• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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World food day: Stakeholders call for increased budgetary allocation to curb food crisis

Nigeria’s food crisis and the looming human catastrophe

Stakeholders in the Agriculture sector, in commemoration of 2022 world food day has advocated the need for increased budgetary allocation to curb the rise in food crisis.

Speaking during the Ministerial press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, Oxfam international country director, Vincent Ahousi, said that the request for increased allocation is in line with the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for shared prosperity.

Ahousi, who was represented by William Mafwal, project manager, Just Economics, noted that Agricultural sector budget is expected to facilitate more citizens’ interest and inputs into sector.

“If Nigeria is to succeed in tackling the spiraling food insecurity and pervading hunger, the Government needs to increase its annual Agriculture budget to at least 10 percent and provide the public funding necessary to create fair, gender-just, and sustainable food systems, particularly focusing on agroecological production that is inherently less dependent on imports of feed and agricultural inputs, and more resilient to climate change impacts,” Ahousi said.

“Western governments will need to put their money where their mouth is, by freeing up resources through progressive taxation, and appropriately taxing billionaires and invest the proceeds in diverse, local, sustainable food production that helps global countries to become less dependent on food imports; and support smallholder food producers, especially women and the youth.”

In his remark, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, asserted that there is no food shortage in Nigeria.

According to Abubakar, Nigeria, like other countries has been faced with multiple crises including conflicts, displacement, economic shocks, escalating food prices and climate change.

“We don’t have shortage of food in Nigeria at this point, but yes prices have risen, and this is a world phenomenon,” he said.

“This Government has put in so much in employment generation, especially in agric; we have youth, women and others through the managerial ministries and many others to make sure there is food and employment.”

He however said that the celebration should be a reminder for Nigerians to eat mindfully, considering that millions of people are unable to afford one meal for themselves.

Read also: FoodClique to support households with 10, 000 meals in 3 Lagos communities

According to him, global solutions are needed to to safeguard life and transform agri-food systems in the face of global crises and escalating threats.

“The Food and Agriculture Organization is actively working towards the achievement of food security and nutrition and supporting the necessary transformation of agri-food systems in collaboration with other UN agencies and partners at international and national levels.

“Let me reaffirm that, a renewed commitment between Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Nigerian government is in focus for continuous collaboration to strengthen the Agricultural sector and enhance food and nutrition security while contributing to the eradication of poverty, hunger and malnutrition in Nigeria.

In a goodwill message, the FAO Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, said, “Analysis carried out at the beginning of this year indicated that approximately 19.4m people faced food insecurity in 21 states and FCT.

“As food insecurity worsens, so does the risk of malnutrition, it is estimated that about 2m children suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

“Also, climate extremes such as the ongoing floods that have severely impacted lives the and livelihoods,” he said.

“A protracted conflict in Nort East; in the middle-belt we see persistence of climate induced clashes between herders and farmers over natural resources (ie land and water). In the North western region, criminality and banditry.

“All these have severely affected productive activities across a number of states, and are key drivers of hunger in that part of the country.

“As if that is not enough we witness rising food prices and cost of production.

“Fighting hunger and malnutrition is a daunting task. I therefore appeal for concerted action from all stakeholders – Government, International and National Research systems.

“Also, farmers, Civil society organisation, private sector and UN if we are to attain the SDGs 1 and 2 and the other SDGs in these remaining eight years.”