• Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Scarcity, high prices threaten Nigeria’s food security drive – Minister

High food prices put balanced diet out of reach of Nigerians-Survey

Kyari Abubakar, minister of agriculture and food security has said that issues of availability and affordability are a threat to Nigeria’s food security drive.

The minister, disclosed this in Abuja on Friday, during a courtesy visit to his office by Micheal Ojo the country director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

According to the minister, the current level of malnutrition and food inflation in the country requires increased food production and relevant measures to make food available, accessible, affordable, and of the right nutrition on a sustainable basis.

“Food security was one priority of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda which focuses on Agriculture and Food Security as well as good nutrition. We were given the mandate to ensure that the country is food secured and we are ready to collaborate with partners to ensure its actualization and sustainability,” he said.

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“These underlying challenges and called for innovative and trending solutions.”

The minister had recently disclosed the plans of the government to identify all available vacant farmlands in various Federal Government Institutions (Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Unity Schools, federally owned regimented areas like the military, police, and para-military allocated vacant arable lands) to bring them into food production to enhance the nation’s food security indices.

“In the short term, we will collaborate and partner with states to revive secondary school farms to enhance food security and agri-business enterprises; promote urban agriculture that is technology-enabled and especially driven by innovations and the passions of our teeming youths,” he said.

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“Conduct a comprehensive review of all existing agricultural laws and legislation to fast-track necessary amendments and enactments to support farmers’ welfare and private sector participation in agriculture and food security.”

Kyari expressed the Ministry’s readiness to partner GAIN to tackle Food and Nutrition Security, and post-harvest losses among others.

In his remarks, Micheal Ojo, country director of GAIN, noted that food and nutrition were a significant challenge for every Nigerian adding that over 90 percent of the population could not afford a healthy diet which results in malnutrition and sometimes loss of lives.

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According to Ojo, the organisation is committed to delivering a healthy diet to over 25 percent of the population around the world of which Nigeria was included. “The organisation intends to collaborate with the Ministry in the area of food value chains such as maize, rice, and cassava among others.

“The organisation had enjoyed a good relationship with the Ministry over the years and hoped for its sustainability to transform the country’s food system.”