FG Sounds Alarm Over Soaring Food Importation Rising 80% In Five Years

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News in brief:
- The Nigerian federal government has expressed concern about an alarming 80% increase in food importation between 2019 and 2023, attributing it to a decline in agricultural capacity.
– It highlighted the urgent need to reverse this trend, citing the negative consequences of food insecurity, including high child stunting rates, widespread poverty, and rising food inflation.

The Federal Government has expressed concern over a significant increase in food importation, highlighting an alarming surge of over 80% between 2019 and 2023.

Dr. Kingsley Uzoma, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusinesses and Productivity Enhancement (SSAP), revealed this in a statement during the National Policy Dialogue on Deepening Partnership for Scaling-Up of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) for Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria.

The dialogue was organised by the federal government in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). It focused on harnessing the power of technology to empower smallholder farmers and address food security challenges.

Uzoma raised alarm over the growing number of Nigerians facing food insecurity. He noted that over 88.5 million people currently lack sufficient access to nutritious food. He further projected an increase of six million in this figure by December 2023.

Also, the Senior Special Assistant attributed the surge in food importation to a decline in agricultural capacity, forcing the country to heavily rely on external sources for food. He stressed the urgency of reversing this trend, highlighting the negative consequences of food insecurity, including high child stunting rates, widespread poverty, and rising food inflation currently exceeding 31%.

Dr. Uzoma stated that the escalating dependence on external sources further intensifies the challenges within the domestic food landscape. He notes that this is why President Tinubu declared a state of emergency on food security and has been making several moves to address the situation.

Uzoma outlined some of these measures as leveraging ICT4D, boosting agricultural capacity and supporting smallholder farmers with subsidised input.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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