BusinessDay

Nigerians to brace up food crisis on insecurity, flooding, says Kuteyi

Duro Kuteyi, the managing director of Spectra Industries Limited has warned that except the federal government urgently addresses the menace of banditry and flooding ravaging the entire country, Nigerians should brace up for a serious food crisis.

Kuteyi gave the warning over the weekend on the occasion of an event organised by Spectra Industries limited to mark this year’s World Food Day, when he said that the impending food crisis will not only see the prices of food items skyrocketing, but also affect the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the manufacturing sector.

The serial entrepreneur therefore called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency save Nigeria from an imminent food crisis by urgently setting a workable agenda for food security in Nigeria by addressing the current challenge of banditry and flooding that have made it difficult for farmers to access their farms unhindered.

Kuteyi particularly lamented the general insecurity in the country, and stated that while the rest of the world is fighting hard to curb factors such as climatic change which is a big threat to food security, the major threat of food security in Nigeria is the uncontrollable level of terrorism and banditry which has made it difficult for farmers to go to farm unhindered.

He warned that the current rate of inflation and escalation of food prices will be a child’s play by next year if urgent measures are not taken to ensure that farmers are allowed to farm without the fear of being kidnaped or the current practice where bandits force farmers to pay royalty and taxes on their farm to bandits.

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“It is either the federal government does not know the full import of what is happening in Nigeria today, or they lack the political will to confront banditry and terrorism so as to make the environment safe for farmers to have unhindered access to their farmland. What we have on ground today is already having a huge negative impact on manufacturers who can no longer have enough local raw materials that used to come from local farmers,” he said.

He stated that while it appears as if the current government may no longer have time on its side, he however expressed optimism that come 2023, a new government that will be in place can address the problem if there is sincerity of purpose and political will to tackle the problem.

“The first three months in the life of the administration that will emerge in 2023 will determine whether Nigeria will be saved from the food crisis or not. Once there is a commitment from the new government on tackling banditry and terrorism, then Nigeria can be assured of food security and that can be determined within the first three months of the administration otherwise, Nigerian should brace up for tougher time next year,” Kuteyi noted.

Abiru Abayomi, the chairman of Lagos Chapter of Food Safety Committee who spoke on the Theme of this year’s World Food Day which is ‘Leave No One Behind’ in his keynote address on the occasion stated that from the theme, the desire of the world is that no one must be left hungry, stressing that leaving anyone hungry poses a security threat to the world.

He however lamented that this global concern of ensuring that every human being is well fed to guarantee security seems not to mean anything to the various level of government in Nigeria as nothing concrete is being done to address food wastage as well as other factors such as insecurity, flooding and climatic change that poses great threat to food security.

“Even in some African countries like Egypt, the government has a lot of intervention programs to encourage farming such as provision of high yielding seedlings as well as enabling an environment that makes farming flourish in these countries,” Abiru said.

He therefore calls on all levels of government in Nigeria to save the farming and manufacturing sector by setting aside intervention funds that will truly be channeled into agriculture that will help feed the manufacturing sector with raw materials.

World Food Day is set aside on October 16 every year by the United Nations through its Food and Agriculture Organisaton to create awareness across the globe on the need for the consumption of safe, functional and quality food.