• Monday, March 04, 2024
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BusinessDay

Food insecurity big threat to nation, says Obi

Obi slams Tinubu over insecurity, says Abuja’s mansions more protected than Nigerian lives

…Blames poor investment in agriculture

Nigeria’s current economic challenges resulting in high food inflation of about 33 percent, is ‘big threat’ to the nation’s stability, according to Peter Obi.

Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in the 2023 general election, stated this at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, during his visit to the institution.

Read also: Nigeria, others to suffer increased poverty, food insecurity in 2023 – World Bank

He explained that solving the problem of food insecurity in Nigeria, which will help to eradicate hunger and combat food inflation, should be a priority for any government.

Michael Nwolisa, media adviser to Obi, in a statement made available to BusinessDay in Abuja, on Tuesday, quoted the opposition leader as attributing the worsening food inflation in the country the abandonment of agriculture.

The IITA is a research institute that engages in agricultural research for the development of sustainable and innovative farming practices aimed at solving the problem of hunger and poverty in the nation.

Obi, after assessing the facilities at the institute, expressed appreciation to the management and staff of IITA for what he described as their significant contributions to Nigeria’s agricultural sector, especially in ensuring higher agricultural productivity.

He encouraged the institute to do more, by working closely with local farmers and agricultural stakeholders to enhance farming practices and agricultural productivity. This, Obi said, will help IITA to ensure that their research outcomes and innovations are effectively disseminated and adopted, leading to tangible improvements in the agricultural sector.

He said that agriculture remained a critical sector in Nigeria’s economy and should not be neglected. “Our obvious neglect of agriculture is the cause of hunger and food insecurity, resulting in the high food inflation rate we have today,” he said.

“In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria ranked 109th out of the 125 countries measured, showing a serious hunger level in the nation. Our food inflation rate is currently at 33 per cent, signifying that concerted efforts need to be made in moving our nation from consumption to production, in the agricultural sector,” Obi added.

Speaking further, the LP leader stated that aside from achieving food security, Nigeria could earn huge foreign exchange from agriculture.

“I have maintained consistently that Nigeria could earn more from agriculture than it presently earns from oil. I have also said that the biggest assets of our nation are the vast uncultivated lands in the north.

If we invest in agriculture and fully explore our fertile lands, we will not only end hunger and eradicate poverty but drive down inflation and earn huge amounts of foreign exchange through agricultural exports,” Obi said.