provide better seeds and in-depth research to further increase crop yields.

“We need improved seedlings. We also need to improve seed varieties. The average variety we have in Nigeria in regards to yield per acre ranges between 1.5 to 2.5. However, globally, the average ranges between 14 to 15 acres,” he said.

On how Africa’s largest nation can further increase its food production, he said the country needs to practice mechanised farming as used in other developing countries.

“The government needs to provide physical incentives. Everywhere else in the world, you subsidise production. But Nigeria tends to subsidise consumption, which is abnormal,” Adefeko remarked.

The United Nations World Food Programme report attributed Nigeria’s food insecurity to the ongoing conflict in key growing states, the high cost of inputs and transportation, and the high reliance on market purchases as staple production is below average.