Home Nigeria President Bola Tinubu Declares State of Emergency on Food Security in Nigeria

President Bola Tinubu Declares State of Emergency on Food Security in Nigeria

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Bola Tinubu
Bola Tinubu

By Uche Amunike

The Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu, on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, has announced, Thursday, that the presidency has declared a state of emergency on food security in the country.

Speaking, during a press conference with State House correspondents, he announced that the federal government will  deploy savings from subsidy removal in the coming weeks, to food production, as well as other measures that are geared towards reducing the price of food in the market.

The statement reads: ‘Gentlemen of the press, I welcome you once again to this press conference to update the public on President Bola Tinubu-led administration’s immediate response to the current food inflation in the country.

As a hands-on- leader who follows developments across the country everyday, Mr. President is not unmindful of the rising cost of food and how it affects the citizens. While availability is not a problem, affordability has been a major issue to many Nigerians in all parts of the country. This has led a significant drop in demand thereby undermining the viability of the entire agriculture and food value chain.’

He further stated that because of President Bola Tinubu’s plans of seeing that the most vulnerable in the country are supported, he has declared with immediate effect, that a state of emergency on food security be announced immediately, and that all matters concerning the availability and affordability, like essential livelihood items be added within the purview of the National Security Council.

He also averred that certain initiatives would be deployed in the coming weeks to reverse this inflationary trend and guarantee future constant supplies of affordable foods, to the masses as a direct and immediate response to this crisis.

The statement further read: ‘As with most emergencies, there are immediate, medium- and long-term interventions and solutions. In the immediate term, we intend to deploy some savings from the fuel subsidy removal into the Agricultural sector focusing on revamping the agricultural sector.’

He explained that a Memorandum of Partnership was drafted between the Bola Tinubu’s government and the individual stakeholder representatives, which binds the decisions taken and actions proposed from their engagements in an earlier meeting held with agricultural stakeholders. Below, are the immediate intervention strategies:

We will immediately release fertilizers and grains to farmers and households to mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal.

2. There must be an urgent synergy between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources to ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands and to guarantee that food is produced all-year round. As a country, Mr. President has made it clear that we can not be comfortable with seasonal farming. We can no longer afford to have farming down times.

3. We Shall create and support a National Commodity Board that will review and continuously assess food prices as well as maintain a strategic food reserve that will be used as a price stabilisation mechanism for critical grains and other food items.
Through this board, government will moderate spikes and dips in food prices.
To achieve this, we have the following stakeholders on board to support the intervention effort of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu: The National Commodity Exchange (NCX), Seed Companies, National Seed Council and Research institutes, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Food Processing/ Agric Processing associations, private sector holders & Prime Anchors, small holder farmers, crop associations and Fertilizer producers, blenders and suppliers associations to mention a few.

4. We will engage our security architecture to protect the farms and the farmers so that farmers can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks.

5. The Central Bank will continue to play a major role of funding the agricultural value chain.

6. Activation of land banks. There is currently 500,000 hectares of already mapped land that will be used to increase availability of arable land for farming which will immediately impact food input.

-Mechanization and land clearing- The government will also collaborate with mechanization companies to clear more forests & make them available for farming

7. River basins- there are currently 11 rivers basins that will ensure planting of crops during the dry season with irrigation schemes that will guarantee continuous farming production all year round, to stem the seasonal glut and scarcity that we usually experience.

8. We will deploy concessionary capital/funding to the sector especially towards fertilizer, processing, mechanization, seeds, chemicals, equipment, feed, labour, etc.
The concessionary funds will ensure food is always available and affordable thereby having a direct impact on Nigeria’s Human Capital Index (HCI). This administration is focused on ensuring the HCI numbers, which currently ranks as the 3rd lowest in the world, are improved for increased productivity.

9. Transportation and Storage: The cost of transporting Agricultural products has been a major challenge (due to permits, toll gates, and other associated costs). When the costs of moving farm produce is significantly impacted- it will immediately be passed to the consumers, which will affect the price of food- the government will explore other means of transportation including rail and water transport, to reduce freight costs and in turn impact the food prices.’

Alake explained that the issue of storage would not be a challenge, as existing warehouses and tanks  will be revamped, so as to reduce wastage and ensure that the food items are preserved efficiently.

He gave the assurance that one of the major positive outcomes of the outlined interventions will include a large boost in employment and job creation and promised that the Bola Tinubu administration will ensure that all strategic interventions are put to use until every household in Nigeria is impacted.

 

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